Eric Chaffin is a former federal prosecutor in the Business and Securities Fraud Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, New York, where he tried multiple cases and argued various appeals before the Second Circuit. Some of Mr. Chaffin’s more notable white collar cases included the highly publicized Computer Associates International and Symbol Technologies accounting and securities fraud prosecutions (over $1.2 billion and $200 million respectively). Mr. Chaffin was also lead trial counsel in numerous criminal trials, including a successful securities fraud manipulation trial involving over $20 million in investor losses. Mr. Chaffin now exclusively represents injured consumers, whistleblowers and shareholders in state and federal trial courts and appellate courts across the country.
Before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Chaffin was a litigator with Reed Smith LLP, where he represented Fortune 500 companies in a variety of individual and class actions. There, early in his career, he tried various arbitrations and administrative hearings and second chaired the successful defense of an age discrimination case to verdict. Mr. Chaffin was also a lead attorney on a habeas corpus petition that resulted in the reversal of a death sentence for a Pennsylvania death row inmate. During his time with Reed Smith, Mr. Chaffin took leave to clerk for the Honorable D. Brooks Smith of the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, who was since appointed to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Mr. Chaffin subsequently joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, New York in 1999.
After leaving the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Chaffin joined Seeger Weiss LLP, where as a partner his practice focused on individual and class securities fraud actions, consumer protection litigation and mass torts. Mr. Chaffin subsequently joined a National Law Journal Plaintiffs’ Hot List firm as a partner, where he specialized in securities litigation and headed up the firm’s mass torts department.
Since joining the Plaintiffs’ bar in 2003, Mr. Chaffin has successfully prosecuted a variety of cases. In the area of securities litigation, Mr. Chaffin was one of the lead attorneys in the In re IPO Securities Litigation, which involved 309 separate class actions consolidated for pre-trial purposes. On a day-to-day basis in the litigation, Mr. Chaffin was responsible for prosecuting dozens of cases against Morgan Stanley, led discovery of experts, worked closely with economists to present the plaintiffs’ theories of liability and class certification, and was a member of the plaintiffs’ negotiating team that achieved a $586 million global settlement of the cases in 2008. In addition to his extensive experience in handling the IPO Securities Litigation, Mr. Chaffin has also litigated various other class, derivative and securities actions in state and federal courts across the country. He has also successfully represented individual investors in arbitrations before FINRA and its former bodies and he has counseled state Attorneys General, including the Attorney General of Oregon, on securities litigation matters.
In the area of mass torts, Mr. Chaffin has represented consumers in various cases involving drug, medical device and over-the-counter products. For example, Mr. Chaffin currently serves as court-appointed liaison counsel in the Philadelphia Mass Tort Program (MTP), In re: Denture Cream Litigation and as court-appointed co-lead counsel in the In re: Denture Cream Product Liability Litigation (MDL) in the Southern District of Florida, which involve cases for consumers who have suffered hematological and neurological injuries from zinc in Fixodent and Super Poligrip denture creams. He is also a member of the discovery committee in the New Jersey Levaquin mass tort program and represents consumers in various other mass torts such as Yaz, Yazmin, Ocella, and pain pumps. Mr. Chaffin has also represented various third-party payor self-insured funds, including the NYPD Detectives Endowment Association, Inc. health and welfare funds and the Ohio Carpenters Welfare Fund, in the Vioxx litigation.
Mr. Chaffin has also represented various clients before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court, including union health and welfare funds as amici supporting consumers before the U.S. Supreme Court in Wyeth v. Levine, which was a key Supreme Court case upholding the rights of consumers to sue pharmaceutical companies for injuries caused by dangerous drugs. Mr. Chaffin has also represented the AARP, which enjoys millions of members across the United States, before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in pharmaceutical litigation and before the U.S. Supreme Court in securities litigation.
Some of Mr. Chaffin’s additional plaintiff successes include:
- Co-lead counsel in a $17.5 million settlement with Dell and Dell Financial Services on behalf of defrauded consumers who were victimized by a “bait and switch” financing scheme.
- Served on the plaintiffs’ counsel committees in the multidistrict litigation involving defective Medtronic and Guidant heart devices in the District of Minnesota, which settled for over $100 million and $240 million respectively.
- Multiple multi-million dollar recoveries in significant personal injury and product liability cases for consumers with as much as $9 million recovered for a single claim.
- Counsel for a California corporation in the Electronic Article Surveillance market in a David-and-Goliath type action for anti-competitive advertisements in violation of the Lanham Act in California federal court, which settled for a confidential amount on the eve of trial.
- Swift recovery of nearly $1.5 million (significantly more than market-adjusted out-of-pocket losses) for two investors whose broker invested them in various unsuitable investments, including options, calls and ETFs.
- Nearly $1 million recovery for an investor who suffered significant losses as a result of fraudulent analyst research reports.
While Mr. Chaffin and his family now reside in New York, he was raised in West Virginia and received his B.A. from West Virginia University, graduating summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, an Arts & Sciences Scholar and a University Honors Scholar. He received his J.D. from Washington & Lee University School of Law in Virginia, graduating cum laude, where he was a staff writer for the W&L Environmental Law Digest, Chairman of the Davis Moot Court Board and successfully tried his first three felony jury cases to verdict as an intern with the Western District of Virginia U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Mr. Chaffin served as an Adjunct Clinical Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School in 2002, where he taught in the areas of federal prosecutions and trial advocacy. He has also authored various articles, including: “De-Escalate the Expert Discovery Wars,” AAJ Trial Magazine (June 2008); “Higher Education Law: The Relationship with the Faculty,” The Law of Higher Education, Pa. Bar. Inst. (1997); “Review of Third Circuit Antitrust Cases (May 1993-May 1995),” 1001 Antitrust Challenges in the 90’s: Enforcement Reaches New Heights, Pa. Bar. Inst. (1995). Mr. Chaffin further has lectured on various topics, including the off-label marketing of pharmaceutical drugs and medical devices at a symposium held by the Albany Law Journal of Science & Technology (the lecture was published in the symposium’s sponsoring journal in 2009 (Vol. 19, Number 3); managing and resolving mass torts at ACI’s 2010 National Mass Tort Advanced Forum; and ponzi scheme prosecutions on an HBL Litigation Teleconference, “CPSA-Buyer Beware.”
Mr. Chaffin also has been interviewed by the national press, including the Wall Street Journal and Forbes, regarding investor fraud lawsuits and mass torts litigation. He has further appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America, CNBC’s Power Lunch, Lawline.com, Court Radio and Fox Radio regarding mass tort and securities fraud litigation. In 2010, Mr. Chaffin was named among the top 5% of lawyers in the New York Super Lawyers.
Mr. Chaffin is admitted to the Bars of the States of New York and West Virginia, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, the Western District of Pennsylvania, and the Southern District of West Virginia. He is also admitted to practice before the United States Courts of Appeals for the Second and Third Circuits.
Mr. Chaffin organizes and supports the Edison T. Chaffin, Jr. Memorial Scholarship, which is a scholarship created in the name of his late father that is given annually to a graduating senior from Oak Glen High School in West Virginia. He and his law partner and their families also run the Chaffin Luhana Foundation, which makes charitable contributions to important public causes and concerns. Mr. Chaffin and his family reside in Rye, New York.