Steven L. Wittels graduated from Berkeley Law School (The University of California – Boalt Hall)
in 1984 with Highest Honors on his class action thesis.
A practicing trial lawyer for nearly thirty years, Mr. Wittels has achieved remarkable success in complex, multi-party trials and multi-million dollar class actions. As one of the lead trial lawyers in the landmark gender discrimination class action against Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Mr. Wittels led the trial team to the largest class action discrimination verdict in U.S. history, a $250 million punitive damages award.
Mr. Wittels is known for his aggressive and innovative litigation strategies and has produced outstanding results for both individual and class plaintiffs. Courts have designated Mr. Wittels Lead Counsel in more than twenty national class actions. He has also developed a solid track record through his role as a zealous class and individual advocate and New York counsel to The Toro Company, a Fortune 500 company.
AREAS OF EXPERIENCE
As testament to his experience as a trial lawyer, Mr. Wittels has tried more than 30 cases, representing both plaintiffs and defendants. Most recently, he obtained the following recoveries:
• $253,000,000 plaintiffs' verdict on behalf of 5,600 female employees at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. Both the public and the media lauded this result as a milestone in advancing women’s rights both nationally and globally.
• $99,000,000 settlement for pharmaceutical representatives denied overtime pay and benefits.
• $14,000,000 nationwide settlement for warehouse workers who were denied wages and overtime by giant grocery wholesaler.
• $1,200,000 settlement for an infant born with multiple brain injuries caused by medical malpractice.
• $925,000 plaintiff’s verdict in New York Supreme Court for a victim assaulted in a building due to negligent security.
• $460,000 verdict in Kings County Supreme Court against The City of New York for a victim brutally assaulted by an off-duty police officer.
• $300,000 settlement mid-way through trial in Richmond County Supreme Court for a victim of medical malpractice, who suffered severe nasal injuries.
After graduation from Berkeley Law, Mr. Wittels joined the New York office of Milberg, then the nation’s foremost class action law firm. At Milberg, Mr. Wittels litigated numerous complex class actions on behalf of plaintiffs, including a $75 million consumer fraud class action against International Gold Bullion Exchange, a Florida-based corporation that defrauded and misled tens of thousands of investors nationwide in a complex pyramid scheme.
He also helped spearhead a claim for more than $100 million in damages arising from widespread fraud and securities violations against Fortune Computer Systems.
Additionally, Mr. Wittels prosecuted a $150 million claim under international treaties against Reffet, a consortium of Lloyds-based insurance companies that perpetrated a multi-tiered subterfuge on U.S. companies.
A DISTINGUISHED CLASS ACTION PRACTITIONER
After leaving Milberg, Mr. Wittels has had great success in class actions and complex multi-party and multi-state litigation. As Co-Lead Counsel in nationwide consumer fraud class actions, Mr. Wittels has produced more than $140 million in benefits to thousands of victimized class members since 1997, including:
• Nasoff v. G.E. Capital, et al., Supreme Court, New York County: settlement approved by Judge Ira Gammerman obtaining benefits of $19.2 million for over 400,000 consumers who leased vehicles from G.E. Capital and were overcharged on late fees;
• Greenberger v. Citicorp Vendor Finance, Inc., Superior Court Bergen County: settlement approved by Judge Jonathan N. Harris obtaining benefits totaling $14.2 million for a class of nearly 500,000 lessees who were subjected to the leasing company’s unfair business practices;
• Marlin Leasing Corp Undisclosed Fees Litigation, Burlington County Superior Court: $2.1 million class-wide settlement to equipment lessees victimized by undisclosed documentation fees in leases;
• The Matthews Group, Inc. v. Studebaker-Worthington, Supreme Court, Nassau County: settlement approved by Honorable Kenneth A. Davis obtaining a $675,000 recovery for approximately 4000 lessees of defendants’ office equipment who were victimized by defendants’ excessive late fees;
• Binetti v. Washington Mutual Bank, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York: Federal District Judge Kenneth M. Karas approved a $2 million class action settlement to 45,000 co-op owners who were wrongfully assessed additional per diem interest when owners paid off or refinanced their loans, in violation of Homeowner’s Loan Act and NY’s consumer fraud statute, GBL 349.
• First Union Auto Finance Consumer Fraud Litigation, Superior Court Bergen County: class-wide settlement approved by Presiding Judge Sybil R. Moses obtaining a $4.5 million recovery for approximately 150,000 automobile lessees who had been double-billed on lease payments; and
• Bank of America Auto Finance Corp. Class Action Litigation, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York: class-wide settlement approved by the Hon. Charles L. Brieant obtaining $400,000 for approximately 3,500 automobile lessees charged unjustified fees.
Mr. Wittels is a member of the New Jersey Bar and the New York Bar. He is also member of the American Association for Justice and the National Association of Consumer Advocates. He actively litigates in both state and federal courts.
Berkeley Law, University of California, J.D., 1984
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
U.S. Supreme Court
Sanford Wittels & Heisler, LLP, Founding Partner, New York
Milberg, LLP, New York
McCarter & English, LLP, New York and New Jersey
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS AND MEMBERSHIPS
American Association for Justice
National Association of Consumer Advocates
Named a New York “Super Lawyer” every year from 2012 to 2019 for Class Actions and Employment Litigation
Named "Top Attorney" in New York and Westchester in 2013, 2014, and 2015
NEW YORK & NEW JERSEY