CHICAGO (January 28, 2013) –Leading shareholder and corporate governance law firm Grant & Eisenhofer P.A. has launched a national consumer class action litigation practice led by prominent Chicago-based litigator Adam J. Levitt. Mr. Levitt, who joins G&E as a director, will also head the firm’s newly opened Chicago office, which is expected to add more lawyers in 2013. Mr. Levitt was previously a partner with Wolf Haldenstein in Chicago.
Mr. Levitt’s arrival marks G&E’s latest expansion of its plaintiffs’ practice work, growing out of the firm’s longtime advocacy for institutional and private investors. The Chicago location also becomes the firm’s fourth office, in addition to New York, Wilmington, Del. and Washington, DC.
Mr. Levitt has one of the country’s leading consumer class action practices. He’s had particular success bringing cases in the agriculture and biotech industries; he also handles securities and antitrust matters. Mr. Levitt served as co-lead counsel in two of the largest agri/biotech class actions in recent years, securing more than $1 billion in damages for plaintiffs. In the case In re Genetically Modified Rice Litigation, Mr. Levitt obtained a $750 million recovery on behalf of long-grain rice producers who suffered losses resulting from the contamination of the U.S. rice supply with unapproved, genetically-modified seeds. In the second case, In re StarLink Corn Products Liability Litigation, Mr. Levitt recovered $110 million on behalf of farmers whose corn crop suffered losses due to contamination from genetically-modified StarLink corn.
Mr. Levitt is currently co-lead counsel in several notable consumer actions. He represents car buyers in a product liability class action against Porsche involving claims arising from defective parts in the automaker’s Cayenne model (In re Porsche Cars North America, Inc., Plastic Coolant Tubes Products Liability Litigation). He also represents consumers challenging ConAgra’s marketing of its Wesson Oil products as “100% Natural,” despite the use of genetically-modified ingredients (In re ConAgra Foods, Inc.). And he represents landowners and landscapers in a class action against DuPont seeking to recover damages for tree and other foliage death and other harm caused by DuPont’s Imprelis herbicide (In re Imprelis Herbicide, Sales Practice and Products Liability Litigation).
The addition of a consumer class action practice broadens Grant & Eisenhofer’s notable litigation platform. G&E’s caseload over the last several years has grown to include bankruptcy, antitrust, whistleblower and false claims litigation – in the latter the firm has gained record recoveries from cases tied to deceptive foreclosure practices by banks as well as off-label marketing abuses by the pharmaceutical industry.
G&E co-managing directors Stuart Grant and Jay Eisenhofer commented on Mr. Levitt’s arrival and the new Chicago office: “We’re extremely happy to welcome Adam to the firm – his arrival gives us a major launch pad in establishing a high-profile, national consumer practice,” the two partners said. “Consumer class actions are a natural outgrowth of our historic practice litigating on behalf of investors. Adam’s success in representing consumers and business owners in high-stakes cases, such as the genetically modified corn and rice litigation, adds an important dimension to our caseload.”
Mr. Levitt said, “G&E’s name, reputation and track record atop the nation’s plaintiffs’ bar speak for themselves. The firm's selectivity in choosing only the most meritorious cases is a strategy I have long favored – I would much prefer to bring one high-quality action than file dozens of cases in the hopes that something will stick. I'm very excited about partnering with G&E and in growing our consumer practice together.”
He continued: “The past few years witnessed an extraordinary degree of corporate irresponsibility that has damaged consumers – in financial services, packaged foods, automotive and other sectors. Whether the cause is deceptive advertising, defective manufacturing, online data breaches involving individuals’ personal information or contamination of our food supply – consumers are increasingly playing the role of private attorneys general by bringing class actions to court. I look forward to expanding Grant & Eisenhofer’s work in this area and in building the firm’s presence in the Chicago market.”
Mr. Levitt is President of the Class Action Trial Lawyers division of The National Trial Lawyers. He is also an elected member of the American Law Institute and an Advisory Board member of the Institute for Consumer Antitrust Studies. Mr. Levitt has testified before the Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee on class action practice and related issues.
Besides publishing regularly, Mr. Levitt is a frequent speaker on litigation topics. He recently chaired Law Seminars International’s “Litigating Class Actions” conference in Chicago, and he is presenting at the upcoming National Trial Lawyers’ annual summit in Miami Beach, where his topic will be “What Every Lawyer Needs to Know about Filing Class Certification Motions.” In February he’ll be speaking on deposing corporate executives at a trial skills retreat in Jackson Hole sponsored by the 360 Advocacy Institute. And in June he will be speaking on current trends in multidistrict litigation practice at a class action program organized by Law Seminars International in Boston.
Mr. Levitt received his undergraduate degree magna cum laude from Columbia University, and his J.D. from the Northwestern University School of Law.
Since its founding in 1997, the firm’s central focus has been representation of institutional investors internationally in securities class actions, corporate governance cases and derivative litigation. G&E has led some of the largest investor recoveries on record in securities cases, including serving as co-lead counsel to investors in a class action against Tyco International. The resulting $3 billion settlement in 2007 represented the largest payment ever made by a corporate defendant in a securities class action. Overall, the firm has recovered more than $13 billion for investors and other clients.