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Merrill Davidoff and Todd Collins Retire After Decades-Long Commitment to American Investors, Employees, and Consumers

DATE: December 22, 2022

Berger Montague Chairman Emeritus and Executive Shareholder Merrill G. Davidoff, and Executive Shareholder and General Counsel Todd Collins are retiring at the end of this year after serving the firm for a combined 90 years. Mr. Davidoff started his career at Berger Montague in 1972 soon after the firm was founded, while Mr. Collins joined the firm in 1982. The two have helped shape Berger Montague into the award-winning, nationally-respected law firm that is today, and will be remembered for their decades-long commitment to creating a more just society for American investors, workers, and consumers. 

After an Impressive 50-Year Career, Merrill Davidoff Praised as a ‘Giant in His Field’

Throughout his 50-year career with Berger Montague, Merrill Davidoff has been lead or co-lead counsel in numerous antitrust, commodities, securities, and environmental class actions. He also served as the firm’s Co-Chairman of the Antitrust Department and Chairman of the Environmental Group. His early years with Berger Montague included working alongside Berger Montague founders Dave Berger and Laddie Montague in the 1970s and 1980s on antitrust cases

“In those years, we were part of a small group of elite plaintiffs’ antitrust firms,” recalled Mr. Davidoff. 

Among his notable verdicts and settlements are In re Melridge Securities Litigation ($83 million securities fraud verdict and $240 million RICO verdict), In re Currency Conversion Fee Antitrust Litigation (settlements exceeding $386 million), In re MF Global Holdings Limited Investment Litigation (settled for well over $1 billion), and In Re Sunbeam Securities Litigation ($142 settlement).

Upon reviewing his long and illustrious career, a few achievements stand apart to Mr. Davidoff from the rest. 

“In the 1980s, we represented the world’s largest hops producers/dealers in 17 different matters, including defending against Anheuser-Busch (In re Hops Antitrust Litigation),” recalled Mr. Davidoff. “In one case, we won summary judgment and I argued for affirmance in the morning and received the affirmance in the same afternoon! The whole series of cases was, for our clients, a legal effort for their survival from which they emerged stronger.”

In addition to his antitrust and securities cases, Mr. Davidoff also litigated environmental cases. One of his most long-fought cases was Cook v. Rockwell International Corporation, in which he served as lead counsel. The class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of property owners whose land was contaminated by plutonium from the Colorado Rocky Flats nuclear weapons facility. After a 28-year long fight, the case ultimately settled for $375M.

Mr. Davidoff has been recognized as a “giant in the field” by Chambers USA and has been named a “Super Lawyer” 18 times, a “Best Lawyer” every year since 2007, Best Lawyer’s “Lawyer of the Year” for 2023, and the Public Justice Trial Lawyer of the Year in 2009, among other awards and honors. 

With Hundreds of Millions of Dollars in Recoveries to His Name, Todd Collins Fondly Remembers the People Who Made Him the ‘Luckiest Man’

Todd Collins has been instrumental in Berger Montague’s recent growth and success. He served as General Counsel, Chair of the ERISA practice, and was one of the firm’s Executive Committee members.

Throughout Mr. Collins’ 40-year career at Berger Montague, he led dozens of securities and ERISA cases and recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for plaintiffs and class members. Particularly noteworthy cases include In re IKON Office Solutions, Inc. Securities Litigation (resulted in a $111-million fund for class members), In re AremisSoft Securities Litigation ($104 million recovery), In re Lucent Technologies ERISA Litigation ($60 million recovery), In re Nortel Networks Securities Lending Litigation ($36 million recovery), In re Adams Golf Securities Litigation ($16 million settlement), In re Aero Systems, Inc. Securities Litigation (settlement equaled to 90 percent or more of class members’ estimated damages), In re AMF Bowling Securities Litigation ($20 million), and Ashworth Securities Litigation (plaintiffs achieved important corporate governance changes in addition to multi-million dollar recovery on behalf of the class). 

Mr. Collins has been named a “Super Lawyer” every year since 2005, one of Lawdragon’s 500 Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyers three times, and he was the 1978 recipient of the Henry C. Laughlin Prize for Legal Ethics.

However, despite his achievements, it is the people, he says, that he will remember the most.

“I owe too much to too many to name names. Where else could you do great work, on important cases, always on the right side, alongside the best legal talent in the business? You couldn’t pick a better law firm than this one,” shared Mr. Collins.

Though his Berger Montague career is coming to an end, after reflecting on his time with the firm Mr. Collins most resonated with Lou Gehrig’s famous quote, “I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” “I know what he means,” Mr. Collins said.

Berger Montague Also Says Goodbye to Shareholder Marty Twersky as He Retires After a 40-Year Plus Career

Also retiring this year is long-tenured shareholder, Marty Twersky. In his more than four decades at the firm, Mr. Twersky helped run such seminal antitrust cases as Bogosian v. Gulf Oil and In re Linerboard Antitrust Litigation. He played a key role in several non-antitrust cases as well, including a RICO matter against General Dynamics, and representing the Resolution Trust Corporation in banking litigation. Among his committee efforts at the firm, he co-chaired the firm’s first Pro Bono Committee.

Firm Chairman, Eric Cramer, said of his retiring partners, “It is the end of an era. Mr. Davidoff, Mr. Collins, and Mr. Twersky contributed significantly to the success of the firm and to its ability to achieve justice for thousands of investors, workers, and consumers that the firm has represented and continues to represent. They will all be missed. Because of their myriad contributions, Berger Montague’s next generation of leaders is now well prepared to take the firm to its next chapter of growth and success.”

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