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Steve Petkis

Steve Petkis is a litigation associate in the firm’s Washington, DC office. He has experience defending a variety of clients in their most sensitive and complex litigation matters in both state and federal court.

Steve is skilled in all phases of litigation, including discovery, trial, and appeal. In particular, he has played a lead role in crafting and executing dispositive, expert, and evidentiary briefing strategies, resulting in key victories at all stages. As a member of multiple trial teams, Steve also has stand-up court experience and has been responsible for taking and defending fact and expert depositions, drafting key witness examinations, and developing post-trial findings of fact and conclusions of law.

Steve previously served as a law clerk to Judge Katherine B. Forrest on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. He maintains an active pro bono practice focused on civil rights and criminal justice issues.

Courts and litigants continue to grapple with the new frontier of artificial intelligence (“AI”).  One recent case in California demonstrates a new wrinkle in this evolving landscape—the use of AI to aggregate class claims.

Because class settlements bind absent class members who do not object or opt out, Rule 23 requires courts to carefully review and approve them as “fair, reasonable, and adequate.”  An important part of this inquiry is making sure class members are given adequate notice of the terms of the proposed settlement and their rights.  When class members are required to submit claims to access settlement benefits, parties often turn to professional claims administration companies to assist in providing notice and facilitating the claims process.  Under Rule 23, courts closely monitor the information that flows from class counsel and claims administrators to putative class members to make sure it complies with due process.Continue Reading California Federal Court Clamps Down on ‘En Masse’ Class Claims Identified by AI

Recently, there has been a proliferation of putative class actions targeting allegedly misleading statements (or omissions) on the FDA-approved labels for over-the-counter (“OTC”) drugs.  Last year, we explained how these types of claims are vulnerable to a strong federal preemption defense.  In short, because the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (“FDCA”) explicitly forbids states from imposing OTC labeling requirements that are “different from,” “in addition to,” or “otherwise not identical” with those provided under federal law, 21 U.S.C. § 379r(a), state-law claims that directly challenge or conflict with the FDA’s decision-making for OTC drug labels are expressly preempted.Continue Reading Another Win for Preemption in Over-The-Counter Drug Labeling Case

In products and class action cases involving exposure to purportedly hazardous materials, plaintiffs often have trouble demonstrating concrete physical injuries, and in particular concrete physical injuries that would be common across a class.  To avoid dismissal and bolster class certification, those plaintiffs sometimes bring so-called “medical monitoring” claims, which seek recovery for the present-day costs

On the heels of the Ninth Circuit’s recent decision in Bowerman—which held that questions concerning the “existence of damages” for each class member can prevent certification—the Eleventh Circuit became the latest in a growing number of courts to conclude that class certification should be denied when plaintiffs cannot prove that each individual class member actually suffered damages.Continue Reading Individualized Damages Issues Preclude Class Certification in Eleventh Circuit

On July 29, Judge William Alsup of the Northern District of California issued a decertification order in a long-running class action dispute concerning Cricket Wireless’s 4G advertising, ruling that plaintiff’s counsel made “too critical a mistake” in fashioning their class-wide damages model.  See Freitas v. Cricket Wireless, LLC, 2022 WL 3018061, at *6 (N.D. Cal. July 29, 2022).Continue Reading “Critical Mistake” In Damages Model Sinks California Class Action