David Sanford

David Sanford - Chairman

David Sanford

Chairman

Biography

David Sanford is the Chairman and co-founder of Sanford Heisler Sharp LLP.  He has recovered more than one billion dollars for individual clients and the United States government since 2004.

David represents C-suite executives and non-managerial hourly employees throughout the US. He has served as lead counsel in more than 50 class actions and numerous qui tam cases around the country and represented more than 100 general counsel and attorneys (in-house and outside counsel) in contract disputes, employment matters, and severance packages.

Within the past year, David was lead counsel in a $14.25 million class action settlement against Rabbi Freundel and other defendants on behalf of women surreptitiously videotaped while performing a religious cleansing ritual; and David settled a $4 million gender discrimination case on behalf of female members of Forest Laboratories’ national sales force.  David was lead trial counsel for a professor at Columbia University Business School in a sexual harassment/retaliation matter, which culminated in a $1.25 million jury verdict after a three week trial in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

David is lead counsel currently representing more than 15 female partners at BigLaw firms throughout America. On behalf of three female partners, he recently settled a case alleging gender discrimination and pay inequity against Chadbourne & Parke (now Norton Rose Fulbright). He also recently settled a gender discrimination matter on behalf of female partner at Proskauer Rose and Sedgwick. For his work in bringing cases and discussing the issues surrounding gender equality in law firms, the American Lawyer had chosen David as a finalist for its 2018 Attorney of the Year award.

He is also class counsel in ERISA matters pending against Morgan Stanley, Home Depot and General Electric. David has also settled gender discrimination class actions with extensive class-wide relief against Novartis, Daiichi Pharmaceuticals, Qualcomm, Publicis, and Alcon Pharmaceuticals.

David was inducted into the National Law Journal’s “Elite Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame” and named among the top 100 trial lawyers in America by the National Trial Lawyers. He is recognized as a “Top Employment Lawyer” by American Lawyer, Corporate Counsel and the National Law Journal; and rated “Band One” by Chambers. Recognized by Law360 as an “Employment Lawyer MVP” and as a “Titan of the Plaintiffs’ Bar,” David has also been selected as a “Super Lawyer” in both Washington, DC and New York. Since 2006, he has been AV-rated by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given to an attorney by judges and attorneys nationwide.

He sits on the Board of the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem and on the Board of Corps Africa. David is a member of the advisory board of the Foundation for Advocacy, Inclusion, and Resources, a non-profit focused on increasing diversity in the plaintiffs’ employment bar and raising public consciousness about workers’ rights; is on the advisory board of Aernos; and is an advisory forum member of the Stanford University Center on the Legal Profession.

Credentials

Education

  • J.D., Stanford Law School 1995
  • ABD, UNC, Chapel Hill 1985
  • M.A., UNC, Chapel Hill 1984
  • B.A., Vassar College 1980

Clerkship

  • Honorable Gladys Kessler, United States District Court for the District of Columbia

Bar Admissions

  • Maryland 1997
  • District of Columbia 1998

Court Admissions

  • United States District Court for the District of Maryland (1998)
  • United States District Court for the District of Columbia (1998)
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida (2006)
  • United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois (2006)
  • United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (1998)
  • United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (2016)
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (2017)
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (2010)
  • United States Supreme Court (2005)

Major Cases

CHADBOURNE & PARKE, LLP GENDER DISCRIMINATION CLASS ACTION

According to Plaintiff Kerrie Campbell, a nationally recognized trial lawyer and partner in Chadbourne’s Washington, DC office, female partners at the firm are excluded from positions of decision-making authority and receive less pay and bonuses even when they out-perform their male counterparts. There is only a one-tier partnership, with every partner characterized as an equity partner. Read More

PROSKAUER ROSE GENDER DISCRIMINATION LAWSUIT

Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP, represents an anonymous female partner at Proskauer Rose, LLP, who is suing the prominent international law firm for $50 million for alleged gender bias in her compensation and other conditions of employment. Read More

SEDGWICK GENDER DISCRIMINATION CLASS ACTION - SETTLEMENT REACHED

Traci M. Ribeiro, a high-performing, non-equity Partner at Sedgwick, alleges that Sedgwick engaged in systemic pay and promotion discrimination and thereby violated Title VII, the Equal Pay Act, and analogous state laws. Read More

TRANSAMERICA ERISA CLASS ACTION

The complaint alleges the company invests employees’ retirement savings in multiple funds that consistently underperform their investment benchmarks and other similar collective investment funds. Read More

MORGAN STANLEY ERISA CLASS ACTION

The complaint states the company invests employees’ retirement savings in multiple funds that consistently underperform compared to other similar collective investment funds. The company also steers these investments to Morgan Stanley’s own poorly performing mutual funds, profiting off employees’ retirement savings. Read More

GENERAL ELECTRIC ERISA CLASS ACTION

The Complaint asserts that GE and the Plan violated the Federal Employee Retirement Security Act (ERISA) by breaching their fiduciary duties and engaging in prohibited transactions and unlawful self-dealing detrimental to the three named plaintiffs individually and as representatives of a class. Read More

NOVARTIS PHARMACEUTICAL GENDER DISCRIMINATION CLASS ACTION – $253 MILLION JURY VERDICT; $175 MILLION SETTLEMENT

In the largest gender discrimination case to ever go to trial, Sanford Heisler successfully represented a class of 5,600 female sales representatives of Novartis Pharmaceutical Company in their gender pay and promotion and pregnancy discrimination claims. A unanimous decision by a jury of nine found Novartis liable for gender discrimination in pay and promotion and pregnancy-related matters and awarded 12 former Novartis sales reps $3.36 million in compensatory damages and the class of 5,600 women an additional $250 million in punitive damages In addition, the verdict from the jury meant that the remaining 5,600 women in the class were also entitled to additional awards of backpay and to seek compensatory damage awards up to $300,000 each. The verdict and the resulting monetary awards was the largest ever in the U.S in an employment discrimination case. Read More

NOVARTIS PHARMACEUTICAL WAGE & HOUR CLASS ACTION – $99 MILLION SETTLEMENT

In 2012, Sanford Heisler Sharp reached a $99 million settlement with Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation (”Novartis”) to resolve a nation-wide class and collective action brought on behalf of thousands of Novartis sales representatives. The settlement ranks among the largest wage and hour settlements. Read More

QUALCOMM GENDER DISCRIMINATION CLASS ACTION – $19.5 MILLION SETTLEMENT

In addition to monetary relief, the settlement requires Qualcomm to institute comprehensive programmatic relief, which will ensure that female employees working, for example, in STEM and related positions will enjoy equal job opportunities at the company. The settlement on behalf of a class of approximately 3300 women was reached before Plaintiffs filed suit. Read More

GENERAL ELECTRIC RACE DISCRIMINATION ACTION

Sanford Heisler represented Marc Thomas, President and CEO of General Electric Aviation Materials, in his suit on behalf of himself and other African-American executives at GE. Mr. Thomas alleged racial discrimination in pay and promotions at the highest levels of the GE Corporate structures. Sanford Heisler settled the case for undisclosed terms.

NOVARTIS/ALCON GENDER DISCRIMINATION AND EQUAL PAY ACT COLLECTIVE ACTION

In March 2015, Plaintiffs Elyse Dickerson and Dr. Susan Orr filed a Title VII and Equal Pay Act case against the pharma giant Novartis and its Alcon division in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The lawsuit seeks $110 million, company-wide changes to redress gender discrimination, and individual relief. Read More

SMITH & NEPHEW RACE DISCRIMINATION IN HIRING, PAY AND PROMOTION CLASS ACTION – $4 MILLION SETTLEMENT

Sanford Heisler Sharp represented a class of African-Americans in race discrimination claims against Smith & Nephew, an international medical devices corporation. Our clients suffered discrimination in hiring, pay and promotions. The Court approved a $4 million class settlement in November 2009. In addition to the $4M award, the Court approved extensive non-monetary, systemic changes at Smith & Nephew.

FAIRFIELD RESORTS GENDER DISCRIMINATION & SEXUAL HARASSMENT CLASS ACTION – $5 MILLION SETTLEMENT

Sanford Heisler Sharp represented a class of women in a sexual harassment and gender discrimination claims against Fairfield Resorts Incorporated, a major resort and timeshare company. The case was settled on behalf of all female employees at Fairfield’s Nashville, Tennessee facility in 2006, with over five million dollars in damages and significant modifications to Fairfield’s internal policies and procedures. Read More

COSTCO WAGE AND HOUR CLASS ACTION LITIGATION

Sanford Heisler Sharp represents employees who worked at Costco Wholesale warehouses and were subjected to unpaid security “lockdowns” as a routine part of their work day. In December 2010, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California certified their suit as a state class action in California and a federal conditional collective action nationwide. The court later decertified the action and the case is on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. On appeal, plaintiffs claim that the court misapplied the law and deprived employees of any opportunity for relief from Costco’s wage violations. Read More

BARRETT, ET AL, v. FOREST LABORATORIES, INC., ET AL.

In July 2012, Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP filed a $100 million class action lawsuit against Forest Laboratories, Inc., and Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (“Forest”) in federal court in New York, alleging, among other claims, that Forest discriminates against its female Sales Representatives by paying them less than their male counterparts. The Plaintiffs also allege claims of failure to promote, discrimination based on pregnancy and maternity leave, sexual harassment, and retaliation. In 2014, the Court denied Forest’s attempt to dismiss the Plaintiffs’ claims, and in 2015 the Court conditionally certified a class under the Equal Pay Act (EPA). Read More

MERCK GENDER PAY, PROMOTION AND PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION CLASS ACTION

This gender discrimination class action against pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co., Inc. was originally filed by Plaintiff Kelli Smith in May 2013 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. In January 2014, four additional class representatives from around the country joined the suit as plaintiffs alleging pay, promotion and pregnancy discrimination against the company. Read More

PUBLICIS GROUPE AND MSL GENDER PAY, PROMOTION AND PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION CLASS ACTION

Sanford Heisler Sharp filed a class action gender discrimination lawsuit on behalf of women working at Publicis Group and MSLGroup since 2008 alleging pay and promotion discrimination. The suit also alleges discriminatory terminations, demotions and job reassignments of female employees following maternity leave. Read More

PENDERGRASS v. CITY GEAR, LLC, A.K.A. SHELMAR RETAIL PARTNERS, LLC AND MARTY’S INC

Sanford Heisler Sharp represented a class of approximately 300 Store Managers and Assistant Managers who were improperly classified as ineligible for overtime pay. The company categorized these workers as salaried managerial employees but failed to pay them on a true salary basis. If the employees failed to work a particular number of hours per week, City Gear did not pay them their full salaries; instead, the company took pay deductions premised on an hourly rate of pay. The employees alleged that the company could not have it both ways and must pay them for their overtime. The case settled on a class basis in 2014. Read More

GENERAL ELECTRIC GENDER DISCRIMINATION MATTER

Sanford Heisler Sharp represented Lorene Schaefer, former General Counsel of GE Transportation, and a class of executive female employees and a class of female attorneys. General Electric Company and Lorene Schaefer announced they settled the lawsuit in May 2007. During their settlement discussions, GE and Ms. Schaefer along with Kim Conklin, Margaret Harding and Jeana Quintana, reviewed policies and practices that are effective in building and sustaining an inclusive culture. These discussions will contribute to GE’s programs focused on developing women in its executive ranks. The terms of the settlement are confidential. Read More.

IAN JACK MILLER v. ZARA USA, INC. ET AL.

Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP today filed a $40 million lawsuit against Zara USA, Inc., the flagship brand for the largest fashion retailer in the world, Inditex Group. The lawsuit alleges that Zara discriminated against and then fired its in-house counsel, Ian Jack Miller, because he is Jewish, American, and gay. The case seeks damages for creating a hostile work environment, pay discrimination, and unlawful and retaliatory termination based on Mr. Miller’s nationality, religion, and sexual orientation. Read More

FABIO SILVA v. GIORGIO ARMANI, CORP., ET. AL.

According to his complaint, during his tenure at Giorgio Armani Corporation, the company’s Chief Financial Officer informed General Counsel Fabio Silva he did not trust Mexicans, and thereafter subjected Mr. Silva to increased scrutiny and discriminatory treatment. When General Counsel Silva reported this treatment to Chief Operations Officer, Giorgio Fornari, and Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Lucinda Rosso, General Counsel Silva was berated for complaining. General Counsel Silva was then denied a raise for reporting the discrimination. Read More

UNITED STATES EX REL GIPSON v. PATHWAY GENOMICS CORPORATION

Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP, along with Aashish Y. Desai of the Desai Law Firm, P.C., represented Relator Monique Gipson, who sued San Diego-based Pathway Genomics in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California under the whistleblower provisions of the federal False Claims Act, the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, and the relevant provisions of the false claims acts of the states and the District of Columbia pertaining to healthcare fraud. Gipson was a former sales representative at Pathway Genomics with first-hand knowledge of the company’s wrongdoing. Read More

CRACKER BARREL RACE DISCRIMINATION CLASS ACTION – $8.7 MILLION SETTLEMENT

David Sanford was lead counsel in a race discrimination class action suit against Cracker Barrel restaurants. The case concerned discrimination in pay and promotion, and also involved discrimination against African-American customers. The United States Department of Justice intervened in the case after five years of litigation and the suit settled for $8.7 million.

US MARSHALS SERVICE RACE DISCRIMINATION CLASS ACTIONS

In July 2012, David Sanford, a partner and founder at Sanford Heisler, a leading national public interest law firm, received a decision from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on a class action appeal filed in 2007. The decision gives the green light for certification of a class complaint originally filed in July 1994, asserting that African-Americans are systematically discriminated against based on race by the U.S. Marshall’s Service (USMS). Read More

GOOGLE, INC. WAGE & HOUR CLASS ACTION

Former Google contract employee Tymuoi Ha filed the complaint in Santa Clara Superior Court against Google, Inc. and Urpan Technologies (UrpanTech), one of the many staffing agencies through which Google acquires temporary and contract workers. The complaint alleges that Defendants violated the California Labor Code by denying employees compensation for all overtime worked, failing to pay owed wages upon separation from employment and not furnishing accurate wage statements. Read More.

RABBI FREUNDEL VOYEURISM CLASS ACTIONS

Early in 2015, Freundel pled guilty in a criminal proceeding before the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, to numerous counts of illicitly filming women as they used the “mikvah”- a Jewish ritual bath frequently used by married Orthodox women as well as by women undergoing conversion to Judaism. Read More.

FOUR SEASONS RACE AND PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION MATTER

Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP, one of the nation’s leading civil rights law firms, today filed a suit in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia detailing discriminatory actions and civil rights violations by the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. The complaint details the Georgetown hotel’s race and pregnancy discrimination against Lisa White, a popular and high-performing female African-American esthetician who worked in the hotel’s spa. Read More

CIGNA HEALTH CARE GENDER DISCRIMINATION CASE

Gender discrimination in the form of a hostile work environment and differential treatment of males and females occurs company-wide at CIGNA Health Care Inc., according to a class action complaint filed by a female CIGNA employee in the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts today. Read More

QUEST DIAGNOSTICS GENDER DISCRIMINATION CASE

Attorneys at Sanford Heisler Sharp filed a $100 million gender discrimination employment class action complaint against Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX), Inc. and AmeriPath, Inc., (collectively known as “Quest”) in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. The complaint details the systemic discriminatory treatment of female sales representatives company-wide by the self-proclaimed “world leader in diagnostic testing, information, and services.” Read More

NARGOL ET AL. v. DEPUY ORTHOPAEDICS INC. ET AL.

Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP brought whistleblower claims on behalf of Dr. Antoni Nargol and Dr. David Langton, two physicians and researchers who were first to uncover that medical-device company DePuy Orthopaedics manufactured and sold large numbers of defective hip implants to the government. Read More

Accolades

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Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP is a public interest law firm representing individuals and groups against corporations and governmental entities. The firm also represents individual citizens when a corporation is committing an act of fraud against the U.S. Government. As a private attorney general, Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP specializes in employment, Title VII and wage and hour matters; representation of executives and attorneys; qui tam whistleblower cases; consumer fraud; housing discrimination; mass torts; and appellate and complex litigation.

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