Strip Search Cases
We served as co-lead counsel in numerous class actions on behalf of individuals who were strip searched in county jails after being arrested for minor crimes. These cases included invasions of privacy that the courts then regarded as illegal. Significantly, the Supreme Court interpreted the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment more narrowly than nearly all federal appellate courts had interpreted it. The outcomes in these cases will benefit thousands of people who suffered the indignity of being strip searched.
Congoleum Corporation – Defective Flooring Tiles
CGL brought a class action lawsuit against Congoleum Corporation in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. The suit alleged that the Defendant’s floor tiles (“DuraCeramic”), which are used in residential and commercial floor applications, prematurely fail and that the Defendant did not honor its warranties. On September 18, 2015, the court granted final approval of the proposed settlement.
United Health Care
In 2008, CGL was counsel in a case in which United Healthcare paid $350 million to a settlement class of subscribers and providers for inadequate healthcare reimbursements and agreed to change its calculation techniques. In 2011, after extensive hearings, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York approved that settlement, which CGL and its clients had supported from the outset.
GAF Roofing Shingles
Charles J. LaDuca served as co-lead counsel in the nationwide GAF Roofing Shingle Litigation. On April 22, 2015, the District Court for South Carolina granted final approval of a nationwide settlement, which provides substantial monetary relief to a class of approximately six million individuals. This is one of the largest home building material classes in the history of the United States, and allows for claims to be made for up to seven years. For more information or to file a claim, please visit: http://www.roofsettlement.com.
CGL brought together class actions against CertainTeed for its WeatherBoard Siding. On March 20, 2014, the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted final approval of a $103 million all cash settlement. For details, go to http://www.certainteedshinglesettlement.com.
Building Products of Canada
Charles J. LaDuca and Brendan S. Thompson served as co-lead counsel in the nationwide Building Products of Canada (“BPC”) Litigation. On December 19, 2012, the District Court for Vermont granted final approval of the settlement valued at approximately $39-$100 million. For more information about our settlement, please check out the settlement website at http://www.bpshinglesettlement.com.
Charles J. LaDuca served as chair of the executive committee in the nationwide ZURN Plumbing Litigation. On February 27, 2013, the District Court for Minnesota granted final approval of the settlement valued at approximately $33 million. For more information about our settlement, please check out the settlement website at: http://www.plumbingfittingsettlement.com.
Gentek Building Products
Charles J. LaDuca served as co-lead council in the Gentek Building Products Litigation. After several years of continuous litigation, LaDuca helped negotiate a settlement for the class which was approved by the District Court for the Northern District of Ohio on August 1, 2013. For further information, go to: http://www.steelsidingsettlement.com.
Morris v. Directors Guild of America – Producer Health Plan
Jonathan Cuneo and Matthew Miller recently represented documentary filmmaker Len Morris (director of Stolen Childhoods, an award winning documentary about child labor) in an ERISA action concerning eligibility for pension and health benefits with the pension and health plans associated with the Directors’ Guild of America. Morris v. Directors Guild of America – Producer Health Plan (D. Mass. 2014). The case raised questions of plan interpretation particularly relevant to directors engaged in nonprofit and public interest film making. The matter was resolved with a confidential settlement.
Disposable Contact Lens Antitrust Litigation
Our firm was part of a team that recovered $92 million from Johnson and Johnson for consumers in this case against collusion in the disposable contact lens industry. Major manufacturers of disposable contact lenses conspired with the American Optometric Association to boycott sales to online and 1-800 contact lens suppliers, who were selling the lenses at lower prices than optometrists.
The Attorney General of West Virginia appointed Jonathan Cuneo and Daniel Cohen to prosecute an action against Visa/MasterCard for alleged violations of West Virginia’s consumer and antitrust statutes. The case involved a policy maintained by Visa and MasterCard that required merchants to accept Visa/MasterCard debit cards if, as nearly all merchants do, they also accepted Visa/MasterCard credit cards.
Natural Gas Antitrust Cases
The counties of Los Angeles and San Bernardino retained CGL to pursue litigation against El Paso Natural Gas Co. and Sempra Natural Gas, suppliers of natural gas in Southern California. We alleged collusion to restrict supply of natural gas, creating subsequent dramatic price increases. Serving as co-counsel for both counties as well as several public and private entities in this major antitrust case, we achieved settlements for our clients in excess of $39 million.
Supreme Court Upholds Miranda Rights
The House Democratic Leadership retained CGL to represent it in the Supreme Court case Dickerson v. United States, on the constitutionality of Miranda rights. The issue was whether a provision of a bill passed by Congress had overturned the Supreme Court’s ruling in Miranda v. Arizona, which established the constitutionality of “Mirandizing” suspects.
Hungarian Gold Train
CGL represented Hungarian Holocaust survivors whose property found on the “Gold Train” in the final days of World War II was appropriated by the U.S. government in the final days of World War II. We served as co-lead counsel in this landmark class-action Rosner v. United States which alleged that the plaintiffs’ personal property was loaded on a train by the Hungarian Nazi government during the waning days of WWII; that the U.S. Army later accepted the train and its contents into custody; and that, rather than returning the property to its owners, the Army misappropriated it and permitted it to be looted.
Securing Freedom for Kenyan Human Rights Activist Koigi Wa Wamwere
Jonathan Cuneo was instrumental in securing the freedom of Kenyan writer, politician, and human rights activist Koigi Wa Wamwere. Put on trial in Kenya and sentenced to death for false charges, Mr. Cuneo worked was successful in getting him out of prison in Kenya.
Mid-western Retail Convenience Store Managers Recover $13.1 million in Overtime
For tens of thousands of employees of a retail convenience store chain operating in the mid-western states, we won a significant amount of overtime compensation due them for their “off-the-clock” work. This $13.1 million settlement is one of the largest ever achieved in a case of this kind in the Midwest.
Joe Camel Advertising Campaign
Our firm played an important role in the California tobacco cases that ended the “Joe Camel” campaign. The defendant’s advertising campaign targeted teens and children. As a key player in the first case challenging the “Joe Camel” campaign as a violation of California’s unfair competition/consumer protection law, we helped
expose R.J Reynolds Tobacco Company’s’ “youth targeting” documents – perhaps the most significant set of tobacco documents ever to be made public. R.J. Reynolds admitted that the case was “an early, significant and unique driver” that led to the phase out of the Joe Camel campaign. In related litigation, we helped recover twelve billion dollars in settlement funds for cities and counties in California.
Buchwald v. Citibank, N.A.
Jonathan Cuneo and Matthew Miller recently represented the trustee of the estate of famed humorist Arthur Buchwald in a dispute with Citibank, N.A., Buchwald v. Citibank, N.A. (D.D.C. 2014), in which the estate alleged that Citibank’s negligence permitted rogue financial advisor Kenneth Starr to embezzle funds from the estate through the establishment of an unauthorized line of credit. The matter was resolved with a confidential settlement.
Guidant Heart Defibrillator
CGL’s Charles LaDuca served as class counsel in the Guidant Heart Defibrillator litigation which settled for over $205 million in 2008. On behalf of a nationwide class of patients implanted with the Guidant Ventak Prizm defibrillator, our suit alleged that Guidant Corporation misrepresented the safety of its defibrillators, which are subject to short circuiting and malfunctioning.
“Made in USA” Cases
In Benson v. Kwikset Corp, we led a legal team that won significant injunctive relief for false advertising as “Made in USA” in violation of California “Made in USA” requirements and unfair competition/consumer protection law. Kwikset Corp. moved its manufacturing from Anaheim, California to a facility in Mexico yet continued to market their products as “Made in USA” and “All American Made.” After a trial victory in 2001, the Court of Appeal set the decision aside twice. CGL appealed to the California Supreme Court, and in 2010, CGL partner Jonathan Cuneo argued and won a 5 to 2 decision. That landmark decision established the principle that “labels matter” under California’s Unfair Competition and False Advertising laws and is now a landmark of American law.
In Colgan v Leatherman Tool Group, the firm was co-lead counsel in a case that charged the Leatherman Tool Group with inaccurately labeling many of its tools as “Made in USA” when many components were actually made outside the United States. After a hard-fought trial in early 2004, the Superior Court entered a significant corrective advertising program and awarded over $12 million in restitution. Unfortunately, the California Court of Appeals reversed the restitution award in 2006 and remanded the case for modification of the injunctive order. The Superior Court modified the injunction and the case then settled.
Texas Prisons Privacy Case
We served as co-lead counsel in the trail-blazing consumer privacy case Dennis v. Metromail Corp. The complaint charged that Metromail, acting through subcontractors, processed personal information from shopping questionnaires by contracting to have maximum security Texas prisoners “key” the information.
Our firm acted in the role of claimants’ representative as part of the massive settlement involving sales practices of life insurance policies sold by Prudential Insurance Company. Under the terms of the over $4 billion settlement, individual policyholders were accorded the right to have an individual determination of their remedies.
Honda Hybrid False Advertising
In John True v. American Honda Motor Co., Plaintiffs challenged claims of fuel efficiency in the Honda Civic Hybrid, as well as a software update that further degraded the advertised fuel efficiency performance of the vehicles.After several years of contentious litigation, the case settled for a package of settlement benefits that the reviewing Judge characterized as exceeding $85 million.
Ameren Union Electric Co.
We were part of a team representing AmerenUE in In the Matter of Union Electric Co., the largest electric utility in Missouri, in a major rate case. We dealt with a broad range of regulatory and constitutional issues, including the relationship between federal and state regulatory jurisdiction, the protection of contract rights, and the taking of unregulated property.
McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Challenged in Supreme Court
In 2003, CGL represented members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, defending the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (McCain-Feingold bill) in the Supreme Court. In McConnell v. Federal Election Commission, the Court upheld almost all provisions of the McCain-Feingold bill.
Mr. Cynkar, while at another firm, was part of the team that brought, and prosecuted through the Supreme Court, the landmark United States v. Winstar case.
Federal regulators, in an effort to reduce their insurance liabilities for failing savings and loans during that industry’s financial crisis, had entered into agreements with the Winstar plaintiffs to take over and recapitalize failing thrifts. Subsequent legislation overhauling thrift regulation required federal regulators to breach key elements of these agreements to temporarily forebear enforcing certain regulatory standards.
Blue Cross & Blue Shield
Mr. Cynkar, while at another firm, was part of a team representing the Blue Cross & Blue Shield Association challenging Medicare regulations promulgated under a federal statute that makes Medicare a payer secondary to private insurers in certain circumstances, and requires reimbursement of Medicare when it has improperly made a primary payment.
New York Life Insurance
Mr. Cynkar, while at another firm, was lead counsel representing New York Life in New York Life Insurance Co. v. United States, a case against the federal government to recover medical expenses of New York Life’s older agents that should have been paid by Medicare.
The firm was co-lead counsel in this class involving all 21,000 salaried retirees of McDonnell Douglas Corporation in seeking to reinstate their rights to health and welfare benefits after termination by the corporation. The firm succeeded in obtaining a settlement in the approximate amount of $450 million on behalf of the retirees.
CertainTeed Defective Roofing Shingles
CGL was co-lead counsel in the CertainTeed roof shingle litigation. On September 1, 2010, the Hon. Judge Louis H. Pollak of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania approved a settlement valued between $655 to $741 million on behalf of consumers. Approximately 75,000 class members have submitted a claim, and the claim period continues for years in the future.
Kitec Defective Plumbing Systems Settlement
Charles LaDuca was co-lead counsel in the Kitec Brass Fitting Litigation. On November 17, 2011, Judge Royal Furgeson, Senior Judge in the Northern District of Texas, granted final approval to a $125 million settlement concerning defective Kitec Plumbing Systems.
For more information on the Settlement please go to: www.kitecsettlement.com
Entran II Litigation
Jonathan Cuneo and Charles LaDuca were co-lead counsel in a bi-national settlement of approximately $345 million for the defective radiant heating hose known as Entran II.
CGL served as Washington Counsel in the Enron-related securities litigation In re Enron Corp. Sec., Derivative, which recovered over $7 billion on behalf of the injured parties, the largest recovery ever obtained for investors victimized by corporate fraud. With litigation led by the Regents of the University of California, the firm worked on a host of projects in this mammoth securities case.
CGL assisted lead counsel and the lead plaintiff, the New York Common Public Retirement Fund, in the enormous securities class action In re WorldCom, Inc., Securities Litigation. First, we served as Washington counsel, monitoring relevant Congressional and regulatory developments, where we succeeded in getting a crucial amendment on securities fraud into the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
Pleading Standard Under Private Securities Litigation Reform Act
The firm filed an amicus curiae brief in Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues & Rights on behalf of Public Citizen and the Center for Study of Responsive Law (a Ralph Nader organization) addressing the heightened pleading standard under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (PSLRA).
IIF Data Solutions
Mr. Cynkar was brought in at the eleventh hour as part of a new legal team to help defend a 600-employee government contractor from accusations that it had defrauded the government in its GSA Schedule Contract. With over $100 million claimed in damages, and the threat of debarment from government contracting if found guilty, this was a bet-the-company case.
First Regional Bancorp Securities Litigation
In Buttonwood Tree Value Partners, LP, et al. v. Jack A. Sweeney, et al., Civil Action No. 10-cv-00537-CJC-MLG (U.S. District Court for the Central District of California), CGL was appointed co-lead counsel to represent investors who filed a securities fraud class action against certain former officers and directors (the “Defendants”) of First Regional Bancorp (“FRB”), and its former banking subsidiary, First Regional Bankin Federal Court in Orange County, California. Plaintiffs alleged that the defendants made misrepresentations and omissions concerning the company’s financial and operating condition which caused FRB’s stock price to be artificially inflated. CGL and its co-counsel succeeded in defeating multiple motions to dismiss the action brought by the Defendants, as well as a motion for summary judgment. The Court granted a motion to certify a class of investors that was vigorously contested by the Defendants. The case was later amicably resolved, resulting in the creation of a settlement fund for the benefit of the Class.
Securities Litigation Reform
We directed a nationwide coalition of hundreds of public interest organizations and state and local government entities in a multi-million dollar legislative campaign to protect investor rights.
The campaign prevented the worst aspects of proposed limits on the rights of investors from being enacted by Congress in the 2006 Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (PSLRA). As a result, cheated investors in corporate scandals such as Enron and WorldCom have achieved unprecedented recoveries of billions of dollars.
The Committee to Support the Antitrust Laws (COSAL)
We are the Washington, DC representatives for COSAL, which was established in 1986 to promote and support the enactment, preservation and enforcement of a strong body of antitrust laws in the United States. It is the only organization in Washington, D.C. that is dedicated to lobbying for strong antitrust laws and effective private enforcement.
In 2010, COSAL worked to overturn two Supreme Court cases that have made it much more difficult for people to use the federal courts to redress wrongs; to make changes to the Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Act so that companies that conspire to fix prices can be held accountable by the victims of their wrongdoing; and to stop the practice of brand name pharmaceutical companies reaching settlements with generic drug companies to keep generics off the market.
Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002
Representing The National Association of Shareholder and Consumer Attorneys (NASCAT), our firm led the charge for an extension of the statute of limitations in securities fraud cases as part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. That controversial provision was adopted over Republican stall tactics on the floor of the Senate aimed exclusively at this provision.
As a result, investors who have been defrauded have a much longer time to bring the suit after the fraud or after the discovery of the fraud. This landmark provision overruled a Supreme Court decision in Lampf, Pleva, Lipkind, Prupis & Petigrow v. Gilbertson, et al.