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Michael D. Hausfeld

Michael D. Hausfeld, widely recognized for his leadership on competition matters and his groundbreaking results in human rights law, is the Chairman of Hausfeld LLP.

His career has included some of the largest and most successful class actions in the fields of human rights, discrimination and antitrust law. He has an abiding interest in social reform cases and was among the first lawyers in the U.S. to assert that sexual harassment was a form of discrimination prohibited by Title VII; he successfully tried the first case establishing that principle. He represented Native Alaskans whose lives were affected by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. Later, he negotiated a then-historic $176 million settlement from Texaco, Inc. in a racial-bias discrimination case. In the landmark O’Bannon v. NCAA litigation, Michael represented a class of current and former Division I men's basketball and FBS football players against the NCAA and its member institutions, based on rules foreclosing athletes from receiving compensation for the use of their names, images, and likenesses. At the conclusion of a three-week bench trial, the Court determined that the NCAA had violated the antitrust laws and issued a permanent injunction as requested by the plaintiffs. Immediately following the decision, Michael was named AmLaw Litigation Daily’s “Litigator of the Week,” citing the “consensus among courtroom observers [was] that Michael Hausfeld…got the best of a parade of NCAA witnesses at trial.” Law360 dubbed the trial team led by Michael as “Legal Lions,” citing the firm’s historic victory over the NCAA. 

In Friedman v. Union Bank of Switzerland, Michael represented a class of Holocaust victims whose assets were wrongfully retained by private Swiss banks during and after World War II. The case raised novel issues of international banking law and international human rights law. In a separate case, he also successfully represented the Republic of Poland, the Czech Republic, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Ukraine and the Russian Federation on issues of slave and forced labor for both Jewish and non-Jewish victims of Nazi persecution. He represented Khulumani and other NGOs in a litigation involving the abuses under apartheid law in South Africa.

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