Steven A. Schwartz
STEVEN A. SCHWARTZ has prosecuted complex class actions in a wide variety of contexts. Notably, Mr. Schwartz has been successful in obtaining several settlements and judgments where class members received a full recovery on their damages. Representative cases include:
- In re Philips Recalled CPAP, Bi-Level PAP, And Mechanical Ventilator Products Litigation, MDL No. 3014 (W.D. Pa.). The Court appointed Mr. Schwartz as Plaintiffs’ Co-Lead Counsel in this multi district litigation alleging claims for economic losses, medical monitoring and personal injury in connection with Philips’ recall of millions of CPAPs, BiPAPs and ventilators that contained polyester-based polyurethane foam that degrades into particles and emits volatile toxic compounds. This case is ongoing.
- Edward Asner v. SAG-AFTRA Health Fund, No. 20-10914 & Frances Fisher v. SAG-AFTRA, 21-5215 (C.D. Cal.). Mr. Schwartz serves as Co-Lead Class Counsel in these cases. The Health Fund case challenges the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan Trustees’ decision to merge the SAG and AFTRA health plans, their related failures to implement the merger and properly manage the Plan’s deteriorating financial condition, their imprudent negotiation of the 2019 and 2020 Commercials, Netflix and TV/Theatrical contracts, and the subsequent decision to eliminate health benefits for senior actors. The Fisher case asserts related claims for breaches of fiduciary duty and the duty of fair representation against the trustees of the SAG AFTRA Union. See https://youtu.be/4LgRxJnxI8o featuring prominent actors supporting the lawsuits. These cases are ongoing.
- Snitzer v. Board of Trustees of the American Federation of Musicians Pension Plan, No. 1:17-cv-5361 (S.D.N.Y.). Mr. Schwartz served as Plaintiffs’ Lead Counsel in this case which alleged that the Trustees of the AFM Pension Plan made a series of imprudent, overly-aggressive bets by investing an excessive percentage of plan assets in risky asset classes such ss emerging markets equities and private equity far beyond the percentage of such investment by other Taft-Hartley pension plans. The cases settled shortly before trial for $26.85 million plus substantial governance reforms including appointment of a Neutral Independent Fiduciary. The Trustee independent neutral trustee. The $26.85 million cash recovery represented the vast majority of provable damages that likely could have been won at trial and between about 65% to 75% of the Trustees’ available insurance policy limits to pay any final judgment achieved through continued litigation.
- In re Cigna-American Specialty Health Administrative Fee Litigation, No. 2:16-cv-03967-NIQA (E. D. Pa.). Mr. Schwartz served as co-lead counsel in this national class action alleging that defendant Cigna and its subcontractor, ASH, violated the written terms of ERISA medical benefit by treating ASH’s administrative fees as medical expenses to artificially inflate the amount of “benefits” owed by plans and the cost-sharing obligations of plan participants and beneficiaries. The Court approved the $8.25 million settlement in which class members were automatically mailed checks representing a full or near-full recovery of the actual amount they paid for the administrative fees. ECF 101 at 4, 23-24.
- Rodman v. Safeway Inc., No. 11-3003-JST (N.D. Cal.). Mr. Schwartz served as Plaintiffs’ Lead Trial Counsel and presented all of the district court and appellate arguments in this national class action regarding grocery delivery overcharges. He was successful in obtaining a national class certification and a series of summary judgment decisions as to liability and damages resulting in a $42 million judgment, which represents a full recovery of class members’ damages plus interest. The $42 million judgment was entered shortly after a scheduled trial was postponed due to Safeway’s discovery misconduct, which resulted in the district court imposing a $688,000 sanction against Safeway. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the $42 million judgment. 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 14397 (9th Aug. 4, 2017).
- In re Apple iPhone/iPod Warranty Litig., 3:10-1610-RS (N.D. Cal.). Mr. Schwartz served as co-lead counsel in this national class action in which Apple agreed to a $53 million non-reversionary, cash settlement to resolve claims that it had improperly denied warranty coverage for malfunctioning iPhones due to alleged liquid damage. Class members were automatically mailed settlement checks for more than 117% of the average replacement costs of their iPhones, net of attorneys’ fees, which represented an average payment of about $241.
- In re Sears, Roebuck & Co. Front-Loading Washer Prods. Liab. Litig., No. 06 C 7023, (N.D. Ill.) & Case 1:09-wp-65003-CAB (N. D. Ohio) (MDL No. 2001). Schwartz served as co-lead class counsel in this case which related to defective central control units (“CCUs”) in front load washers manufactured by Whirlpool and sold by Sears. After extensive litigation, including two trips to the Seventh Circuit and a trip to the United States Supreme Court challenging the certification of the plaintiff class, he negotiated a settlement shortly before trial that the district court held, after a contested proceeding approval proceeding, provided a “full-value, dollar-for-dollar recovery” that was “as good, if not a better, [a] recovery for Class Members than could have been achieved at trial.” 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25290 at *35 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 29, 2016).
- Chambers v. Whirlpool Corp., et al., Case No.11-1773 FMO (C.D. Cal.). Mr. Schwartz served as co-lead counsel in this national class action involving alleged defects resulting in fires in Whirlpool, Kenmore, and KitchenAid dishwashers. The district court approved a settlement which he negotiated that provides wide-ranging relief to owners of approximately 24 million implicated dishwashers, including a full recovery of out-of-pocket damages for costs to repair or replace dishwashers that suffered Overheating Events. In approving the settlement, Judge Olguin of the Central District of California described Mr. Schwartz as “among the most capable and experienced lawyers in the country in [consumer class actions].” 214 F. Supp. 3d 877, 902 (C.D. Cal. 2016).
- Wong v. T-Mobile,05-cv-73922-NGE-VMM (E.D. Mich.). In this billing overcharge case, Mr. Schwartz served as co-lead class counsel and negotiated a settlement where T-Mobile automatically mailed class members checks representing a 100% net recovery of the overcharges and with all counsel fees paid by T-Mobile in addition to the class members’ 100% recovery.
- In re Certainteed Corp. Roofing Shingle Products Liability Litig., No, 07-md-1817-LP (E.D. Pa.). In this MDL case related to defective roof shingles, Mr. Schwartz served as Chair of Plaintiffs’ Discovery Committee and worked under the leadership of co-lead class counsel. The parties reached a settlement that provided class members with a substantial recovery of their out-of-pocket damages and that the district court valued at between $687 to $815 million.
- Shared Medical Systems 1998 Incentive Compensation Plan Litig., Term 2003, No. 0885 (Phila. C.C.P.). In this case on behalf of Siemens employees, after securing national class certification and summary judgment as to liability, on the eve of trial, Mr. Schwartz negotiated a net recovery for class members of the full amount of the incentive compensation sought (over $10 million) plus counsel fees and expenses. At the final settlement approval hearing, Judge Bernstein remarked that the settlement “should restore anyone’s faith in class action[s]. . . .” Mr. Schwartz served as co-lead counsel in this case and handled all of the arguments and court hearings.
- In re Pennsylvania Baycol: Third-Party Payor Litig., Sept. Term 2001, No. 001874 (Phila. C.C.P.) (“Baycol”). Mr. Schwartz served as co-lead class counsel in this case brought by health and welfare funds and insurers to recover damages caused by Bayer’s withdrawal of the cholesterol drug Baycol. After extensive litigation, the court certified a nationwide class and granted plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment as to liability, and on the eve of trial, he negotiated a settlement providing class members with a net recovery that approximated the maximum damages (including pre-judgment interest) that class members suffered. That settlement represented three times the net recovery of Bayer’s voluntary claims process (which AETNA and CIGNA had negotiated and was accepted by many large insurers who opted out of the class early in the litigation)
- Wolens v. American Airlines, Inc.Schwartz served as plaintiffs’ co-lead counsel in this case involving American Airlines’ retroactive increase in the number of frequent flyer miles needed to claim travel awards. In a landmark decision, the United States Supreme Court held that plaintiffs’ claims were not preempted by the Federal Aviation Act. 513 U.S. 219 (1995). After eleven years of litigation, American Airlines agreed to provide class members with mileage certificates that approximated the full extent of their alleged damages, which the Court, with the assistance of a court-appointed expert and after a contested proceeding, valued at between $95.6 million and $141.6 million.
- In Re ML Coin Fund Litigation,(Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles). Mr. Schwartz served as plaintiffs’ co-lead counsel and successfully obtained a settlement from defendant Merrill Lynch in excess of $35 million on behalf of limited partners, which represented a 100% net recovery of their initial investments (at the time of the settlement the partnership assets were virtually worthless due to fraud committed by Merrill’s co-general partner Bruce McNall, who was convicted of bank fraud).
- Nelson v. Nationwide, July Term 1997, No. 00453 (Phila. C.C.P.). Mr. Schwartz served as lead counsel on behalf of a certified class. After securing judgment as to liability in the trial court (34 Pa. D. & C. 4th 1 (1998)), and defeating Nationwide’s Appeal before the Pennsylvania Superior Court, 924 PHL 1998 (Dec. 2, 1998), he negotiated a settlement whereby Nationwide agreed to pay class members approximately 130% of their bills.