Stephen A. Weiss
A founding partner of Seeger Weiss, Steve has earned the admiration of his clients, peers and adversaries alike for his pragmatically creative and honest approach to litigation and conflict resolution. His practice is strikingly diverse, ranging from high-profile multidistrict litigations and arbitrations to private business disputes spanning a broad array of legal disciplines, including qui tam/whistleblower, consumer products, insurance, agricultural, environmental, securities, employment and property rights litigation.
As Chair of the firm’s qui tam/whistleblower practice, Steve has represented relators in some of the nation’s largest and most notable recoveries under the federal and state false claims acts, with particular concentration in the areas of health care and tax fraud.
In 2013, for example, Steve represented the relator in the first settlement ever reached under the 2010 tax whistleblower amendments to New York’s False Claims Act, resulting in a $5.5 million recovery by the State and a $3.2 million recovery by the IRS against celebrity tailor Mohanbhai “Mohan” Ramchandani. Steve has similarly represented relators in a myriad of whistleblower actions involving healthcare fraud, including a $125 million recovery against Warner Chilcott in 2015, a $54 million recovery against CareCore National in 2017, and a $3 billion recovery against GlaxoSmithKline in 2011, among others. Steve lectures annually on whistleblower litigation and corporate governance at his alma mater, the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.
Emblematic of the diversity of his practice, Steve has for almost two decades represented family and corporate farmers throughout the United States in milestone litigation involving the improper commercialization of GMO seed. Steve is the only attorney in the country who has held court-appointed leadership positions in the nation’s three largest GMO-related recoveries: the $110 million recovery in 2003 involving the Starlink corn seed (Co-Lead Counsel); the $1 billion recovery involving the Bayer rice seed in 2011 (Plaintiff’s Executive Committee); and the $1.51 billion settlement in 2018 involving the Syngenta corn seed (Plaintiff’s Executive Committee).
Steve’s trial work on behalf of family farmers is similarly notable. In September 2006, he and his co-trial counsel won a $4.5 million jury verdict in Jackson County, Missouri following a three-week odor nuisance trial against one of the nation’s largest industrial hog producers on behalf of six neighbors of the defendants’ vast farm operations in northern Missouri. This verdict was followed by an $11 million verdict following a 5-week trial in March 2010 on behalf of fifteen individuals in related litigation against the same defendants, which at its time was the largest nuisance verdict ever obtained against a hog producer. As a result of this verdict, Steve was named by the Public Justice Foundation as a finalist for the 2010 Trial Lawyer of the Year Award.
Before founding Seeger Weiss, Steve spent a decade at one of the leading international corporate defense firms, where he represented dozens of Fortune 500 companies. Moved by the disproportion in power between individuals and the giant corporations that wronged them, Steve decided to become a plaintiffs’ attorney to help level the legal playing field.
Born in New York City and raised in Oyster Bay, Long Island, Steve remains active with his alma mater, Cardozo Law, serving on its school’s Board of Overseers since 2000. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association and as Vice President, First Department, of the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers.
Steve believes deeply in contributing to the good of the community. Since 2008, he and Seeger Weiss co-founder Chris Seeger have proudly served as national Co-General Counsel for the Badge of Honor Memorial Foundation, whose mission is to assist the families and departments of police officers killed in the line of duty. In 2002, Steve was awarded the International Humanitarian Achievement Award by the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.
- New York
- U.S. District Courts of the Eastern District of New York, Southern District of New York
- U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second, Third, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits
- U.S. Supreme Court
MEMBERSHIPS & ASSOCIATIONS
Memberships & Associations
- American Bar Association
- The Association of the Bar of the City of New York
- American Association for Justice
- Former Board member, New York State Trial Lawyers Association
- Former Vice President, First Department, New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers
- General Counsel, Badge of Honor Memorial Foundation, 2008 – present
- Board of Overseers, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, 2000 – present
Philanthropic or Pro Bono Support
- Human Rights First
- Hunter College
- Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
- Badge of Honor Memorial Foundation
- Shaare Zedek Hospital, Jerusalem
- In re StarLink Corn Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 1403, No. 01 C 4928. (N.D. Ill.). Appointed Co-Lead Counsel by the Honorable James Moran, representing U.S. corn farmers in a consolidated nationwide class action, alleging damages associated with the commercialization of StarLink, a genetically modified corn strain developed by Aventis CropScience. Successfully recovered more than $110 million in damages.
- In re Syngenta AG MIR 162 Corn Litigation, MDL No. 14-md-2591 (D. Kan.). Appointed to the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee by the Honorable John W. Lungstrum, representing nationwide corn producers harmed as a result of Swiss agrochemical giant Syngenta AG’s premature commercialization of genetically modified strains of corn known as Agrisure Viptera and Duracade. A federal jury verdict of $217.7 million in compensatory damages in a Kansas class-wide trial led to the announcement in December 2018 of a nationwide settlement of $1.51 billion.
- In re Polyurethane Foam Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 10-md-2196-JZ (N.D. Ohio). Appointed to the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee by the Honorable Jack Zouhary in a multidistrict litigation consisting of multiple class actions filed throughout the country, alleging various antitrust violations against 17 polyurethane foam manufacturers. Settlements totaled $427 million.
- State of New York v. Mohan’s Custom Tailors, et. al, No. 09-5454 (E.D. Pa.). Represented the whistleblower in the first case ever settled under the New York State False Claims Act’s tax fraud provisions. The $5.5 million recovery for New York State was followed by a $3.2 million recovery by the United States.
- United States ex rel. Alexander, et al. v. Warner Chilcott plc, No. 11-cv-10545-RGS (D. Mass.). Represented the whistleblowers in a False Claims Act qui tam case, resulting in a $125 million recovery by the United States and various state governments.
- In U.S. ex rel. Miller v. CareCore National LLC et al., No. 1:13-cv-01177 (S.D.N.Y.). Represented the relator in a seminal healthcare qui tam litigation, securing a $54 Million settlement.
- In re Vytorin/Zetia Mktg. Sales Practices and Prod. Liab. Litig., MDL No. 1938, 08-cv-285, (D.N.J.)(pro hac vice). Appointed by the Honorable Dennis M. Cavanaugh as Co-Lead Counsel, representing consolidated nationwide fraud claims against conglomerates Merck & Co., Inc.and Schering-Plough Corporation, securing a $41.5 million recovery.
- In re IPO Securities Litigation, No. 1:21-mc-00092 (S.D.N.Y.). Appointed by the Honorable Shira Scheindlin as a member of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee, helping secure a $586 million settlement against 309 issuers and 55 investment bank underwriters, in one of the largest coordinated securities fraud prosecutions in history. Originated the case theories and filed the first of ultimately over 1,000 cases filed in the sprawling MDL.
- Industrial Agricultural Nuisance Actions — Owens, et al v. ContiGroup Companies, et al., No. 72560 (W.D. Mo.) and related cases. Obtained a $4.5 million jury verdict against industrial hog producers Premium Standard Farms, Inc. and ContiGroup Companies on behalf of six neighboring landowners for damages caused from pollution. This verdict was followed by an $11 million verdict in March 2010 on behalf of fifteen individuals in related litigation. Served as lead negotiator in connection with the aggregate confidential settlement of the remaining approximately 300 claimants against the defendants.
- In re LLRice 601 Contamination Litigation, MDL No. 1811 (E.D. Mo.). Appointed by the Honorable Catherine D. Perry to the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee in a multidistrict litigation involving the introduction into the U.S. rice supply of a genetically modified rice seed licensed by Bayer CropScience. Cases resolved globally for over $1 billion.
Publications & Presentations
“Environmental Liability Disclosure Under the Federal Securities Law.”
Law Education Institute, Inc., 1998
“Liability Issues and Recent Case Law Developments Under CERCLA, New Environmental Issues of Liabilities of Government Agencies & Government Contractors.”
Federal Publications, Inc., Ch. 4, 1995
“New York Proposes Legislation to Restrict Shareholder Derivative Suits”
Insights vol. 8, no. 3, p. 24, 1994
“Suretyship as Adequate Protection Under Section 361 of the Bankruptcy Code”
Cardozo Law Review vol. 12, p. 285, 1990