Neal Marder is a partner in Winston & Strawn’s Los Angeles office and chair of the firm’s national consumer class action practice. He concentrates on class and mass actions, bet-the-company litigation, and complex business and commercial litigation.
Mr. Marder has a diverse civil litigation practice and handles disputes in federal and state courts across the country involving business and consumer torts, securities fraud, white collar, RICO, intellectual property, unfair competition, and breach of fiduciary duty claims in M&A transactions. He has conducted internal investigations for clients under investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Four of Mr. Marder’s favorable decisions have resulted in published opinions in 2013:
- George v. China Automotive Systems, Inc., No. 11 Civ. 7533(KBF), 2013 WL 3357170 (S.D.N.Y. July 3, 2013): Defeated motion for class certification in shareholder securities fraud case, a decision widely publicized as being one of the first involving a Chinese merger company that entered U.S. markets through a reverse merger. Second Circuit denied plaintiffs’ petition for leave to file an appeal of trial court’s decision denying class certification.
- In re China Automotive Systems Inc. Derivative Litigation, C.A. No. 7145-VCN, 2013 WL 4672059 (Del. Ch. Aug. 30, 2013): Won motion to dismiss shareholder derivative case without leave to amend.
- AREI II Cases, 216 Cal. App. 4th 1004, 1018-19 (2013): Won, in part, the appeal of a demurrer that was sustained without leave to amend in the Morgan Keegan fraudulent conspiracy case.
- Perkumpulan Investor Crisis Center Dressel – WBG v. Danny M.K. Wong, et al., 2012 WL 3871582 (W.D.Wash.): Won motion to dismiss on behalf of Hong Kong citizen in a RICO and securities fraud class action. Ninth Circuit affirmed on appeal.
In addition to the China Automotive, AREI, and Wong cases, Mr. Marder’s recent string of successes in class and mass actions includes:
- Mireles, et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., et al., Los Angeles Superior Court, Case No. BC467652; Roberts, et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., et al., Sacramento Superior Court, Case No. 34-2011-00110146: Demurrer sustained without leave in two mass actions alleging a scheme to originate mortgages the plaintiffs could not afford with the secret purpose of selling those mortgages on the secondary market at excessive prices.
- Highly favorable class-wide settlements in cases representing The Cheesecake Factory, Winner Medical Group, PKF HongKong, SkyPeople Fruit Juice, and Medela, Inc.
Mr. Marder’s clients in these and other matters have included officers and directors, and companies such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Morgan Keegan, 3M, British Petroleum, Atlantic Richfield, Abbott Laboratories, The Prudential Insurance Company of America, MModal, Inc. (f.k.a. MedQuist, Inc.), Midas International, McDonald’s Corp., Waste Management, Imperial Chemical Inc., The Glidden Company, JM Smucker Company, Wyeth, and PPG Industries.
He also is one of the preeminent litigators in the United States who represents Chinese companies, auditors, and individuals in securities fraud, shareholder derivative, and other litigation. Representations include: Exceed Company Limited, SkyPeople Fruit Juice, Inc., China Automotive Systems, Inc., and PKF HongKong.
Additional Securities Class Action Experience:
- MModal, Inc. (f.k.a. MedQuist, Inc.) Multi-Front Litigation/ Investigations: Successfully resolved bet-the-company litigation against medical transcription provider MedQuist after the company publicly announced that it would not be able to file its Annual Report for 2003 pending completion of an independent review of the company’s billing practices, sparking a firestorm of class actions, investigations by the SEC, DOJ, and DOL, and delisting from the NASDAQ:
- Obtained dismissal of a shareholder derivative class action alleging that several MedQuist current and former board members breached their fiduciary duties. Affirmed on appeal, as reported in a published opinion by the Third Circuit (Rhonda Kanter v. MedQuist).
- Negotiated a nuisance value settlement of a shareholder securities fraud class action filed on behalf of all persons who purchased MedQuist common stock from March 29, 2000 through June 14, 2004 (William Steiner, et al. v. MedQuist).
- Favorably settled a nationwide employee class action brought on behalf of more than 25,000 present and former transcriptionists with no direct payment to the settlement class and no payment of attorneys’ fees (Brigitte Hoffman, et al. v. MedQuist).
- Won dismissal of the RICO and 17200 claims and favorable settled the fraud claims in a nationwide consumer class action brought on behalf of more than 4,500 hospitals and healthcare organizations (Krishna Reddy, et al. v. MedQuist).
- Goldman Sachs: Obtained dismissal, with prejudice, in a securities fraud class action in the U.S. District Court, Central District of California.
- Drexel Burnham: Was a member of the team that defended Lowell Milken in securities fraud class action litigation in New York and California arising out of the collapse of Drexel Burnham.
- SkyPeople Fruit Juice, Inc.: Current representation in two securities fraud shareholder class actions alleging that the company’s registration statement filed with the SEC in connection with a public offering and certain other SEC filings were materially misleading; preliminary settlement approval recently granted. Settlement also reached of a threatened shareholder derivative suit.
- China Expert Technology, Inc.: Current representation of the Hong Kong partners of PKF, an international firm of accountants, in the defense of a securities fraud class action brought by investors of CXTI, Inc., alleging that certain CXTI financial statements, which were audited by PKF, were false and misleading.
- Vite Rakauskas v. Winner Medical: Current representation of the defendant medical supplies company in a consolidated shareholder class action alleging breach of fiduciary duty by the company’s board of directors in connection with its approval of an offer by the company’s CEO to acquire all the outstanding shares of the company in a “going private” transaction. Preliminary settlement approval recently granted.
Additional Consumer Class Action Experience:
- Baghdasarian v. Medela: Obtained a nationwide settlement as lead counsel for Medela in a consumer fraud class action alleging violation of California’s UCL, FAL, and CLRA along with California and federal warranty laws in connection with the advertising of its bottles as safe for freezing breastmilk when allegedly they could break when frozen and dropped.
- Henderson v. The J.M. Smucker Company: Obtained the dismissal of the named plaintiff in a false advertising class action that is part of a series of cases against The J.M. Smucker Company concerning Uncrustables Sandwiches and Crisco Shortening products. Plaintiff alleged that certain statements on the labels for the products at issue are false and misleading because the products contain trace amounts of trans fat and high fructose corn syrup.
- Steven Sauceda et al. v. United Autocare Center, LLC et al.: Defended Midas, Inc. and Midas International Corporation in a consumer class action relating to the sale and advertisement of brake pads and alleging violations of Sections 17200 and 17500 of the Business and Professions Code, violation of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, breach of contract, and breach of implied and express warranties. Succeeded in getting the lead plaintiff stricken as a class representative.
- Steven Katz, et al. v. Midas International Corporation: Defeated class certification and obtained dismissal of all class claims in a nationwide class action on behalf of Midas alleging breach of warranty under the consumer protection statutes and UCCs of all 50 states.
- Bassie Ribiat et al. v. Midas International Corporation: Defended Midas International in a consumer class action alleging deceptive business and advertising practices with respect to its oil services.
Mass Tort/Product Liability Experience:
- Billings et al. v. British Petroleum: Defended British Petroleum in a multi-plaintiff mass tort and class action suit brought by more than 400 individual plaintiffs in Los Angeles Superior Court alleging that a BP refinery released toxic chemicals into the soil, air, and water, causing property and personal injuries to the surrounding area and its residents. Succeeded in getting the class claims stricken from the complaint and limiting the remaining individual plaintiffs’ theories for relief to their specifically alleged medical injuries.
- In re Bisphenol-A (BPA) Polycarbonate Plastic Products Liability Litigation: Obtained dismissal on behalf of Abbott Laboratories in a nationwide class action in the Western District of Missouri as part of a multidistrict litigation coordinated proceeding claiming that Abbott failed to disclose that the packaging for certain of its liquid infant formula products allegedly contained trace amounts of the chemical Bisphenol-A.
Antitrust Class Action Experience:
- In re Laminates Antitrust Litigation: Defended Premark and Wilsonart in several class actions alleging price-fixing in the laminates industry that were coordinated before the Alameda County Superior Court and alleged antitrust violations under the Cartwright Act and unfair competition under California Business and Professions Code §17200.
- Helling v. Wyeth: Secured summary judgment for Wyeth in several class action lawsuits alleging antitrust violations under the Cartwright Act and unfair competition under California Business and Professions Code §17200. The cases arose from Wyeth’s settlement of a patent infringement action.
- In re Automotive Refinishing Paint Antitrust Litigation: Defended PPG Industries in several class actions alleging price-fixing in the paint refinishing industry that were coordinated before the Alameda County Superior Court and alleged claims for antitrust violations under the Cartwright Act and unfair competition under California Business and Professions Code §17200.
Mr. Marder received a B.S., cum laude, from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1982, and a J.D., cum laude, from Loyola University School of Law, Los Angeles in 1986, where he was a member of the St. Thomas More Law Honor Society and was elected to Order of the Coif.
Honors & Awards
Mr. Marder is listed in the 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 editions of The Best Lawyers in America, as well as in the Best California Attorneys for 2013 and in the Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions - Defendants category for the U.S. News & World Reports Best Lawyers 2011-2012 Edition. In addition, Mr. Marder has been selected as a Los Angeles Top Attorney by Best Lawyers in 2013. He is also listed in Lawdragon Magazine's 2006 and 2010 guides and the Lawdragon 500 Leading Litigators in America. Mr. Marder was chosen for the Southern California Super Lawyers list each year from 2007 through 2013; only 5 percent of Southern California attorneys (excluding San Diego) are chosen each year. He was also listed in the 2008/2009 Cambridge Who’s Who Registry Among Executives and Professionals, the 2009/2010 edition Strathmore’s Who's Who, and the American Registry 2013 edition of Los Angeles' Top Attorneys.
Mr. Marder is chair of the firm’s consumer class action practice group.
Mr. Marder is a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the Litigation Section of the State Bar of California, and the Association of Business Trial Lawyers.
Mr. Marder is also a member of the Strafford Class Action Advisory Board, and a board member of the American Business Trial Lawyers Association and Bet Tzedek.
Mr. Marder was quoted regarding the In Re China Automotive Systems Inc. in an article titled “Suit Against China Automotive Crashes and Burns in Delaware Court” that appeared in the September 30, 2013 edition of Westlaw Journal Delaware Corporate. He also was one of several attorneys featured in Martindale-Hubbell’s Counsel to Counsel January 2011 spotlight on class actions and Winston’s West Coast practice in that area.
- “Securities Law: Fraud-on-the-Market Theory Demystified,” The Knowledge Congress Webinar, July 23, 2013.
- “False Advertising Consumer Class Actions: Best Practices and Latest Developments,” Strafford Webinar, July 18, 2013.
- “False Advertising Consumer Class Actions: Latest Developments,” American Bar Association, Dec. 5, 2012.
- “Securities Litigation in 2012 and Beyond: New Targets, New Solutions,” panel presentation for the Association of Corporate Counsel – Southern California Chapter, Nov. 13, 2012.
- “Class Actions in the United States: Lessons for Collective Actions in Mexico,” Sept. 28, 2012, Mexico City.
- “False Advertising Consumer Class Actions: Latest Developments- Best Practices for Bringing and Defending Misleading Advertisement Litigation,” Strafford Webinar, Sept. 6, 2012
- “Securities Litigation in 2012 and Beyond: New Targets, New Solutions,” Winston & Strawn eLunch, May 2012.
- “Pre-Certification Dispositive Motions, Pleadings Challenges, Class vs. Merit Discovery, Ex Parte Communication with Putative Class Members, Pre-certification Production of a Class List,” moderator, Bridgeport’s 12th Annual Class Action Litigation Conference, April 19-20, 2012.
“False Advertising Consumer Class Actions: Latest Developments - Best Practices for Bringing and Defending Misleading Advertisement Litigation,” Strafford Webinar, Nov. 22, 2011.
“United States Securities Law — Considerations for Chinese Companies,” Winston & Strawn U.S. Securities Litigation Seminar, Shanghai, Nov. 1, 2011.
- “The Dodd Frank Act and its Potential Impact on Class Action Lawsuits,” Law Seminars International - Litigating Class Actions, May 9, 2011.
- “Saving the Franchise: How to Avert and Survive Unexpected Crises,” Association of Corporate Counsel – Southern California Chapter DoubleHeader® Event, March 31, 2011.
- “California Consumer Class Actions Post In re Tobacco II,” Strafford Webinar, Jan. 27, 2011.
- “Bet the Company Litigation in the New Economy,” 22nd Annual General Counsel Conference, New York, June 8, 2010.
- Bridgeport’s 9th Annual Class Action Litigation Conference, co-chairman of conference, Los Angeles, April 22-23, 2010.
- “When Good Contracts Go Bad: A Litigator’s Perspective on Common Contract Disputes,” Association of Corporate Counsel — Southern California Chapter Webinar, April 21, 2010.
- “Consumer Class Action Litigation, Leveraging New Developments in Class Certification, Causation and Reliance,” Strafford Webinar, April 20, 2010.
- “Preparing for the Rebound,” The Forecast for Complex Litigation and Government Enforcement, presented by the Association of Corporate Counsel, Nov. 17, 2009.
- “Trends in Class Action Litigation,” presented by Association of Corporate Counsel, Nov. 17, 2009.
- “Managing Client Relationships,” Sandpiper Partners’ Second Annual California Legal Market, Los Angeles, Oct. 28, 2009.
- “Bridgeport/Consumer Class Actions: The Effects of In Re Tobacco II on California Consumer Class Actions,” Oct. 23, 2009, Orange Co. Hilton, Calif.
- “Ethical Dilemmas for Corporate Counsel – Privilege and Internal Investigations,” 48th Annual Corporate Counsel Institute conference presented by Northwestern Law, October 2009.
- “Making the Argument to Win: Advanced Tactics and Strategies for Winning the Class Action Case at Trial,” American Conference Institute’s 3rd Annual Defense Counsel Forum on Positioning the Class Action Defense for Early Success in Phoenix, Sept. 23-24, 2009.
- “Effective Class Action Settlement Strategies: Best Practices to Secure Court Approval and Favorable Outcomes,” CLE Teleconference, May 14, 2009.
- “Litigation Management — Getting Out in Front of Major Litigation Early,” Northwestern Law School 47th Annual Corporate Counsel Institute in San Francisco, December 2008.
- “When Bet-the-Company Litigation Strikes,” ALM GC Conference, San Francisco, November 2008.
- “Complex Litigation — The First Hundred Days,” West LegalEdcenter Webcast, October 2008.
- “Effective Strategies for Managing Complex Class Action Litigation,” Winston & Strawn eLunch, September 2008.
- Instructor for “Class Action Update: Today’s Trends & Strategies For Success” in January 2007 and as a speaker and moderator for the PLI National Symposium on Class Actions held in Washington, D.C.
- Speaker at the National Business Institute’s “Keys to Successful Pre-Trial Preparation” seminar held in Pasadena in November 2005.
Co-author, “Directors and officers prevail in securities fraud, derivative challenges to China Automotive’s accounting practices,” Westlaw Journal: Delaware Corporate, Volume 28, Issue 7, October 14, 2013 (N. Marder, J. Schreiber, A. Rabbani, and S. Obi)
- Mr. Marder was quoted in the Reuters article "China Automotive Investors Lose Class Certification Bid," June 4, 2013.
- Co-author, Defending Chinese Companies Listed on U.S. Exchanges, Today’s General Counsel (April/May 2013) (N. Marder and M. Sordina).
- Mr. Marder was quoted in the InsideCounsel article, “Supreme Court Will Hear Law Firms’ Appeals in Allen Stanford Case,” January 21, 2013.
- “The Impact of Mazza v. American Honda Motor Co. on Nationwide Consumer Protection Class Actions,” Bloomberg BNA Product Safety & Liability Reporter, December 10, 2012.
- “The Potential Legal Quandary of Defending US Public Companies in Mainland China,” Winston & Strawn Asia Practice Update, October, 2012.
- “Collective Actions in Mexico: Similarities, Differences, and Implications,” Bloomberg BNA Class Action Report, Vol. 13, No. 20, Oct. 26, 2012.
- Mr. Marder was quoted in the Associated Press article, “AP Interview: AutoChina Tycoon Baffled by US Probe,” which appeared in several other publications including CBS MoneyWatchand The Business Insider, regarding the recent increase of class action lawsuits against foreign, publically traded companies, July 6, 2012.
- Mr. Marder was quoted in the National Law Journal article, “Chinese Company Claims Victory in False-Rumor Suit,” where he discussed the recent settlement for SkyPeople Fruit Juice, Inc. and its significance concerning the recent uptick of reports from short sellers and the damage that can result, June, 27 2012.
- Mr. Marder was quoted in the Inside Counsel article, “Federal Securities Law Doesn’t Preclude State Law Class Actions,” where he discussed Roland v. Green and its significance concerning the interpretation of the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act (SLUSA), May 30, 2012.
- “Debating Preclusion of State Law Securities Claims,” co-author, Law360, April 19, 2012.
- “The ‘Reasonable Consumer’s’ View of Green Labels—Lessons From Two Greenwashing Cases,” co-author, GCI Magazine, March 2012.
- “SEC Announces Tighter Listing Standards for Companies Seeking to Enter the U.S. Market Through Reverse Mergers,” Winston & Strawn client briefing, November 2011.
- “Out-of-Court Settlement Programs Can Avert a Class Action: They Must Be ‘Superior’”Executive Counsel, October/November 2011.
- “Courts Give Guidance on Greenwashing Claims,” happi.com, October 10, 2011.
- “Supreme Court Holds the ‘Fraud on the Market’ Presumption Sufficient on Class Certification,” Westlaw Journal — Class Action, Aug. 25, 2011 (with M. Sordina).
- “Class Actions after Tobacco II,” California Lawyer, August 2011 (with C. Dodd, S. Smerek and N. Herft).
- “Up in Smoke,” co-author, The Recorder, July 1, 2009.
- “Standing Straight,” co-author, Los Angeles Daily Journal, June 2009.
- Loyola Law School Los Angeles JD, 1986