John R. W. Cracken is a trial lawyer and private investor based in Dallas, Texas. He is the managing partner of The Cracken Law Firm PC.
Cracken prosecutes class actions and mass actions in joint ventures with some of the leading trial and appellate lawyers in the U.S.
In 2010, Cracken and his co-counsel filed 69,608 individual actions in Texas state court on behalf of 69,608 consumers against the consumer reporting agency, Trans Union; reported by some as the largest mass filing, by a single law firm, in American history. Trans Union was represented by DLA Piper. The matter was settled in 2011 for approximately $27 million. In 2009, Cracken and his co-counsel filed three mass actions in New Mexico state court on behalf of 123 customers against certain directors, officers, and employees of then-bankrupt Eclipse Aviation Corp. The employees were represented by a host of law firms, including Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. The matter was settled in 2012 for approximately $41 million.
Early years -
By the age of 30, Cracken was a respected trial lawyer. Between 1987 and 1997, Cracken won more than 30 verdicts and/or settlements in excess of $1 million for his clients. Between 1994 and 1995, he won approximately $9.5 million in an aviation-negligence action, $9.2 million in a medical-negligence action, $8.2 million in a well-publicized premises-liability action against Taco Bell Corp., $7.8 million in an aviation-negligence action, $5.4 million in an insurance-agent negligence action and $3 million, $1.5 million, and $1.4 million, respectively, in three product-liability actions. In 1996 Cracken went onto win a settlement for approximately $35.7 million in a class-action against Allstate Insurance Co and Farmers Insurance Group. The settlement was mediated by "pay czar" Ken Feinberg and included an appearance on key contested First Amendment issues by noted legal scholar Alan M. Dershowitz. A Texas state court approved the settlement, and at the related hearing Cracken presented the live testimony of noted legal scholars Samuel Issacharoff, Arthur R. Miller, and Charles M. Silver. The two insurers were accused of overcharging their policyholders by rounding up each policyholder's premium from the state-mandated rate to the nearest whole dollar. The settlement meant that up to 4.5 million past and present policyholders were eligible for a partial refund.
Cracken took a sabbatical from the practice of law between 1997 and 2009 to become a private investor and returned to the full-time practice of law in 2009 to prosecute the Eclipse mass action.