By Erin Geiger Smith
NEW YORK, Nov 26 (Reuters) - New York-based plaintiffs' firm
Morelli Ratner has joined forces with Florida lawyer Jeremy
Alters to form an approximately 25-person law firm with a
specialty in class action litigation.
In addition to maintaining their offices in New York and
Miami, the firm -- now called Morelli, Alters, Ratner -- plans
to open an office in Washington in early 2013.
Alters is best known for representing plaintiffs in
lawsuits claiming that banks charged excessive overdraft fees.
One of the banks, Bank of America, settled that case for $410
million in 2011.
Morelli Ratner has represented plaintiffs in several
high-profile pharmaceutical cases, including the Vioxx
litigation against Merck. The firm also has represented
plaintiffs in employment-related claims.
In the past few years, Morelli Ratner and Jeremy Alters
worked together on several cases, including representing
approximately 500 individuals and businesses claiming to have
suffered damages from the BP oil spill, said name partner
The two firms decided to merge to increase the size and
type of cases their firms could handle, as well as their
geographical reach, Morelli said.
In 2011, the Florida bar suspended Alters' law license over
misappropriation of client funds, but in January 2012 the
Florida Supreme Court found the suspension was unjustified.
Alters was also sued in 2011 by Argentine law firms claiming
the idea for the overdraft-fees suits was theirs. He has settled
one case, and another case remains.
Morelli said that he knew the details of both the temporary
suspension and the lawsuits and neither situation concerned him.
Alters was not immediately available to comment on his
suspension and reinstatement or on the Argentine lawsuits.
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