Benchmark Litigation Reviews – Sanford Heisler Sharp

Posted October 15th, 2020.

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Labor and employment
Sanford Heisler Sharp is a trusted plaintiff firm that is recognized for representing employees in individual matters and class actions related to employment and gender discrimination, wage and hour violations, complex civil litigation, criminal/sexual violence litigation, ERISA litigation, and governmental fraud recovery. The firm, founded in 2004 and home to offices scattered across the US, is described as “ahead of the curve” by a peer, who adds, “They [have] very, very sharp lawyers [and] very skilled litigators.” The firm was the recipient of the Labor & Employment Employee-Side Firm of the Year award at the 2020 Benchmark Awards.

Name partner Kevin Sharp returned to private practice after serving as a judge for the Middle District of Tennessee. He currently serves as the managing partner of the firm’s Nashville office where he is presently lead counsel in the General Electric ERISA class action in which the plaintiffs assert GE violated the Federal Employee Retirement Security Act by breaching their fiduciary duties and engaging in prohibited transactions and unlawful self-dealing detrimental to the named plaintiffs and the class. Judge Sharp is also lead counsel for plaintiffs who seek injunctive relief to correct alleged discriminatory practices arising from Volkswagen’s Pact for the Future. Plaintiffs allege this pact includes an initiative to phase out older workers by disfavoring and taking discriminatory actions against workers aged fifty and over.

Firm chairman and founding partner David Sanford has paved the way in the fight for gender equality where he has emerged as a leader in representing women who have suffered discrimination at work. He is lead counsel in a class and collective action lawsuit against Western Digital Corporation and Western Digital Technologies on behalf of a plaintiff and a class of female employees. The complaint alleges discrimination against women in pay, promotions, and job placement on behalf of all women employed by the defendant in an indirect labor position at or below the senior manager level. Fellow DC partner Kate Mueting represents employees in a range of employment claims, including discrimination on the basis of gender, pregnancy, race, and sexual orientation. Mueting is part of the trial team led by New York-based partner Russell Kornblith and Maryland-based partner Deborah Marcuse that alleges Merck systematically discriminates against female sales representatives generally, and against pregnant women in particular, in pay, promotions, and other terms and conditions of employment. The parties reached a class settlement agreement after the Court found plaintiff’s allegations of discrimination in pay were valid.

Alexandra Harwin is a New York based trial lawyer who serves as co-chair of the firm’s Title VII practice. She is active as lead counsel in a suit against Giorgio Armani Corporation that alleges the company discriminated against him based on his national origin and disability and retaliated against him for complaining. The plaintiff, a Mexican immigrant to the US, was terminated from his role as General Counsel shortly after complaining of discrimination, and one day after announcing his cancer diagnosis. Michael Palmer co-chairs the firm’s wage and hour practice. He is lead counsel in a commission-based lawsuit alleging a series of California Labor Code violations under PAGA. Plaintiffs won summary adjudication motion for its failure to issue signed copies of commission contracts to sales employees. Felicia Gilbert is the managing partner of the firm’s San Francisco office, after a recent appointment in early 2020. She routinely represents employees in individual and class actions involving race, gender, and pregnancy discrimination. Gilbert is active in an individual gender discrimination and retaliation case in the Southern District of California, which is awaiting ruling on defendant’s motion for summary judgment.

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