Opioid Litigation: What’s New and What Does it Mean for Future Litigation?
Introduction and Welcoming Remarks
James Anderson is director of the Institute for Civil Justice and the Justice Policy Program at RAND. He conducts empirical research on a wide variety of policy issues and has served as principal investigator on a variety of projects, ranging from the policy implications of autonomous vehicle technology to understanding the effects of indigent defense systems. He has been funded by the National Institute of Justice, the National Institutes of Health, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the State of Pennsylvania, the Institute for Civil Justice, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Department of Defense, and the National Science Foundation. His work has appeared in the Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, the Stanford Law Review, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, the Journal of Law and Economics, the Oxford University Press, and in numerous RAND publications.
In addition to leading research, he has served as a member of RAND’s Institutional Review Board to review research for human subjects protection issues. He is also a member of the American Law Institute. Before joining RAND, he clerked for the Honorable Morton Greenberg of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and practiced law for 10 years as an assistant federal public defender representing death-sentenced prisoners. He received a J.D. from Yale Law School and a B.A. in ethics, politics, and economics from Yale University.
Panel: What Makes the Opioid Litigation Different from Other Mass Torts?
Rebecca Haffajee is a policy researcher at the RAND Corporation and an adjunct assistant professor of health management and policy at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. A lawyer and health policy researcher, Dr. Haffajee’s work combines detailed legal analyses with empirical investigations of the relationships between policy and health. Substantively, she focuses in the behavioral health, drug policy, and public health areas. Her recent and current projects include evaluating the effects of prescription drug monitoring programs and other state and federal opioid prescription limitation laws on prescribing, overdose, and suicide outcomes; the relationship between cannabis legalization and opioid harms; and the association between mental health/substance abuse parity laws and health care costs and utilization.
Dr. Haffajee also researches substance use disorder treatment access and barriers, particularly for vulnerable populations, and social determinants of substance use disorders. Other work normatively and empirically investigates public health litigation, including the evolution and outcomes of opioid litigation. She earned her law degree, master’s in public health, and doctorate in health policy (concentrating in evaluative sciences and statistics) from Harvard University. She also formerly practiced as a health care associate at the law firm of Ropes & Gray LLP.
Charles C. Lifland, a partner in O’Melveny & Myers’ Los Angeles office, focuses on class action and appellate work in the fields of mass torts, antitrust and unfair business practices, securities and consumer fraud, and punitive damages. Over more than 30 years of practice, he has litigated complex business cases in trial and appellate courts across the country. In 2008, the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journals named Mr. Lifland one of the “Top 100 Lawyers in California,” and the Los Angeles Daily Journal ran a front-page profile of him entitled “Appellate Specialist Hits Vioxx Daily Double” after he won pharmaceutical product liability appeals in New Jersey and Texas on the same day. In 2009, California Lawyer Magazine named him a “California Lawyer Attorney of the Year” in the field of appellate law for his work on the Exxon Valdez punitive damages litigation. In 2011, Mr. Lifland helped secure a defense victory in a six-month antitrust trial the San Francisco Daily Journal hailed as one of the Top Defense Verdicts of 2011. In 2012, Law360 named him a national “MVP” in the field of products liability law.
Mr. Lifland is a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s State Appellate Justice Evaluation Committee, and he was 2003-2004 Chair of LACBA’s Antitrust and Unfair Business Practices Section. From 2008-2014, Mr. Lifland was an Adjunct Professor at UCLA Law School, where he taught a pro bono federal appellate practice clinic. Mr. Lifland is also a longtime board member, and 2014-2015 President, of the Western Justice Center Foundation. Mr. Lifland earned his J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard University, and his B.A., magna cum laude with Distinction in Economics, from Yale University.
David Nachman serves as Counsel for Opioids and Impact Litigation for New York Attorney General Letitia James. In that role, he oversees the Office’s opioid-related litigation, including the Purdue bankruptcy and the Office’s state court lawsuit against other major manufacturers and distributors of opioid products, as well as the coordination of New York’s efforts in this arena with those of other states and thousands of local government representatives around the country.
Previously, as Senior Enforcement Counsel in the AG’s Office, David was responsible for NYAG’s prosecution of the environmental and consumer protection case against Volkswagen in the diesel defeat device matter, including New York’s coordination of the multistate AG investigation into VW’s conduct leading to state court settlements around the country. More recently, David led the similar NYAG and multistate effort involving Fiat Chrysler’s diesel defeat devices and the supporting role played by auto supplier Bosch.
David’s work with the NYAG Office has included heading up the Charities Bureau’s Enforcement Division and trying the Office’s securities fraud case against Hank Greenberg, the former CEO of global insurer AIG. David joined NYAG after a decades-long career in private practice, including substantial pro bono work in the field of international human rights, and he is a graduate of NYU’s Law School.
Chris Seeger, a founding partner of Seeger Weiss, is widely recognized as a highly innovative and accomplished plaintiff attorney. Since founding the firm in 1999, he has led some of the most complex, groundbreaking and high-profile litigations in the U.S., at both the state and federal level.
Chiefly known for multidistrict mass torts and class actions involving drug injury, toxic injury and personal injury, his versatile practice also includes product liability; property damage; consumer, insurance and securities fraud; antitrust; and third-party payer litigation.
Panel: What’s the Next Opioids?
Eric Helland is the William F. Podlich Professor of Economics and George R. Roberts Fellow at Claremont McKenna College, and a senior economist at RAND's Institute for Civil Justice. He is the author of over 50 books and articles on law and economics topics ranging from bounty hunters to judicial elections. His current research focuses on pharmaceutical and patent litigation, the judiciary, medical malpractice, and mass litigation. In 2002-03, he was a visiting fellow at the Stigler Center for the Study of the Economy and the State at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. In 2003-04, he served as a Senior Economist on President George W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisers. In 2008, he was a visiting professor of law at the University of California, Los Angeles and in 2011-12, a visiting scholar at the Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics at USC. He is the past co-president of the Society for Empirical Legal Studies 2018-19.
He has taught empirical methods and law and economics at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, the Claremont Graduate University, and The Buchmann Faculty of Law at Tel Aviv University. He is a co-editor of the International Review of Law and Economics. He holds a B.A. in Economics with honors, minor in Mathematics (University of Missouri-Columbia), and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics from Washington University in St. Louis.
His articles have appeared in scholarly publications such as the Stanford Law Review; the Georgetown Law Review, Journal of Empirical Legal Studies; Journal of Legal Studies; American Law and Economics Review, Journal of Law, Economics and Organization; Journal of Law and Economics; and Review of Economics and Statistics.
Anne Andrews, managing partner of Andrews & Thornton, has considerable experience navigating mass tort bankruptcies involving complicated pharmaceutical product liability, wildfire, and sexual abuse claims, including: New England Compounding Pharmacy, Chemtura Corporation, Dow Corning, PG&E, Insys, Purdue Pharmaceuticals, and Boy Scouts of America. Ms. Andrews currently chairs Insys, Purdue, The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse, New York and the Boy Scouts of America’s official committees. She is a fierce advocate for surviving victims, as a result she has recovered over $15 billion in value from insolvent companies.
Ms. Andrews has extensive multidistrict federal and coordinated state experience; in which she was appointed to the In Re: Power Morcellator Products Liability Litigation (MDL 2652) Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee involving Johnson and Johnson’s Ethicon Power Morcellator cases. Additionally, she also served on the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee in the In Re: Bair Hugger Forced Air Warming Devices Products Liability Litigation (MDL 2666), the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee (PEC) by the Honorable Robert L. Miller, Jr. for In Re: Biomet M2a Magnum Hip Implant products liability litigation (MDL 2391), the PSC for In re Hydroxycut (MDL 2087), and also In re: Ephedra Products Liability Litigation (MDL 1598).
Unique in his capacity, Rich Ives has a degree in Automotive Technology. Prior to joining Travelers, he was with Ford Motor Company for 5 years. His knowledge of the Auto Industry led him to Travelers in ‘98, where he began as a Claim Adjuster in Upstate New York. Since then, he has held increasing levels of leadership responsibility, and has served in several Senior Leadership Roles. Throughout his tenure, he has led multiple Corporate Strategies in the U.S. and Canada. Based out of Travelers Corporate Office in Hartford, CT, Rich currently has the responsibility for leading Travelers’ Workers Compensation Claim, Travelers’ Medical Center of Excellence, and is the Claim Business lead for National and Small Commercial Insurance. Outside of Travelers, he is the head coach for the Stafford, CT, Varsity Wrestling team, and a leader on staff at a Teen Youth Camp in New Hampshire.
Daniel B. Levin is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Munger, Tolles & Olson.
He focuses his practice on complex litigation and appeals. Mr. Levin was part of the team recognized with a California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year Award for the victory on behalf of Transocean in the litigation arising from the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He has been ranked among the nation’s leading attorneys by Chambers USA.
Mr. Levin represents clients in consumer class actions, environmental litigation, antitrust matters, commercial disputes and criminal trials. He has argued more than two dozen appeals and worked on matters at every stage of litigation from pre-litigation counseling to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Levin was an assistant U.S. attorney in Los Angeles. He tried cases involving tax fraud, treasury check fraud and firearm importation and served as the deputy chief of criminal appeals.
Mr. Levin taught advanced appellate advocacy at USC Gould School of Law. He is a program chair for the ABA White Collar Crime Committee Southern California Regional Subcommittee, a board member of the Federal Bar Association of Los Angeles, a lawyer representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, a member of the Yale Law School Fund board of directors and a member of the editorial board for the American Bar Association’s State Antitrust Practice and Statutes treatise (5th edition). He serves on the board of trustees of the John Thomas Dye School in Los Angeles.
Mr. Levin clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Judge William A. Fletcher of the Ninth Circuit. He is a graduate of Yale Law School, where he was editor in chief of the Yale Law Journal. He received both his undergraduate and master's degrees from Stanford University.
Robert T. Reville is the President and CEO of Praedicat, a risk analytics company that quantifies mass tort risk for insurers and global industrials. Prior to co-founding Praedicat, Dr. Reville was a senior economist at the RAND Corporation, where he conceived and led an R&D project mining the text of peer-reviewed science to identify emerging "next asbestos" risks. The project provided the foundation for Praedicat and Bob traded policy research for start-up life. His research career focused on liability, risk and insurance. He was the Director of the RAND Institute for Civil Justice, a liability research center which published influential research on asbestos; and co-director of the RAND Center for Terrorism Risk Management Policy, which published research on terrorism insurance that was cited in congressional debates over the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act. Dr. Reville has also written over a dozen studies on workers' compensation. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Brown University.
Joe Rice, Motley Rice co-founder, is recognized as a skillful and innovative negotiator of complex litigation settlements, having served as the lead negotiator in some of the largest civil actions our courts have seen in the last 20 years.
Corporate Legal Times reported that national defense counsel and legal scholars described Mr. Rice as one of the nation's “five most feared and respected plaintiffs’ lawyers in corporate America.” As the article notes, "For all his talents as a shrewd negotiator …Rice has earned most of his respect from playing fair and remaining humble.”
Mr. Rice was recognized by some of the nation’s best-regarded defense lawyers as being “the smartest dealmaker they ever sat across the table from,” Thomson Reuters has reported. Professor Samuel Issacharoff of the New York University School of Law, a well-known professor and expert in class actions and complex litigation, has commented that he is “the best strategic thinker on the end stages of litigation that I’ve ever seen.”
Since beginning to practice law in 1979, he has continued to reinforce his reputation as a skillful negotiator, including through his involvement structuring some of the most significant resolutions of asbestos liabilities on behalf of those injured by asbestos‐related products. He negotiates for the firm's clients at all levels, including securities and consumer fraud, anti-terrorism, human rights, environmental, medical drugs and devices, as well as catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases.
Most recently, he was appointed co-lead counsel in the National Prescription Opiate MDL aimed at combatting the alleged over-distribution and deceptive marketing of prescription opioids. Motley Rice represents dozens of state Attorneys General and municipalities, including the first jurisdictions to file cases in the current wave of litigation. In addition, he was appointed to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee for In re Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep Ecodiesel Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation. Previously, he served as one of the lead negotiators in the $15 billion Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Fraud class action settlement for 2.0-liter vehicles, the largest auto-related consumer class action settlement in U.S. history, as well as the 3.0-liter settlement. He also has led negotiations on behalf of thousands of women in the transvaginal mesh litigation that has five MDLs pending in the state of West Virginia. He is a member of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee for the Lipitor® multidistrict litigation and the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee for In re General Motors LLC Ignition Switch Litigation.
Panel: How Can Research Help Inform the Policy Debate over Opioid-Like Litigation?
Deborah R. Hensler is the Judge John W. Ford Professor of Dispute Resolution at Stanford Law School, where she teaches courses on complex and transnational litigation, the legal profession, and empirical research methods and leads the doctoral research colloquium. From 2000-2005, she was the director of the Stanford Center on Conflict and Negotiation.
Prof. Hensler’s empirical research on dispute resolution, complex litigation, class actions and mass claims has won international recognition. A political scientist and public policy analyst who was the director of the RAND’s Institute for Civil Justice before joining the Stanford Law School faculty, she has testified before state and federal legislatures in the United States on issues ranging from alternative dispute resolution to asbestos litigation and mass torts and consulted with judges and lawyers within and outside of the United States on the design of class action regimes.
Prof. Hensler is the organizer of the Stanford Globalization of Class Actions Exchange (globalclassactions.stanford.edu), which is spearheading international collaborative research on class actions and group litigation procedures by scholars in Asia, Europe, Latin and North America, and the Middle East. Noted for her decades-long scholarship on asbestos litigation and class actions in the United States, her research and publications have described and interpreted the trajectory of mass claims world-wide. She is the lead author of Class Action Dilemmas: Pursuing Public Goals for Private Gain (RAND, 2000), co-editor of The Globalization of Class Actions (Sage, 2009) and co-editor and lead author of Class Actions in Context: How Culture, Economics and Politics Shape Collective Litigation (Elgar, 2016).
At Stanford, Prof. Hensler teaches seminars on complex litigation, transnational litigation, the legal profession, and research design for empirical legal studies and serves as associate dean of graduate studies. With Dean Emeritus Paul Brest, she co-founded the law school’s Policy Laboratory, and helped shepherd it in its early years. She has taught graduate level courses at Universidade Catolica de Lisboa, Hong Kong University, the University of Melbourne (Australia), Paris Dauphine University and guest lectured at Tilburg University (Netherlands), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium), Nagoya University (Japan), and Universidad Torcuato di Tella (Buenos Aires).
Prof. Hensler is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Political and Social Science and was awarded a personal chair in empirical studies of mass claims resolution by Tilburg University (Netherlands). In 2014, she was awarded an honorary doctorate in law by Leuphana University (Germany). She serves on the RAND Institute for Civil Justice Board of Advisors and on the advisory board of the Civil Justice Research Institute, a joint project of the University of California, Irvine, and the University of California Berkeley Law School. In 2018, she served on the Academic Expert Panel for the Litigation Funding Inquiry of the Australian Law Reform Commission.
Sheila L. Birnbaum is co-chair of Dechert’s product liability and mass torts practice and focuses on complex product liability, mass torts and insurance litigation. She is one of the country’s preeminent product liability defense lawyers, having served as national counsel or lead defense counsel for numerous Fortune 500 companies in some of the largest and most complex tort cases in the United States. She has also argued many influential appeals in appellate courts across the United States, including the U.S. Supreme Court.
Ms. Birnbaum is national co-counsel for Purdue Pharma in over 1,000 federal and state lawsuits brought by state attorneys general, cities, municipalities, hospitals, third-party payers and others arising out of the marketing of opioid medications. She was co-lead counsel for Pfizer in over 600 birth defects cases in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) pending in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, alleging that the use of Zoloft during pregnancy caused birth defects. The team won a key Daubert ruling striking Plaintiffs’ experts and dismissing the cases on summary judgment, which was affirmed by the Third Circuit.
She also served as co-national counsel for Pfizer in defending claims by thousands of Plaintiffs alleging Pfizer’s statin medication, Lipitor, caused them to develop type 2 diabetes. Thousands of cases were dismissed on summary judgment, after the MDL judge in South Carolina struck Plaintiffs’ experts in a Daubert ruling that was affirmed by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Ms. Birnbaum is also representing Saint Gobain Performance Plastics in medical monitoring class actions and personal injury cases arising out of ground water containing perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). She was a lead national counsel for Wyeth in their hormone therapy litigation in both federal and state court and led the company’s strategy in negotiating thousands of settlements to end the litigation.
Ms. Birnbaum has been counsel for Dow Corning in breast implant litigation, Forest Laboratories in multiple state cases involving the anti-depressant medication Celexa, and Coloplast Corp in cases involving vaginal mesh. She also represented the NFL in negotiating and obtaining court approval for the settlement of one of the largest personal injury class actions.
Ms. Birnbaum has won three cases in the U.S. Supreme Court, including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Campbell where the Supreme Court reversed a US$145 million punitive damages award against the company as unconstitutionally excessive. She won a unanimous victory in the U.S. Supreme Court in Warger v. Shauers. The case resolved a long-standing circuit split regarding the application of Federal Rules of Evidence 606(b), which generally prohibits testimony of jurors about statements made during deliberations when the testimony is offered in an inquiry into the validity of a verdict. She also successfully argued Buckley v. Metro North, a landmark case involving medical monitoring and risk of injury.
As the court-appointed mediator in federal court, Ms. Birnbaum mediated a US$500 million settlement for 92 families of victims of the 2001 World Trade Center terrorist attack. In 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder appointed her to serve as special master of the reactivated September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. She distributed nearly US$2 billion to claimants over the five years she oversaw the fund.
In addition to her legal achievements, Ms. Birnbaum has led an active career as an academic, becoming the first tenured woman professor of law at Fordham University Law School, and was a professor of law and associate dean at New York University School of Law.
Ms. Birnbaum has been recognized by many organizations as an outstanding lawyer. She has been named by Fortune as one of the 50 most powerful women in American business, Chambers USA as a “star individual” in the area of product liability, and Crain’s New York Business as one of the 25 most influential women in New York business. She is consistently ranked as a leading lawyer by many legal publications. The National Law Journal has recognized her multiple times as one of the “100 most outstanding members of the legal profession,” in addition to being profiled as one of three most outstanding lawyers of the year. In 2010, Ms. Birnbaum was named one of the “10 Most Admired Product Liability Attorneys” of the year by Law360 and was chosen as the leading product liability lawyer in the world by Who’s Who Legal in its product liability defense lawyers category each year since its inception in 2005. Chambers USA describes her as the “queen of mass torts” and “a powerhouse and a go to lawyer.” In 2020, Ms. Birnbaum was selected as one of Law360's MVPs of the Year in the Product Liability category. Ms. Birnbaum is a member of Dechert's nationally recognized team of product liability and mass tort lawyers, ranked Band 1 for Nationwide Product Liability & Mass Torts by Chambers USA, named in 2018 and 2019 as Practice Group of the Year for Product Liability by Law360, and Litigation Department of the Year for Product Liability by New York Law Journal in 2019 and 2020.
She has received numerous other honors, including the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award from the American Bar Association, the John L. McCloy Memorial Award from the Fund for Modern Courts and the Law and Society Award from the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. She is also the recipient of the New York University Law Alumni Award for outstanding achievement in the legal profession, the George A. Katz Torch of Learning Award and the Milton S. Gould Award for Outstanding Appellate Advocacy. Ms. Birnbaum was honored with the Louis D. Brandeis Award by the American Jewish Congress and an award from Touro Law School for achieving the highest standards of professional excellence. She is a member of the Hunter College Hall of Fame and a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Benchmark Litigation Annual Awards and the New York Law Journal.
Prior to joining Dechert, Ms. Birnbaum was co-chair of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan’s global product liability and mass torts practice and chair of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom’s product liability group.
Under Elizabeth Cabraser’s leadership, Lieff Cabraser has become one of the country’s largest law firms serving clients seeking redress for financial and consumer fraud, anti-competitive practices, harmful drugs and products, and illegal employment practices. For nearly four decades, she has made sure that our firm remains dedicated to its core values.
Possessing unparalleled expertise in complex civil litigation, Ms. Cabraser has served as court-appointed lead, co-lead, or class counsel in scores of federal multi-district and state coordinated proceedings. These cases include multi-state tobacco, the Exxon Valdez disaster, Breast Implants, Fen-Phen (Diet Drugs), Vioxx, Toyota sudden acceleration, numerous securities/investment fraud cases, and Holocaust litigation. Today, she serves in court-appointed leadership positions in several of the nation’s highest profile civil cases: the BP Gulf Oil Spill, GM ignition switch defect, and Takata defective airbag litigation, as well as serving as sole Lead Counsel and Chair of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in the Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Emissions litigation and the Fiat Chrysler Ecodiesel Emissions litigation.
She has been repeatedly recognized as one of the foremost litigators in our nation, including being selected an unprecedented four times as one of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America by the National Law Journal, which has called her “a pillar of the plaintiffs’ bar.”
In November of 2018, she was chosen in the inaugural group for the National Law Journal’s “Elite Women of the Plaintiffs Bar,” a new award celebrating women lawyers who “have consistently excelled in high-stakes matters on behalf of plaintiffs over the course of their careers.” In March 2018, she was inducted into the National Trial Lawyers Association’s Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame, and in May 2018 was named a “Titan of the Plaintiffs Bar” by Law360. In July 2018, Public Justice honored her with its “Champion of Justice” award – the foundation’s highest honor. In late 2017, she received the National Law Journal’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The award honors an attorney’s career-long accomplishments and their impact on the national legal community.
Also in 2017, she was named “Plaintiff Attorney of the Year” by Benchmark Litigation, which noted that she “is known nationwide for having handled some of the largest class actions in US history, as well as being one the firm’s — and the country’s — foremost trial lawyers.” The publication also named her to its lists for “Top 10 Women in Litigation,” “Top 250 Women in Litigation,” and “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America.” The National Law Journal selected Elizabeth as a 2017 “Energy and Environmental Law Trailblazer,” and Chambers USA named her a “Leader in the Field” for General Litigation (California) and Product Liability (Nationwide). The Consumer Attorneys of California selected Elizabeth as a “Consumer Attorney of the Year Finalist,” and the California Daily Journal included her among its “Top Plaintiff Lawyers in California” and “Top California Women Lawyers” as well as naming her and the Lieff Cabraser team “California Lawyers of the Year” for their work on the historic Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Fraud case.
In 2016, Benchmark recognized her as a “Top 10 Female Litigator,” noting “Elizabeth Cabraser is one of the best trial lawyers to be found anywhere. She has an unassuming yet massive courtroom presence.” Also in 2016, Law360 named her a “Most Valuable Player” in Class Action Law.
In 2015, the National Law Journal named her as one of the 75 outstanding women lawyers in America. She has been named repeatedly to the Lawdragon 500, The Top 100 California Lawyers, and as a Super Lawyer in multiple fields.
The California Daily Journal has described her as “a commanding attorney and a role model for other litigators, especially fellow female lawyers.” Law360 noted in a profile of Elizabeth that “Her reputation among defense attorneys is that of a formidable opponent who comes to cases thoroughly prepared and can win a Judge’s ear.”
Ms. Cabraser serves on the Executive Committee of the Council of the American Law Institute (ALI) and is an advisor to several ALI projects, including Aggregate Litigation, the Restatement Third, Torts: Liability for Economic Harm. Since 2011, she has served on the Federal Civil Rules Advisory Committee.
She has written and spoken extensively on substantive legal issues as well as ones related to the advancement of women in the profession, including for Trial magazine, published by the American Association for Justice, a commentary entitled “Where are all the women in the courtroom?”
Her dedication to the advancement of civil justice extends beyond cases. She lectures on class action and complex litigation at Berkeley and Columbia Law Schools, has written extensively on these issues, and has also lectured and conducted seminars for the Federal Judicial Center, ALI-ABA, the National Center for State Courts, Vanderbilt University Law School, and the Practicing Law Institute.
In 2010, the American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession honored her with its Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award. The award recognizes the accomplishments of women lawyers who have excelled in their field and have paved the way to success for other women lawyers. It is regarded by many as the highest honor in the legal profession for women lawyers.
She is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Many of our nation’s most accomplished leaders from academia, the social sciences, the study and practice of law, business, public affairs, the humanities, and the arts are members of the Academy.
Kenneth R. Feinberg is one of the nation’s leading experts in alternative dispute resolution, having served as Special Master of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, the Department of Justice Victims of State-Sponsored Terrorism Fund, the Department of the Treasury’s TARP Executive Compensation Program and the Treasury’s Private Multiemployer Pension Reform program. He was also Special Settlement Master of the Agent Orange Victim Compensation Program. In 2010, Mr. Feinberg was appointed by the Obama Administration to oversee compensation of victims of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Most recently, he has served as Administrator of the New York State Dioceses’ Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Funds, the One Orlando Fund, the GM Ignition Switch Compensation Program, and the One Fund Boston Compensation Program arising out of the Boston Marathon bombings. He is currently the Court-appointed Settlement Master in the Fiat/Chrysler Diesel Emissions class action litigation in San Francisco. He has been appointed mediator and arbitrator in thousands of complex disputes over the past 35 years.
Mr. Feinberg was appointed in June of 2007 as the Distribution Agent in In Re: United States Securities and Exchange Commission v. American International Group, Inc., responsible for the design and implementation of a Plan for the distribution of a Fair Fund settlement of $800 million to eligible claimants. He has also served as Fund Administrator in other prominent settlements including: In Re: United States of America v. Computer Associates International, Inc. (responsible for the design and implementation of a restitution fund of $275 million); In Re: International Air Transportation Surcharge Antitrust Litigation (responsible for the design and administration of a $200 million fund); In Re: Zyprexa Product Liability Litigation (a $700 million settlement fund); and In Re: Latino Officers Association City of New York, Inc., et al., v The City of New York, et al. (a $17 million settlement fund).
Mr. Feinberg is an attorney and one of the nation’s leading experts in mediation and alternative dispute resolution. He received his B.A. cum laude from the University of Massachusetts in 1967 and his J.D. from New York University School of Law in 1970, where he was Articles Editor of the Law Review. He was a Law Clerk for Chief Judge Stanley H. Fuld, New York State Court of Appeals from 1970 to 1972; Assistant United States Attorney, Southern District of New York from 1972 to 1975; Special Counsel, United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary from 1975 to 1980; Chief of Staff to Senator Edward M. Kennedy from 1977 to 1979; Partner at Kaye, Scholer, Fierman, Hays & Handler from 1980 to 1993; and founded The Feinberg Group, LLP in 1993. Mr. Feinberg has been a Court-Appointed Special Settlement Master, mediator and arbitrator in thousands of disputes. He was also one of three arbitrators selected in 1999 to determine the fair market value of the original Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination and was one of two arbitrators selected to determine the allocation of legal fees in the Holocaust slave labor litigation.
Mr. Feinberg was a member of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Human Radiation Experiments from 1994 to 1998; the Presidential Commission on Catastrophic Nuclear Accidents from 1989 to 1990 and the Carnegie Commission Task Force on Science and Technology in Judicial and Regulatory Decision Making from 1989 to 1993. He previously chaired the American Bar Association Special Committee on Mass Torts from 1988 to 1989. He is also a national arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association.
Mr. Feinberg serves on the RAND Corporation’s Board of Trustees and is also the former president of the Washington National Opera.
He has had a distinguished teaching career as Adjunct Professor of Law at Harvard, Georgetown, The University of Pennsylvania, New York University, the University of Virginia and Columbia. He has also taught as a visiting lecturer at various other law schools, including UCLA, Vanderbilt, and Duke.
Mr. Feinberg was designated “Lawyer of the Year” by the National Law Journal (December 2004). He is listed in “Profiles in Power: The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America” (National Law Journal, May 2, 1988; March 25, 1991; April 4, 1994; June 12, 2000; June 19, 2006). He is the author of numerous articles and essays on mediation, mass torts and other matters and is the author of two books: What is Life Worth? The Unprecedented Effort to Compensate the Victims of 9/11 (Public Affairs 2005); Who Gets What: Fair Compensation After Tragedy and Financial Upheaval (Public Affairs 2012).
William Rubenstein is the Bruce Bromley Professor of Law at Harvard Law School where he teaches and writes primarily about complex litigation.
Prof. Rubenstein is the author, co-author, or editor of four books and more than a dozen scholarly articles, as well as dozens of shorter publications, most of which concern complex litigation. Since 2008, Prof. Rubenstein has been the sole author of Newberg on Class Actions. and he is in the process of re-writing the entire 11-volume treatise for its Fifth Edition. He has litigated, consulted, and regularly serves as an expert witness in, class action lawsuits.
Prof. Rubenstein was a practicing lawyer for nearly a decade before becoming a law professor. After graduating from Yale College (magna cum laude, 1982) and Harvard Law School (magna cum laude, 1986), he clerked for the Hon. Stanley Sporkin in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He was then awarded a Harvard Fellowship in Public Interest Law to help start an AIDS Project at the national office of the American Civil Liberties Union. He was a Staff Attorney with the ACLU’s National LGBT and AIDS Projects from 1987-1990 and Director of those Projects from 1990-1995. In those capacities, he litigated civil rights cases in state and federal courts throughout the country and oversaw the ACLU’s national litigation docket on these issues. He argued the landmark case, Braschi v. Stahl Associates, 544 N.E.2d 49 (N.Y. 1989), before New York’s highest court, yielding the first decision in the United States recognizing a gay couple as a legal family.
While practicing at the ACLU, Prof. Rubenstein also taught courses on sexual orientation and AIDS law at Harvard and Yale Law Schools. In conjunction with those courses, he authored the first law school casebook in the area, now entitled, Cases and Materials on Sexual Orientation and The Law (now with Carlos Ball and Jane Schacter, 4th ed. 2011).
From 1995-1997, he was a visiting professor from practice at Stanford Law School; he was awarded the 1996-1997 John Bingham Hurlbut Award for Excellence in Teaching at Stanford Law School. From 1997-2007, he taught at UCLA School of Law; he was awarded the 2001-2002 Rutter Award for Excellence in Teaching at UCLA. While at UCLA, he founded the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy. Prof. Rubenstein joined the Harvard faculty in 2007; he was awarded the 2011-2012 Albert M. Sacks-Paul A. Freund Award for Teaching Excellence at Harvard Law School.