About the Authors
Stuart T. Rossman, co-author, is NCLC’s director of litigation. After thirteen years of private trial practice in Boston, he was chief of the Trial Division and of the Business and Labor Protection Bureau at the Massachusetts attorney general’s office. He co-authored this treatise’s four prior editions and established NCLC’s annual NCLC Consumer Class Action Symposium. He is the co-chair of the National Association of Consumer Advocates board of directors and a member of the Association’s Consumer Class Actions Guidelines and Rule 23 Amendment Committees. He is a former chair of the Volunteer Lawyers Project, and is on the adjunct faculty at the University of Michigan Law School and Northeastern University School of Law, where he was the 2010 Givelber Distinguished Lecturer on Public Interest Law. He and his co-counsel were finalists for Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Trial Lawyers for Public Justice and he received the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition’s Thurgood Marshall Award.
Charles Delbaum, co-author, is a senior consumer class action litigator at NCLC and frequent presenter at consumer law conferences. He also is a contributing author to NCLC’s Credit Discrimination, Fair Debt Collection, and Fair Credit Reporting. Prior to joining NCLC in 2005, he was the director of litigation and advocacy at New Orleans Legal Assistance for thirteen years. In 2000, he was the recipient of the Louisiana State Bar Association Pro Bono Publico Career Service Award. In the 1970s and 1980s, he was a United States District Court law clerk in Pennsylvania, a staff attorney in the law reform division of the Cleveland Legal Aid Society, and a founding partner of Stege, Delbaum and Hickman, a firm of former legal aid attorneys in Cleveland, Ohio.
Robert M. Bramson, contributing author, is a partner in the Walnut Creek, CA firm, Bramson, Plutzik, Mahler & Birkhaeuser, LLP. He specializes in consumer class action cases. He has been a contributing author to this title’s five prior editions, and was one of the principal drafters of the National Association of Consumer Advocates’ Standards and Guidelines For Consumer Class Actions, 176 F.R.D. 375 (1997), and its two revised versions, 255 F.R.D. 215 (2009) and 299 F.R.D. 160 (2014).
Michael D. Donovan, contributing author, is a founding member of Donovan Litigation Group, LLC, admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Courts of Appeals for the Second, Third, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York as well as the state courts of Pennsylvania and New York and the courts of Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of Vermont Law School (J.D. cum laude 1984) and Syracuse University (A.B. 1981). He was the head notes editor and a staff member of the Vermont Law Review from 1982 through 1984. Following graduation from law school, Mr. Donovan was an attorney with the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C., where he prosecuted numerous securities cases and enforcement matters, including injunctive and disciplinary actions against public companies, broker/dealers and accounting firms. Mr. Donovan has co-authored Preserving Judicial Recourse for Consumers: How to Combat Overreaching Arbitration Clauses, 10 Loyola Consumer L. Rev. 269 (1998); The Overlooked Victims of the Thrift Crisis, Miami Review, Feb. 13, 1990; and Conspiracy of Silence: Why S&L Regulators Can’t Always Be Trusted, Legal Times, Feb. 5, 1990. In the area of consumer justice, Mr. Donovan has argued before the Supreme Court of the United States in Smiley v. Citibank (South Dakota), N.A., No. 95-860, 116 S. Ct. 806 (argued Apr. 24, 1996). Mr. Donovan obtained a landmark Truth in Lending Act decision from the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Rossman v. Fleet Bank (R.I.), N.A., 280 F.3d 384 (3d Cir. 2002), holding that a bank may not change a credit card promise of no annual fee. He also obtained landmark decisions from the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court and the New Jersey Supreme Court in Lemelledo v. Beneficial Finance Co., 674 A.2d 582 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 1996), aff’d, 696 A.2d 546 (N.J. 1997), concerning loan and insurance packing. He has tried five class actions to verdict, including Samuel-Bassett v. Kia Motors America, Inc., 34 A.3d 1 (Pa. 2011); Braun v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 24 A.3d 875 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2011); Little v. Kia Motors America, Inc., No. UNN-L-0800-01006 (N.J. Super. Ct. (Union Cty.)); and In re Sovereign Bancorp, Inc. Shareholders Litigation, No. 110802587 (Phila. C.P. filed 2008).
Stephen Gardner, contributing author, serves of counsel to the Dallas-based Stanley Law Group, a plaintiffs firm. Previously, Steve was director of litigation for the Washington, DC based advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest (2004–2014), of counsel to the National Consumer Law Center (2002–2006), assistant dean of clinical education at Southern Methodist University School of Law (1994–1995), visiting assistant professor of law at Southern Methodist University School of Law (1992–1995), assistant attorney general in the Consumer Protection Division of the State of Texas (1984–1991), assistant attorney general in the Bureau of Consumer Frauds of the State of New York (1982–1984), student attorney at the University of Texas (1981–1982), and a staff attorney at the legal aid office in Austin, now part of Texas Rio Grande Legal Services (1976–1981). He is a frequent author and speaker on consumer advocacy issues. Steve notes that much of his editing work on this treatise was a joint venture with his law firm colleague (and former CSPI colleague) Amanda Howell.
Thomas Grande, contributing author, has a practice in Honolulu, HI representing consumers in state and federal class actions and relators under the state and federal false claims acts. He is past co-chair of the ABA’s Litigation Section, Subcommittee on State Class Action Law and is co-founder and editor in chief emeritus of the ABA Survey of State Class Action Law. He is a frequent speaker and author on class actions and false claims act litigation.
Shennan Kavanagh, contributing author, is an attorney practicing in MA and was formerly a partner at the Boston law firm Klein Kavanagh Costello, LLP, where her practice focused on class actions and consumer finance litigation and consumer finance litigation. She has been a lead lawyer in a wide variety of cases challenging unfair lending practices, including class action cases against some of the largest banking and lending institutions in the country. She has obtained multi-million dollar settlements and has also provided pro bono representation to individual borrowers to prevent foreclosures. Ms. Kavanagh has spoken and written frequently on consumer law, class actions and achieving success in legal practice.
Seth R. Lesser, contributing author, is a partner with Klafter Olsen & Lesser L.L.P., with offices in New York and Washington, D.C. He concentrates in contingency fee litigation, and is active in consumer advocacy, wage and hour litigation, and corporate governance. He has represented plaintiffs in class and collective actions and mass tort cases. He has been lead counsel in cases recovering in excess of $750 million. He is active in, among other things, Second Circuit Courts Committee of the Federal Bar Council and several members consultative groups of the American Law Institute.
Elizabeth Maresca, contributing author, is a clinical professor at Fordham Law School in New York and the supervising attorney of the school’s Federal Tax Clinic. Professor Maresca specializes in federal tax controversy and litigation against the IRS, and has advised clients, attorneys, and policy makers on the tax issues which arise in consumer matters. She is a regular presenter on tax controversy topics, identity theft issues, innocent spouse relief and tax issues that arise in debt collection, FDCPA, and foreclosure matters. She is published in the areas of ethics in tax practice and tax interest, tax penalties and tax consequences related to consumer actions. Professor Maresca received her LL.M. in Taxation and her J.D. from NYU School of Law.
Michael J. Quirk, contributing author, is an attorney with the law firm of Williams Cuker Berezofsky, LLC in Philadelphia, PA, where his practice focuses on representation of consumers, workers, and other plaintiffs in class action, mass tort, and individual litigation. He has represented plaintiffs in successful federal and state court appeals involving the validity of mandatory arbitration clauses, the appropriateness of class action settlements, employment discrimination and civil rights claims, admissibility of scientific expert testimony, and the validity of compensatory and punitive damages verdicts and awards entered against prescription drug manufacturers. He is formerly an Equal Justice Works fellow and staff attorney with Public Justice in Washington, DC, where his work focused on fighting abuses of mandatory arbitration clauses in consumer and employment contracts. He also was a Supreme Court Assistance Project fellow with the Public Citizen Litigation Group. He is co-author of the first six editions of NCLC’s Consumer Arbitration Agreements, co-drafter of the National Association of Consumer Advocates’ Standards and Guidelines for Litigating and Settling Consumer Class Actions, 299 F.R.D. 160 (3d ed. 2014), and has written numerous articles. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Consumer Advocates.
Michael W. Sobol, contributing author, is a partner at Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP in San Francisco, CA, and serves as chair of its Consumer Protection group, which has recovered billions of dollars for consumers nationwide. He has served as plaintiffs’ class counsel in numerous nationwide consumer class action cases involving consumer financial fraud, unfair lending, and false advertising. He is a former lecturer in law at Boston University School of Law. Mr. Sobol thanks his colleagues Roger N. Heller, Nicole D. Reynolds, and Melissa A. Gardner, for their invaluable contributions in helping to prepare the content of the chapters he submitted to this treatise.
Ariana Tadler, contributing author, is a partner at Milberg LLP in New York and chair of Milberg’s E-Discovery Practice Group. She specializes in securities fraud, consumer fraud and data breach class actions, and complex litigation. She is widely recognized as a leading authority on electronic discovery, serving as a member of The Sedona Conference’s Board of Directors and Chair Emeritus of the Steering Committee of Working Group 1 on Electronic Document Retention and Production. Ariana thanks her co-authors, Milberg partner Henry Kelston and associate Carey Alexander.
Beth E. Terrell, contributing author, is a founding member of Terrell Marshall Law Group PLLC, in Seattle, WA. She focuses on complex litigation, including consumer fraud, defective product, and wage and hour class actions. She has been co-lead counsel on many multi-state and nationwide class actions against companies such as Wal-Mart, Microsoft, Sallie Mae, and Bank of America. She also represents individuals with employment and personal injury claims. She has an “AV” Martindale Hubbell rating and is recognized as a “Superlawyer.” Beth frequently speaks at CLEs and other seminars. Beth serves on the NCLC Partners’ Council, is a founding member of the Northwest Consumer Law Center, is secretary of the Public Justice Foundation, and is chair of the Washington Employment Lawyers Association. She wishes to recognize the valuable contributions of Erika L. Nusser and Jeff Musto who assisted her in preparing her chapter.
Vildan A. Teske, contributing author, is a partner at Teske, Micko, Katz, Kitzer & Rochel, PLLP in Minneapolis, MN. She has focused on representing plaintiffs in consumer class actions and complex litigation involving federal and state claims for over 23 years. She is a frequent speaker at CLE seminars and in the media on the topics of class actions, consumer financial litigation, and service member protections under the SCRA. She testified before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the effect of forced arbitration and class action bans on access to justice for consumers, employees, and our military. She has served in leadership positions and on the boards of a number of national and local bar associations throughout her career.