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Leading Southern California Litigation Firms

June 25, 2008

Gabe Friedman

© 2008 dailyjournal.com

Last fall, William S. Lerach sent out an e-mail praising the 170 other lawyers at the San Diego plaintiff's shop he founded. Then, he resigned amid a high-profile criminal investigation. By May, he was in a federal prison in Lompoc serving a two-year sentence. Most lawyers predicted the firm would implode after losing its charismatic leader in such an ugly, publicized way. Yet, nine months after his departure, the securities-focused firm, with Patrick Coughlin at the helm, appears glued to its successful trajectory. With Lerach's name dropped off the shingle, it's called Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins. Its program to recruit large pension funds as clients, like the California Public Employee Retirement Fund - a must for a securities class-action firm - remains robust. And the past 12 months have been nothing but stellar

In federal court in Ohio, Henry Rosen negotiated a $600 million settlement with Cardinal Health, the medical products company. While in Minnesota, Ramzi Abadou is representing CalPERS in a class action against UnitedHealth Group, in which the former CEO left with approximately $1.7 billion in stock options, many reportedly backdated. In federal court in Los Angeles, Darren Robbins recently settled the shareholder derivative case against Activision for backdating stock options for roughly $25 million.

Meanwhile, lawyers in the consumer practice group recently made oral arguments in the federal appellate court in San Diego, to preserve a $138 million judgment against Farmer's Group Inc. The suit alleges the insurance company overcharged on premiums for auto policies. The firm also has filed a class action, pending in Los Angeles federal court, against Dannon Food Co. for false advertising. In February, Coughlin added a new patent litigation group. But perhaps the biggest gold mine for this firm is the $700 million fee application submitted in the Enron shareholder class action that awaits court approval.

- Gabe Friedman

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