Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP
Annika K. Martin is a partner in the firm’s New York office and head of the firm’s Sexual Abuse Survivors Practice Group. She has represented plaintiffs since 2005 in environmental, mass tort, consumer protection, and sexual abuse cases.
In May 2020, Annika was appointed Interim Class Counsel for the plaintiffs in the University of Michigan / Dr. Robert E. Anderson sexual abuse litigation pending before Judge Victoria A. Roberts in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
Annika also serves as court-appointed Co-Lead Class Counsel representing women who were sexually abused by gynecologist George Tyndall, M.D., in a class action against Tyndall and the University of Southern California. Plaintiffs and class members are women who saw Tyndall at the USC Student Health Clinic during his tenure there. From 1989 through 2016, Tyndall was the only full-time gynecologist on staff at USC’s Student Health Clinic. The lawsuit alleges Tyndall used this position of trust and authority to repeatedly sexually abuse the Plaintiffs and potentially thousands of other class members, and that despite that USC received numerous complaints of Tyndall’s sexually abusive behavior, dating back to at least the year 2000, USC actively and deliberately concealed Tyndall’s sexual abuse for years, continuing to grant Tyndall unfettered sexual access to the female USC students in his care.
This case is of particular importance to Annika because she herself is an alumnus of USC’s law school. On behalf of Tyndall’s victims, Annika helped negotiate a $215 million settlement with USC and Dr. Tyndall; the settlement also requires USC to make sweeping institutional changes to ensure something like this never happens again on campus. The settlement received final approval from the court in February 2020. See https://www.usctyndallsettlement.com/.
Annika represents clients in the class action lawsuit against Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health alleging sexual and other abuse of children in Devereux’s care, and also represents two former students in their lawsuits against The Hotchkiss School. John Doe’s suit alleges that, during his two years at the Hotchkiss School in the 1980s, John Doe was subjected to ritual hazing of a sexual nature by older student-proctors and was raped by a male teacher who was known to the School as a pedophile who had abused numerous other male students at the School. Richard Roe’s suit alleges that, during Roe’s time as a student at the School in the 1990s, that same male teacher groomed and sexually assaulted Roe in much the same way as he had Doe.
Annika serves as court-appointed Co-Lead counsel in In re General Motors Corp. Air Conditioning Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, MDL 2818, representing owners and lessees of certain GM trucks with allegedly defective air conditioning systems that repeatedly fail and cost thousands of dollars to repair each time. She represents Mercedes owners and lessees in an automotive defect lawsuit against Mercedes-Benz alleging sudden total car battery failures in 2004-2022 models across the MB vehicle line, and represents owners and lessees of Ford F-150 trucks in litigation relating to sudden and potentially fatal brake failures.
Annika represents consumers in class action lawsuits filed in federal courts in California and Georgia against Mercedes-Benz USA and Daimler AG over allegations that defects in the vehicle HVAC systems lead to the growth of noxious mold that spews extremely unpleasant odors throughout the vehicles during use. The lawsuit seeks an effective permanent fix for the problem, as well as monetary damages for affected Mercedes-Benz owners and lessees. Watch a report from WSB-TV in Atlanta, Georgia on the Mercedes-Benz AC Mold litigation.
Annika also represents the residents of Benton Harbor, Michigan in the federal public health emergency litigation arising from the poisoning of the Benton Harbor water supply from lead, bacteria, and other contaminants.
Annika’s previous successes include the class action litigation against BP, Transocean, Halliburton, and the other companies responsible for the Deepwater Horizon oil rig blowout in the Gulf of Mexico and the worst oil spill in U.S. history. Among other significant roles, Annika was a key member of the small team that negotiated settlements that have paid out over $11.6 billion so far to compensate individuals and businesses across the Gulf Coast harmed by the Spill.
Annika also served as court-appointed Pro Se Liaison counsel in In re New England Compounding Pharmacy Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2419, the Multidistrict Litigation arising out of the 2012 meningitis outbreak caused by contaminated medication manufactured by New England Compounding Pharmacy (NECC). Annika’s work helped result in settlements totaling $227.8 million with NECC and the hospitals and clinics that unlawfully purchased and administered contaminated medication to the victims.
Annika’s published works include “Stick a Toothbrush Down Your Throat: An Analysis of the Potential Liability of Pro-Eating Disorder Websites,” Texas Journal of Women & the Law, Volume 14 Issue 2, Spring 2005 and “How to Stop Worrying and Love Predictive Coding,” Trial Magazine, January 2016.
An active member of the legal community, Annika is past Chair of the Class Action Litigation Group within the American Association for Justice. Annika serves on the Leadership Council for the Sedona Conference’s Working Group 1 (Electronic Discovery Retention and Production), and co-founded the Complex Litigation E-Discovery Forum, an annual e-discovery conference for plaintiffs-side complex litigation practitioners. Annika speaks and writes regularly on issues of class actions, mass torts, e-discovery, and diversity in legal practice.
In 2018, Annika won a Certificate of Recognition from the American Association for Justice. The rarely-given award acknowledges AAJ members who have made important and unique contributions to the organization through membership, education, leadership, and/or fundraising to sustain and strengthen the AAJ.
“Top 10 Leading Lawyers Shaping E-Discovery and Information Governance Nationwide,” Business Today, 2023