Steven P. Benenson

Expand all

For over 30 years, Steven Benenson has represented public and private companies as national, regional and local counsel in high stakes and complex business, commercial and product liability litigations and class actions in trial and appellate courts across the country.

Steve has substantial experience prosecuting and defending claims in varying industries arising out of mergers, acquisitions and divestitures (including indemnification disputes); manufacturing, supply and distribution agreements; directors & officers’ liability (including corporate veil-piercing suits); insurance coverage; legal and accounting malpractice; consumer protection laws; fraud; conspiracy; and enterprise liability. He has successfully briefed and argued appeals in the United States Courts of Appeal and state appellate courts regarding the recognition of novel causes of action; jurisdiction, consolidation and venue; preemption; class certification; expert witness disqualification; and statutory fee awards. Steve also counsels companies on crisis response, risk management and liability prevention relating to defective and counterfeit products, warnings and recall campaigns.

Steve is a "top notch litigator," whose "ability to quickly understand complex factual situations or unfamiliar technical issues is unmatched [and]... translates into his ability to effectively convey his client's position to any tribunal." "The forcefulness of his advocacy comes from expertise and experience rather than bully tactics" wrote BestLawyers.com. Steve’s methodical investigation, strategic analysis and creativity help simplify and effectively resolve complex, challenging and disruptive cases.

Relevant Experience
  • Lead counsel to a public manufacturer of performance apparel, lead counsel to the world's largest manufacturer of premium, luxury and sports eyewear, co-counsel to the world's largest public social media company, and co-counsel to a public self-storage REIT in the defense of consumer protection class actions.
  • Lead appellate counsel to a multi-national chemical manufacturer contesting a $205 million verdict arising out of the interpretation of a “most favored nations” clause in a complex tolling agreement. Obtained a reversal of the judgment and a new trial on damages, and helped devise a settlement that reduced the company's exposure by nearly $100 million.
  • Lead counsel to the world's largest Brownsfield private equity funds in defense of corporate veil piercing claims arising out of the bankruptcy of the largest public private financed redevelopment project in New Jersey's history.
  • National counsel to a national insurance company in the defense of consumer fraud class action claims relating to overcharges for title insurance and closing costs. Obtained a 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reversal of a federal district court's certification of a filed rate title insurance class action that effectively ended such litigation in Texas.
  • Co-counsel to a world leader in consumer electronics in the defense of consumer fraud class action claims due to alleged defects in high definition televisions.
  • Lead trial counsel in a year-long complex commercial and environmental arbitration arising out of the world wide divestiture of a hydraulics business. The dispute involved the parties’ respective indemnity obligations under an asset purchase agreement, whether historic waste management practices that had heavily contaminated one Superfund site were nonetheless in compliance with existing laws, regulations or practices of the day, whether certain remediation costs were capitalizable under GAAP, and whether such claims were subject to insurance coverage. After the conclusion of the arbitration hearings, successfully negotiated a global resolution of the Superfund site claims, and claims involving five other international sites.
  • National coordinating counsel to one of the nation’s largest information service providers in the defense of product liability, enterprise liability, and industry-wide conspiracy claims. Devised and implemented the company’s nationwide strategy for insurance coverage, discovery, experts, motions, trials and appeals. Lead counsel on numerous published opinions on the government contractor defense, expert disqualification, statute of limitations, and duty to warn issues. Never lost a case or paid any money in settlement, and recovered substantially all costs of defense from our client’s insurers.
  • Trial team member for major pharmaceutical company in defense of bellwether hormone therapy product liability litigation. Responsible for devising legal issues strategy, supervision of all briefs and motions, and presentation of oral argument on substantive issues.
  • Co-counsel to a former manufacturer of lead pigment in the defense of public nuisance, fraud and civil conspiracy claims brought by governmental entities seeking billions in costs for remediation of contaminated buildings and medical monitoring. Member of Supreme Court briefing team that obtained a reversal of the intermediate court’s recognition of a public nuisance cause of action.
  • Co-counsel for major pharmaceutical company in the defense of product liability cases arising out of the ingestion of a ubiquitous cold and cough medication. Devised strategy and coordinated discovery, experts, motion practice, trial preparation and court-ordered mediations.
  • Co-counsel in a nationwide consumer fraud class action brought against the world’s largest distributor of medical products claiming price gouging in the sale of flu vaccine. Defeated plaintiffs’ motion to compel disclosure of confidential customer lists, limited class-related discovery to one region of the country, and obtained a dismissal of the putative class.
  • Lead counsel for a chemical manufacturer in the defense of a mass personal injury case arising out of the contamination of community drinking wells and obtained a dismissal of all claims. Our client’s Superfund site—one of the most heavily solventcontaminated industrial facilities in the country—was literally adjacent to the affected wells. Other defendants paid millions of dollars in settlement to avoid trial.
  • Lead counsel representing a newspaper, media and commercial printing company in a consumer fraud and breach of contract claim against a multi-national manufacturer of electronic press control equipment. Mediated case to a successful settlement in which client recovered all damages.
  • Lead counsel in the representation of a generic pharmaceutical manufacturer in the defense of a breach of fiduciary duty and fraud case brought by a joint venturer.  Devised the overall litigation strategy, and participated in the court-ordered mediation that resulted in a favorable resolution of the matter.
  • Counsel to a private equity fund in investigating potential legal and accounting malpractice claims arising out of the acquisition of a surplus lines insurance carrier and the proper characterization under GAAP of a finite reinsurance treaty.
  • Lead counsel for a computer manufacturer in consolidated lawsuits brought by former employees claiming that the corporation intentionally exposed them to carcinogenic substances and conspired to fraudulently conceal occupationally-caused cancers. Devised strategy and obtained summary judgment.
  • Counsel for over a dozen generators of hazardous waste in a toxic tort suit brought by firefighters who alleged that they suffered serious respiratory illnesses, and required medical monitoring, after being exposed to noxious emissions while responding to a fire at a landfill. Served on the steering board of the joint defense committee in this and other toxic tort cases, and negotiated global resolutions of such claims, including devising allocation formulae, and drafting hold harmless, indemnification and settlement agreements.
  • Counsel to a major supplier of train brake accessories in conducting a nation-wide recall and retrofit campaign after a catastrophic derailment, including serving on a corporate safety committee, supervising an independent analytic testing lab, coordinating public relations, managing related federal litigation and obtaining insurance coverage for the damage claims.
Opinions
  • Friest v. Luxottica Group, S.p.A., 2016 WL 7668453 (D.N.J. 2016)
  • Chassen v. Fidelity Nat'l Financial, Inc. et. als., 2016 WL 4698256 (3rd Cir. 2016)
  • Castro v. Sovran Self Storage, Inc., 114 F. Supp. 3d 204 (D.N.J. 2015)

  •  

    Paulus, Sokolowski & Sartor, LLC v. Darden et. als., 2015 WL 6456124 (N.J. App. Div. 2015)
  • Ahmad v. Old Republic Nat'l Title Ins. Co., 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 16901 (5th Cir. 2012)
  • BASF Corp. v. Lyondell Chemical Co., 2010 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 3106 (N.J. App. Div. 2010)
  • McCalley v. Samsung Elecs. Am., Inc., 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 28076 (D.N.J. 2008)
  • In re Lead Paint Litigation, 191 N.J. 405 (N.J. Sup. Ct. 2007)
  • West Morris Pediatrics v. Henry Schein, Inc., 385 N.J. Super. 581 (Law Div. 2004)
  • McDonald v. Lederle Laboratories, 341 N.J. Super 369 (N.J. App. Div. 2001)
  • Reiff v. Convergent Technologies, 957 F. Supp. 573 (D.N.J. 1997)
  • Dennis v. Pertec Computer Corp., 927 F. Supp. 156 (D.N.J. 1996), aff’d, 135 F.3d 764 (3rd Cir. 1997)
  • Wisner v. Unisys Corp., 917 F. Supp. 1501 (D. Kan. 1996)
  • Houghtaling v. Unisys Corp., 955 F. Supp. 309 (D.N.J. 1996)
  • Hartman v. AT&T Corp., 971 F. Supp. 952 (D.Md. 1996)
Honors and Awards
  • Recognized in Best Lawyers in America, Commercial Litigation, Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions - Defendants, 2012 - 2017
  • Recognized on the New Jersey Super Lawyers List, Business Litigation, Class Actions/Mass Torts and Products Liability, 2005 – 2007, 2010 - 2017
  • Recognized in The International Who's Who of Commercial Litigators, 2009
  • “AV” rated by Martindale-Hubbell (highest rating)
  • Master Advocate, National Institute of Trial Advocacy
  • Knight of the Lyondell Enterprise (client recognition for outstanding results)

Honors and Awards

Organizations/Memberships
  • American Land Title Association, Title Counsel Committee
  • American Bar Association, Business Law Section, Business & Corporate Law Litigation Committee (Appellate Litigation, Business Torts, and Class and Derivative Actions Subcommittees); Litigation Section (Class Actions and Derivatives Suits, Business Torts & Unfair Competition, and Mass Torts Committees); Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (Appellate Advocacy, Business Litigation (Vice Chair), and Products Liability Committees)
  • Defense Research Institute, Commercial Litigation Committee, Class Action and Complex Commercial SLGs
  • Cornell Law School Curia Society
Publications
  • Co-Editor, "A Practitioner's Guide to Class Actions," Second Edition, American Bar Association, New Jersey Law Section, Fall 2017.
  • "Anti-Injunction Decision Hamstrings Ability to Settle Federal Class Actions," Porzio Class Action Newsletter, March 2015.
  • "A Second Bite at the Apple? CAFA Jurisdiction After Class Certification Denial," Defense Research Institute, The Business Suit, Vol 17, Issue 2, February 2014.
  • "Circumventing Class Action Predominance Through Improper Merits Discovery," Defense Research Institute, In-House Defense Quarterly, September 2012.
  • "Analysis of the New Jersey Supreme Court Decision in 'In Re Lead Paint Litigation,'" nuisancelaw.com, November 17, 2008.
  • "Caught in the Rx Drug Web: Recent Proposals to Restrict Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Restricted Devices," FDLI Update, Issue 2, March/April 2006.
  • "Fraud Allegations Prompt Call for Mandatory Publication of Clinical Trial Results," FDLI Update, Issue 2, March/April 2005.
  • Reparations: "Suits Are Too Little, Too Late," National Law Journal, May 13, 2002.
  • "How to Conduct a Product Safety Investigation and Campaign," For the Defense, Defense Research Institute Committee Perspectives, Vol. 43, No. 4, April 2001.
  • "The Timely Filing of a Petition Under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act is a Jurisdictional Prerequisite for Maintaining a Civil Action," Porzio, Bromberg & Newman Litigation Update, May 25, 2000.
  • "Strategies for Successfully Defending Industry-Wide Product Liability Litigation," Product Safety & Liability Reporter, The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., Vol. 27, No. 37, September 17, 1999.
  • "Avoiding Complex Arbitration Pitfalls," New Jersey Lawyer, November 23, 1998.
  • "Second Circuit Rules Damaging Statements Contained in Unpublished Documents of Other Manufacturers and Trade Associations Do Not Constitute Industry-Wide 'Notice'," Porzio, Bromberg & Newman Litigation Update, September 14, 1998.
  • "Federal District Court Invokes Daubert Opinion to Disqualify Liability and Causation Experts in Repetitive Stress Injury Case," Porzio, Bromberg & Newman Litigation Update, August 31, 1995.
  • Quoted in The National Law Journal, "Plaintiffs Rev Up New PPA Drug Lawsuits," Vol. 23, No. 31 (March 26, 2001).
  • Quoted in Computer & Internet Lawcast, Vol. 1, No. 2, February 22, 1999 (addressing federal "Year 2000 Information and Readiness Disclosure Act").
  • Quoted in Fortune, Letter to Editor on "Fatal Litigation" article, Vol. 132, No. 12, December 11, 1995 (addressing mass tort cases).
Speaking Engagements
  • "Strategies for Successfully Defending 'No Injury' Consumer Protection Class Actions," Network of Trial Law Firms' CLE program, "Litigation Management: New Trends and Techniques," Palm Beach, FL, April, 2017.
  • Moderator/Program Chair, "Managing Class Actions from the Perspective of In-House Counsel,"  ABA National Class Action Symposium, New Orleans, LA, March 2016.
  • "Update on Title Insurance Class Actions," American Land Title Association, Title Counsel Committee Roundtable, Washington, DC, May 2015.
  • "Update on Title Insurance Class Actions," American Land Title Association, Title Counsel Committee Roundtable, Seattle, WA, October 2014.
  • "Recent Developments in Title Insurance Class Actions," American Land Title Association, Title Counsel Committee Roundtable, Chicago, IL, May 2014.
  • "Update on Filed Rate Class Actions," American Land Title Association, Title Counsel Committee Roundtable, West Palm Beach, FL, October 2013.  
  • "Defending Corporate Veil Piercing Claims," New Jersey Corporate Counsel Association 11th Annual Conference, Whippany, NJ, September 2013.
  • "Class Action Blockbuster: Key Developments Affecting the Future of Class Action Litigation," ABA TIPS Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, August 2013.
  • "Recent Developments in the Enforceability of Arbitration Provisions in Class Actions," American Land Title Association, Title Counsel Committee Roundtable, Washington, DC, May 2013.
  • Guest lecturer, Rutgers University Law School, "Appellate Advocacy Course," September 2012.
  • "Successful Strategies for Managing Class Action Litigation from the Corporate Legal Department Perspective," New Jersey Corporate Counsel Association 7th Annual Conference, Hanover, NJ, September 2009.
  • "Managing Tort and Consumer Fraud Liability Risk in an Evolving Litigation Climate," New Jersey Corporate Counsel Association 6th Annual Conference, Whippany, NJ, September 2008.
  • "Consumer Fraud in New Jersey," New Jersey General Counsel Group’s Quarterly Meeting, Basking Ridge, NJ, March 2007.
  • "Publication of Research Results: Managing the Complex Issues Facing the Industry," ACI 4th National Conference on Medical Affairs, Chicago, IL, May 2006.
  • "Combating Economic Loss Consumer Fraud Claims in the Promotion and Sale of Pharmaceuticals," ACI Off Label Drug & Medical Device Seminar, New York City, NY, April 2006.
  • "Navigating Legal Issues in Cyberspace," The New Jersey-Pennsylvania Council of AeA and the Ironbound Business Organization, Newark, NJ, July 2001.
  • "Are PPA Claims Suitable For Class Action Treatment?," Mealey’s PPA & Ephedra Litigation Conference, Philadelphia, PA, March 2001.
  • "Repetitive Stress Injury Litigation: Past, Present and Future," DRI Product Liability Seminar, Chicago, IL, September 2000.
  • "The New Federal Y2K Act: What You Need to Know Now!" ABA Sections of Business Law and Litigation and the Center for Continuing Legal Education, Washington, DC, September 1999.
  • "Recent Developments in Alternative Dispute Resolution, As Influenced by Litigation Trends," Dartmouth Lawyers Association, 15th Annual Meeting, Hanover, NH, July 1999.
  • "Pushing the Envelope: Significant Trends in RSI Cases—The Post Sale Duty to Warn and Medical Causation," DRI Products Liability Seminar, Specialized Litigation Group, San Diego, CA, January 1997.
  • "Preparation For and Conducting the Deposition of the Expert Witness," Porzio, Bromberg & Newman Associate Training Program (repeated presentations).
  • "The Discoverability of Electronic Information in Civil Litigation and Its Relation to Corporate Records Retention Policies," ABA Committee on Corporate Counsel Northeast Regional Workshop, Newark, NJ, Spring 1994.

Practice

Industries

Related Media

Bar Admissions

  • New Jersey, 1984
  • United States District Court, District of New Jersey, 1984
  • United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, 1992
  • District of Columbia, 1997
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, 2011
  • New York, 2015
  • United States District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin, 2016

Education

Cornell University Law School, Ithaca, New York, J.D., 1984

Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, magna cum laude, high departmental distinctions, 1981

  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • William Jewett Tucker Fellow

Contact Address

100 Southgate Parkway

Morristown, NJ 07962-1997

Phone: 973.538.4006

Fax: 973.538.5146

  • Benenson, Steven
  • Benenson, Steven
  • Benenson, Steven
  • Benenson, Steven