Stephen A. Weiss co-founded Seeger Weiss in 1999 after spending a decade at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson in New York, where he represented numerous Fortune 500 companies in environmental and other commercial litigation. In his current practice, Steve handles a strikingly diverse collection of matters ranging from high profile multidistrict litigations to private business disputes. He has been appointed by federal and state courts nationwide to the leadership of dozens of class actions and other complex litigation matters. His experience spans a variety of legal disciplines, including securities class actions and arbitrations, consumer products, insurance, employment, environmental law, and pharmaceutical class actions among others. Steve has earned the admiration of his clients, peers and adversaries alike for his pragmatically creative and honest approach to litigation and conflict resolution.
Representative of those skills was Steve's work as court-appointed Co-Lead Counsel in In re StarLink Corn Products Liability Litigation, a consolidated nationwide class action brought on behalf of U.S. corn farmers for damages resulting from the introduction of the "StarLink" brand of genetically altered corn into the U.S. food cycle. Steve and his Co-Lead Counsel overcame substantial legal challenges in recovering more than $110 million for the nationwide class. More recently, Steve served as Co-Lead Counsel with partner Chris Seeger in In re Vytorin/Zetia Mktg. Sales Practices and Prod. Liab. Litig., mdl 1938, 08-cv-285, which resulted in a $41.5 million recovery in 2009 for the plaintiffs' class.
Steve's trial work is similarly notable. In September 2006, he and his co-trial counsel won a $4.5 million jury verdict in Jackson County, Missouri following a three -week trial against one of the nation's largest industrial hog producers. The verdict was on behalf of six neighbors of the defendants' vast farm operations in northern Missouri. This verdict was followed by an $11 million verdict in March 2010 on behalf of fifteen individuals in related litigation against the same defendants. The victory followed a five-week trial, and is believed to be the largest temporary nuisance verdict ever obtained against a hog producer. As a result of this verdict, Steve was named by the Public Justice Foundation as a finalist for the 2010 Trial Lawyer of the Year Award.
Born in New York City and raised in Oyster Bay, Long Island, Steve remains active with his alma mater, the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, and since 2001 has sat on Cardozo Law School's Board of Overseers, serving on its Membership, Development and Strategic Planning Committees. Steve is also active in many philanthropic activities, and in 2002 was awarded the International Humanitarian Achievement Award by the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. Since 2008, Steve has proudly served with his partner Chris Seeger as national Co-General Counsel for the Badge of Honor Memorial Foundation, a Washington, D.C. based organization whose mission is to assist the families and departments of police officers killed in the line of duty.
Steve's myriad commercial and private litigation experience includes the following matters:
Co-Lead Counsel in a $110 million settlement on behalf of a nationwide class of farmers whose corn was contaminated by Aventis CropScience USA (now Bayer CropScience), the manufacturer of the "StarLink" brand of genetically altered corn.
Appointed by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri to serve on the Plaintiffs' Executive Committee in In re LLRice 601 Contamination Litigation, which involves the contamination of the U.S. rice supply by a genetically modified rice seed licensed by Bayer CropScience.
Obtained a $4.5 million jury verdict in Missouri on behalf of neighboring landowners against industrial hog producers Premium Standard Farms, Inc. and ContiGroup Companies, for damages caused from pollution. The firm continues to represent nearly 250 remaining claimants against these defendants for injuries caused by wastes produced by the industrial farmer defendants.
Member of the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee in In re IPO Securities Litigation, one of the largest securities fraud prosecutions in history, involving claims against 310 issuers and 55 investment bank underwriters.
Served as Lead Counsel in In re PPA Products Liability Litigation, which resulted in the nationwide settlement in 2004 of all PPA-related injury claims resulting from the ingestion of Dexatrim.
Appointed as Liaison Counsel in a multidistrict litigation currently pending in Washington, DC, wherein defendants NASD and Electronic Data Systems Corporation falsely notified nearly 1,822 individuals of failing scores on the Series 7 broker qualification examination.
After a full 3-week arbitration hearing, favorably resolved an employment dispute on behalf of the co-founder of a high profile New York grocery business.
Co-Lead Counsel in Thompson v. Tyson Foods, Inc., an action brought on behalf of lakefront property owners in Oklahoma who seek damages for the environmental impact of the poultry-industry defendants' disposal of massive quantities of chicken litter.
Currently represents the executive of a high tech outsourcing firm against a telecommunications company regarding a multi-million dollar claim for owed commissions.
Represents more than 170 first-time homeowners in Pennsylvania actions brought against Chase Manhattan Mortgage Corp., and others, challenging fraudulent mortgage and appraisal lending practices in connection with their home purchases.
Serves as Co-lead Counsel in antitrust class actions filed by farmers who purchased genetically-modified YieldGard corn and Roundup Ready soybean seeds. The matters, pending against defendants Monsanto Company, E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company, and Pioneer Hi-Bred International, allege violations of state antitrust and unfair trade practices statutes.
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, J.D., 1990
Business Editor of the Cardozo Law Review
Brandeis University, B.A., 1986
United States District Court, Southern and Eastern Districts of New York
Memberships and Associations:
Association of Trial Lawyers of America (now American Association for Justice)
American Bar Association
Director, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University, 1999-current
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law Capital Campaign Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, Membership Committee, 1999-current
National Jewish Democratic Council, 1998-current
Honors and Awards:
International Humanitarian Achievement Award, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, 2002
Publications and Presentations:
Author, "Environmental Liability Disclosure Under the Federal Securities Law," Law Education Institute, Inc., 1998
Author, "Liability Issues and Recent Case Law Developments Under CERCLA, New Environmental Issues of Liabilities of Government Agencies & Government Contractors," Federal Publications, Inc., Chapter 4, 1995
Author, "New York Proposes Legislation to Restrict Shareholder Derivative Suits," Insights, Vol. 8, No. 3, p. 24, 1994
Author, "Suretyship as Adequate Protection Under Section 361 of the Bankruptcy Code," Cardozo Law Review, Vol. 12, p. 285, 1990
National Jewish Democratic Council, member
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