Most Feared Plaintiffs Firm: Grant &
By Kat Greene
Angeles (October 1, 2015, 3:31 PM ET) -- Taking on tough cases has long
been part of the culture at
Grant & Eisenhofer PA, and it doubled
down on that promise this year, expanding into working for plaintiffs in
pharmaceutical and medical device mass actions and adding 1,000 new
clients, landing the firm among
Law360's Most Feared Plaintiffs Firms.
Long a successful advocate for investors and consumers in their claims
against some of the world's largest corporations — the firm holds the
record for the highest settlement
from an individual defendant with nearly $3 billion from
Tyco International Ltd. in 2007 — a
move into the mass tort space seemed like a natural progression,
co-managing director Jay Eisenhofer told Law360.
Grant & Eisenhofer
Amount recovered by the firm in the last 10 years
Amount obtained by the firm in the Tyco settlement, the highest
single settlement from an individual defendant
G&E saw an opportunity in the mass tort space despite the slew of firms
already hard at work, Eisenhofer said.
"It seemed to be a logical extension of our practice," he said. "If you're
doing complex plaintiffs litigation, you know, really we're open to doing
any type. It's just a matter of having the right person to be a leader in
the practice area."
The firm, which is on Law360's Most Feared list for the
third year in a row after making
inaugural list in 2013, got a
boost when Elizabeth Graham joined as a director in mid-2014. Graham, a
litigator with two and a half decades of experience handling unwieldy
cases against pharmaceutical companies and medical device makers, hit the
ground running, picking up a thousand new clients for G&E this year,
according to the firm.
Graham serves on the plaintiffs' steering committee in a
$1.5 billion mass tort and product liability
settlement from November with
Stryker Corp., settling thousands of
hip implant injury claims across the country, G&E said.
Graham is also hard at work at on multidistrict litigation in New Orleans
Bayer AG over
allegedly downplaying the
internal bleeding risks of its drug Xarelto, and in lawsuits over
GlaxoSmithKline LLC's off-label
promotion of anti-nausea drugs to pregnant woman that
allegedly led to birth defects, she said.
"I'm really passionate about those issues," Graham said. "We vet our cases
very carefully. We don't take a lot of cases. And one of the things I
think we're really good at is giving clients a lot of personal attention."
Her work is a natural extension to what G&E was already doing to protect
victims, she said.
"The firm has always represented the little guy," Graham said. "They have
the tools and commitment to really practice, to help me and my team help
right the wrongs that have been done to people."
The firm's expansion into mass tort litigation hasn't slowed its work in
securities litigation, one of its first practice areas. G&E was founded by
Eisenhofer and Stuart Grant in 1997 as a shareholder advocacy firm.
In April, the firm extracted a
nearly $154 million settlement
from Freeport McMoran Copper & Gold Inc. in a derivative action over its
acquisition of two energy exploration companies in a deal the Delaware
Chancery Court said was unprecedented.
The court called the settlement "an exceptional recovery," in part because
unlike traditional derivative settlements, the proceeds were largely paid
out to the shareholders in the form of a special dividend payment, the
Deborah Silodor, general counsel for lead plaintiff
Amalgamated Bank, told Law360 she was
pleased with G&E's work representing the company.
"They did great work for us," Silodor said. "Usually shareholders get no
direct award in a derivative case."
And the firm has been on board for consumers, too, in July 2014 nabbing a
$15 million settlement in games,
online currency and identity protection benefits for PlayStation Network
users whose data had been leaked in a 2011
Sony Corp. breach.
"We're fortunate to be involved in some of these cases that are pretty
sizable cases," Eisenhofer said.
The firm, with about 65 attorneys in offices in Delaware, New York and
Chicago, has recovered more than $28 billion for its clients over the last
"Our approach to cases is to be selective about cases but to not be afraid
to take different cases; to oftentimes take cases that have good facts but
are often difficult," Eisenhofer said. "You're creating opportunities out
of something that other people have overlooked or shied away from."
G&E is also becoming something of a pioneer in a new world for American
plaintiffs lawyers, taking on cases overseas, Eisenhofer noted.
Working with two other U.S.-based firms and Japanese counsel, G&E in March
$92.4 million settlement with
camera and imaging systems maker Olympus Corp., scoring the largest
settlement of its kind in Japan, according to the firm.
The scandal covered by the lawsuit, alleging that Olympus misrepresented
its finances for five years and hid large losses by disguising them in
their books, led to regulatory investigations, millions of dollars in
civil penalties and convictions of company executives.
It also represented G&E's first big jumps across the pond, Eisenhofer
"When we first started doing those cases, nobody really knew if you could
even do them," he said. "Despite the fact that the facts of the particular
case may be very strong, these legal systems in other countries like Japan
and The Netherlands and France, they're not really set up for U.S.-style
Eisenhofer said the firm's work in appraisal litigation, in which
institutional or large investors assert their right to have a fair stock
price for an acquisition be determined by an independent valuator or a
judicial proceeding, has expanded rapidly.
The firm has always had a reputation for being unafraid to go to trial,
but now that G&E has pushed into the appraisal space, led by co-managing
director Grant, trials have come far more frequently, Eisenhofer said.
"It's a very active practice, and it’s a different type of practice, too.
Although the majority of cases settle, more of them go to trial than
others," Eisenhofer said.
The firm has three trials on the calendar this year in appraisal
litigation, he said.
"There's lot of plaintiffs firms that don't try three cases in a decade,"
he said. "So that presents a whole set of different challenges than the
other areas of our practice."
Nimble attorneys who can extract settlements but who are willing to duke
it out in court are essential to the firm's success, he said. G&E looks
for attorneys who could work for the nation's top defense firms, but who
possess a "plaintiff’s mentality," he said.
"It requires a particularly creative and aggressive lawyer," he said. "You
want to have somebody who's capable of doing top-flight legal work and
who's very careful. It's not very easy to find those kinds of people, but
over the years, it's become easier for us to find those people."
--Additional reporting by Kurt Orzeck, Jeff Overley, Emily Field, Joe Van
Acker, Matt Chiappardi, Cara Salvatore and Allison Grande. Editing by
Katherine Rautenberg and Kelly Duncan.
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