Head Office Address:
1350 Avenue of the Americas, 31st Floor
New York, NY 10019
Sanford Heisler Sharp is a public interest civil rights law firm with offices in New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Palo Alto, San Diego, Nashville, Atlanta, and Baltimore. Founded in 2004, the firm currently employs 91 individuals—58% of them women and 69% members of diverse groups. Its attorneys have recovered more than one billion dollars for individuals and the United States government and achieved unparalleled success in promoting meaningful changes for employees in corporate America, the legal industry, higher education, and our communities.
The firm is committed to helping and giving a voice to disadvantaged groups and individuals, assisting whistleblowers litigate their claims, representing employees seeking relief from employers’ retirement fund mismanagement and abuses, and advocating for employees and executives in a wide range of employment disputes, including severance negotiations, wrongful termination, retaliation, wage and hour violations, sexual harassment, and gender, sexual orientation, race, national origin, and disability discrimination.
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.
The firm’s lawyers are successful in protecting plaintiffs’ rights in federal and state courts, in settlement negotiations, and in arbitrations nationwide. The firm has forged ahead, often against the odds, and achieved success against major technology firms, including Oracle, Western Digital, and Alaska Communication Systems; pharmaceutical giants like Merck, Novartis, Sanofi, and others; premier law firms in the United States such as Chadbourne & Parke (now Norton Rose Fulbright), Sedgwick, Morrison & Foerster, and Proskauer Rose; and top universities, including Dartmouth College, Columbia University, New York University, and the University of Arizona. The firm has 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 the Firm’s Recent Successes:
Representing Lawyers Against Law Firms and Companies: Over the past ten years, the firm has taken a leading position in representing partners and associates in law firms and general counsels and in-house counsels, bringing discrimination and retaliation cases based on gender, pregnancy and maternity status, unequal pay and promotion, and disparate compensation policies and transparency in pay decisions. Among the firms that Sanford Heisler Sharp has gone up against in very public class litigation are Chadbourne & Parke (now Norton Rose Fulbright), Sedgwick, Morrison & Foerster, Proskauer Rose, and Jones Day. In addition, we are pursuing pre-suit negotiations with more than 60 law firms in the Am Law 200.
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 case 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.
GirlsDoPorn: In a similarly high-profile case, the firm earned a victory at trial in California on behalf of 22 young women who sued the website GirlsDoPorn.com (“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 plaintiffs over $20 million after a 99-day bench trial in California Superior Court.
United States Marshals Service: In a case likely to go to trial in 2022, the firm represents a certified class of African American United States Marshals in a race discrimination matter that includes hundreds of United States Marshals throughout the country.
Navistar: In May 2021, Navistar Defense and Navistar International (“Navistar”) agreed to pay the United States $50 million to resolve claims that the company systematically overcharged the military for Mine Resistant, Ambush-Protected (“MRAP”) vehicles from January 2007 to January 2012. The settlement resolved a 2013 qui tam complaint. The firm represented Duquoin Burgess, the relator in the False Claims Act (“FCA”) case. .
Chen v. Western Digital: In January 2021, the United States District Court for the Central District of California granted final approval of a $7.75 million class and collective action settlement against Western Digital Corporation and Western Digital Technologies, Inc. on behalf of a class of 1,863 female employees alleging sex discrimination and unequal pay. Western Digital is one of the largest hard disk manufacturers in the world.
Opioids: Sanford Heisler Sharp is playing an instrumental role in representing government entities across the nation seeking compensation for 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.
ERISA: The firm represents employees invested in 401(k) retirement plans against their employers with a variety of claims, including failure to monitor and remove poorly performing investment options from their retirement plans, selecting multiple poorly performing funds, allowing investment advisers to charge its employees unreasonable fees, or turning a blind eye to a kickback scheme between an investment advisor and a 401(k) plan’s recordkeeper.
In early 2022, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granted final approval of a $13.75 million class settlement against Walgreen Co. for failing to remove poorly performing target date funds from its employees’ retirement plan.
The firm is in active litigation in ERISA cases against Home Depot, General Electric, Transamerica, and UnitedHealth Group, all of which have received class certification status. The firm also currently has cases against Milliman, Inc. and Allstate.
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 and for the foreseeable future.
Updated Sep 2022