ABOUT THIS COMPANY:Firm History
Long considered the princes of plaintiffs litigation and the kings of class actions, Milberg Weiss experienced a serious dethroning of sorts in May 2005, when the firm itself and a handful of partners were indicted for paying three plaintiffs more than $11 million in kickbacks over the course of 180 cases the firm had filed in the preceding 25 years, and then repeatedly perjuring themselves throughout the government's investigation of those kickbacks. Two named partners (who, like the firm, pleaded not guilty) were among the indicted - Steven Schulman and David Bershad. Following the announcement of the charges, both the firm's attorneys (more than half of the 42 partners) and its clients ran for the exits. In the months after the indictments were handed down, Milberg Weiss filed only a handful of suits. Indeed, a Detroit federal judge ruled in December 2006 that the firm could not serve as lead counsel in a class action against the Ford Motor Company concerning its administration of its 401(k) retirement plans.
What a difference a couple of years make. Based on the firm's recent series of major successes, the problems seem to be fading into history and the firm appears to be back on its feet. In December 2007, for example, a New Hampshire federal judge approved a $3.2 billion settlement in the class action Milberg Weiss launched against Tyco International, its former auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers and five individual defendants, including the imprisoned ex-CEO L. Dennis Kozlowski and ex-CFO Mark H. Swartz. The plaintiffs alleged that over the course of three years, the defendants misrepresented the value of numerous Tyco companies - as well as the financial condition of Tyco itself - in order to artificially inflate the value of Tyco stock, thereby allowing the individual defendants "to reap enormous profits by looting the company through a combination of unreported bonuses, forgiven loans, excessive fees and insider trading."
Only one week before the court signed off on the Tyco settlement, Milberg Weiss announced that pharmaceutical giant Biovail Corporation agreed to settle its own securities fraud class action for $138 million. In that case, the shareholders alleged that Biovail and a number of its corporate heads made a series of false and misleading statements regarding the company's financials, as well as its new hypertension and blood pressure drug, Cardizem LA (CLA).
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