Top rated Class Action & Mass Torts attorney in San Francisco, CaliforniaLieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP
Michael Levin-Gesundheit is a partner in Lieff Cabraser’s San Francisco office. He is dedicated to seeking fairness for government entities, employees, consumers, and injury victims, regardless of the resources of the defendant.
Michael served as a leader within the San Francisco opioid bellwether team, from hard-fought battles to obtain evidence to the 2022 trial, where he developed multiple crucial trial witnesses. His focus, in San Francisco and across other opioid cases in the multidistrict litigation, was Walgreens, for its role in preventing and discouraging its pharmacists from conducting the prescription due diligence required under the Controlled Substances Act. At the conclusion of San Francisco’s three-month liability bench trial, Walgreens was the last remaining defendant. The plaintiff prevailed, and in a 112-page opinion relying heavily on pharmacist testimony and complaints compiled by the Lieff Cabraser team, the judge described the evidence as “not only adequate to establish Walgreens’ culpability” but “devastating.” Walgreens settled with San Francisco for $229.6 million to avoid a second-phase abatement trial. That is significantly more on a per capita basis than any other municipality has achieved against a pharmacy defendant in opioid litigation. The San Francisco liability finding was instrumental in pushing Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart toward multi-billion-dollar national settlements.
Other corporations Michael has taken on include Goldman Sachs and Microsoft for gender discrimination, Google for invasions of privacy, a major pharmaceutical company for fraudulent marketing practices, and an international consultancy for mistreatment of H-1B visa workers. In the Goldman Sachs gender discrimination class action, which was certified in 2018, he led a multi-year charge to combat Goldman Sachs’s attempts to excise class members from the case on the basis of arbitration agreements buried in the fine print of routine stock grants. His efforts, described by Goldman Sachs’s counsel as “relentless,” allowed nearly 350 current and former Goldman Sachs employees to choose continued participation in the class action over individual arbitration. In May 2023, the plaintiffs reached a proposed $215 million class settlement with Goldman Sachs.
Michael has also represented clients on appeal. Following entry of summary judgment in favor of two defendants in a personal injury action stemming from serious injuries sustained at the world-renowned Laguna Seca Raceway, Michael led appellate briefing to reversal of the trial court in a published opinion from the California Court of Appeal outlining the distinction between ordinary and gross negligence.
Michael’s pro bono practice includes successfully representing unaccompanied Central American minors in obtaining immigration relief.
Prior to joining Lieff Cabraser, Michael was a law clerk for Judge Jacqueline Nguyen of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Pasadena, California and Judge Garland Burrell, Jr. of federal district court in Sacramento. He is a Bay Area native and graduate of Stanford Law School, where he served as Managing Editor of the Stanford Law & Policy Review. Michael’s hobbies include hiking and backpacking, gardening, repairing anything that is broken, and (like many who have survived the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic) baking.
Practice areasClass Action/Mass Torts: Plaintiff, Consumer Law, Employment Litigation: Plaintiff, Personal Injury - General: Plaintiff
First Admitted: 2013, California
Professional Webpage: https://www.lieffcabraser.com/attorneys/michael-levin-gesund...
- Panelist, “Emerging Torts,” 62nd Annual Consumer Attorneys of California Convention, November 2023; Panelist, “Countering the Latest in the Defendant’s Bag of Tricks,” National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) 2022 Annual Convention, July 2022
- California Class Actions and Coordinated Proceedings covers the requirements, tactics, and forms in practical detail for use in class action litigation in California state courts. Authored by leading class-action litigation firm Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, California Class Actions and Coordinated Proceedings offers comprehensive analysis on all aspects of California class action practice. This invaluable guide provides pertinent comparisons to federal class action practice, detailed discussion of California Rules of Court for class action litigation, and much more. In addition, Practice Tips give tested guidance to real-world litigation issues. In this Second Edition, California Class Actions and Coordinated Proceedings specifically addresses California class action practice in the post-CAFA environment with emphasis on state-court causes of action and procedures and coordinated proceedings., Contributor, California Class Actions and Coordinated Proceedings, LexisNexis, Class Action Practitioners, 2019
- “Ones to Watch,” Best Lawyers, 2024; “Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Employment & Civil Rights Lawyers in America,” Lawdragon, 2021-2023; “Lawdragon 500 X – The Next Generation,” Lawdragon, 2023; “Rising Star for Northern California,” Super Lawyers, 2020-2023; “Rising Star of the Plaintiffs’ Bar” National Law Journal, 2023; “Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers in America,” Lawdragon, 2023; “Outstanding Volunteer,” Justice & Diversity Center of the Bar Association of San Francisco, 2019-2020, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein
- American Bar Association, Equal Employment Opportunity Committee; Bar Association of San Francisco; Consumer Attorneys of California
- I represent two unaccompanied minor children who immigrated from Central America before the Immigration Court. This year USCIS granted Special Immigrant Juvenile Status to one of my client's, providing him a pathway to legal permanent residency.
- I represented a homeless man applying for Supplement Security Income (a form of disability benefits from the Social Security Administration). Despite a history of addiction and substance abuse, his application was granted. , 2019
- Employees of US Bank in suit for unpaid business expenses related to service as mortgage loan officers; Pena v. U.S. Bancorp, No. 17-556646 (S.F. Superior)
- Female technical employees of Microsoft in employment discrimination class action; Moussouris v. Microsoft, 15-cv-1483 (W.D. Wash.)
- The Charles Schwab Corporation in suits against other financial institutions regarding mortgage-backed securities in San Francisco Superior Court's complex department
- Female employees of Sandia National Laboratories in employment discrimination class action; Kennicott v. Sandia Corp., 17-cv-188 (D.N.M.)
- Female associates and Vice Presidents at Goldman Sachs in employment discrimination class action; Chen-Oster v. Goldman, Sachs & Co., 10-cv-6950 (S.D.N.Y.)
- Female employees of KPMG LLP in employment discrimination class action Kassman v. KPMG LLP, 11-cv-3743 (S.D.N.Y.)
- Strauch et al v. Computer Sciences Corp., 14-cv-956 (D. Conn.): Plaintiffs' trial verdict in wage-and-hour class action on behalf of technical support staff for misclassification in 2017; $18.76 million judgment (ECF No. 515) as of August 12, 2019
- Stanford Law School: Managing Editor, Stanford Law & Policy Review; Environmental Law Clinic; Citizenship Pro Bono; Gerald Gunther Prize in Intellectual Property, 2013
- Harvard University: magna cum laude graduate , 2008
- Worked in team obtaining class certification of employment discrimination claims on behalf of female employees suing Goldman Sachs after nearly 7 years of litigation. This was the only employment discrimination class certification victory in the entire country in 2018. See Chen-Oster v. Goldman, Sachs & Co., 10-cv-6950, ECF No. 578 (Mar. 30, 2018)., 2018
- Public Entities
- Rising Stars: 2020 - 2023