Law360 Names BLB&G Among the Nation’s “Most Feared Plaintiffs’ Firms”
November 4, 2014
For the second year in a row, Law360 has named Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP (“BLB&G”) one of the “Most Feared Plaintiffs’ Firms” in the country. According to its review, BLB&G had a “billion-dollar year with just its top three settlements,” including the $688 million settlement in the combined litigation against Merck and Schering-Plough; the $280 million settlement in the RMBS case against JPMorgan Chase, and the $99 million settlement from Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s former auditor, Ernst & Young.
Attributing the firm’s success to its “long-term outlook and its culture of being picky,” Max Berger, BLB&G’s founding partner, explains, “We bring cases that we believe that we could be very successful at…Our cases have a much lower rate of dismissal and a much higher success rate than our competitors.’” According to Mr. Berger, this allows the firm to invest more time prosecuting cases while taking on higher risks, which in turn reinforces the firm’s tenaciousness, commitment and ability to aggressively pursue a protracted litigation to obtain the best results.
Mr. Salvatore Graziano, the lead partner on the combined litigation against Merck and Schering Plough, credits the firm’s commitment to stay the course through the full discovery process for uncovering evidence that was “enlightening not just to the plaintiffs but also the defendants.” This laid the groundwork for the $688 million in settlements that were achieved. Otherwise, Mr. Graziano explains, had the Defendants “encountered different lawyers and different clients, maybe they would have settled very cheaply, as they did with the government.”
Another example of the firm’s tenacity is the RMBS case it pursued against JPMorgan Chase & Co. Despite the lack of “established precedent for investors in RMBS to obtain redress through a securities class action,” BLB&G partner David Stickney recounts the process of developing “strategies and theories to maximize the recovery that courts hadn’t yet firmly decided surrounding the ability to certify a class as to prove our damages…we had to establish some of that precedent along the way.” BLB&G obtained $280 million in recoveries on behalf of the Class.
Law360’s profile also credits the firm’s perseverance as the key to its success in obtaining $99 million from Ernst and Young in the case against Lehman Brothers, which came “after 95 percent of the Ernst claims were dismissed by a judge and after hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements with the other defendants.” Lead counsel Mr. Berger and Mr. Stickney believed they had a good case despite the fact that the claims pursued were based on a quarterly review, and not an accounting restatement or an audit opinion. According to Mr. Berger, “We could have folded our tents and gone away or had a cheap settlement with Ernst & Young, and we would have been declared victories. But instead...we said that, well, the damages are very high; we have a reasonable case here, and it’s important that we not just settle and move on.”
External Link: Click here to view Law360's profile of BLB&G (link will open in a new window)