Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC > Washington DC, United States > Firm Profile

Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC
1100 NEW YORK AVENUE, NW
FIFTH FLOOR
WASHINGTON DC 20005
United States

Antitrust > Civil litigation/class actions: plaintiff Tier 1

Praised for the ‘depth of their litigation teams, from senior partners to junior associates’ and ‘credibility with judges and opposing counsel’Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC is known for its vibrant plaintiff-side antitrust practice which is regularly involved in high-stakes class actions and novel competition issues. Benjamin Brown and Brent Johnson jointly lead the team with involvement in cases ranging from transportation to labor. Described by a client as ‘one of the most highly skilled attorneys’, Richard Koffman has been recently involved in class action cases in the sports sector and financial markets. The team also includes pharmaceutical industry expert Sharon Robertson and Kit Pierson, who has vast experience representing clients in class actions and civil litigation pertaining to price-fixing, monopolization and other unfair competition. All mentioned attorneys are based in the firm’s Washington DC office.

Practice head(s):

Benjamin Brown; Brent Johnson

Testimonials

‘Among the many things that make Cohen Milstein both unique and exceptional is the depth of their litigation teams, from senior partners to junior associates. The partners with whom I’ve dealt are very creative and well rounded, equally able and willing to handle an important argument or deposition or dig into the documents to help build a case. The associates are hard working, motivated and enthusiastic and ready to take on as much responsibility as is available in any given case.’

‘I’ve known and worked with Richard Koffman for a very long time and he is one of the most highly skilled attorneys I have worked with.’

‘CMST is extraordinarily strong, with top flight talent from the senior to the junior lawyers. They are very smart and dedicated, and have credibility with judges and opposing counsel, and are always very trustworthy and dependable.’

Work highlights

  • Representing UFCW & Employers Benefit Trust in a class action against Sutter Health, one of the largest healthcare providers in California, for restraining hospital competition through anticompetitive contracting practices with insurance companies.
  • Representing all end-user plaintiffs in a class action involving nine chicken processors (Tyson Foods, Fieldale Farms, Peco Foods, George’s Inc., Pilgrim’s Price Corp. and Mar-Jac, and others) to resolve consumer claims that they conspired to inflate broiler chicken prices and that Agri Stats, Inc., a third-party vendor, facilitated their unlawful scheme.
  • Acting as co-lead counsel for end-payor plaintiffs in a “pay-for-delay” antitrust class action alleging that Warner Chilcott PLC colluded with would-be generic manufacturers, Watson and Lupin Pharmaceuticals, to delay the introduction of a lower-priced generic version of the top-selling contraceptive drug Loestrin.

Dispute resolution > Product liability, mass tort and class action - plaintiff Tier 1

Leveraging the expertise of ‘talented and extremely knowledgeable lawyers’, principally from its Washington DC and Florida offices, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC‘s complex tort litigation and consumer protection practice utilizes its strength-in-depth, trial and court-appointed class leadership expertise to be able to ‘confront the most complicated cases and obtain success’. Florida-based co-head Theodore Leopold recently secured final court approval of a landmark $626m settlement for the plaintiff class in the Flint water litigation, one of many high-profile environmental/toxic tort matters which Leopold has had leadership roles in. Washington DC-based consumer protection co-chair Victoria Nugent continues to represent State Attorneys General of Indiana, New Jersey, and Vermont in the opioid litigation, playing a central role in shaping the $26bn national settlement with Johnson & Johnson and three companies that distributed opioid painkillers. Florida-based co-chair Leslie Kroeger has a superb reputation for handling major product liability matters, including those within the automotive sector, while former Washington DC-based consumer protection co-chair Andrew Friedman continues to spearhead the firm’s efforts in the data privacy arena.

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘The firm has amassed talented and extremely knowledgeable lawyers that can confront the most complicated cases and obtain success.’

‘They have the dedication, focus and the work ethic to undertake the most difficult tasks and obtain success.’

 

Work highlights

  • Represented plaintiffs as court-appointed interim co-lead class counsel, securing the $626m settlement for plaintiffs in the high-profile Flint Water toxic tort dispute.
  • Represented (on behalf of the states of Indiana, New Jersey, and Vermont) in a $26bn settlement resolving claims that the three largest US drug distributors and drug maker Johnson & Johnson helped fuel a deadly nationwide opioid epidemic.
  • Represented LLE One in securing final approval of a $40m settlement, on behalf of LLE One and all other advertisers in a significant consumer class action against Facebook.

Labor and employment > Labor and employment disputes (including collective actions): plaintiff Tier 1

The Washington DC-based team at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC continues to impress with its strong track record representing plaintiffs at trial and appellate levels in both federal and state courts. The group houses strong capabilities in class, collective and single-plaintiff actions, while handling a busy caseload of employment disputes related to wage and hour claims, discrimination lawsuits, equal pay matters and issues arising from Title VII and the FLSA. The practice is headed by Joseph Sellers, who is recognized for being ‘a national expert in employment discrimination law’.  He has extensive experience in litigation before federal and state appellate courts, including the US Supreme Court. Kalpana Kotagal is well versed in lawsuits related to discrimination and sexual misconduct allegations as well as diversity and inclusion mandates. Christine Webber is also noted for her expertise in class and collective actions.

Practice head(s):

Joseph Sellers

Testimonials

‘Cohen Milstein is unique given its focus on civil rights and employment law and focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace.’

‘Kalpana Kotagal is not only a renowned civil rights advocate and attorney but also an organizer, a mother, and a brilliant and steadfast spirit. I have never worked with someone I believe in more and who is always about the work. She leads with dignity, passion and drives in everything she does and fights for those who need it most in order to win policy changes.

‘With her commitment to inclusion and her incredible work on the Inclusion Rider, Kalpana is going to go very far in her work and I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of that journey.’

‘Joe Sellers is a national expert in employment discrimination law and I trust his counsel.’

‘The firm saw benefit in a disability rights case and put in intelligent, careful, and clever analysis and deliberations to bring the case to resolution through both litigation and mediation. Our case was complex and the firm’s representatives led us through strategy sessions and mediations with skilled guidance and insights.’

‘Joseph Sellers was an extraordinary leader when guiding our team of lawyers from several organizations. He was crucial to overseeing our overall litigation strategy as well as taking the lead in stating our case during mediation.’

‘Their focus on and commitment to social issues is exemplary.’

‘Kalpana Kotagal works tirelessly on all tasks. She is also a kind person and always pleasant to work with.’

Key clients

National Association of the Deaf

Work highlights

  • Assisted NAACP in the interest and wellbeing of hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients with the judicial challenge to the Trump Administration’s plan to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which the Supreme Court blocked in June 2020.
  • Successfully represented hundreds of former flight traffic controllers in a 16-year-old age discrimination lawsuit, where the U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration agreed to a $43.8m settlement.
  • Represented a class of more than 69,000 former and current female sales associates of Sterling Jewelers in a Title VII and Equal Pay Act class action against Sterling Jewelers Inc.

Dispute resolution > Securities litigation: plaintiff Tier 2

The lawyers at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC are ‘strong opponents, but professional and courteous, and they appear to have cornered the market on shareholder suits related to gender and race diversity and workplace conduct issues‘. The firm has a strong track record against large corporates and financial institutions, notably in cases concerning sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and related retaliation claims. Lead partners Steven Toll (who is ‘a senior statesman of the class action bar‘) and Julie Reiser, ‘deserve special mention in securities cases for their depth of experience and subject matter expertise‘. Reiser recently achieved a precedent-setting $310m settlement in In re Alphabet Shareholder Derivative Litigation to fund diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in Alphabet companies, institute sweeping employment policy and corporate governance reforms to ensure workplace equity and improve board oversight. Up-and-coming partner Michael Eisenkraft is co-leading Iowa Public Employees Retirement System et al. v. Bank of America Corp, a ground-breaking securities anti-competition putative class action.

Practice head(s):

Steven Toll; Julie Reiser

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘I’ve had several cases opposite the CMST team. They were representing shareholders suing technology companies. They were strong opponents, but professional and courteous. They appear to have cornered the market on shareholder suits related to gender and race diversity and workplace conduct issues.’

‘Julie Reiser is the dominant lawyer in this field. She is held in high regard both by her colleagues on the plaintiff side and by her opponents on the company side.’

‘Steve Toll is one of the senior states people in the class action bar and exceptionally equipped to represent a wide variety of plaintiffs in the most sophisticated and complicated cases.’

‘Great team with considerable experience. I have seen them get consistently good results for clients.’

‘Depth of experience and subject matter expertise. Steve Toll and Julie Reiser deserve special mention in securities cases.’

Work highlights

  • Represented Northern California Pipe Trades Pension Plan and Teamsters Local 272 Labor Management Pension Fund in re Alphabet Shareholder Derivative Litigation (Sup. Crt. Cal., Santa Clara Cnty.); the Court granted final approval to a precedent-setting $310m settlement to fund diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives in Alphabet companies, institute sweeping employment policy and corporate governance reforms to ensure workplace equity and improve board oversight.
  • Represented the State of Oregon and the Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund in L Brands, Inc. Derivative Litigation (S.D. Ohio); following a Delaware General Corporate Law Section 220 books-and-records demand and an extensive, proprietary investigation, L Brands, Inc. and the now-standalone company Victoria’s Secret have agreed to holistic workplace reforms that include investing $45m each, for a total $90m, in diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and forming DEI Advisory Councils.
  • Represented Woodbridge investors in re Woodbridge Investments Litigation (C.D. Cal.); the Court granted preliminary approval of a $54.2m settlement between Woodbridge investors and Comerica Bank for allegedly violating California statutory law and breaching its fiduciary duties by aiding and abetting an elaborate multi-billion-dollar Ponzi-scheme fraud committed by Robert H. Shapiro and the Woodbridge Group of Companies, a real estate investment company, which transacted the scheme through Comerica bank accounts.

With over 90 lawyers in six offices, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC has been recognized as a ‘class-action powerhouse’ (Forbes); ‘the most effective law firm in the United States for lawsuits with a strong social and political component’ (Inside Counsel Magazine); and one of ‘America’s 25 most influential law firms’ (The Trial Lawyer).

For over 45 years, Cohen Milstein has fought corporate abuse, pursuing litigation on behalf of individuals, whistleblowers, public entities and other institutions in cases that have raised challenging, significant and often novel issues. The firm specializes in holding corporate malefactors accountable for their actions, despite the fact that they often have considerably more resources at their disposal than those damaged by their misconduct. Cohen Milstein has earned its reputation by winning complex cases that other law firms typically choose not to handle. The firm has litigated numerous groundbreaking cases, resulting in landmark decisions on previously untried issues involving price fixing, securities, consumer rights, civil rights and other far-reaching matters.

The breadth of the firm’s expertise differentiates it from other plaintiff firms. Working together, Cohen Milstein attorneys benefit from their collective knowledge and experience, which often allows the firm to take a more creative approach to the issue at hand. Cohen Milstein litigates across a wide range of practice areas.

DepartmentNameEmailTelephone
Antitrust Benjamin D Brown
Antitrust Brent W. Johnson
Civil rights and employment Joseph M Sellers
Consumer protection Andrew N Friedman
Consumer protection Theodore J Leopold
Employee benefits/ERISA Karen L Handorf
Human rights Agnieszka Fryszman
Managed care abuse Leslie M. Kroeger
Managed care abuse Theodore J Leopold
Public client Betsy A Miller
Public client Victoria S Nugent
Securities litigation and investor protection Julie Goldsmith Reiser
Securities litigation and investor protection Steven J Toll
Unsafe and defective products Leslie M. Kroeger
Unsafe and defective products Theodore J Leopold
Whistleblower/False Claims Act Gary L Azorsky
Whistleblower/False Claims Act Jeanne A Markey
Number of Partners : 36
Number of Other Fee-Earners : 70
Other Staff : 75
Managing Partner : Steven J Toll (stoll@cohenmilstein.com)
Chair of the Executive Committee : Joseph M Sellers (jsellers@cohenmilstein.com)
Other Offices : Chicago
Other Offices : New York
Other Offices : Palm Beach Gardens
Other Offices : Philadelphia
Other Offices : Raleigh