SAN DIEGO, May 3 /PRNewswire/ -- William Lerach, Patrick Coughlin, John Stoia and Darren Robbins, four of the nation's leading securities and consumer attorneys, have formed a new nationwide law firm. The new firm of 125 attorneys includes 51 partners formerly with the west coast operations of Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP. The new firm, Lerach Coughlin Stoia & Robbins LLP (LCSR), is headquartered in San Diego and has offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Houston. LCSR will continue to represent institutional investors in numerous high profile securities cases including cases against Enron, Dynegy, Cisco, WorldCom, Qwest, Parmalat, AOL/Time Warner, AT&T, HealthSouth and the New York Stock Exchange and its specialist firms. The firm also is prosecuting many important cases on behalf of consumers, including Allstate (credit scoring), Oxycontin (antitrust), Mass Mutual Life Insurance (market conduct litigation), and numerous racial discrimination cases against life and property insurance carriers. LCSR's team of attorneys includes dozens of former assistant U.S. attorneys, district attorneys, SEC enforcement attorneys, and other former prosecutors with decades of trial expertise. William Lerach founded the West Coast operation of Milberg Weiss almost 30 years ago. He has led the prosecution of hundreds of high-profile securities class and stockholder-related actions, which have resulted in recoveries of tens of billions of dollars and sweeping corporate governance reforms. "The new firm has an outstanding team in place. We're well positioned to continue advocating aggressively for investors and consumers alike," said William Lerach. Over three decades LCSR attorneys have won major victories, recovering more than $20 billion for injured investors and consumers, including: * Obtaining unprecedented corporate governance reforms as part of settlement agreements in the Sprint Corporation and Hanover Compressor securities litigations that go well beyond new Congressional mandates. These settlements established new independence standards, requiring board members to be independent from top executives. Hanover Compressor agreed to rotate its auditors and give shareholders the right to directly nominate board members. * After a six-month trial brought by California consumers against Visa and MasterCard for charging hidden fees, the court ordered the companies to return $800 million, which represented 100 percent of the amount illegally charged plus 2 percent interest. * LCSR obtained a $1.027 billion recovery as co-lead counsel in a case charging that NASDAQ market makers manipulated the price spread. This is the largest antitrust recovery in history. * LCSR attorneys were responsible for billions of dollars in recoveries for defrauded life insurance policyholders who were victims of deceptive sales practices during the 1980s and 1990s. Patrick Coughlin, who is currently prosecuting the HealthSouth and Qwest cases, will continue to be the lead trial lawyer for LCSR. Coughlin is responsible for the phase-out of the Joe Camel Campaign and a $12.5 billion payment to the cities and counties of California, along with a $100 million verdict in the Apple Computer securities case. Prior to joining Milberg Weiss, Coughlin was a federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C. and San Diego handling complex white-collar fraud matters. Coughlin is also counsel in cases against AT&T and AOL/Time Warner. John Stoia leads the insurance, consumer and antitrust departments of LCSR. Stoia, a former SEC enforcement attorney, was a member of plaintiffs' trial team that won a $3 billion trial verdict against Charles Keating and his co-defendants after the collapse of Lincoln Savings & Loan. Stoia has been involved in more than 50 nationwide class actions brought by policyholders against life insurance companies for deceptive sales practices. Total recoveries in these matters exceeded $7 billion. Stoia was lead counsel in McNeil v. American General Life Insurance and Accident Company, the first major settlement involving racial discrimination claims against life insurers which resulted in a $234 million recovery for class members. Stoia is currently involved in numerous actions against variable annuity issuers relating to market timing and late trading activities in their funds and cases against the insurance industry for discrimination based upon the use of credit scoring. Darren Robbins will continue to lead LCSR's Mergers & Acquisitions practice group. Robbins currently represents the lead plaintiffs in securities class actions involving several major energy companies, including Enron Corp., Dynegy, Inc., NorthWestern Corp. and FirstEnergy Corp. LCSR will also continue to work with Robert Monks, a pioneer in corporate governance who founded the Corporate Library and Institutional Shareholder Services. Monks and his colleagues at Lens Governance Advisors will continue to counsel the firm as it seeks to obtain corporate governance changes through shareholder litigation. Attorneys at LCSR worked closely with Lens in structuring unprecedented corporate reforms as part of the Sprint Corporation and Hanover Compressor securities class action settlements. "Investors have been hit very hard by numerous recent corporate scandals. Institutional shareholders have an amazing ability to influence how companies are run and this firm is helping them realize that power," said Robert Monks. Please visit www.lcsr.com for additional information.
SOURCE Lerach Coughlin Stoia & Robbins LLP