Berger Montague Wins Two Awards in Legal Intelligencer’s 2019 Professional Excellence Awards Series

DATE: April 9, 2019

Berger Montague is proud to announce that the firm has won two categories in The Legal Intelligencer’s 2019 Professional Excellence Awards series. Chair Emeritus & Managing Shareholder Sherrie R. Savett has been named a 2019 Distinguished Leader, and the entire firm was named 2019 Class Action Litigation Department of the Year.

Each year, The Legal Intelligencer’s Professional Excellence Awards honor Pennsylvania law firms and attorneys who have made a significant, positive impact on the legal profession. Honorees will be recognized in special editorial sections and at an awards dinner set for June 27 at the Crystal Tea Room in Philadelphia.

As stated above, Ms. Savett has been named a 2019 Distinguished Leader. 2018 was a watershed year for Berger Montague, and the firm’s successes are a testament to the strong leadership provided by then-Chairwoman, Ms. Savett. She earned national attention in January 2018 when she took the helm of Berger Montague as the firm’s first female chair, and as one of the few women in the country to lead such a large and prominent firm. Most significantly, under Ms. Savett’s leadership, the firm moved from the historical brownstone where it was founded in 1970 to a dazzlingly redesigned new space in a modern office tower. As chairwoman, Ms. Savett used her vision and leadership to ensure the new offices would be world-class, and to make the move as seamless as possible.

In addition to moving its headquarters, Berger Montague grew under Ms. Savett’s leadership. In 2018, the firm added one staff attorney to its Minneapolis office, one associate to its antitrust group, one senior counsel to its consumer protection and insurance fraud group, and one associate to its qui tam group, of which Ms. Savett is also the co-chair.

While fulfilling her duties as chairwoman, Ms. Savett continued to serve as an example of excellence and determination in her own practice. She and her team of attorneys are lead counsel in many qui tam, securities, and consumer class action cases, several of which are in active discovery against some of the largest and most aggressive defense firms in the world.

In addition to Ms. Savett’s individual award, the entire firm was named 2019 Class Action Litigation Department of the Year for its exemplary work in class action cases such as Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation, In re Domestic Drywall Antitrust Litigation, and Beckett v. Aetna, Inc., et al.

In Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation, Berger Montague served as co-lead counsel for a national class including millions of merchants against Visa, MasterCard, and several of the largest banks in the U.S. (e.g., Chase, Bank of America, and Citi). The lawsuit alleged that merchants paid excessive fees to accept Visa and MasterCard cards because the payment cards, individually and together with their respective member banks, violated the antitrust laws. On September 18, 2018, after 13 years of hard-fought litigation, Visa and MasterCard agreed to pay as much as approximately $6.26 billion, but no less than approximately $5.56 billion, to settle the case. This result is the largest-ever class action settlement of an antitrust case. The settlement was preliminarily approved on January 24, 2019.

In In re Domestic Drywall Antitrust Litigation, the firm served as co-lead counsel on behalf of a class of direct purchasers of drywall. Plaintiffs alleged that the dominant manufacturers of drywall engaged in a conspiracy to fix drywall prices in the U.S. and abolish the industry’s longstanding practice of limiting price increases for the duration of a construction project through “job quotes.” On January 29, 2018, the district court granted preliminary approval of a joint settlement for $125 million with those defendants that had not previously settled. The settlement received final approval on July 17, 2018, bringing the total amount of settlements obtained in the litigation to $190.7 million.

Beckett v. Aetna, Inc., et al. was about a massive privacy breach alleging that insurance company Aetna violated the privacy rights of thousands of its customers by exposing its customers’ highly private and confidential information regarding prescriptions for HIV medication. The lawsuit alleged that Aetna sent a notice regarding HIV medication in a large-window envelope, exposing the highly confidential information for about 12,000 Aetna customers in 24 states. On January 17, 2018, a $17 million settlement was reached.

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