Practice/Industry Group Overview
Wolf Haldenstein is one of the most prominent class action firms in the world. Our Class Action Litigation Group has been recognized by courts throughout the country as effective and experienced in securities, consumer, ERISA and antitrust class actions and shareholder rights litigation. The Class Action Litigation Group currently consists of approximately 35 attorneys and 10 paraprofessional assistants.
One special thing about Wolf Haldenstein is that the attorneys from other areas of the firm's practice -- such as tax, bankruptcy, corporate, real estate, trusts, labor, and ERISA law -- lend their expertise to the Firm's class action litigators. The support of expert practitioners in such varied areas of the law greatly enhances the strength and efficiency of the Firm's representative litigation practice, and makes Wolf Haldenstein unique among national firms specializing in class action litigation.
In addition to numerous securities fraud and other investor class actions, Wolf Haldenstein has represented classes of corn farmers in connection with the devaluation of their crops; contact lens purchasers for manufacturers' violations of the antitrust laws; merchants compelled to accept certain types of debit cards; insurance policyholders for insurance companies' deceptive sales practices; victims of unlawful strip searches under the civil rights laws; and various cases involving violations of internet users' on-line privacy rights.
Judicial comments over two decades reflect the high regard in which the firm is held:
In re Empire State Realty Trust, Inc. Investor Litig., No. 650607/2012 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co.) – On May 2, 2013, Justice O. Peter Sherwood praised the Firm in its role as chair of the committee of co-lead counsel as follows: "It is apparent to me, having presided over this case, that class counsel has performed in an excellent manner, and you have represented your clients quite well. You should be complimented for that." In awarding attorneys' fees, the Court stated that the fee was "intended to reward class counsel handsomely for the very good result achieved for the Class, assumption of the high risk of Plaintiffs prevailing and the efficiency of effort that resulted in the settlement of the case at an early stage without protracted motion practice." May 17, 2013 slip. op. at 5 (citations omitted).
Roberts v. Tishman Speyer, 13 N.Y.3d 270 (N.Y. 2009) – On April 9, 2013, Justice Richard B. Lowe III praised the Firm’s efforts as follows: “[W]hen you have challenging cases, the one thing you like to ask for is that the legal representation on both sides rise to that level. Because when you have lawyers who are professionals, who are confident, who are experienced, each of you know that each side has a job to do [. . . .] I want to tell you that I am very satisfied with your performance and with your, quite frankly, tenacity on both sides. And it took six years, but look at the history of the litigation. There were two appeals all of the way to the Court of Appeals [. . . .] And then look at the results. I mean, there are dissents in the Court of Appeals, so that shows you the complexity of the issues that were presented in this litigation [. . . .] [I]t shows you effort that went into this and the professionalism that was exhibited [. . . .] So let me just again express my appreciation to both sides.”
K.J. Egleston L.P. v. Heartland Industrial Partners, et al., 2:06-13555 (E.D. Mich.) – where the Firm was Lead Counsel, Judge Rosen, at the June 7, 2010 final approval hearing, praised the Firm for doing “an outstanding job of representing [its] clients,” and further commented that “the conduct of all counsel in this case and the result they have achieved for all of the parties confirms that they deserve the national recognition they enjoy.”
Klein, et al. v. Ryan Beck Holdings, Inc., et al., 06-cv-3460 (DAB) (S.D.N.Y.) – where the Firm was Lead Counsel, Judge Deborah A. Batts described the Firm’s successful establishment of a settlement fund as follows: “[a] miracle that there is a settlement fund at all.” Judge Batts continued: "As I said earlier, there is no question that the litigation is complex and of a large and, if you will, pioneering magnitude ..." (emphasis added).
In In Re Dynamic Random Access Memory Antitrust Litigation, MDL-02-1486 (N.D. Cal.) -- where the Firm was co-lead counsel, Judge Hamilton said (on August 15, 2007), "I think I can conclude on the basis with my five years with you all, watching this litigation progress and seeing it wind to a conclusion, that the results are exceptional. The percentages, as you have outlined them, do put this [case] in one of the upper categories of results of this kind of [antitrust] class action. I am aware of the complexity . . . I thought that you all did an exceptionally good job of bringing to me only those matters that really required the Court's attention. You did an exceptionally good job at organizing and managing the case, assisting me in management of the case. There was excellent coordination between all the various different plaintiffs' counsel with your group and the other groups that are part of this litigation. . . . So my conclusion is the case was well litigated by both sides, well managed as well by both sides."
In In re Comdisco Securities Litigation, No. 01C2110 (N.D. Ill. July 14, 2005), where the firm was sole lead counsel, Judge Shadur stated that
"the efforts that have been expended on behalf of the plaintiff class in the face of these obstacles were exemplary. And in my view they reflected the kind of professionalism that the critics of class actions ... are never willing to recognize.... I really cannot speak too highly of the services rendered by class counsel [Wolf Haldenstein] in an extraordinarily difficult situation..."
In In re MicroStrategy Securities Litigation, 150 F. Supp. 2d 896, 903 (E.D. Va. 2001), where the firm was a co-lead counsel, Judge Ellis commented "Clearly, the conduct of all counsel in this case and the result they have achieved for all of the parties confirms that they deserve the national recognition they enjoy."
In Kurzweil v. Philip Morris Companies, 94 Civ. 2373, 94 Civ. 2546 (MBM) (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 13, 1998), where the firm was sole lead counsel, now Chief Judge Mukasey, in approving a $116.5 million settlement stated: "In this case, this represents a lot of good, hard, serious work by a lot of talented lawyers and I appreciate it on both sides."
In Paramount Communications v. QVC Network Inc.; In re Paramount Communications Inc. Shareholders' Litigation, 637 A.2d 34, 37 n.2 (Sup. Ct. Del. 1994), where the firm was co-lead counsel for the Paramount shareholders, the Supreme Court of Delaware noted "its appreciation of . . . the professionalism of counsel in this matter in handling this expedited litigation with the expertise and skill which characterize Delaware proceedings of this nature." The Court further "commended the parties for their professionalism in conducting expedited discovery, assembling and organizing the record, and preparing and presenting very helpful briefs, a joint appendix, and oral argument."
Wolf Haldenstein’s performance in representative litigation has repeatedly resulted in favorable results for its clients. The Firm has helped recover almost seven billion dollars on behalf of its clients. Recent examples include the following:
- In re Genetically Modified Rice Litigation, MDL 1811 (E.D. Mo.) - Wolf Haldenstein represented U.S. rice farmers in this landmark action against Bayer A.G. and its global affiliates, achieving a global recovery of $750 million. The case arose from the contamination of the nation's long grain rice crop by Bayer's experimental and unapproved genetically modified Liberty Link rice.
- Roberts v. Tishman Speyer, 13 N.Y.3d 270 (N.Y. 2009) - a class action brought on behalf of over 27,500 current and former tenants of New York City's iconic Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village housing complexes. On April 9, 2013, Justice Richard B. Lowe III of the New York Supreme Court finally approved settlement of the action, which totals over $173 million, sets aside $68.75 million in damages, re-regulates the apartments at issue, and sets preferential rents for the units that will save tenants significant monies in the future. The settlement also enables the tenants to retain an estimated $105 million in rent savings they enjoyed between 2009 and 2012. The settlement is by many magnitudes the largest tenant settlement in United States history.
- In re Empire State Realty Trust, Inc. Investor Litig., Index No. 650607/2012 – The firm served as Chair of the Executive Committee of Co-Lead Counsel for the Plaintiffs in a class action settlement finally approved on May 2, 2013 that provides for the establishment of a $55 million settlement fund for investors, in addition to substantial tax deferral benefits estimated to be in excess of $100 million.
- American International Group Consolidated Derivative Litigation, Civil Action No. 769-VCS (Del. Ch.) The Firm acted as co-lead counsel and the settlement addressed claims alleging that the D&O Defendants breached their fiduciary duties to the Company and otherwise committed wrongdoing to the detriment of AIG in connection with various allegedly fraudulent schemes during the 1999-2005 time period.
- In re Bank of America Corp. Securities, Derivative, and Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) Litigation, Master File No. 09 MD 2058 (S.D.N.Y.) (firm was co-lead counsel in parallel derivative action pending in Delaware (In Re Bank of America Stockholder Derivative Litigation, C.A. No. 4307-CS (Del. Ch.)) (increase of settlement cash recovery from $20 million to $62.5 million).
- The Investment Committee of the Manhattan and Bronx Service Transit Operating Authority Pension Plan v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., 1:09-cv-04408-SAS (S.D.N.Y.) (class recovered $150 million).
- In re Tremont Sec. Law, State Law and Insurance Litig., No. 08-civ-11117 (TPG) (SDNY) (class recovered $100 million). The firm was court-appointed co-lead counsel in the Insurance Action, 08 Civ. 557, and represented a class of persons who purchased or otherwise acquired Variable Universal Life (“VUL”) insurance policies or Deferred Variable Annuity (“DVA”) policies issued by Tremont International Insurance Limited or Argus International Life Bermuda Limited from May 10, 1994 - December 11, 2008 to the extent the investment accounts of those policies were exposed to the massive Ponzi scheme orchestrated by Bernard L. Madoff through one or more Rye funds.
- In re Initial Public Offering Securities Litigation, 21 MC 92 (SAS) (S.D.N.Y.) (class recovered $586 million). Wolf Haldenstein served as Co-Lead Counsel of one of the largest securities fraud cases in history. Despite the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit’s decision to vacate the district court’s class certification decision, on remand, counsel for plaintiffs were able to press on to a settlement on April 1, 2009, ultimately recovering in excess of a half-billion dollars.