Pamela Miller with her german shepherd

Spotlight: Pamela Miller

Attorney Spotlight: Pamela Miller

Q&A WITH PAMELA

Why did you become a lawyer?

At the core of it is my desire to help the underdog prevail. When I was young I use to hear stories about my dad’s co-workers at the railroad being injured on the job and how the employer would give them such a hard time. I just felt that was so unfair and it created this desire in me to help injured workers. That was my original reason for wanting to be a lawyer. (I am sure watching the Perry Mason reruns helped some too.) Since then my interest has expanded to helping those who cannot work due to their medical impairments to obtain Social Security disability benefits.

Most memorable court room experience?

My most memorable court room experience happened early in my law career when I was trying my second personal injury case. The attorney for the defendant was much more experienced than I was and that made me nervous about trying the case, especially when it came to making my closing argument. But after we had given our closing arguments and the jury was sent to the jury room to deliberate the outcome, the court reporter came up to me and told me that my closing argument and response to the defendant’s closing argument was “great”. Since I knew she had heard hundreds of these closing arguments, her seeking me out to give me this compliment really helped me gain confidence in my ability to summarize and argue my cases.

What are 3 things you couldn’t survive without?

God is first and foremost needed for me to survive as my faith is the center of who I am. Chocolate and my family and friends are the other things I would not want to be without.

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

I think there are a few things people would be surprised to learn about me, but if I was to list one of them I guess it would be that I owned and rode my own Harley Davidson motorcycle. This was actually an accomplishment for me because for many years I was afraid of riding motorcycles. I took the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Rider Safety course to learn how to ride, and I recommend it to anyone learning to ride.

Favorite activity to do on the weekend?

One of my favorite activities is going camping. It is nice to connect with nature, get away from the pressures of everyday life, and spend time with my husband without interruptions and the internet.

Pamela's Profile


Elizabeth Pollock-Avery Rock Climbing

Spotlight: Elizabeth Pollock Avery

Attorney Spotlight: Elizabeth Pollock-Avery

Q&A WITH ELIZABETH

What are 3 things you couldn’t survive without?

Food, water, and shelter. But if I don’t take this question literally, chapstick (I have a well-known chapstick compulsion), my family, and something to read.

Most memorable court room experience?

I’ve had my fair share of wins and losses in court, but there’s something to be said for watching the masters in action. Watching Gary Lynch argue the UPMC case in front of the PA Supreme Court was amazing, especially since I first because acquainted with Carlson Lynch through working on that case. I remember working past 2 am several years ago to get the original complaint in the case drafted. The fact that we won the argument made it even better.

Why did you become a lawyer?

I always thought I would be an accountant growing up, like my dad. When I was in college, I ended up taking macroeconomics and business law the same semester. I loved business law and hated macroeconomics, so I switched to focusing on going to law school.

Favorite Musician or Band?

I’m terrible at picking favorites, but I once answered a similar question with Ani DiFranco and death metal in a job interview and got the job because of that answer, so I’ll stick with that.

Favorite Activity to do on the weekend?

My ideal weekend would involve a lot of binge watching while crocheting, a hike or some gardening, then dinner with friends at an amazing restaurant, following by a campfire at my house.

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Attorney Spotlight: Katrina Carroll

Spotlight: Katrina Carroll

Attorney Spotlight: Katrina Carroll

Q&A WITH KATRINA

Why did you become a lawyer?

In my family, I had two career options: doctor or lawyer. I chose to become a lawyer because I wasn’t very good at math. In all seriousness, I became a lawyer because I am a person of principle and think it’s important to protect those who are underrepresented or not represented at all when they’ve been wronged. Every person deserves her day in court.

Favorite thing to do on the weekend?

I love cooking and entertaining and you’ll usually find me concocting something in my kitchen and feeding someone.

What are 3 things you couldn’t survive without?

According to my kids: coffee, Gibsons’ steaks (rare!) and my yoga mat (to counterbalance those rare steaks)

Favorite Musician or Band?

I listen to all different kinds of music. Some of my favorites are Maroon 5, Beyoncé, Panic at the Disco and Bon Jovi. Right now, I think Lizzo really gets me.

Most memorable court room experience?

There are so many! I’d probably have to say the most memorable was winning a critical motion in a class action where I represented women suing a drug company over failed fertility treatments. That win marked a turning point in the case which was ultimately resolved favorably.

Katrina's Profile

Carlson Lynch Wins Consumer Standing Appeal in Ninth Circuit

Carlson Lynch attorneys Jamisen Etzel and Kelly Iverson won a significant consumer rights ruling earlier this year from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The appeals court held in a published decision that the temporary loss of money is a sufficient “injury-in-fact” under Article III of the Constitution to confer standing on a consumer to file a federal lawsuit.

In the case, called Van v. LLR, Inc., Carlson Lynch and its client brought suit against the clothing company LuLaRoe, alleging it had improperly overcharged Ms. Van and a class of similarly situated Alaska residents by including a “tax” on its invoices, where the purchases should have been tax free. After being sued by Carlson Lynch and certain of its clients, but before Ms. Van’s suit was filed, LuLaRoe began refunding the improper charges directly to customer credit card accounts. Those refunds, however, did not credit its customers for all of their damages, nor did it pay compensation for the customers’ lost time value of their money.

The federal district court in Alaska, where Van’s suit was filed, dismissed the case based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction after finding that the consumers’ lost time value of money was “too little” to be a constitutionally recognizable harm conferring standing to sue. Carlson Lynch appealed that decision, arguing that there is no minimum monetary loss threshold required to obtain standing, and that federal courts traditionally recognize invasions of a person’s possessory interests and the lost time value of money as concrete injuries under the Constitution.

The Ninth Circuit held oral argument on June 3, 2020, and Jamisen Etzel argued on behalf of Ms. Van. The appellate panel agreed with Carlson Lynch’s position, and on June 24, 2020 reversed the lower court, finding that “[f]or standing purposes, a loss of even a small amount of money is ordinarily an ‘injury,’” and that “the temporary loss of use of one’s money constitutes an injury in fact for purposes of Article III.”

The decision is an important one for consumers because it confirms that they may go to court and obtain interest or other compensation when their money has been improperly held by others for significant periods of time.

You can read the full opinion at this link.  The judges of the Ninth Circuit panel were Morgan Christen, Paul J. Watford, and Bridget S. Bade. Jamisen Etzel led the appellate briefing and oral argument. Kelly Iverson assisted in the appeal and serves as lead counsel in Carlson Lynch’s cases against LuLaRoe.


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Judge Appoints ‘Team of Rivals’ to Lead TikTok Privacy Class Action Lawsuits

Katrina Carroll Waist UpOn Monday, a federal judge appointed lawyers to lead the privacy class actions against TikTok who previously accused each other of mishandling the litigation. They include co-lead counsel Ekwan How of Bird Marella and Katrina Carroll of Carlson Lynch.

A Chicago federal judge has named a leadership group for privacy class actions against TikTok, in the wake of a selection process that often featured infighting among plaintiffs counsel.

Two groups of plaintiffs lawyers battled over leadership of the multi district litigation — about 20 class actions sent last month to U.S. District Judge John Lee of the Northern District of Illinois. One group, led by Katrina Carroll, of Carlson Lynch in Chicago, and Jonathan Jagher of Freed Kanner London & Millen in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, insisted they had reached a confidential settlement of the cases last month. The other, led by Megan Jones, a San Francisco partner at Hausfeld, and Ekwan Rhow of Los Angeles-based Bird, Marella, Boxer, Wolpert, Nessim, Drooks, Lincenberg & Rhow, raised concerns about the negotiations, in which they did not participate.

On Monday, Lee appointed How and Carroll as co-lead counsel, along with Elizabeth Fegan, of FeganScott, who supported Carroll’s group.

Lee, who previously has cautioned lawyers to work together and include all parties in settlement negotiations, did so again in his leadership order.

“The court anticipates that the plaintiffs’ leadership group will work by consensus and that plaintiffs’ counsel in particular will do everything possible to facilitate a consensus decision-making process,” Lee wrote. “It also is worth emphasizing that cooperation by and among all members of the plaintiffs’ leadership group is essential for the orderly and efficient resolution of this MDL.”

He ordered lead counsel to submit a proposal by Oct. 9 on how they plan to work together, with a status report due Oct. 30 that includes updates on the proposed settlement.

He set a virtual hearing for Nov. 4.

Carroll, in an email, said, “I look forward to proceeding in a coordinated effort for the benefit of our clients and the class.” How did not respond to a request for comment.

The defendant, TikTok Inc., is the developer of a popular app for creating short form videos on mobile devices. It got a reprieve from being banned in the United States on Sunday.

The battle for class action leadership comes as President Donald Trump, citing national security concerns, issued orders last month, one of which threatened to limit new downloads of TikTok in the United States by Sept. 20, later extended to Sept. 27, if it did not reach a real with a U.S. company.

TikTok, whose Chinese-based parent ByteDance announced plans to sell its U.S. operations to Oracle and Walmart, countered with its own lawsuit against the U.S. government. In that case, a federal judge in the District of Columbia struck down Trump’s order. The order, unsealed on Monday, found the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, cited in Trump’s order, exempted “informational materials” and “Personal communication” with no economic value, both of which are largely TikTok’s content.

In a related case, a federal judge in Pennsylvania on Sept. 26 rejected a motion for temporary restraining order brought by three TikTok users challenging trump’s order on constitutional grounds.

The fight among the lawyers in the privacy cases adds another unusual twist for TikTok. Those cases allege the video sharing app did not inform users, who include minors, that it was collecting their biometric data, in violation of the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act, which provides statutory damages between $1,000 and $5,000 per violation, as well as other computer and privacy laws.

Problems among the lawyers surfaced a few months before Aug. 4, when the U.S. Judicial Panel Multidistrict Litigation sent the cases to Lee’s courtroom.

Days after the transfer of the cases, TikTok and Carroll’s group informed Lee in an Aug. 16 joint status report that they had reached a class action settlement “in principle” following a mediation three days earlier. The settlement, which they anticipated filing in court Oct. 26 for preliminary approval, must remain confidential, they wrote, because of TikTok’s sale discussions.

The settlement didn’t involve everyone. Carroll, in her Sept. 8 for leadership, insisted that Rhow’s group, despite having conducted their own failed mediation talks with TikTok on April 6, refused to participate in the negotiations last month.

In her leadership application papers, she cautioned that a “forced marriage” with Rhow’s team “could derail the settlement and irreparably harm the class.”

Rhow, in court papers, has countered that TikTok chose to settle with a preferred group of plaintiffs lawyers, who shut his group out of negotiations. He insisted that TikTok had prohibited him from attending the mediation and, since then, has kept the settlement a secret.

His group raised concerns about the impact that the “destruction of crucial evidence” under Trump’s executive orders and TikTok’s imminent sale would have on the privacy class actions.

TikTok, which continued to support the settlement, took the unusual step of getting involved in the fight, praising Carroll’s group, who had negotiated the deal, which criticizing Rhow’s group for “overaggressive and excessive pleadings, emergency motions, and attempts to sabotage the efforts of other parties to resolve the litigation.”

Monday’s order created a plaintiffs’ steering committee made up of lawyers in both groups. In Rhow’s group, Jones and Amanda Klevorn, of Burns Charest, joined the committee. Support Carroll’s group were Jagher; Michael Gervais, of Susman Godfrey; and Albert Chang, of Bottini & Bottini.

Lee also appointed Shannon McNulty, of Clifford Law Offices, who was part of Rhow’s group as liaison counsel.

At a Sept. 24 hearing, Lee insisted that putting the dueling lawyers together would prevent fights down the road.

“Some in their briefs suggest that the court need not go this route and characterized such an approach as a ‘forced marriage,” he said, according to the transcript. “Others referred to this as a ‘team of rivals.’ I, myself, rather than referring to it in those terms, would like to think of it as an all-star team of sorts or an Olympic team, made up of individuals from perhaps different individual teams, but who are asked to come together to pursue the interests of all of the plaintiffs as a whole in this litigation."


Attorney Spotlight: Nicholas Lange

Spotlight: Nicholas Lange

Attorney Spotlight: Nicholas Lange

Q&A WITH NICHOLAS

Why did you become a lawyer?

As cliché as it seems, I became a lawyer to help make the world a fair place. Seeing large entities get their way simply because they had more money or influence always irked me. This is something I try not to lose sight of, and it’s no coincidence that this problem is one that class action attorneys are uniquely qualified to solve.

What are three things you couldn’t survive without?

Spices, fancy beer, and mountains.

Favorite musician or band?

I’m always playing piano, so of course it’s piano music: Joe Hisaishi or Ludovico Einaudi. If I had to pick “normal” music: Death Cab for Cutie.

Favorite thing to do on the weekend?

Cooking! Or better yet, cooking with a real fire. Real fire and smoke just seem to make everything taste better, and who doesn’t love building fires?

Most memorable court room experience?

The first time I went back and forth with a judge as a young attorney and realized that they’re people, too. In law school, most of us saw judges at these transcendent figures who issued unquestionable decrees from above. The first time I went back and forth with one over a routine discovery motion, I remember thinking – wow, this is pretty neat; I can argue and reason with them just like I can with anyone else. The judge ended up changing his ruling and that moment just stuck with me.

Nicholas' Profile

Eddie Kim

Spotlight: Eddie Kim

Attorney Spotlight: Eddie Kim

Q&A WITH EDDIE

Why did you become a lawyer?

The primary reason that I became a lawyer is that I come from a non-English-speaking, blue-collar, immigrant family, and it became very evident to me that we needed someone in the family who had a better understanding of American institutions to help navigate through all of the things that life throws at you. As a natural offshoot of this intention was the appeal of helping others who are underdogs or need a voice, which led me to pursue public interest work and now consumer protection law.

What are three things you couldn’t survive without?

Nearby hiking trails in mountains and forests; late night eateries; guitar.

Favorite musician or band?

Radiohead and Led Zeppelin.

Favorite thing to do on the weekend?

I have recently gotten into learning to do a bit of cooking (not particularly well) and hosting group dinners.

Most memorable court room experience?

Participating in a trial against Wells Fargo challenging its unlawful overdraft fee practices that resulted in a verdict for a large class of customers. It was rewarding to see justice being accomplished and help effect change on a large scale that primarily helped people at lower income levels.

Eddie's Profile

Wawa convenience store in New Jersey

Federal Judge Turns to Class Action Veterans to Lead Wawa Data Breach Litigation

The leaders are set to handle three tranches of litigation: one brought by consumers, another from financial institutions, and the last involving employees.

Lawyers who’ve been involved in a range of class actions, from the Equifax and Capital One data breach cases to drug marketing litigation, have been selected to lead a mass action against the regional convenience store chain Wawa.

U.S. District Judge Gene Pratter of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on June 12 selected nine attorneys from Pennsylvania and New York to act as co-lead, class and liaison counsel in the proposed class action lawsuit over the hack announced late last year that exposed payment card information from Wawa users at potentially all of the company’s locations. The leaders are set to handle three tranches of litigation: one brought by consumers, another from financial institutions, and the last involving employees.

Specifically, Pratter appointed Sherrie Savett of Berger Montague; Roberta Liebenberg of Fine, Kaplan and Black; Benjamin Johns of Chimicles Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith; and Linda Nussbaum of Nussbaum Law Group as interim co-lead counsel for the consumer class action cases.

For the lawsuits brought by financial institutions, the judge appointed Gary Lynch of Carlson Lynch; Christian Levis of Lowey Dannenberg; and Jeannine Kenney of Hausfeld as interim class counsel, with Mindee Reuben of Lite DePalma Greenberg also being appointed as interim liaison counsel for that group.

Pratter also appointed Donald Haviland of Haviland Hughes as interim class counsel for the employee plaintiffs.

According to Pratter, with the appointments, the attorneys are now tasked with developing and performing the discovery, coordinating meetings and calls, examining witnesses and acting as the primary point of contact between the parties and the court. Pratter also said the attorneys could apply for long-term leadership positions as well.

“The main criteria for such leadership will be willingness and availability to commit to a time-consuming project, ability to work cooperatively with others, professional experience in this type of litigation, and access to sufficient resources to prosecute the litigation in a timely manner,” Pratter said.

The appointment settles a dispute that had arisen between several firms over who should lead the class action.

In early January, Johns and Savett filed motions in the cases asking the court to consolidate the proposed class actions and have them appointed as lead counsel. The motions also asked the court to appoint attorneys from Ahdoot & Wolfson in Los Angeles; Federman & Sherwood in Oklahoma City; Philadelphia-based Kohn Swift & Graf; and New York-based firms Stull, Stull & Brody and Milberg Phillips Grossman.

Nussbaum, however, filed a response, saying the request by Johns and Savett was “premature” and that she also planned to move to be appointed lead counsel.

The first lawsuits over the data breach began to be filed Dec. 20—the day after Wawa’s CEO said in an open letter there had been a breach of the company card payment data. According to the letter, malware that had been active since March was discovered Dec. 10, and the company contained it by Dec. 12. The letter said the malware potentially exposed payment card information from customers at all Wawa locations, including credit and debit card numbers, expiration dates and names.

Attorneys said they appreciated being appointed to the position.

“We are pleased with the court’s order, and look forward to moving the case forward on behalf of the consumer plaintiffs,” Johns said.

In a statement published online, Kenney said, “I am honored to be serving with such talented co-counsel and look forward to obtaining relief  for credit unions and other financial institutions injured by this data breach.”

Lynch and Reuben both declined to comment and Savett, Liebenberg, Nussbam, Levis and Haviland did not return a call seeking comment.


CARLSON LYNCH NAMED LITIGATION DEPARTMENT OF THE YEAR BY THE
LEGAL INTELLIGENCER

The Legal Intelligencer is pleased to announce the 2020 Professional Excellence Award winners. We are delighted to highlight the great work and achievements across the full breadth of the Pennsylvania legal community.

Litigation Department of the Year (General)
Carlson Lynch, LLP

“We are honored to be selected as the Litigation Department of the Year by the Legal Intelligencer. Congratulations to our incredible team of attorneys and staff who continuously pursue justice for the men, women and children around the country.”  - Bruce Carlson and Gary Lynch

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2020 SUPER LAWYERS' & RISING STARS' ANNOUNCED

Super Lawyers LogoEach year Super Lawyers recognizes select attorneys from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. We would like to congratulate Carlson Lynch Super Lawyers’ Gary Lynch, Katrina Carroll, Todd Carpenter and Ed Kilpela and Rising Stars’ Jamisen Etzel and Kyle Shamberg.

Carlson Lynch Group Photo

At Carlson Lynch, our team has been raising the level of discussion, debate and change towards justice in this country for more than thirty years.

“Our team fights for justice every day. We continue to be a voice for those who have been silenced. Congratulations to our team members selected as this year’s Super Lawyers* and Rising Stars** honorees.” -Bruce Carlson and Gary Lynch

Pictured from left to right: Gary Lynch*, Jamisen Etzel**, Katrina Carroll*, Todd Carpenter*, Ed Kilpela*, Kyle Shamberg**, Bruce Carlson