Berman Tabacco


Head Office Address:
One Liberty Square
Boston, MA 02109
United States

Telephone:+1 617 542 8300
Fax:+1 617 542 1194

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Key contacts:

Managing Partner: Nicole Lavallee
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Managing Partner: Kathleen Donovan-Maher
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Quick facts:

Number of partners: 15
Number of attorneys: 33
Languages: Arabic, English, Farsi, French, Italian, Mandarin, Portuguese, Spanish, and Russian

Founded in 1982, Berman Tabacco is a national law firm with offices in California and Massachusetts. The firm has devoted its practice to complex litigation, primarily under the securities and antitrust laws, as well as related services requested by and provided to its institutional clients. The firm also has an active whistleblower practice, among others.

Securities Litigation:
Berman Tabacco has over 40 years of securities-litigation experience and has represented public pension funds and other institutional investors in that area since 1998. The firm has prosecuted some of the largest securities cases and has recovered billions of dollars on behalf of investors. Indeed, Berman Tabacco appears as one of the firms with the most settlements on the list of the top 100 largest securities class actions in ISS Securities Class Action Services’ published report, Top 100 U.S. Class Action Settlements of All Time (as of 12/31/2022). The firm has successfully prosecuted and recovered billions of dollars for defrauded investors in some of the most significant shareholder lawsuits of the last 20 years, having been appointed as lead or co-lead counsel in more than 100 actions. Selected successes include:

  • In re IndyMac Mortgage-Backed Sec. Litigation, No. 1:09-cv-04583 (LAK) (S.D.N.Y.). As lead counsel, the firm recovered $346 million on behalf of the class against investment-bank underwriters and officers, which was one of the largest mortgage-backed-securities class action settlements to date and the largest paid by underwriter defendants.
  • California Public Employees’ Retirement System v. Moody’s Corp., No. CGC-09-490241 (Cal. Super. Ct. San Francisco Cty.). As sole counsel, the firm recovered $255 million from Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s entities in this landmark individual action on behalf of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System in this individual action alleging negligent misrepresentations in connection with rating three structured investment vehicles.
  • In re BP plc Sec. Litigation, No. 4:10-md-02185 (S.D. Tex.). The firm recovered $175 million on behalf of the class—one of just four mega securities class action settlements in 2017 (settlements of $100 million or more), according to Cornerstone Research— in this hard-fought litigation on behalf of shareholders of BP American Depository Shares arising out of BP’s Deepwater Horizon explosion, one of the worst oil spills in history. Class members who submitted claims received approximately 115% of their recoverable losses.
  • In re Fannie Mae 2008 Sec. Litigation, No. 08-cv-07831 (PAC) (S.D.N.Y.). Representing co-lead plaintiff Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board, the firm resolved claims for $170 million alleging that Fannie Mae failed to disclose (i) growing exposure to high-risk mortgages as well as (ii) problems with the company’s risk controls, both of which led to federal conservatorship in 2008.

Berman Tabacco’s dismissal rate for cases brought under the federal securities laws is less than half the overall dismissal rate for such cases (based on the reported dismissal rate by one authoritative study. Securities Class Action Filings: 2022 Year in Review, pp. 22, 34 (Cornerstone Research 2023). The firm serves as monitoring, evaluation, and/or litigation counsel for over 100 institutional investors, which includes 17 statewide public employee retirement systems with more than $50 billion in assets.

Antitrust Litigation:
Berman Tabacco’s antitrust practice also has a national reputation for prosecuting class actions that involve anticompetitive conduct and conspiracies to fix or maintain prices. Over the years, the firm has played a major role in the prosecution of numerous landmark antitrust cases and has been at the forefront of some of the largest antitrust settlements—recovering over a billion dollars for class members and changing business practices of defendant companies. The following are examples of the antitrust group’s efforts:

  • In re Lithium Ion Batteries Antitrust Litigation, No. 13-md-02420-YGR (N.D. Cal.).
    Berman Tabacco was co-lead counsel for the class of direct purchasers of lithium-ion rechargeable batteries in a class action alleging that defendant manufacturers participated in a conspiracy in violation of federal antitrust laws to fix the pricesof lithium-ion rechargeable batteries (which are commonly used in devices such as notebook computers, cell phones, and digital cameras). The firm successfully negotiated settlements totaling $139.3 million, which was approved in May 2018.
  • Automobile Antitrust Cases I and II, JCCP Nos. 4298 and 4303, Nos. CJC-03-004298 and CJC-03-004303 (Cal. Super. Ct. San Francisco Cty.). Berman Tabacco was lead trial counsel for plaintiffs in a California state court action (and was previously chair of the executive committee for plaintiffs in the federal multidistrict class action, In re New Motor Vehicles Canadian Export Antitrust Litig., No. 03-md-1532 (D. Me.)), against leading automakers for alleged violations of the antitrust laws with regard to the pricing and importation of automobiles from Canada into the United States. In advance of trial and after almost 20 years of litigation, Plaintiffs settled with the final defendant for
    $82 million, which was finally approved by the trial court on October 31, 2022.
  • Laydon v. Mizuho Bank, Ltd., No. 1:12-cv-03419 (GBD) (S.D.N.Y.) & Sonterra Capital Master Fund, Ltd. v. UBS AG, No. 1:15-cv-05844 (GBD) (S.D.N.Y.). Berman Tabacco is counsel for plaintiffs representing two large public pension funds in actions alleging that bank traders and their affiliates colluded in violation of antitrust laws to manipulate the Euroyen TIBOR and Yen LIBOR rates—benchmark rates used to determine interest rates and to price Japanese Yen-based financial instruments.  As of July 2023, partial settlements totaling $329.5 million have been achieved and approved by the court.
  • Sullivan v. Barclays PLC, et al., No. 13-cv-02811 (PKC) (S.D.N.Y.). Berman Tabacco
    represents a public pension fund in a class action that it joined as named plaintiff,
    which alleges that over a dozen major banks colluded in violation of the antitrust laws to manipulate the EURIBOR, a global reference rate used to benchmark and price over $200 trillion of financial products. As of July 2023, partial settlements totaling $651.5 million have been achieved of which $546.5 million has been approved by the court.

Whistleblower Representation:
Berman Tabacco’s whistleblower practice group assists individuals wishing to expose fraud perpetrated against the federal government, states, and corporations, working to obtain the compensation and protections afforded by the False Claims Act, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Whistleblower Program, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission Whistleblower Program, and the Internal Revenue Service Whistleblower Program. Berman Tabacco helps whistleblowers engage appropriate government entities to right wrongs—enforced either by those agencies or through separate litigation. In April 2021, the SEC awarded over $50 million to joint whistleblowers represented by the firm. It was the second largest whistleblower award by the SEC when it was made.

Updated Aug 2023