Berman Tabacco


All about

For the past fifteen years, Berman Tabacco has been a trusted advisor and litigation counsel to FCERA in securities litigation matters. The firm has obtained excellent results in cases brought on our behalf and has provided us with top-notch advice on case evaluations.

Donald Kendig, CPA
Retirement Administrator
Fresno County Employees’ Retirement Association

Berman Tabacco is one of the country’s premier class action law firms focused on complex business and fraud litigation, with 34 attorneys in Boston and San Francisco. Since 1982, our firm has prosecuted hundreds of securities and antitrust complex cases, recovering billions of dollars for our clients and the classes they represented. Building on that illustrious history, our practice has grown to include cutting-edge ERISA and consumer protection class actions, as well as the representation of qui tam and Dodd-Frank whistleblowers.

Our lawyers have decades of experience prosecuting financial- fraud cases. Whether seeking to recover losses suffered by victims of corporate greed or exposing those misdeeds to the authorities on behalf of courageous whistleblowers, our attorneys and their in-house investigative team comprised of former federal agents, private investigators and CPAs have brought some of the world’s largest companies to justice.

Armed with securities, antitrust, ERISA and consumer protection statutes, we work with our clients to root out corporate wrongdoing and abuse. Berman Tabacco is now at the forefront of some of the most consequential complex litigation of our time, including cases involving currency market manipulation, predatory tribal lending, and anti-competitive practices among pharmaceutical companies and pharmacy benefit managers.

Our careful case selection has fostered a high success rate and earned us a national reputation for effective litigation. Over the years, judges and government regulators alike have consistently praised our attorneys for the quality of their work and their professionalism. Most of all, our attorneys pride themselves on responding to the needs of our clients.

Trial Experience

Not all class actions end with settlements. Berman Tabacco has extensive experience with jury trials. Over the years, our attorneys have gone to trial against pharmaceutical companies in New York and Boston, one of the largest global providers of insurance in New York, a health care products manufacturer in Florida, a railroad conglomerate in Delaware, one of the nation’s largest trustee banks in Philadelphia, a major food retailer in St. Louis, a high-yield municipal bond fund in Wisconsin and the top officers of a failed New England bank. Our attorneys took an environmental products company to trial in Philadelphia, and then successfully argued the case before a federal appeals court.

In White v. Heartland High-Yield Municipal Bond Fund, for example, following three weeks of trial against the funds’ auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Berman Tabacco attorneys and the case team obtained an $8.25 million settlement – an aggregate settlement of $23.25 million for the class. In the Disposable Contact Lens Antitrust Litigation, the case settled for $60 million with defendant Johnson & Johnson after five weeks of trial. Other cases the firm’s attorneys have taken to trial include:

  • MAZ Partners, LP v. Bruce A. Shear, et al. (after two-week trial and post-trial briefing, award to plaintiffs in this breach of fiduciary duty case on behalf of investors)
  • Conway, et al. v. Licata, et al. (after a two-week trial, the jury returned a defense verdict on the vast majority of counts, awarding the plaintiffs a mere fraction of the damages sought; the jury also returned a verdict for Berman Tabacco’s clients on one of their counterclaims)
  • Hurley v. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (bench verdict for plaintiffs)
  • Gutman v. Howard Savings Bank (plaintiffs’ award and verdict following three-week trial in misrepresentation case on behalf of individual investors)
  • In re Equitec Sec. Litig. (settlement at close of evidence following five-month trial)
  • In re ICN/Viratek Sec. Litig. (hung jury, with 8-1 vote in favor of plaintiffs)
  • In re Katy Indus. Sec. Litig. (tried to jury)
  • In re Biogen Sec. Litig. (verdict for defendants)
  • In re MetLife Demutualization Litig. (settlement after jury was empaneled)
  • Levine v. Fenster, et al. (plaintiffs’ verdict and award following four-week trial)
  • Lewis v. Beall (bench trial in derivative action, verdict for defendants)
  • Peil v. Speiser (verdict for defendants after six-week trial; the Court of Appeals adopted the “fraud-on-the-market” rule for Third Circuit securities cases)
  • Kumpis v. Wetterau (settled in mid-trial)
  • Upp v. Mellon (bench trial; the court found for class of trust beneficiaries in suit against trustee bank and ordered disgorgement of fees; the Third Circuit later reversed based on lack of jurisdiction)
  • Arc Films, Inc. v. Marvel Entertainment, Inc. (favorable jury verdict)
  • In the Matter of Arbitration Between Claimant and Spike Trading LLC, and Alexis Caries d/b/a AC Trading Group (verdict for plaintiff after four-day arbitration)
Reviews from the Bench

Berman Tabacco’s lawyers have earned a national reputation for their top-notch legal work. Some of the favorable judicial comments they have elicited appear below:

Judge: Alvin W. Thompson
Case: Carlson v. Xerox Corp.

“The fraud alleged in this action involved multiple accounting standards that touched on numerous aspects of a multinational corporation’s business, implicated operating units around the world, and spanned five annual reporting periods. … [and] the rudiments of the accounting principles at issue in the case were complex, as were numerous other aspects of the case. … The class received high-quality legal representation and obtained a very large settlement in the face of vigorous opposition by highly experienced and skilled defense counsel.”

Judge: C. Weston Houck
Case: In re Force Protection, Inc. Securities Litigation

“I have, however, been involved in the selection of the attorneys, and in that process I was careful to choose attorneys that had great ability [and] great reputation . . . And I think that you’ve undertaken the representation of these people, you’ve done an excellent job, you’ve reached a settlement that I think is fair and in their benefit . . .”

Judge: John F. Walter
Case: In re International Rectifier Corporation Securities Litigation

“I think the work by the lawyers – all the lawyers in this case – was excellent. … In this case, the papers were excellent. So it makes our job easier and, quite frankly, more interesting when I have lawyers with the skill of the lawyers that are present in the courtroom today who have worked on this case … the motion practice in this case was, quite frankly, very intellectually challenging and well done. … I’ve presided over this consolidated action since its commencement and have nothing but the highest respect for the professionalism of the attorneys involved in this case. The law firms are some of the most respected in the country … The fact that plaintiffs’ counsel were able to successfully prosecute this action against such formidable opponents is an impressive feat.”

Judge: John G. Schwartz
Case: Oracle Cases, Coordination Proceeding, Special Title

” … [Ms.] Lavallee, I just want to tell you I thought your brief was excellent.”

Judge: Nancy G. Edmunds
Case: In re Cardizem CD Antitrust Litigation

“…[T]here is no question that Plaintiffs’ Counsel spent thousands of hours litigating this complex case over the past five years. Counsel’s work throughout the substantial motion practice and discovery process has been of the highest quality. … Plaintiffs’ Counsel, from the very beginning of this litigation, demonstrated a thorough understanding of the case, the industry, Defendants’ business operations, and effectively and efficiently prosecuted and settled this matter. … Both Plaintiffs’ Counsel and Defendants’ Counsel are all seasoned, highly competent professionals with years of experience in litigating complex antitrust actions. From the date this action began, Plaintiffs’ Counsel has aggressively prosecuted and Defendants’ Counsel has vigorously defended on their clients’ behalf, while displaying the utmost skill, courtesy, and professionalism.”

Judge: Charles R. Breyer
Case: In re KLA-Tencor Corporation Securities Litigation

“I found your fee to be extraordinarily reasonable … I appreciate the fact that you’ve done an outstanding job, and you’ve been entirely reasonable in what you’ve done. … Congratulations for working very hard on this.”

Judge: Joseph P. Stadtmueller
Case: White v. Heartland High-Yield Municipal Bond Fund

“… [I]n the context of the trial of this case, the lawyers did what I would describe as a masterful job… I think the fee request that Mr. Burt and his colleagues have advanced here is about as fair and honest and just and reasonable as any lawyer could ask. And I truly commend counsel for the approach that they took in not only pulling all of the appropriate data together, but the industry with which they approached the entirety of the litigation.”

Judge: Paul J. Barbadoro
Case: Teachers Retirement, et al., v. Ernst & Young, et al.

“I also would just take a moment to commend counsel. I know you do this on a regular basis and I recognize that your pleadings are to some extent formulaic in these kinds of cases, but nevertheless, I think they are very well done, very clear, very detailed and provide about as much information to a judge in my position as one can hope to receive in a settlement like this. So I just want to commend you for preparing a good set of pleadings.”

Judge: Steven J. McAuliffe
Case: In re Enterasys Networks, Inc. Securities Litigation

“I think it’s a reasonable, fair and adequate settlement, certainly. The attorneys’ fees are certainly reasonable. … By the way, I do applaud the inclusion of the changes in corporate governance.”

Judge: Kimba Wood
Case: In re ICN Securities Litigation

“Let me say, I think that plaintiffs’ counsel did a superb job here on behalf of the class. This was a very hard fought case… The trial work was beautifully done and I believe very efficiently done.”

Judge: Ralph D. Gants
Case: Olson, et al. v. Energy North, Inc., et al.

“… I am very familiar with the work performed by the other law firm representing the plaintiffs …. This firm is perhaps the most experienced law firm in Massachusetts in its representation of class action plaintiffs, and I have been impressed by the high quality of their work in this and other class action cases.”

Benchmark Litigation ranked Berman Tabacco as a Top Ten Plaintiffs firm for its work “on behalf of individuals and institutions who have suffered financial harm due to violations of securities or antitrust laws”  in 2019, the third consecutive year the firm has received such ranking.  Benchmark also ranked the firm as Highly Recommended—the eighth time the firm has received such ranking from Benchmark Litigation.

The Legal 500 ranked the firm as “recommended” in securities litigation in its 2017 and 2018 U.S. editions (as well as ranking seven of the firm’s attorneys in the same category for both of the years). The firm was also recognized by Chambers USA nationwide edition in 2017 and 2018 as a leading securities litigation firm.  Most recently, Berman Tabacco was recognized in litigation–antitrust by U.S. News – Best Lawyers in its Best Law Firms (2019 ed.).

Additionally, Berman Tabacco is in the top 10 on ISS Securities Class Action Services’ (ISS SCAS) list of the top 100 largest securities class actions in its published report, Top 100 U.S. Class Action Settlements of All Time (as of 12/31/2017). And, according to ISS SCAS’ Top 50 for 2015 report, the firm was one of only six firms that recovered more than half-a-billion dollars for investors in 2015. The report “lists the top 50 plaintiffs’ law firms ranked by the total dollar value of the final class action settlements occurring in 2015 in which the law firm served as lead or co-lead counsel.” ISS SCAS similarly ranked the firm among the few that obtained over half a billion in settlements in 2004 and 2009. Berman Tabacco has also been among the top-ranked firms in terms of average settlement size. ISS SCAS ranked Berman Tabacco 3rd in terms of settlement averages for class actions in 2009 and 2010, and 4th in 2004. (ISS SCAS ceased rankings according to average settlement sizes in 2012.)

The firm was also selected as a finalist for the 2015 list of America’s Elite Trial Lawyers by The National Law Journal and in the mortgage-backed securities category.

Firm attorneys have been honored for their excellence by numerous groups, including:

  • Benchmark Litigation
  • Best Lawyers®
  • Chambers USA
  • The Legal 500 U.S.
  • Daily Journal
  • Martindale-Hubbell®
  • Super Lawyers
  • Who’s Who Legal