Attorneys
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Clerkships

Hon. Stephen Reinhardt, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Education

Columbia Law School, J.D., 1980

  • Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar

Harvard University, A.B., 1977

Photo of Carl S. Kravitz

Carl S. Kravitz

Overview
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Affiliations

Carl S. Kravitz has been practicing law in Washington, DC for more than 30 years, earning recognition as a “Leading Lawyer” for business litigation and as a “Local Litigation Star.” Mr. Kravitz litigates complex civil cases for both plaintiffs and defendants at the trial and appellate levels in state and federal courts across the country. He has obtained many significant recoveries for plaintiffs in individual, group, and class actions, with settlements ranging up to nearly $400 million. Mr. Kravitz has also defended companies and executives in significant investigations and litigation. He has been chairman of Zuckerman Spaeder’s litigation department for more than a decade.

Mr. Kravitz’s practice covers the areas of securities fraud, consumer fraud, bad faith insurance and deceptive trade practices, insurance coverage, civil rights, antitrust, products liability, shareholder rights and corporate governance, fraudulent conveyances, mass torts, toxic torts, professional negligence, wrongful death, partnership disputes, legal ethics, qui tam/false claims act, and general commercial issues. He has represented individuals, groups, and classes challenging Fortune 500 companies, the estate of an NFL legend, wrongfully convicted prisoners, and companies in a wide variety of industries. His cases often deal with high-profile issues, such as matters relating to the financial services industry, fraud, health insurance, worker safety, and sports head injuries, to name a few.

Mr. Kravitz has also led the defense of several significant matters, including, recently, the defense of certain London Market Insurers in coverage litigation concerning lead paint liabilities and the defense of corporate executives in civil, regulatory, and criminal securities fraud investigations and litigation. In the securities arena, he recently obtained dismissals for a former Collins & Aikman executive of an indictment pending for more than a year in the Southern District of New York and in a securities fraud class action pending in the Eastern District of Michigan. He recently represented a former hedge fund analyst in a highly publicized insider-trading investigation in the Southern District of New York. He also obtained dismissals for his client in the Homestore.com and PurchasePro securities litigation cases pending in the Central District of California and the District of Nevada.

In addition to his more than 30 years of work in the securities area, Mr. Kravitz has represented clients in a number of white collar criminal investigations, including matters involving alleged fraud by government contractors (e.g., false claims by the contractor who converted the Kennedy Space Center from the Apollo to the Space Shuttle Program; false certifications concerning the testing missile systems in arctic conditions; false certifications concerning testing of the angle of attack transmitter for a Navy fighter; and alleged fraud in charging improper expenses to the overhead of a Navy contract), alleged antitrust violations in the soft drink industry (price fixing), and alleged tax fraud.

Mr. Kravitz has tried several cases in state and federal courts, including cases in the District of Columbia Superior Court, Virginia state court, West Virginia state court, U.S. District Courts, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, and U.S. Tax Court. He has also handled appeals in several U.S. Courts of Appeals, the Maryland Court of Appeals, the New York Appellate Division, the Virginia Supreme Court, and the West Virginia Supreme Court.

Before entering private practice, Mr. Kravitz clerked for the Hon. Stephen Reinhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Professional Highlights

  • Mr. Kravitz’s most recent victories for plaintiffs have been in fraud and deceptive trade practice class actions against insurance companies (settlements of $72.5 million and in excess of $40 million), in a securities fraud class action against a major financial services company (settlement of nearly $400 million), in a breach of contract action against a major industrial company (settlement of $16.2 million), in a wrongful death bad faith insurance action against a coal mine and its insurer (settlements in excess of $13 million), in shareholder derivative litigation on behalf of national banks (settlements of $10 million and $9 million), and confidential settlements in actions on behalf of individuals wrongly convicted of serious crimes based on evidence fabricated by a state crime lab and in product liability action against car company for defective doors.
  • Mr. Kravitz obtained a precedent setting result on behalf of the Estate of Mike Webster (the former All-Pro center for the Pittsburgh Steelers) against the NFL Pension Fund for concussion related disabilities incurred during Mr. Webster’s NFL career.
  • In addition to his role as chairman of the firm’s litigation department, Mr. Kravitz has been a frequent faculty member at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) and other trial practice programs, including programs at Georgetown University, the University of Virginia and UCLA law schools.
  • $40 Million Settlement in Class Action Against Health Insurer for Misrepresenting Scope of Coverage
    The firm served as class counsel in a suit against a health insurer and its agent for fraudulently selling limited benefit health insurance policies bundled with memberships in a physician and hospital discount network as being as good or better than major medical coverage; the policies left consumers exposed to large bills or no treatment. The case settled in 2012 for more than $40 million in value to the class, plus significant governance changes designed to prevent a recurrence of the allegedly fraudulent sales practices.
  • $72.4 Million Settlement in Class Action Against Insurer for Alleged Fraud in Structured Settlement Program
    The firm represented a class of people who settled personal injury cases with The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., where some or all of the settlement was paid with a structured settlement. The suit alleged that The Hartford had secretly skimmed 15 percent of the settlement values for itself by purchasing the structured settlement annuity from its own life insurance subsidiary. The case, which also alleged claims under RICO (predicate acts wire and mail fraud) and for common law fraud, unjust enrichment, and breach of contract, settled in 2010 for $72.5 million.
  • $400 Million Settlement in Class Action Against Major Financial Company for Alleged Securities Fraud Arising Out of the Financial Crisis
    The firm represented the lead plaintiff in a securities fraud class action, arising out of the financial crisis and Merrill Lynch’s merger with Bank of America. The case settled for approximately $400 million in 2010 after defeating the motion to dismiss.
  • Settlements in Civil Rights Actions on Behalf of Individuals Wrongly Convicted Based on Fabricated Evidence
    We represented two individuals who were wrongly convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment because of a fraud in the West Virginia State Police Crime Lab where blood and semen evidence was fabricated and misrepresented to the jury in their trials. After both men were released from prison, we brought civil rights actions against the state and against the state’s insurer and outside counsel for covering up the fraud and prolonging the plaintiffs’ incarcerations. The actions against the state each settled for approximately $2 million. The actions against the insurer and lawyer were settled on confidential terms.
  • Shareholder Derivative Actions Resulted in Recoveries for National Banks
    The firm has prosecuted shareholder derivative actions on behalf of national banks, involving breaches of fiduciary duty by senior executives and board members, and inadequate corporate governance and internal controls. In Tallman v. City Holding Co., et al., Circuit Court of Kanahwa Country, WVA, C.A. No. 01-C-4090, for example, the firm prosecuted a shareholder derivative action on behalf of a national bank against its officers and directors for breaches of fiduciary duty related to the bank’s subprime lending. The bank’s officers and directors had expanded into subprime lending outside its territorial knowledge base without adequate experience or internal controls, resulting in substantial losses to the bank. The case settled in for $9 million.
  • $10 Million Settlement in Shareholder Derivative Action Alleging Breaches of Fiduciary Duty
    In Fleagane v. Belmont Bancorp., et al, Circuit Court of Ohio County, WVA, C.A. No. 99-C-476), the firm prosecuted another shareholder derivative suit on behalf of a national bank against its officers and directors for breaches of fiduciary duty related to bank’s lending to a mobile home dealer that resulted in substantial losses to the bank. The case settled for approximately $10 million.
  • $400 Million Settlement for 2,000 Asbestos Victims in Fraudulent Conveyance Action
    Our attorneys represented a group of asbestos victims of the Celotex Corporation in an action against Celotex’s parent and the leveraged buyout (LBO) firm that bought the parent for approximately $2.5 billion (financed by junk bonds). The suit sought to set aside the LBO as a fraudulent conveyance on the theory that Celotex’s asbestos liabilities made the parent insolvent at the time the parent transferred its assets to the LBO firm’s entities. After a trial in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida, the matter settled for nearly $400 million.
  • Landmark Case Involving Football Head Injuries Against the NFL Pension Plan
    The firm represented the estate of NFL legend Mike Webster against the NFL pension fund. The suit involved the level of benefits due to Mr. Webster and was the first case in which the NFL acknowledged that players could be disabled because of injuries to their brains. After losing in proceedings under the collective bargaining agreement, the firm prevailed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland and in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and obtained the highest level of benefits for its client.
  • Sex Abuse Case Against the Mormon Church
    The firm is representing six families and their 13 minor children who allege that they were sexually abused by a pedophile who is currently serving a 35-75 year sentence for having abused two of the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs allege in the suit, which is pending in state court in West Virginia, that the Mormon Church through its agents violated a statutory duty to report sex abuse to the authorities and otherwise acted and failed to act in ways that allowed the abuse to occur. The church has denied the allegations and is actively defending the suit.
  • Class of ERISA Plans in Litigation Concerning Foreign Currency Transactions
    The firm is currently litigating, on behalf of a putative class of ERISA plans, against State Street Bank & Trust concerning foreign currency transactions. The case is pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
  • Union Officials in ERISA Litigation Regarding Retaliation by Political Rivals
    Mr. Kravitz, in another ERISA matter, represented a group of union officials who were retaliated against with respect to their pensions when they were defeated by their political rivals in the union. Mr. Kravitz’s clients’ pensions were restored.
  • Representation of Collins & Aikman Executive in Criminal, Regulatory, and Civil Securities Fraud Actions
    The firm represented a former Collins & Aikman executive in a case that involved alleged accounting improprieties concerning rebates in the auto parts industry. We obtained the dismissal of an indictment against our client that had been pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for 18 months, dismissal of a private securities fraud class action, dismissal of securities and fraud claims asserted by the Collins & Aikman Litigation Trust, and a resolution of the SEC’s claims.
  • Representation of Former Hedge Fund Employee in Insider Trading Investigation
    The firm represented a former employee at one of the country’s largest hedge funds in an investigation of insider trading conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the SEC. Although the Southern District of New York charged and prosecuted a number of individuals in this and related insider trading cases , our client was not charged criminally and ultimately disposed of the matter by agreeing to a settlement with the SEC, without admitting or denying wrongdoing.
  • Representation of AOL-Time Warner Executive in Criminal, Regulatory, and Civil Securities Fraud Actions
    In addition to defending a criminal investigation and SEC enforcement action, the firm defended our client in a series of federal securities class actions brought on behalf of the shareholders AOL-Time Warner and the shareholders of two AOL-Time Warner business partners (alleging fraud in connection with the accounting for online advertising revenues.  The class actions were either dismissed or otherwise resolved successfully as to our client.
  • Representation of Small Cigarette Manufacturer in Qui Tam Action under False Claims Act against Philip Morris USA
    The firm represents the relator in an action against Philip Morris USA for allegedly overcharging the military for cigarettes in violation of a most favored customer clause in Philip Morris’ contracts with the military. The case is pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
  • Summary Judgment for National Law Firm in Legal Malpractice Action
    Mr. Kravitz represented a national law firm in a case alleging $100 million of damages in connection with advice given under the Investment Company Act of 1940. We secured a victory for our client on summary judgment, and that decision was affirmed on appeal by the Maryland intermediate court of appeals, and the Maryland Court of Appeal refused to review the matter.
  • London Market Insurers in High-Stakes Coverage Litigation
    Our attorneys have defended Certain Underwriters at Lloyds of London and other London Market Insurers in coverage matters involving diethylstilbestrol (DES), asbestos, environmental clean-up, and most recently lead paint claims. Our attorneys have appeared in numerous coverage cases on behalf of these clients in state and federal courts around the country. Many of the cases have involved claims for billions of dollars of insurance coverage.
  • Represented London Market Insurers in Commercial Litigation Against Major Industrial Company
    The firm represented certain Lloyd’s of London Underwriters and London Market Insurers in a suit against Dow Corning to recover insurance payments made in a 1995 insurance settlement of the company’s liabilities for breast implants. At the time of the insurance settlement, it was predicted that these liabilities would total $5 billion, but Dow Corning’s total loss turned out to be materially less and its insurers were entitled to a refund of insurance payments made under the settlement. The case settled on confidential terms in 2011.
  • Summary Judgment for Space Insurance Broker
    Mr. Kravitz represented a space insurance broker in a dispute between the insured, INTELSAT, for which it had placed launch insurance for a telecommunications satellite, and its insured. INTELSAT sought nearly $100 million coverage when the launch vehicle for one of its telecommunications satellites failed and the satellite did not reach geosynchronous orbit. After years of hard fought litigation, Mr. Kravitz obtained a summary judgment in favor of his client on the eve of trial.
  • Settlement for Television Network Against Satellite Manufacturer in Products Liability Action
    Mr. Kravitz represented a major television network in litigation filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against the manufacturer of the telecommunications satellite that beamed its programming across North America. The suit alleged that the $120 million satellite was defectively designed and would remain on station in geosynchronous orbit for substantially less than its minimum 10-year life. Mr. Kravitz defeated the defendant’s motion for summary judgment and the case then settled on a confidential basis before trial.
  • Antitrust Class Action Alleging Price-Fixing in Polyurethane Foam Industry
    Zuckerman Spaeder currently represents plaintiffs in an antitrust class action alleging price-fixing in the polyurethane foam industry.
  • Antitrust Class Action Against Blue Cross Blue Shield Alleging Per Se Violations
    The firm currently represents plaintiffs in an antitrust class action alleging illegal horizontal restraints of trade, whereby Blue Cross Blue Shield of America divides up the territories among the various Blues.
  • Settlements for Students and Teachers in Toxic Tort Case Against Pesticide Manufactures
    Mr. Kravitz represented a group of 65 students and teachers who suffered personal injuries from the exposure to chlorinated hydrocarbons and other dangerous pesticides that were misapplied in their middle school outside of Charleston, WV. Mr. Kravitz obtained a series of confidential settlements against a long list of defendants, any of which manufactured the defective products, and produced a substantial recovery for his clients.
  • Prevailed at Trial for Major Developer in Suit Involving the Development of Friendship Heights, Maryland
    Represented a major developer in a dispute with his partner concerning the development of the Friendship Heights section of Bethesda, MD. The case involved complex zoning questions and years of business dealings. He obtained a verdict for his client after a four-week trial in federal court in Baltimore.
  • Prevailed at Trial for Developer in Real Estate Dispute Concerning a Planned Unit Development in Loudoun County, VA
    Mr. Kravitz also represented a developer of a planned unit development in Loudoun County, VA in a dispute concerning a California entity’s attempted purchase of the property. Mr. Kravitz prevailed at trial for his client and then the case settled after extensive appellate proceedings (including two appeals to the Virginia Supreme Court).
  • Favorable Settlement on Behalf of a Widow Whose Husband Was Killed in a Natural Gas Pipeline Explosion
    The firm represented the widow of gas company employee, who was killed when a leaking natural gas pipeline he had been sent to repair exploded, in a wrongful death case against the company and a contractor that had worked on the pipe in the past. We also represented the widow in a follow-on third-party bad faith action under West Virginia’s Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act against the insurance company that had provided the defense in the wrongful death action. Both cases were fiercely contested and litigated for several years before confidential settlements were reached.
  • $12 Million Summary Judgment in Bad Faith Insurance Action for Young Man Paralyzed in Car Accident
    Mr. Kravitz represented a guest passenger who was paralyzed in a car accident in a bad faith action against the driver’s insurance company. The insurance company refused to defend its insured, a Green Beret, when it learned that he had a substantial loss during the binder period. Mr. Kravitz obtained a $12 million summary judgment on the merits in favor of his client and then secured a confidential settlement during the subsequent trial on punitive damages.
  • Favorable Settlement for Family of Man Killed in Accident Involving Defective Car Doors
    We represented the family of an individual whose death in an industrial truck accident was caused by defective doors on the Ford truck he was driving. The product liability and crashworthiness case was settled on confidential terms on the eve of trial. The firm developed significant evidence that was used by lawyers in multiple other cases where serious injury or death was caused by defective doors on Ford vehicles.
  • Favorable Settlement for Family of Employee Electrocuted in Coal Preparation Plant
    Mr. Kravitz represented the widow and children of a coal preparation plant employee who was electrocuted using an impact wrench attached to an improperly wired extension cord. The negligence and unsafe workplace suit was settled during trial, after the mine’s chief engineer admitted under cross examination by Mr. Kravitz that his company had failed to provide the victim a reasonably safe place to work.
  • Favorable Settlement for Investor against Major Financial Services Company
    Mr. Kravitz represented a highly sophisticated investor in an NASD arbitration against a major financial services company involving churning and other frauds in connection with equity options trading. After two days of trial before the arbitrator the matter settled for a confidential amount.

Bar Admissions

Court Admissions

Professional Affiliations

  • Faculty, National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA)

Community Involvement

  • Board of Directors, DC SCORES
  • Team Leader, Voter Protection Program, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Offices