AV preeminent rated by Martindale-Hubbell, Mr. Vendler practices complex litigation in the areas of class actions (both plaintiff and defense), insurance coverage, real estate and professional liability.
Mr. Vendler has been lead class counsel in several nationally publicized class actions against the credit counseling industry, including a $255,000,000 plaintiffs' judgment in 2008 (against industry giant Cambridge Credit Counseling, Inc. and its founders, John and Richard Puccio); a $35 million dollar class action settlement in 2006 against the founder of Ameridebt and several other related debt counseling companies; and a multi-million dollar settlement against the credit counseling entity Money Management International.
In all of these cases, Mr. Vendler broke new legal ground with several published opinions in which he was lead appellate counsel. In 2005 he successfully argued before the First Circuit Court of Appeals that even though the federal Credit Repair Organizations Act ("CROA") contains an exemption for non profit tax exempt organizations, the federal courts should not be bound by the IRS's determination of tax exempt status in determining whether an entity qualifies for the exemption. Instead, Mr. Vendler argued that in weighing entitlement to the exemption, federal courts should look to the nature of the entity’s actual operations and not merely its legal form. See Zimmerman v. Cambridge Credit Counseling, 409 F. 3d 473 (1st Cir. 2005). The First Circuit also upheld the plaintiffs a $255 million summary judgment award, which is believed to be the largest judgment in the entire United States issued that year. See Zimmerman v. Puccio, 613 F.3d 60 (1st Cir. 2010).
Mr. Vendler was also the first to bring a successful class action against a national bank for its participation in the credit counseling fraud, securing a multi-million dollar settlement against Chase Bank, U.S.A., NA in 2011.
Other class action cases that Mr. Vendler has successfully championed to multi-million dollar settlements include claims against all of the nation's leading rental car companies (Hertz, Avis, Enterprise, etc.) for violating California statutes relating to the sale of collision damage waivers and a claim against a nationally known health club chain for overcharging the public.
But Mr. Vendler's extensive class action experience is not limited to solely representing plaintiffs. Mr. Vendler has also successfully defended numerous corporate defendants in class action cases, most of them all the way to an outright defense judgment. These have included a federal class action case against a major pharmaceutical company arising from allegedly misleading statements made on the labeling of its contact lens solution product (defense summary judgment); a claim for false advertising, violations of California's Consumer Legal Remedies Act and California's Unfair Competition Law against a distributor of the steroid precursor Androstenediol (made infamous by the baseball player Mark McGwire) (defense judgment); a claim for property damage to an entire neighborhood as a result of an electrical power surge (defense judgment); a claim against a leading insurer for statutory violations in the sales of self-storage insurance policies (defense judgment by terminating sanction); and a claim against a distributor of an "all natural" nutritional supplement that was allegedly contaminated with prescription medications (claim voluntarily dismissed after dispositive motion filed). In the same case, Mr. Vendler defeated class certification as to the second distributor represented by MPP.
Other class and representative claims that Mr. Vendler has handled from both the plaintiff and defense side include: defending a claim against a national retailer of health and wellness products for supposedly misleading consumers by touting the efficacy of magnets in its wrist and knee wraps (represented the defense); claims of wage and hour violations and gender discrimination by one of the nation's top ten employers (see Balandran v. Labor Ready, Inc., 124 Cal.App.4th 1522 (2004)) (represented the plaintiffs), claims against a number of food manufacturers and retailers based upon food labeling violations under California statutes and the federal National Labeling and Education Act (represented the plaintiff); and a claim based on an allegedly illegal rebate program operated by one of the nation's leading software companies.
In addition to his consumer rights practice, Mr. Vendler has a long history of representing private clients, including: Forest City Enterprises, a $7.8-billion company recently rated by Fortune magazine as the top publicly traded real estate company in the United States; Fred Sands Realtors in several sick building/toxic mold claims (see FSR Brokerage, Inc. v. Superior Court, 2002 WL 560983) and a number of insurers in complex insurance coverage actions against fortune 500 companies, including Pfizer for its indemnity and defense costs in the Bjork-Shiley heart valve litigation and Bechtel for its expenses defending a mass tort claim involving toxic exposure to workers. See Bechtel Petroleum Operations, Inc. v. Continental Insurance Company, et al., 117 Cal. Rptr. 2d 399 (2002).
Mr. Vendler has published numerous articles in several periodicals, including in the National Law Journal and Federal Lawyer, and has been qualified as an expert in class actions and in evaluating the reasonableness of attorneys' fees.
Mr. Vendler has a wife who is also a lawyer, two children, and he enjoys driving old cars and playing basketball. He is also active in the Harvard Radcliffe Club of Southern California and is a Member of the Board of the Northeast Renaissance Corporation, a non profit dedicated to assisting lower-income families in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Lincoln Heights.
Practices & Industries: Commercial Litigation | Insurance Coverage | Real Estate Law