Sanford Heisler Sharp



United States (National)

Labor and employment

Sanford Heisler Sharp is considered one of the preeminent plaintiffs’ firms in labor and employment. The firm is nationally recognized for bringing sophisticated cases against major companies and big law firms. Opposing counsel praise the firm for its work in the labor and employment area. One lawyer describes the firm as an “excellent plaintiff side firm” and another states, “They’ve got bright and talented lawyers.” The firm is actively engaged in a wide-variety of single- and multi-plaintiff matters. Often, the high-profile matters that the firm handles influence and change policies and practices in the industries the defendants operate.

Firm co-founder David Sanford is lauded as one of the Top 20 Lawyers in Labor and Employment in this year’s guide. As with the firm, Sanford receives high praise from lawyers that have been up against him in litigation. “I think he really does a lot of trial work,” says an employer-side lawyer. “He really has done some remarkable stuff.” He has recently obtained multimillion-dollar settlements for plaintiffs, including a $7.75 million dollar settlement in a class and collective action that brought allegations of gender discrimination against Western Digital. Fellow top lawyer Deborah Marcuse has been engaged in a dispute against Morrison & Foerster, bringing claims under the Family and Medical Leave Act and gender discrimination claims under Title VII against the big-law law firm. Marcuse is gearing up for trial later this year and has been a high-profile case for law firms.

Sanford is not the only partner at the firm who is obtaining high-dollar settlements for clients. Kate Mueting recently received a final approval from the Southern District of New York for a 10-million-dollar settlement against KPMG. The case was filed in 2011, alleging systemic discrimination in promotion and pay, pregnancy discrimination, and failure to investigate and resolve complaints of harassment and discrimination. Tennessee-based former judge Kevin Sharp recently resolved a discrimination case against Volkswagen. The plaintiffs brought suit against the German company alleging discriminatory practices specifically arising from the Pact For The Future, which included a initiative to phase out older workers. Sharp obtained a settlement that was approved last May by the Eastern District of Tennessee. Russell Kornblith obtained a settlement on behalf of General Counsel and Executive President Nancy Saltzman who alleged gender discrimination claims against EXL Service Holdings, where she served as the first and only woman on the company’s Executive Committee.

In addition to many successfully resolved matters, the firm’s partners continue to be actively litigating numerous lawsuits for clients. Alexandra Harwin is currently litigating a dispute against Robert De Niro and his corporate alter ego, Canal Productions, alleging that both De Niro and his corporate entity allegedly subjected the client to a hostile work environment and retaliated against them. Michael Palmer has been engaged in two litigations against Oracle. One matter is a PAGA case that recently completed the first two of three phases of trial of the class action. The second matter is a single-plaintiff case that is also alleging wage-and-hour claims against the multi-national company. In 2019, the Ninth Circuit approved the plaintiff’s motion to arbitrate the claims, and the case is being actively arbitrated as well. Andrew Melzer is actively representing the plaintiff Teresa Brooks against Aurora Behavioral Healthcare – Santa Rosa in a lawsuit alleging numerous claims, including wrongful termination in violation of public policy and claims under PAGA. On behalf of the plaintiff, Melzer seeks monetary damages that include PAGA penalties, compensatory damages, and attorney’s fees.