Robbins Geller Named a Top Ten Plaintiffs Firm and Ten Attorneys Recognized by Benchmark Litigation

October 31, 2017

In October 2017, Benchmark Litigation named Robbins Geller one of the Top Ten Plaintiffs Firms in America. Calling Robbins Geller “[o]ne of the country's best-known plaintiff shops,” the publication quotes a former opponent of the Firm, stating that Robbins Geller has the “guts to take a good case to trial, and by the time it goes, this firm has made a true investment and put everything on the line.” Compiled by the publishers of leading financial news magazines Institutional Investor and EuromoneyBenchmark also named the Firm a “Highly Recommended” plaintiffs firm in California for 2018, and ranked the Firm highly nationally and in New York. In praising Robbins Geller for having “earned recognition from peers and opponents alike,” Benchmark also recognized several of the Firm’s partners as Litigation Stars, Local Litigation Stars, Top Litigators Under 40 and Future Stars.  Darren J. RobbinsSamuel H. RudmanSpencer A. Burkholz, Randall J. Baron, David A. RosenfeldLuke O. BrooksLucas F. Olts, Daniel J. PfefferbaumMaureen E. Mueller and Jason H. Alperstein were all honored for their impeccable track records.  Benchmark decides its rankings after six months of examining recent casework handled by law firms. Sources are then asked to offer their professional opinions on the attorneys practicing within their state or national practice areas. To learn more about their methodology, visit Benchmark’s website.

Robbins, named a “Local Litigation Star” in the practice area of Securities, among several others, has served as lead counsel in more than 100 securities actions and has recovered billions of dollars for injured shareholders. Most recently, he led a shareholder derivative action brought by several pension funds on behalf of Community Health Systems, Inc., which yielded a $60 million payment to Community Health (the largest recovery ever in a shareholder derivative action in Tennessee and the Sixth Circuit), as well as groundbreaking corporate governance reforms. In addition, he obtained a $215 million recovery in Schuh v. HCA Holdings, Inc., the largest securities class action recovery ever in Tennessee. Benchmark also praised Robbins who, along with partner Paul J. Geller, “represented the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and obtained an $895 million recovery on behalf of the UnitedHealth shareholders.” Shortly after reaching the $895 million settlement with the company, the remaining defendants also settled. The former CEO paid $30 million and returned stock options representing more than 3 million shares to shareholders, while the former General Counsel and Secretary paid an additional $500,000 to shareholders.

Rudman has been awarded the titles of “Litigation Star” and “Local Litigation Star” for the practice area of Securities, among several others. With 22 years of experience in securities practice, he is a former attorney with the SEC, and has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for shareholders. Benchmark emphasized Rudman’s role as lead counsel on behalf of investors in Silverman v. Motorola, Inc., in which he recovered $200 million two months before the trial was set to begin. “This outstanding result was obtained despite the lack of an SEC investigation or any financial restatement,” extolled Benchmark. The publication also commended him for obtaining a $55 million recovery in Intercept Pharmaceuticals, which is believed to be the largest per-day recovery in the history of securities litigation.

Named a “Local Litigation Star” and a “Top 100 Trial Lawyer” in the Securities practice area, Burkholz has 21 years of experience in prosecuting securities class actions and private actions on behalf of large institutional investors. “Spencer Burkholz is one of [Robbins Geller’s] top guys in San Diego,” asserts a peer. “He really is their ‘trial guy.’” In May 2016, Burkholz “triumphed . . . when a district court judge approved a settlement in which Countrywide Financial agreed to pay $500 million to settle investors’ claims that they were misled as part of Countrywide’s sale of mortgage-backed securities from 2005 to 2007.” He was also “part of a team that secured an eye-popping $1.6 billion settlement on behalf of shareholders of HSBC Finance (formerly Household International) in a securities class action in a case launched in 2002 alleging false and misleading statements were made by Illinois-based Household International, which was bought by HSBC in 2003.” Additionally, he has recovered billions of dollars for injured shareholders in cases such as Enron ($7.2 billion), WorldCom ($657 million) and Qwest ($445 million), to name a few.

Highlighted as a “Litigation Star” and “Local Litigation Star” in the Securities practice area, Baron has worked to advance the practice of shareholder merger and acquisition litigation to achieve substantial monetary recoveries for shareholders for almost two decades. He has led a team of lawyers whose accomplishments include obtaining instrumental rulings both at injunction and trial phases, and establishing liability of financial advisors and investment banks. Baron helped obtain $148 million for shareholders in the Dole Food case, the largest trial verdict ever in a class action challenging a merger transaction, and served as co-lead counsel in the Rural/Metro case, leading former shareholders to a rare victory of nearly $100 million in an award against Royal Bank of Canada Capital Markets LLC (RBC), which had acted as financial advisor to Rural/Metro’s lowball buyout. Baron was also involved in the record-breaking Kinder Morgan case, which yielded a $200 million recovery for investors, the largest M&A class action recovery in history.

Named a “Future Star,” Rosenfeld has spent more than 15 years practicing in the areas of securities litigation and corporate takeover litigation. He recently obtained a $34.5 million recovery in Patel v. L-3 Communications Holdings, Inc., which represents a high percentage of damages that plaintiffs could reasonably expect to be recovered at trial and is more than eight times higher than the average settlement of cases with comparable investor losses. He also worked with Rudman to obtain a $34 million recovery in OSG, which represented an outsized recovery of 93% of bond purchasers’ damages and 28% of stock purchasers’ damages. Additionally, Rosenfeld achieved remarkable recoveries against companies in the financial industry, including a $70 million recovery in the securities class action on behalf of investors against Credit Suisse Group and a $74.25 million recovery in the securities fraud lawsuit against First BanCorp. Additionally, he settled claims against Barclays for $14 million, or 20% of investors’ damages, for statements made about its LIBOR practices.

Ranked as a “Local Litigation Star,” Brooks has successfully prosecuted several high-profile securities class actions that have resulted in record-breaking recoveries. Benchmark praised him for acting “as lead counsel in concert with a team of plaintiffs that secured a $388 million recovery in the J.P. Morgan  case on behalf of a class of investors in nine 2007 residential mortgage-backed securities offerings issued by JPMorgan.” Brooks also served as trial counsel in a pair of cases – Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank v. Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc. (“Cheyne”) and King County, Washington v. IKB Deutsche Industriebank AG (“Rhinebridge”) – in which plaintiffs obtained a settlement, on the eve of trial in Cheyne, from the major credit rating agencies and Morgan Stanley arising out of the fraudulent ratings of bonds issued by the Cheyne and Rhinebridge structured investment vehicles. Additionally, Brooks worked alongside Burkholz on the 14-year-long Jaffe v. Household Int’l case.

Ranked as a “Future Star,” Olts has extensive experience prosecuting structured finance-related actions.  Over the past several years, he has played an integral role in securing several landmark victories in RMBS-related litigation, and has achieved unparalleled success in recovering losses for investors in RMBS and other structured finance-related investments. Olts was a lead attorney in the Goldman Sachs case, securing a $272 million recovery for shareholders, and worked with Brooks to achieve a recovery of $388 million for investors in J.P. Morgan. In addition, along with Brooks, he was a member of the litigation team that obtained what Reuters called “a landmark” settlement in Cheyne. After vigorously prosecuting the case for nearly five years, the settlement was reached two weeks before trial was set to commence.  Olts secured another important victory for shareholders in an action involving the subprime mortgage fraud debacle in In re Wachovia Preferred Sec. & Bond/Notes Litig., which yielded a $627 million recovery, one of the largest credit-crisis class action settlements involving only Securities Act claims.

Benchmark ranked Pfefferbaum as a “Future Star.” He has recovered more than $100 million for investors and has served as lead class counsel in numerous notable cases that have resulted in substantial recoveries. Most recently, Pfefferbaum was a member of the litigation team that secured a historic recovery on a pro bono basis for Trump University students in two class actions against President Donald J. Trump, providing $25 million to approximately 7,000 consumers. He was also an integral member of the Robbins Geller litigation team in Garden City Emps.’ Ret. Sys. v. Psychiatric Sols., Inc. in which, after more than four years of litigation and on the eve of trial, he led shareholders to a $65 million recovery. The settlement is the largest securities class action recovery in the Middle District of Tennessee in almost a decade.

In August 2017, the publication also ranked Pfefferbaum, Maureen Mueller and Jason Alperstein to its “Top Litigator Under 40” list, which honors the achievements of legal partners who are under 40. In naming Mueller a “Top Litigator Under 40,” Benchmark commended her for being “on the winning litigation team,” along with Burkholz and Brooks, that obtained final approval of the record-breaking $1.575 billion recovery in Household International.”  Mueller also worked with Olts as co-lead counsel in In re Wachovia Preferred Sec. & Bond/Notes Litig.  and was a member of the team responsible for recovering over $925 million for investors in the UnitedHealth litigation, the largest recovery arising out of the options backdating scandal.

Praising Alperstein for “his work in his consumer class-action cases,” Benchmark named him a “Top Litigator Under 40” for his work with partner Paul Geller “on behalf of almost 600,000 consumers who were misled into purchasing and leasing Audi, Porsche and Volkswagen vehicles that were marketed as environmentally friendly, yet emitted toxic pollutants” in the Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Marketing, Sales Practices, & Prods. Liab. Litig. 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. 

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