For-profit

Leiff Cabraser

Website:

www.lieffcabraser.com

Location:

San Francisco, CA

Status:

For-Profit

Type:

Law Firm

Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, also known as Leiff Cabraser, is a law firm that specializes in class-action lawsuits against companies within state and federal courts. The firm has 120 attorneys on its staff and operates offices in San Francisco, New York, Nashville, and Munich, Germany. Since its founding in 1972, the firm has led or participated in hundreds of class action lawsuits including 86 that totaled verdicts and settlements in excess of $100 million and 28 that awarded or settled for over $1 billion. The firm has targeted car manufacturers, tobacco companies, energy companies, banks, and retailers. The firm collects a significant portion of awarded verdicts and settlements in legal fees and in 2022 was given nonmonetary sanctions by a federal judge for an “incomplete description of a fee study” in litigation. [1] [2]

Leiff Cabraser, along with similar firms, has been criticized by the Alliance for Consumers for its political donation activity being 100 percent aligned with Democratic campaigns and candidates and for its taking government contracts. [3]

Background

Leiff Cabraser was founded in 1972 and is headquartered in San Francisco, California with additional offices throughout the United States and one in Europe. The firm specializes in class-action suits and has been involved in many cases resulting in settlements or verdicts that totaled hundreds of millions or billions of dollars. The firm has been involved in several newsworthy suits including litigation against Volkswagen over diesel emissions and the master settlement agreement between most state Attorneys General and the tobacco industry, which included many other firms. [4]

The firm takes cases in a variety of fields including personal injury and mass torts, securities and financial fraud, employment law, product defects, and consumer protection. The firm has also served as a court-appointed plaintiff’s lead and class counsel in state and federal litigation. The firm solely represents plaintiffs, meaning it only takes cases where its clients are suing another entity or group, as opposed to representing companies or people that are being sued. [5]

Litigation History

Leiff Cabraser has been involved in several high-profile class action lawsuits and publicizes its previous litigation extensively on its website. In 1998, the firm was among many similar firms involved in the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, in which the firm represented several state attorneys general and additional counties and cities. Leiff Cabraser clients were awarded $42 billion of the total $206 billion settlement. Other large class-action suits led by the firm included suing Volkswagen over a diesel emission testing scandal, suing BP for damages related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, several suits against pharmaceutical and medical device companies, and suits against natural gas suppliers and natural gas companies. [6]

Sanctions

In 2022, Leiff Cabraser was issued a nonmonetary sanction by a federal judge in Massachusetts for “materially misleading” in its description of a fee study related to a multi-firm class action law suit against State Street Bank and Trust Co. Lieff Cabraser had told the court that its request for fees of 25 percent was “right in line” with a study of average and median fee awards in class actions, but according to the court, did not mention that in awards similar to the $300 million awarded in the case at hand, other fee awards were lower. [7]

Criticism

Leiff Cabraser has been criticized by the Alliance for Consumers for political donation activity from its members and staff being 100 percent aligned with Democratic campaigns and candidates and for its practices in launching class-action lawsuits and securing government-backed litigation contracts. The firm is referred to by the Alliance for Consumers as among the “shady eight” group of firms that generated $15 million to Democratic candidates from 2017 to 2020. Leiff Cabraser and its attorneys contributed over $2.8 million to candidates and organizations from 2017 to 2020 with nearly all favoring Democrats and left-of-center groups. [8]

References

  1. Weiss, Debra Cassens. “Lieff Cabraser loses appeal of sanction for ‘materially misleading’ description of fee study.” February 11, 2022. Accessed October 27, 2022. https://www.abajournal.com/news/article/lieff-cabraser-loses-appeal-of-sanction-for-materially-misleading-description-of-fee-study ^
  2. “About Us.” Leiff Cabraser. Accessed October 27, 2022. https://www.lieffcabraser.com/about-us/ ^
  3. “Shady Trial Lawyer Pipeline Update.” Alliance for Consumers. January 2022. Accessed October 27, 2022. https://secureservercdn.net/198.71.190.196/h7r.c37.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/AFC_Shady-Trial-Lawyer-Pipeline-Report.pdf ^
  4. “About Us.” Leiff Cabraser. Accessed October 27, 2022. https://www.lieffcabraser.com/about-us/ ^
  5. “About Us.” Leiff Cabraser. Accessed October 27, 2022. https://www.lieffcabraser.com/about-us/ ^
  6. “Top Verdicts and Settlements.” Leiff Cabraser. Accessed October 27, 2022. https://www.lieffcabraser.com/pdf/Lieff_Cabraser_Top_Verdicts_and_Settlements.pdf ^
  7. Weiss, Debra Cassens. “Lieff Cabraser loses appeal of sanction for ‘materially misleading’ description of fee study.” February 11, 2022. Accessed October 27, 2022. https://www.abajournal.com/news/article/lieff-cabraser-loses-appeal-of-sanction-for-materially-misleading-description-of-fee-study ^
  8. “Shady Trial Lawyer Pipeline Update.” Alliance for Consumers. January 2022. Accessed October 27, 2022. https://secureservercdn.net/198.71.190.196/h7r.c37.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/AFC_Shady-Trial-Lawyer-Pipeline-Report.pdf ^
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Leiff Cabraser


San Francisco, CA