(Daily Journal) Joseph Saveri of the Joseph Saveri Law Firm was selected by the California Daily Journal as a “Top Plaintiff Lawyer” in California for 2020. He and Firm partner Top Plaintiff Lawyer Steven Williams were profiled in a supplement issue contained in today’s Daily Journal. The Firm was one of only seven statewide to have multiple lawyers selected for this prestigious group.
Saveri was in a federal jury trial in San Francisco trying a class action over allegations that electronics manufacturers profited from a long-running global price-fixing conspiracy in the capacitor industry. Saveri, with 30 years’ civil experience behind him, heads the Firm and was appointed sole lead counsel representing a class of direct purchasers of the devices.
He was preparing to wind up the presentation of his case when U.S. District Judge Donato notified the parties on Saturday, March 14, that on the following Monday they should appear to discuss suspending the trial as the coronavirus news grew more ominous.
“We had been hearing rumblings. I’d used so much hand sanitizer in the courtroom that it felt like my hands were falling off,” the founder of Joseph Saveri Law Firm Inc. said. On that Monday Donato dismissed the jury and limited courtroom attendance to lawyers and clerks. Then he shut down the trial. “We packed up and left. I pretty much made a beeline up here to St. Helena,” where he’s riding out the shutdown, Saveri said. In re: Capacitors Antitrust Litigation, 3:14-cv-03264 (N.D. Cal., filed July 26, 2014).
Things aren’t entirely at a standstill. Before the court closure, even as the case proceeded before Donato and the jury, Saveri was down in the hall in a conference with defense lawyers hammering out a settlement with all but two of the remaining defendants. In mid-May, they submitted a $260 million proposed deal to the judge. That would bring the settlement total in the case over the last two years to more than $439 million. Also, to date eight capacitor manufacturers and two of their executives have pleaded guilty and been sentenced for violating federal antitrust laws; several others remain under indictment.
“That Monday the atmosphere in the court was somber, almost funeral-like,” Saveri said. “We were just finishing our case, and we felt like the wind was at our back. All that energy, all that forward momentum came to a halt. It was a feeling of abrupt, unprecedented change.” The defense is seeking mistrial, but when the courts reopen Saveri hopes to resume where things left off.”
Saveri’s other cases are on ice too. His Firm is co-lead counsel for mixed martial arts fighters in a class action against promoters on claims the defendants maintain monopoly power in the marketplace. Motions for class certification and summary judgment are fully briefed, with hearing possible in late 2020. Le v. Zuffa LLC, 2:15-cv-01045 (D. Nev., filed June 3, 2015).
“Things are more or less under control,” Saveri said. “I feel like a lot of pots are on the boil and we’re just trying to keep all the lids on.”
(Reporting by John Roemer)