Hagens Berman Class-Action Team Named 2020 Practice Group of the Year by Law360
SEATTLE – Hagens Berman’s team of class-action attorneys is among Law360’s 2020 Practice Group of the Year winners, having earned substantial victories or made significant progress in this complex area of law.
Hagens Berman’s winning submission stood out among 800 applicants in 40 practice areas, with Law360 choosing its honorees based on the significance, size and complexity of litigation. In 2020, the firm prevailed in class-action matters on behalf of consumers who were wronged by COVID-19 profiteers, major automakers, pharmaceutical companies and a high-profile public university engaged in a sexual-harassment cover-up, among others.
“2020 has been a year like no other, which makes this honor especially meaningful,” said Steve Berman, managing partner and co-founder of Hagens Berman. “Hagens Berman’s guiding mission remains the same: to give voice to society’s most vulnerable people. The past year brought unanticipated and insurmountable hardships to many folks who had never before encountered that kind of turbulence. This motivates us more than ever to go after those putting profits before people.”
In September 2020, a federal judge granted preliminary approval of a $700 million settlement against Mercedes-Benz for its illegal installation of a cheating device designed to conceal emissions levels in several of its vehicles. Under the settlement, owners and lessees of affected Mercedes vehicles are eligible to receive up to $3,290 apiece for the company’s wrongdoing. Hagens Berman’s initial claim led to an Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Justice investigation which resulted in a total settlement of $2.2 billion, with federal and state governments pocketing significant damages as a result of Mercedes’ fraud.
Hagens Berman also represented a class of consumers in a successful action against Hyundai and Kia for manufacturing cars with defective engines that spontaneously caught fire. An $890 million settlement is pending final approval, wherein Hyundai and Kia will reimburse owners for past repairs and expenses, as well as install engine-monitoring systems in their vehicles.
In February of 2020, Hagens Berman succeeded in getting the University of Southern California to agree to pay $215 million to more than 18,000 current and former students who were subjected to sexual harassment, sexual assault and other inappropriate behavior by USC’s former gynecologist, Dr. George Tyndall. This abuse, which the university knew about and failed to report, occurred over the course of several decades, with official complaints about Dr. Tyndall’s behavior first surfacing in the 1990s. Under the terms of the settlement, class members will receive between $2,500 and $250,000 each.
Hagens Berman also secured preliminary approval of a $120 million settlement against Warner Chilcott, manufacturer of the oral contraceptive Loestrin 24. The settlement, which will be paid to a class of direct-purchasers, stems from allegations that Warner Chilcott violated federal antitrust laws by lying to the U.S. Patent Office and entering into an illegal agreement with a would-be competitor that suppressed the introduction of a generic version of the drug.
The firm also waded into litigation stemming from COVID-19 in 2020, filing class-action lawsuits against Amazon for price-gouging; three major airlines (Delta, American and United) for unjust refund and transfer policies; multiple universities, including Harvard and George Washington, for charging students full, on-campus tuition and fees for online-only learning; and Farmers Insurance for denying claims made by small businesses that were forced to close their doors due to the pandemic.
Hagens Berman remains extremely motivated by its commitment to social justice and amplifying the voices of vulnerable consumers. Read more about the firm’s track record and excellence in class-action law.
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About Hagens Berman
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a consumer-rights class-action law firm with 10 offices worldwide. The firm’s tenacious drive for plaintiffs’ rights has earned it numerous national accolades, awards and titles of “Most Feared Plaintiff’s Firm,” MVPs and Trailblazers of class-action law. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com. Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.