Nationally recognized class action attorney, Helen Zeldes, joined Coast Law Group as a partner on June 1, 2017 to launch the firm’s new class action practice group. Helen has dedicated her 17-year legal career to representing consumers in complex cases involving fraud, deceptive business tactics, defective products, antitrust, insurance bad faith, mortgage lending and banking fraud, employment discrimination, wage and hour and human rights violations. Helen is a fearless advocate for her clients who has demonstrated time and again for the millions of consumers she has represented over her career that she’s truly in it for the long haul, working tirelessly in the trenches to bring corporate wrongdoers to justice.
Never shying away from taking on Goliath, Helen routinely leads the charge as lead or co-lead counsel on high profile complex cases. Some of Helen’s recent battles include:
- Trump University. Most recently, Helen initiated and was part of the team of attorneys who filed, prosecuted, and settled the well-publicized class action against Donald Trump andTrump University for $25 million on behalf of a nationwide class of consumers. Initiating and investigating the case here in North County, Helen attended a local Trump University seminar and met with students who were taken for tens of thousands of dollars spent on worthless Trump University courses. Helen served on and put together the litigation team for this groundbreaking case. Makaeff v. Trump University, LLC, et al., Case No. 3:10-CV-00940-GPC-WVG (S.D. Cal.),
- The Toll Roads. Helen currently serves as Co-Lead Counsel in In re Toll Roads Litigation, a statewide class action on behalf of millions of California drivers against the Transportation Corridor Agencies’ and a handful of private defendants who plaintiffs allege improperly and unfairly operate the toll roads in Southern California, violating their privacy and collecting excessive and unfair fines against millions of California drivers. In re Toll Roads Litigation, Case No. 8:16-cv-00262-AG-JCG (C.D. Cal).
- Sony VAIO.Helen serves as Co-Lead Class Counsel in In re Sony VAIO Computer Notebook Trackpad Litigation, a product defect and consumer class action on behalf ofmore than 400,000 consumers against Sony Electronics, Inc. alleging that fundamental flaws in the design and/or manufacturing process in the VAIO Touchpad Notebooks render it almost impossible to use because the touchpad is prone to cause the onscreen cursor to track in reverse, freeze; and/or engage in erratic behavior.. In Re Sony VAIO Computer Notebook Trackpad Litigation, Case No. 3:09-CV-02109-BAS-MDD (S.D. Cal.)(Class certified; Settlement pending).
- County Supervisor Dave Roberts. Helen represented a state employee who brought claims for constructive discharge against the County of San Diego and County Supervisor Dave Roberts, for misconduct including, among other things, forcing her to work on his campaign on county time and putting pressure on her to lie to investigators. Masukawa v. County of San Diego.
- Apple, Inc.Helen served as Co-Lead Counsel in two nationwide putative class actions against Apple, Inc. representing classes of many millions of consumers alleging product defect and consumer claims that Apple’s power adapters were defectively designed. In Re Magsafe Apple Power Adapter Litigation, Case No. 5:09-CV-01911-EJD (N.D. Cal)(settled) and Gordon v. Apple Computer, Inc., Case No. 5:06-CV-05358-JW (N.D. Cal)(settled). Nationwide settlements valued in the hundreds of millions were reached in both cases.
Prior to starting Zeldes Haeggquist & Eck, LLP in 2008, Helen worked for many years at the nation’s largest plaintiff’s class action firm, Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd (formerly “Lerach Coughlin” and “Milberg Weiss”) in its consumer and insurance fraud class action practice group. There, Helen was instrumental in litigating a series of nationwide senior annuities fraud class actions in which her former firm was appointed Co-Lead Counsel against insurance giants like AIG, Allianz and Midland National. Other nationwide class actions Helen litigated at her former firms included: a wage/hour overtime action against Cintas, one of the nation’s largest commercial laundries for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act for misclassifying truck drivers as salesmen to avoid payment of overtime wages; race discrimination underwriting class actions against large insurance companies for their practice of intentionally charging African-Americans and other minorities more for life insurance than similarly situated Caucasians (cases that collectively recovered over $400 million for African-Americans and other minority class members as redress for the civil rights abuses they were subjected to); race discrimination underwriting class actions against insurance companies based upon the improper use of credit scoring or geographical redlining to charge minorities higher premiums against insurance giants like Allstate and State Farm; a statewide consumer class action over the propriety of a private contractor operating “red light camera”systems throughout California, Red Light PhotoEnforcement Cases, JCCP No. 4305 (San Diego Super. Ct.), a case which Ms. Zeldes co-chaired at trial; a multi-state antitrust action entitled In re Medical WasteServices Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 1546 (D. Utah), in which plaintiffs brought claims for defendants’ alleged conspiracy to allocate customers and territories in the market for the collection, transportation and disposal of medical waste, as well as for unlawful monopolization.
Helen was named a San Diego Super Lawyer in 2017, was nominated for the 2016 National Association of Women Business Owners’ Woman Business Owner Of The Year award and was a 2016 finalist in the San Diego Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business Awards. Helen is committed to giving back to the community – she currently champions sustainable farming as the Chair of the Development Committee on the Board of the Berry Good Food Foundation, is on the Advisory Board of Think Dignity, and was on the Board of San Diego BayKeeper (now CoastKeeper), to name a few.
Ms. Zeldes is licensed to practice law in the California and Hawaii and is admitted to practice before all the federal district courts in both states.
B.A., University of California at Davis, 1988; J.D.,University of Hawaii, William S. Richardson School of Law, Honolulu, Hawaii, 2002 (cum laude).
University of Hawaii Law Review, Outside Articles Editor, Editorial Board Recipient, Edward H. Nakamura Memorial Public Interest/Service Scholarship; CALI Award for Highest Grade in Domestic Ocean & Coastal Law; Recipient, George Washington-Oxford International Human Rights Law Program Scholarship.
In her spare time, Helen owns super cool local artist galleries (in Encinitas and Hawaii), dreams about paddling in an outrigger racing team again and sneaks off to Bali when no one is watching. If you ask nicely, she might even offer her interior design services if you promise not to tell anyone.
1140 South Coast Highway 101 Encinitas, CA 92024
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