Bramson, Plutzik, Mahler & Birkhaeuser
2125 Oak Grove Rd.
Walnut Creek, CA 94598
Tel (925) 945-0200
Fax (925) 945-8792
Alan R. Plutzik specializes in complex business litigation in state and federal courts throughout the United States. Areas of particular emphasis include consumer class actions, securities fraud and corporate governance litigation, antitrust and communications law. Mr. Plutzik is admitted to practice in California and the District of Columbia (inactive member), and is a member of the bars of the U. S. Supreme Court, the Second, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth and District of Columbia Circuits and numerous federal district courts.
Mr. Plutzik is a graduate of St. John’s College, Annapolis, Maryland, and received his law degree from the University of California at Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law in 1977. Over the course of his career, he has handled a wide variety of class actions and derivative cases. He has represented, among other clients,
- limited partners challenging conduct by their general partners;
- consumers and businesses harmed by anticompetitive conduct;
- consumers in actions against insurance companies and banks;
- investors in securities fraud cases and derivative suits;
- employees in ERISA and wage/hour cases;
- purchasers of mislabeled and defective products;
- victims of toxic pollution;
- persons harmed by defective products; and
- cellular telephone and cable television subscribers.
Mr. Plutzik has also handled a substantial number of cases that raise First Amendment and other constitutional issues, and has represented broadcasters, cable television companies, communications common carriers and consumers in litigation and in administrative proceedings before the Federal Communications Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission.
He has written or lectured on topics that include class actions, California consumer law, substantive and procedural issues under the federal securities laws, First Amendment issues of new media and cable television law. He has appeared as a guest commentator on the Len Tillem Show on KGO-Radio in San Francisco, discussing class actions, consumer protection and investor rights.
Mr. Plutzik has served as a judge pro tem on the Contra Costa County Superior Court and as a Discovery Facilitator for the Court. He is also President of the Warren W. Eukel Teacher Trust, a community-based charity that honors outstanding Contra Costa County teachers. He has been designated a Northern California Super Lawyer.
Alan R. Plutzik Representative Cases
- Mier v. Pacific Bell. Class action challenging the charges for late payment imposed upon California residential telephone customers. A settlement was reached one day before the class action trial was to begin, resulting in a monetary recovery and and injunctive relief that together provided a $38.6 million to the class.
- Patrick v. Blue Shield of California. Class action against a health insurer for unfair and deceptive practices and ERISA violations. A settlement of $20 million was negotiated after the close of discovery.
- Guyette v. Viacom, Inc. Class action on claims that a cable television company had improperly failed to share certain tax refunds with its subscribers. A $13 million settlement was negotiated shortly before trial.
- Green v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. Class action on behalf of California class of policy holders who alleged that MetLife had engaged in misconduct in the sale of life insurance policies. After the California class was certified, the case settled nationwide for consideration in excess of $1 billion.
- In re Pacific Lumber Company Securities Litigation. Class action arising out of a tender offer for Pacific Lumber Company by a corporate raider. The class recovered more than $140 million.
- In re Worlds of Wonder Securities Litigation. Securities fraud class action, in which the class recovered $9 million from a big-four accounting and auditing firm.
- McCall v. Newkirk Capital LLC. Class action challenging a “rollup” of 90 limited partnerships, . A settlement was negotiated under which the class received cash, additional partnership units and a restructuring of assets and agreements with the general partner and its affiliates.
- In re Cellphone Termination Fee Cases – Handset Locking Actions. Mr. Plutzik served as co-lead counsel in five coordinated cases challenging the secret locking of cellphone handsets by major national cellphone carriers to prevent consumers from activating them on competing carriers’ systems. Settlements were achieved in all five cases that required the carriers to disclose their handset locks and provide unlocking codes nationwide on reasonable terms and conditions.
- In re Cellphone Termination Fee Cases – Early Termination Fee Cases. Mr. Plutzik served as liaison and co-lead counsel in cases that challenged the validity of cellphone companies’ flat early termination fees (“ETFs”). A $21 million settlement was reached with one of the defendants, Verizon Wireless. A second case against Sprint led to a verdict after trial, which was affirmed on appeal, invalidating Spring’s flat ETFs and enjoining Sprint from collecting over $200 million of unpaid ETFs that it had charged to class members, The damages case remains pending. As a result of this litigation, all of the major national cellphone carriers have switched to prorated ETFs that are reduced over time as the customer satisfies the provisions of his cellphone contract.
- In re Daisy Systems Securities Litigation. Mr. Plutzik recovered $13.1 million in a Rule 10b-5 action against the directors and officers of a Silicon Valley company.
- Runner v. United Parcel Service. Class action on behalf of shippers challenging alleged overcharges by UPS. The class obtained $6.25 million plus injunctive relief.
- Hodge v. Franklin Select Realty Trust. Class action arising from a real estate investment trust’s merger with two related companies. A $4 million settlement was negotiated.
- Barnett v. Glenborough Pension Investors. Class action challenging the restructuring of a limited partnership. The class recovered $2.95 million.
- In re Technical Equities Federal Securities Litigation. Securities fraud case arising from a complex Ponzi scheme. A global settlement in the amount of $13 million was reached shortly before trial.
- Daniels v. Centennial Group, Inc. Class action arising from a “roll-up” of six real estate limited partnerships. A $3.9 million settlement was reached. The case resulted in an important published opinion regarding the standards for class certification under California law – Daniels v. Centennial Group, Inc., 16 Cal.App.4th 467 (1993).
- Liberski v. Rhapsody International, Inc. Class action alleging that subscribers to streaming music service had been overcharged. The case settled on terms that required the defendant to return all overcharges and reform its practices.
- Harbor Finance Partners v. BKP Capital Management et al. Class action on behalf of individual and institutional investors, asserting claims of misrepresentation and breach of fiduciary duty against a hedge fund, its general partner and others. The action settled on terms favorable to the class.
- McCullough v. Jameson. Individual and derivative case on behalf of shareholders of a privately held oil company against corporate officers for misappropriation of corporate opportunities. The case settled favorably.
- Options Backdating Derivative Cases. Mr. Plutzik served as Liaison Counsel in a number of options backdating cases, which settled on favorable terms.
- In re Washington Public Power Supply Securities Litigation. Mr. Plutzik represented a law firm in a case that established important principles regarding fees in federal class actions. Published op. at 19 F.3d 1291, 1300 (9th Cir. 1994).
- Antitrust Direct and Indirect Purchaser Class Actions. Mr. Plutzik has served in a leadership position in numerous antitrust class actions, including In re California MSG Antitrust Litigation, In re California Infant Formula Indirect Purchaser Antitrust Litigation, In re Korean Noodles Indirect Purchaser Antitrust Litigation and In re Methionine Direct Purchaser Antitrust Litigation.
- California Community Television Ass’n v. Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and related cases; USA Media, LLP v. Truckee-Donner Public Utility District. Mr. Plutzik represented cable TV companies in successful class action and individual antitrust cases to vindicate their right of reasonable access to utility poles.
- Lucero v. Frederick’s of Hollywood, Inc. Mr. Plutzik was lead counsel for the class in this wage and hour class action that settled for $950,000.
- TCI v. City of Chester; Paragon Cable TV v. City of Brookfield; TCI of Key West v. U.S.; Nor West Cable Communications Ptp. v. City of St. Paul. Mr. Plutzik successfully represented cable TV companies in antitrust and constitutional challenges to government efforts to revoke their right to do business.
- Citizens Cable Communications Co. v. Cox Cable Communications Co. Mr. Plutzik represented a cable television company in a contract dispute arising from an option to purchase. A favorable settlement was reached during trial.