Sanford Heisler Sharp


Head Office Address:
1350 Avenue of the Americas, 31st Floor
New York, NY 10019
United States

+1 646 402 5650


Sanford Heisler Sharp is a public interest civil rights law firm with offices in New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, San Diego, Nashville and Baltimore. Founded in 2004, the firm currently employs 89 individuals – 60% of them women and 70%, members of diverse groups.  Its attorneys have recovered more than one billion dollars for individuals and the U.S. government and achieved unparalleled success in promoting meaningful changes for employees within corporate America, the legal industry, higher education and other economic sectors.

The firm is committed to protecting the rights of employees in discrimination, wage and hour, qui tam, other civil rights matters, as well as plaintiffs seeking relief from employers’ retirement fund abuses. 

The firm’s lawyers are renowned for advancing individuals’ and groups’ civil rights by crafting innovative legal strategies in federal and state courts from coast to coast. They move the needle in high-profile, precedent-setting litigation not only by winning significant compensation for their clients, but also through achieving real change in companies and institutions to create a more equitable environment and enlightened management policies. The firm also promotes social and economic change by increasing media awareness and stimulating public dialogue about human and civil rights violations by employers, companies and retirement fund management.

Our lawyers are successful in protecting plaintiffs’ rights in federal and state courts, in settlement negotiations and in arbitrations nationwide.  Our firm forged ahead, often against the odds, achieving success against major technology firms including Oracle, Western Digital and Alaska Communication Systems; pharmaceutical giants like Merck, Novartis, Sanofi and others; premiere U.S. law firms such as Chadbourne & Parke, Sedgwick, MoFo and Jones Day; and top universities, including Dartmouth College, Columbia University, and the University of Arizona. We have waged and won lawsuits that have protected thousands of employees’ rights to have their 401(k) retirement plans appropriately managed as required by the federal Employee Retirement Income Insurance Security Act (ERISA).


Among our recent successes are:

Dartmouth:In a case that gained worldwide media attention, the firm reached a $14 million settlement for a class of female student-employees at Dartmouth College, which ended the students’ Title IX lawsuit. This closely watched outcome included $1 million dedicated to establishing a diversity recruitment fund and other substantial institutional reforms to prevent future abuses of and discrimination against females at the Ivy League institution. 

ERISA: The firm has backed workers in successful ERISA matters by targeting fiduciaries’ failure to remove investment options from their retirement plans when these options have achieved uniformly poor records of performance. One of the most prominent of these recent wins came in a suit against Eaton Vance, which had limited employees’ investment choices almost entirely to the company’s own underperforming mutual funds.  Sanford Heisler Sharp attorneys settled the matter for $3.45 million.

The firm has worked to achieve class certification in its cases against General Electric, Transamerica, and Home Depot that arose from allegations that the companies failed to monitor and remove poorly performing investment options from their 401(k) plans. The firm also turned back Home Depot’s motion for summary judgment.  In a similar case against Walgreens, the firm prevailed on a motion to dismiss. 

Girls Do Porn: Another case gaining international media attention was a high-profile trial victory in California on behalf of 22 young women suing the website Girls Do (GDP), for defrauding them and coercing them into pornography. After a lengthy trial, the judge ruled GDP and its affiliates committed intentional misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment, false promises, unfair and deceptive business practices, and fraudulent transfer, awarding the women $12.78 million in damages.

Jones Day: Sanford Heisler Sharp is also continuing its successful representation of women lawyers in one of the nation’s largest law firms, where its ongoing efforts in Tolton et al. v. Jones Day have touched another raw nerve in BigLaw. The women lawyers are challenging the firm’s “black box” compensation policy, lack of transparency in pay decisions, and policy of discouraging associates from challenging discrimination. The women maintain that Jones Day gives male associates preferential treatment while female associates are paid less, promoted less often, and openly demeaned. 

MoFo: The firm is continuing representation of plaintiffs in William and Klayman v. Morrison & Foerster, which alleges the BigLaw powerhouse discriminated and retaliated against female attorneys based on gender, pregnancy and maternity status. The case originated as a class action with seven Jane Does as plaintiffs. Five of these women have settled and two are continuing to pursue their individual claims against MoFo. 

U.S Marshals: In a case likely to go to trial in 2021, the firm represents a certified class of African-American U.S. Marshals, in a race discrimination matter that includes hundreds of U.S. Marshals throughout the country. 

Navistar: The firm represents a former Contract Director for Navistar Defense who is suing the company for violating the Federal False Claims Act. The whistleblower alleges Navistar defrauded the U.S. government by overcharging it some $1.3 billion for parts and components of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles. The U.S. government has recently joined the case.

Opioids: Sanford Heisler Sharp is playing an instrumental role in helping government entities across the nation address the high cost of the opioid epidemic by suing the companies responsible. To date, the firm has filed some 60 lawsuits for cities and counties in Virginia, Texas, Vermont and California. 

Most firms would shy away from challenging the most powerful interests in society.  Sanford Heisler Sharp has taken on the largest corporations in the world and has succeeded. Protecting the rights of workers is especially critical in the age of Covid-19 and against the backdrop of racial tensions prevalent in the country today.  


Last updated Oct 2020