Class Actions

Class action and complex multi-party litigation is a sub-specialty of the Firm. We have successfully prosecuted a number of class action lawsuits involving a wide range of legal issues. The Firm served as co-counsel on one of the largest class action antitrust cases in history, resulting in a $3 billion settlement with Visa/MasterCard and has secured settlements totaling over $80 million in two systemic reform strip search class actions.

For the latest news on ECBAWM’s class action work, click here.

Representative Cases:

  • Nunez v. City of New York – Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel, with the Legal Aid Society Prisoners’ Rights Project and Robes & Gray, represented a class of inmates at Rikers Island in a lawsuit stemming from the widespread abuse of prisoners by correction staff at the jail. In June 2015, the parties, together with the United States Department of Justice, reached an historic agreement, enforceable by court order, to comprehensively and dramatically change practices at the jail, including changes to the force officers are permitted to use, methods of reporting and tracking uses of force, and the development of an “early warning” program to flag guards whose conduct may require extra monitoring.
  • McBean v. City of New York – Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel secured a $33 million settlement for 100,000 persons who were illegally strip searched upon admission to a New York City jail after being arraigned solely on misdemeanor or lesser offenses. The City also agreed to a two-year injunction that required it to implement reforms and submit to monitoring to ensure that it stopped the illegal practice of strip searching pre-trial detainees arraigned solely on misdemeanors and lesser offenses.
  • Simon v. The New York and Presbyterian Hospital – On behalf of hundreds of former medical residents who trained in The New York and Presbyterian Hospital’s Weill Cornell Campus Residency Program between January 1, 1995 and June 30, 2001, ECBAWM reached a settlement of a $6.632 million.
  • Almendras et al. v. Atelier Mériguet-Carrère et al. – Together with the Legal Aid Society, Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel obtained a $540,000 settlement for a class of painters who were misclassified as independent contracts and denied overtime pay.
  • Sykes v. Mel Harris & Associates – Together with the Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project and MFY Legal Services, Inc., the Firm obtained a $60 million cash settlement and extensive injunctive relief including forgiving over $1 billion in debt on behalf of New Yorkers who alleged fraudulent debt collection practices (approval pending).
  • Ingles v. Toro – Together with the Legal Aid Society Prisoners’ Rights Project and Sullivan and Cromwell, the Firm successfully litigated a class action against the New York City Department of Corrections on behalf of inmates housed at Rikers Island. The case alleged a widespread pattern and practice of excessive force against inmates, as well as inadequate training, investigation, and discipline of officers. The City settled by agreeing to a host of critical reforms.
  • Shubert v. Bush – The Firm serves as counsel to a putative class of tens of millions of Americans subjected to illegal surveillance by the federal government.
  • Casale v. Kelly and Brown v. Kelly – Together with The Bronx Defenders, the Firm serves as class counsel on behalf of more than 20,000 New Yorkers in an action against the City of New York and New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly seeking damages and injunctive relief for the City’s persistent practice of enforcing a number of void “loitering” laws deemed unconstitutional by courts more than two decades ago. In April 2010, the Firm was successful in obtaining a finding of contempt against the City of New York based on the district court’s conclusions that the NYPD had enforced the void loitering laws against thousands of New Yorkers – many of them poor, homeless or otherwise disenfranchised – in direct violation of multiple court orders to cease such enforcement.
  • Fernandez v. Crystal Restoration Enterprises, Inc. and Pelaez v. Milro Services, Inc. – The Firm represents a class of cleaning workers who allege that they spent months working at ground zero in the wake of the September 11 attacks without receiving proper overtime compensation.
  • Pharmaceutical Sales Overtime Litigation – Together with several other firms, the Firm represents thousands of pharmaceutical sales representatives in class actions against several major pharmaceutical companies for failing to pay overtime. The Firm recently won one of these cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
  • Dugan v. London Terrace Gardens – The Firm represents a putative class of hundreds of tenants in apartments owned by London Terrace Gardens that were unlawfully deregulated despite receipt of tax benefits that precluded deregulation.
  • Tyson v. City of New York – The Firm represented a class of 62,000 arrestees challenging the constitutionality of pre-arraignment strip-searches, securing a $50 million settlement.
  • In re Visa Check/MasterMoney Antitrust Litigation – The Firm joined as co-counsel in one of the largest and most important antitrust litigations in U.S. history. Plaintiffs consisted of over 5 million U.S. merchants who alleged tying and monopolization claims against Visa and MasterCard. The Firm was retained to prepare the case for trial, playing the role of defense counsel in a one-week mock trial conducted before 40 “jurors” and assisting in witness preparation and jury selection for trial. The case settled on the eve of trial for $3 billion – the largest antitrust settlement in U.S. history.
  • D.D. v. City of New York – The Firm successfully represented a class of disabled preschool children in a case that resulted in the elimination of a lengthy waiting list for services required by the Individual with Disabilities Education Act.
  • Katz & Nocera v. Brown Harris Stevens Brooklyn – The Firm brought a putative federal class action filed on behalf of renters who alleged that real estate agents were steering them away from apartments in Brooklyn because they had children.