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Five Robbins Geller Partners Recognized on Benchmark Litigation’s 40 & Under Hot List

July 10, 2018

Benchmark Litigation recently named Robbins Geller partners Jessica Shinnefield, David Knotts, Daniel Pfefferbaum, Darryl Alvarado and Jason Alperstein to its 40 & Under Hot List (previously known as the Under 40 Hot List) for being “the top young talent in their respective litigation communities” in the United States and Canada.

Marking the first time that Shinnefield has been named to the 40 & Under Hot List, she has prosecuted numerous high-profile class and individual securities actions, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars of recoveries for Firm clients. She was a member of the litigation team prosecuting actions against investment banks and leading national credit rating agencies for their roles in structuring and rating structured investment vehicles backed by toxic assets in Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank v. Morgan Stanley & Co. Incorporated (“Cheyne”) and King County, Washington v. IKB Deutsche Industriebank AG (“Rhinebridge”). These cases were among the first to successfully allege fraud against the rating agencies, whose ratings have traditionally been protected by the First Amendment. Reuters described the settlement as a “landmark” deal and emphasized that it was the “first time S&P and Moody’s have settled accusations that investors were misled by their ratings.”

This year is also the first time that Knotts has been named to Benchmark Litigation’s 40 & Under Hot List. Most notably, he played an integral role in making history in the Onyx Pharmaceuticals $30 million settlement, which was believed at the time to set the record for the largest post-merger common fund settlement in California state court history. Reached just days before a hearing on defendants’ motion for summary judgment was set to take place, the settlement came after three years of hard-fought litigation. A mere three weeks after the Onyx settlement was approved, Knotts and the Robbins Geller litigation team broke its own record by settling Websense, Inc. for $40 million. Knotts was also part of the Robbins Geller litigation team that obtained a nearly $110 million total recovery in In re Rural/Metro Corp. Stockholders Litig., the largest damages award ever obtained against an investment bank for its role as a merger adviser.

Marking the third consecutive year he has been recognized, Pfefferbaum has recovered more than $100 million for individuals and institutional clients in complex securities fraud class actions across the country. He was a key member on the litigation team that secured a historic recovery on behalf of Trump University students in two class actions against President Donald J. Trump. The court hailed the settlement amount as “extraordinary” and “all the more exceptional when viewed in light of the risk” of continued litigation. Pfefferbaum was also an integral member of the Robbins Geller litigation team in Garden City Emps.’ Ret. Sys. v. Psychiatric Solutions, Inc. in which, after more than four years of litigation and on the eve of trial, he led shareholders to a $65 million recovery.

In focusing his practice on securities fraud and other complex civil litigation, Alvarado has helped secure millions of dollars for injured investors. Not only did he play a major role in securing a $388 million recovery for investors in Fort Worth Employees’ Retirement Fund v. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., but Alvarado was also a member of a team of attorneys that secured $95 million for investors in Morgan Stanley-issued RMBS in In re Morgan Stanley Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates Litig. Similar to Shinnefield, he was also a key member of the litigation team that obtained a “landmark” settlement on the eve of trial from the major credit rating agencies and Morgan Stanley in the Cheyne and Rhinebridge cases. This year marks the first time that Alvarado has been named to the 40 & Under Hot List.

This year’s honor marks the second time that Alperstein has been recognized by Benchmark Litigation. Among his most notable cases include In re Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Marketing, Sales Practices, & Prods. Liab. Litig., in which he helped prosecute claims on behalf of almost 600,000 consumers who were misled into purchasing and leasing Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche vehicles that were marketed as environmentally friendly, yet emitted toxic pollutants up to 40 times the legal limit permitted by the EPA. Alperstein is currently litigating several other automotive cases, including Bledsoe v. FCA US LLC, in which he is working with a number of other firms on a case against FCA and Cummins, Inc. concerning Dodge Ram trucks that emit pollutants such as NOx emissions beyond legal limits and contrary to the representations made by defendants. He is also working with Geller again in Benkle v. Ford Motor Co., a case involving defective electronic throttle body units in Ford vehicles, and in In re Ford Fusion & C-MAX Fuel Economy Litig., representing automotive owners against Ford for false or misleading advertisements about certain Ford vehicles’ fuel efficiency.

Though it focused solely on the U.S. commercial litigation market when it first began in 2008, Benchmark Litigation now also covers Canadian and Mexican litigation markets. Rankings result from the culmination of a lengthy research period, during which Benchmark researchers conduct thousands of interviews with litigators and their clients. Recent casework handled by the firms is examined, and sources are asked to offer their professional opinions on the attorneys practicing within their state or national practice areas. For more detailed information regarding Benchmark’s selection methodology, visit their official website.

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