National Credit Union Administration RMBS Litigation (2011 – 2013)
Korein Tillery is co-lead counsel for the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)-an independent federal agency that is the credit-union equivalent of the FDIC-in its ongoing efforts to recover billions of dollars in losses suffered by failed credit unions as a result of the collapse of the residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) market. Since 2011, Korein Tillery has helped negotiate settlements totaling nearly $4.3 billion with several leading investment banks-some of the largest RMBS-related settlements to date. Korein Tillery is currently prosecuting nearly a dozen other RMBS-related cases on behalf of the NCUA in courts across the country.
City of Greenville, Ill., et al. v. Syngenta Crop Prot., Inc. (2012)
After over seven years of protracted litigation that spanned multiple jurisdictions and involved the exchange of tens of millions of documents, Korein Tillery won a $105 million settlement for public water providers around the country in a novel water-contamination case involving the herbicide atrazine. In the process, Korein Tillery overcame adverse legal precedent and, following multiple depositions of company executives in Europe, became the first law firm to convince a United States court to exercise personal jurisdiction over the Swiss agri-giant holding company Syngenta AG. For its work, Korein Tillery was nominated for the Public Justice “Trial Lawyer of the Year” award.
Sullivan v. DB Investments, Inc. (2008)
Korein Tillery was the first firm to succeed in certifying a nationwide class of diamond purchasers in an antitrust case against the country’s largest diamond distributor. When that case was consolidated with others in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Korein Tillery was appointed co-lead counsel and helped negotiate a nationwide settlement that created a fund of $323 million to compensate diamond purchasers and provided additional injunctive relief to the class.
Parker v. Sears Roebuck & Co. (2008)
In Parker, Korein Tillery negotiated a settlement valued at $544.5 million on behalf of purchasers of defective stoves. The settlement required Sears to install anti-tip safety brackets on stand-alone stoves to help prevent serious injuries to consumers. Korein Tillery’s work in the case was touted by Public Citizen as an example of how the enforcement of consumer rights benefits society. In addition, Public Citizen nominated Stephen Tillery as “Trial Lawyer of the Year.”
Williams v. Rohm & Haas Pension Plan (2007)
In Williams, Korein Tillery represented pension-plan participants who claimed that their plan’s failure to include cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) in calculating lump-sum retirement distributions violated ERISA. After winning a contentious summary judgment and upholding the judgment on appeal, Korein Tillery negotiated one of the largest settlements in the history of ERISA litigation: $180 million. Korein Tillery then successfully defended the settlement on appeal to the Seventh Circuit and the United States Supreme Court. Attorney Douglas Sprong was eventually nominated by Public Citizen as “Trial Lawyer of the Year” for his work on the case.
University City, MO v. Verizon – Sprint – US Cellular – AT&T (2007)
Korein Tillery represented 240 Missouri municipalities in seeking to collect unpaid business-license taxes from various wireless and landline telephone companies. After the phone companies successfully lobbied the Missouri legislature to enact laws to eliminate the litigation and prevent municipalities from pursuing future cases, Korein Tillery had the laws declared unconstitutional by the Missouri Supreme Court. That victory paved the way for a settlement in which the municipalities collected back-taxes and retained the right to collect future taxes.
Hoormann v. SmithKline Beecham (2007)
In July 2004, Korein Tillery filed suit on behalf of a nationwide class of purchasers alleging that SmithKline Beecham promoted Paxil® and Paxil CRTM for prescription to children and adolescents despite having actual knowledge that these drugs exposed children and adolescents to dangerous side effects while failing to treat their symptoms. Following three years of litigation, Korein Tillery obtained a settlement that established a $63.8 million fund to reimburse class members 100% of their out-of-pocket expenses. In contrast, the New York Attorney General’s office settled their lawsuit concerning the same conduct for a $2.5 million fine.
Call v. Ameritech Management Pension Plan (2007)
When a participant in a defined-benefit pension plan is given a choice between taking pension benefits as an annuity or in a lump sum, the lump sum must be so calculated as to be the actuarial equivalent of the annuity. Korein Tillery brought this class action on behalf of plan participants alleging that Ameritech’s plan amendment, specifying two options for calculating lump-sum distribution amounts, violated the plan’s own anti-cutback provision. Korein Tillery attorney Douglas R. Sprong obtained a judgment on behalf of the Plaintiff Class in excess of $31 million. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s judgment on January 9, 2007. Ameritech’s appeal to the United States Supreme Court was denied on June 9, 2008.
Prather v. Pfizer Inc. (2004)
Following the withdrawal from the market of the anti-diabetes prescription drug Rezulin (which was advertised as a “breakthrough new drug” that was as “safe as a placebo”), Korein Tillery filed suit against Pfizer, and its subsidiary, Warner-Lambert, alleging that the defendants engaged in unfair business conduct relating to their advertising and pricing. Over the course of the three years that Rezulin was on the market, many people died and many more were seriously injured as a result of its use. Because of the harmful effects of Rezulin, thousands of personal injury cases and 50 class action cases were filed. Of the fifty Rezulin class actions, this was the only action to lead to any recovery. The success of this theory changed the landscape of pharmaceutical litigation. The settlement that was reached did not face a single objection and established a fund of $60 million to pay plaintiffs a cash award of 85% of their out-of-pocket expenses for Rezulin and to pay an additional $20 million cy pres award to finance diabetes research.
Cooper v. IBM Personal Pension Plan (2003)
Representing a class of IBM retirees, Korein Tillery challenged IBM’s pension equity plan on the grounds that it violated ERISA’s prohibition against age discrimination. The trial court entered summary judgment for the Plaintiff Class on the issue of liability. After obtaining class certification and summary judgment in favor of the class, Korein Tillery obtained a $324 million settlement. This case, along with Berger, received an enormous amount of national media attention and is a watershed in ERISA litigation.
Price v. Philip Morris Inc. (2003)
One of the largest verdicts in United States history, Price was the first successful “light” cigarette fraud case based on deceptive advertising. After a two-month bench-trial, Korein Tillery convinced the judge that Philip Morris misled consumers by packaging cigarettes as “lights” and claiming that they contained “lower tar and nicotine than regular cigarettes.” The court found that “light” cigarettes actually delivered more of the most toxic substances to smokers than regular cigarettes. While the verdict was initially overturned by the Illinois Supreme Court based on its interpretation of the FTC’s regulatory activity relating to “light” cigarettes, the verdict has since been revived by an intervening United States Supreme Court decision that reached the opposite conclusion. The ultimate fate of the verdict is now in the hands of an Illinois appellate court. Stephen Tillery was nominated as “Trial Lawyer of the Year” for his work on the case.
Nichols v. B.P. America Pension Plan (2002)
Korein Tillery obtained a $71 million settlement for approximately 20,000 former employees whose lump sum pension benefits were miscalculated.
Sparks v. AT&T and Lucent (2002)
Korein Tillery filed this nationwide class action against AT&T and Lucent Technologies in 1996 to remedy their practice of deceptively leasing telephone sets to residential consumers. In 2001, the trial court certified a class of more than 20 million people making the action one of the largest class actions ever certified. In litigation spanning seven years, including numerous appeals, Korein Tillery attorneys deposed more than 150 corporate designees and fact witnesses and reviewed and catalogued more than 3.2 million pages of documents. The parties reached a settlement on the eve of trial in which the defendants agreed to pay up to $300 million in cash to the class members with another $50 million distributed to charities.
Berger v. Xerox Retirement Income Guar. Plan (2002)
In Berger-another seminal ERISA case-Korein Tillery won a bench trial on behalf of pension-plan participants who challenged their plan’s failure to include the value of future interest credits in calculating lump-sum pension benefits. After upholding the judgment on appeal to the Seventh Circuit, Korein Tillery negotiated another one of the largest ERISA settlements in United States history.