Levin Sedran & Berman
510 Walnut Street
Suite 500 Philadelphia, PA 19106
Laurence S. Berman, a member of the firm, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 17, 1953. He was admitted to the bar in 1977. He is admitted to practice before the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Third, Fourth and Seventh Circuits; the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania; and the Bar of Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of Temple University (B.B.A., magna cum laude, 1974, J.D. 1977). He is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society. Mr. Berman was the law clerk to the Honorable Charles R. Weiner, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania 1978-1980. Member: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and American Bar Associations. In 1982, Mr. Berman joined the law firm of Levin & Fishbein as an associate and became a partner in 1985 when the firm name was changed to Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman (“LFSB”).
Mr. Berman has had extensive experience in litigating and managing complex litigation. In the early 1980’s he became a member of the discovery, law and trial committees of In re: Asbestos School Litigation, Master File No. 83-0268 (E.D. Pa.). As a member of those committees, he drafted discovery and legal briefs that lead to the successful resolution of the case on behalf of a nationwide class of schools seeking recovery of damages for the costs and expenses they were required to expend to assess the presence of asbestos in school buildings and to remediate under newly enacted rules and regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency, promulgated in the 1970’s. In connection with that litigation, he was one of the architects of approaching class certification issues for a nationwide class by the use of a “50” state analysis of the law, in order to demonstrate the similarity of laws and therefore the manageability of a nationwide class action. The “50” state approach has been followed in other cases.
During the early stages of his career, he litigated numerous environmental class/mass tort cases to successful conclusions. He successfully litigated a lead contamination case for the residents of a community in the Port Richmond area of Philadelphia, where he drafted the legal briefs and presented the oral argument to obtain class certification of a property damage and medical monitoring class against NL Industries and Anzon. That litigation produced a multi-million-dollar recovery for the residents in the class area. Ursula Stiglich Wagner, et al. v. Anzon, Inc., et al., No. 4420, June Term, 1987 (C.C.P. Phila. Cty.)
Similarly, he represented homeowners located near Ashland, Kentucky for environmental pollution damage. This case involved representing approximately 700 individual clients for personal injury and medical monitoring relief that also resulted in a multi-million-dollar recovery for his clients.
Beginning in the 1990’s Mr. Berman began his representation of victims of the Three Mile Island accident. The firm represented approximately 2,000 plaintiffs in that matter, and Mr. Berman was responsible for the legal briefing and experts in the case, along with addressing Daubert issues. The presiding Court (Middle District of Pennsylvania) determined to conduct extensive Daubert hearings in Three Mile Island, resulting in approximately ten full weeks of in court live hearings, and thousands of pages of legal briefing. Ultimately the trial court determined that several of the expert witnesses offered by the plaintiffs did not meet the Daubert requirements, and an appeal was taken to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, where Mr. Berman both briefed and argued the issues. The Third Circuit affirmed parts of the decision and remanded for further proceedings by the trial court. His representation of clients in the Three Mile Island litigation spanned well over a decade.
In 1989, Mr. Berman began his representation of approximately 1,000 plaintiffs who suffered damages as a result of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. In that role, he managed the claims of each of his firm’s clients and worked in the development of their expert evidence and claim materials. As a subset of that litigation, he handled the claims of the Native Opt-Out Settlement Class. This representation also spanned well over a decade.
Mr. Berman began his role in litigating In re Diet Drugs, MDL 1203 (E.D. Pa.) in 1997 at the outset of that litigation. The Diet Drugs case is still active to this date. Mr. Berman’s firm was appointed as co-lead counsel, co-class counsel and liaison counsel. The massive size of the Diet Drugs case required the commitment of three of the named partners to the case, Arnold Levin, Michael Fishbein and Mr. Berman, as well as a substantial commitment by partner Fred Longer. While Messrs. Levin and Fishbein were formally named as co-class counsel to the case, Mr. Berman had a de facto role as co-class counsel and co-lead counsel for the case. Mr. Berman briefed many legal issues, argued issues in court, participated in discovery, appeared frequently before the Special Discovery Master, helped negotiate the settlement(s) and helped in the management of the oversight of both the AHP Settlement Trust that was created to oversee the Settlement and the Seventh Amendment Fund Administrator that was created to oversee the Seventh Amendment aspect of the Settlement. He also managed the claims of the firm’s individual clients.
Although the Diet Drug case remains active today, and still occupies some of Mr. Berman’s time, over the recent years he became active in various other pharmaceutical cases. In particular, beginning in about 2010, he became active in In re Yaz/Yasmin/Ocella, MDL 2100 (S. D. Ill.) where he was appointed as a member of the discovery and legal briefing committees. Mr. Berman worked with his partner Michael Weinkowitz as Co-Liaison Counsel in the parallel state court litigation pending in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia.
As the Yaz case began to wind down, Mr. Berman became active in litigation Tylenol cases where he was appointed and remains currently Plaintiffs’ Co-Lead and Liaison Counsel. In Re Tylenol, MDL 2436, (E.D.Pa.). As Plaintiffs’ Co-Lead and Liaison counsel, Mr. Berman has appeared in Court for the Plaintiffs at virtually all of the monthly status conferences, drafted numerous briefs, engaged in discovery, drafted numerous case management orders that were entered by the Court, argued motions and otherwise managed the case on behalf of the Plaintiffs.
Mr. Berman is also a de facto member of the executive committee of In Re Granuflo, MDL MDL2428, (D. Mass.). Mr. Berman’s partner Arnold Levin was formally appointed to that case’s Executive Committee for the Plaintiffs and Mr. Berman was appointed as a co-chair of the law and briefing committee. He has acted as a de facto member of the executive committee for the firm. In his role on the law and briefing committee, he drafted numerous briefs for the case, including Daubert briefs, drafted various case management orders that were entered by the Court, and assisted in the negotiation of the global settlement including the drafting of the settlement documents and the allocation plan.
In In re Fosamax, MDL 2243 (D.N.J.), Mr. Berman spearheaded the plaintiff’s position relating to privilege log issues as well as preemption and in limine issues raised in the bellwether case. Recently, Mr. Berman was appointed to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee for the “Talc” litigation pending in the District Court of New Jersey, as MDL 2738. (In re: Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Products Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation). He is a Co-Chair of the Law and Briefing Committee as well as a member of the Administrative Committee for this case.
Mr. Berman has lectured about mass tort matters. He lectured about the Tylenol case at several seminars and is a member of the American Association of Justice (AAJ) litigation group for the case. He is also a member of various other AAJ litigation groups involving pharmaceutical products. Mr. Berman has been a frequent speaker for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Mealy’s Publications and Harris Martin. His lectures have been accredited for providing CLE credit to the attendees. Mr. Berman has an A.V. Peer Review rating by Martindale-Hubbell, and is an AAJ National College of Advocacy Advocate. He is also a member of The National Trial Lawyers, as well as a member of the American, Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Bar Associations and has been recognized as a Super Lawyer. His published works include “Class Actions in State and Federal Courts,” Pennsylvania Bar Institute (Continuing Legal Education), November, 1997; “New Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 207.1,” Pennsylvania Bar Institute (Continuing Legal Education), November, 2001, and membership on the Board of Editors, “Fen-Phen Litigation Strategist,” Leader Publications, (1998).