Charlie Lifland focuses on class action and appellate work in the fields of mass torts, antitrust and unfair business practices, securities and consumer fraud, and punitive damages. Over more than 30 years of practice, he has litigated complex business cases and handled high-profile appeals in courts across the country. Leading energy, technology, pharmaceutical, and medical device companies—including ExxonMobil Corporation, Johnson & Johnson, and Merck & Co.—have turned to Charlie for their most important litigation matters.
Charlie also has defended clients in criminal antitrust and securities investigations, and regularly counsels clients on compliance with federal and state antitrust and unfair competition laws. He was part of an O’Melveny team that scored a defense victory in a six month antitrust trial the San Francisco Daily Journal hailed as one of the Top Defense Verdicts of 2011. Charlie was the 2003-2004 Chair of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Antitrust and Unfair Business Practices Section.
- Defense of mass tort litigation arising from the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Charlie secured certification of a mandatory class for unitary resolution of all punitive damages claims, and was one of the company’s lead appellate counsel in In re Exxon Valdez (9th Cir. 2001) (vacating US$5 billion punitive award), and Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker (US 2008) (reducing final punitive award from US$2.5 billion to US$500 million). He was also lead appellate counsel for ExxonMobil in Alabama Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources v. Exxon Corp. (Ala. 2002) (vacating US$3.4 billion punitive award), and Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Alabama Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (Ala. 2007) (reversing US$3.5 billion punitive award after retrial).
- Defense of State Attorney General Medicaid and consumer fraud enforcement actions. Charlie was lead appellate counsel for Johnson & Johnson and its affiliate Ortho-McNeil-Janssen, maker of the antipsychotic drug Risperdal, in Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals v. Arkansas (Ark. 2014) (reversing US$1.4 billion civil penalty and attorney fee award under Arkansas Medicaid fraud and deceptive practices statutes) and Caldwell ex rel. Louisiana v. Janssen Pharmaceutica (La. 2014) (reversing US$330 million civil penalty and attorney fee award under Louisiana Medicaid fraud statute).
- Defense of mass tort litigation arising from allegedly defective prescription drugs and medical devices. Charlie was one of the lead national defense counsel for Merck in mass tort litigation over Vioxx®, and was lead appellate counsel in Merck & Co. v. Ernst(Tex. App. 2009) (reversing US$253 million jury verdict from first Vioxx trial), In re Vioxx Class Cases (Cal. App. 2009) (affirming refusal to certify consumer and third-party payor economic loss class action), and McDarby v. Merck & Co. (N.J. App. 2008) (reversing US$9 million punitive award and multimillion dollar attorney fee awards). He was also lead appellate counsel in Bailey v. Janssen Pharmaceutica (Miss. 2004) (reversing US$100 million jury verdict for 10 prescription drug plaintiffs), Armond v. Janssen Pharmaceutica (Miss. 2004) (invalidating mass joinder of pharmaceutical personal injury claims), and Kerr v. Inamed Corp. (9th Cir. 2002) (affirming dismissal of medical device class action brought by overseas plaintiffs), and has served as lead counsel on legal and appellate issues in similar cases in California and elsewhere. As part of this work, he has defeated nationwide class certification of medical monitoring and consumer refund claims and led successful challenges to unscientific expert testimony. Charlie has also advised both pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers on federal preemption and punitive damages issues.
- US Court of Appeals, Fourth and Ninth Circuits
- US Supreme Court
- US District Court, Southern, and Central Districts of California
- Harvard University, J.D., 1982: magna cum laude
- Yale University, B.A., 1979: magna cum laude, with Distinction in Economics
- Honorable Mariana R. Pfaelzer, US District Court, Central District of California (1982-83)
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