Barbara A. Podell is a Shareholder in the Securities practice group at the Firm. She concentrates her practice on securities class action litigation.
Ms. Podell graduated from the University of Pennsylvania (cum laude) and the Temple University School of Law (magna cum laude), where she was Editor-in-Chief of the Temple Law Quarterly. Ms. Podell was one of the top nine students in her law school graduating class and was editor-in-chief of the Temple Law Quarterly (Volume 51).
Upon earning her Bachelor of Arts degree, Ms. Podell attended the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University and, from 1973 to 1975, was a full-time faculty member at Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the Department of Art History.
Ms. Podell was one of the Firm’s senior attorneys representing the Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System (“SERS”) as the lead plaintiff in the In re CIGNA Corp. Sec. Litig., No. 02-CV-8088 (E.D. Pa.), a federal securities fraud class action in which CIGNA allegedly concealed crucial operational problems, which, once revealed, caused the company’s stock price to fall precipitously. The Firm obtained a $93 million settlement which was a remarkable recovery because there were no accounting restatements, government investigations, typical indicators of financial fraud, or insider trading. The case was settled on the eve of trial (22.7% of losses recovered).
Ms. Podell was responsible for in In re Howell Family Trust DTD 01/27/2004 v. Hollis M. Greenlaw, et al., No. 3:18-cv-02864-M (N.D. Tex.), a derivative case alleging a Ponzi scheme and improper related party transactions, in which Berger Montague was sole lead counsel. Defendants’ motions to dismiss were denied in their entirety by Chief Judge Barbara Lynn and Plaintiff achieved a settlement providing monetary consideration and the introduction of meaningful corporate governance measures explicitly directed to changing the practices upon which Plaintiff’s claims were based. During the final settlement approval hearing on March 25, 2021, Judge Brantley Starr praised Berger Montague’s litigation of the case as “a model on how to handle a case like this,” and as a “testament” to counsel’s “diligence and professionalism.” The court concluded that “I wish I could send everyone to [your] school of litigation management.” The settlement was approved on April 7, 2021.
Ms. Podell was responsible for Dong v. Cloopen Group Holding Limited, et al. in which Berger Montague was sole lead counsel in a securities class action alleging violations of the 1933 and 1934 securities laws. On March 16, 2023, Judge John G. Koeltl issued an opinion and order denying entirely defendants’ motions to dismiss, including a finding that plaintiff had adequately alleged scienter. Cloopen, 2023 WL2534599 (S.D.N.Y. March 16, 2023). A Confidential Term Sheet to resolve the litigation was entered into on June 6, 2023.
Ms. Podell took a lead role in In re Fisker Automotive Holdings, Inc. Shareholder Securities, No. 13-02100-SLR (D. Del.), in which Berger Montague was co-lead counsel. The action, brought by 18 substantial investors, alleged securities violations arising from their investment in electric car developer Fisker, which filed for bankruptcy in 2013. All three of Defendants’ motions to dismiss were denied and summary judgment motions were pending when the case was resolved in a confidential settlement in 2019, shortly before trial.
Ms. Podell was primarily responsible for the Firm’s work as a member of the Executive Committee of Plaintiffs’ counsel in In re Woodbridge Investment Litig., 2020 WL 4529739 (C.D. Cal. Aug. 5, 2020), involving a Ponzi scheme. The case settled for $54 million.
Ms. Podell was Co-lead Counsel in The Eshe Fund v. Fifth Third Bancorp, No. 08-0421 (S.D. Ohio), in which Co-lead Counsel recovered $16 million for investors, representing 100% of their damages. Plaintiffs claimed that Fifth Third misrepresented its involvement in the subprime securities market in violation of the federal securities laws.
Ms. Podell took a lead role in In re Luckin Coffee Inc. Sec. Litig., Index No. 651939/2020 (Sup. Ct. New York County) (Commercial Division), in which Berger Montague was appointed co-lead counsel in a case alleging that the Luckin defendants fabricated hundreds of millions of dollars of transactions in order to create the appearance of revenue and operational growth. The case involves the complex interactions between the law of the Cayman Islands, US Bankruptcy law and federal and state securities actions involving numerous classes of investors and numerous foreign parties located in China.
Before joining the Firm, Ms. Podell was a founding member of Savett Frutkin Podell & Ryan, P.C., and before that, a shareholder at Kohn, Savett, Klein & Graf P.C. and an associate at Dechert LLP, all in Philadelphia.
Ms. Podell is a volunteer Weekend Guide at The Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Rodin Museum, a volunteer Docent at The Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, was Chair of the Board of the Weekend Guides of the Philadelphia Museum of Art from 2016 through 2018 and a Board member from 2012-2022, is a member of The Women’s Committee of The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and a member of the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Board of Trustee’s South Asian Art Committee.
Business and Community Leadership
- Docent, The Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia.
- Volunteer Guide, Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia.
- Chair, Executive Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art Weekend Guides, 2016-2018; Member of Executive Committee, 2012-present.
- Chair of the 2007 annual fundraising gala for the Lower Merion Conservancy; Co-chair for the 2010 gala.
- Member of The Women’s Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Prominent Judgments and Settlements
- In re Cigna Corp. Sec. Litig. ($93 million settlement)
- Dodona I LLC v. Goldman, Sachs & Co., ($27.5 million settlement)
- Aetna ($81.5 million settlement) (Savett Frutkin)
- In re Toll Bros. Sec. Litig. ($25 million settlement)
- In re Cryolife Sec. Litig. ($23.5 million settlment)
- In re Fifth Third Securities Litigation ($16 million settlement)
- In re Viropharma Sec. Litig. ($9 million settlement)
- In re Hemispherx Biopharma Sec. Litig. ($3.6 million settlement)
Honors & Awards
- The Legal Intelligencer Class Action Litigation Department of the Year (Finalist) 2022
- Named a Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyer (2019 – 2020)
- Member – Pennsylvania Bar
- Admitted – Pennsylvania Supreme Court
- Admitted – Eastern District of Pennsylvania
- Admitted – Second Circuit Court of Appeals
- Admitted – Third Circuit Court of Appeals