Douglas J. McNamara, a partner in Cohen Milstein's Consumer Protection practice, focuses on litigating complex, multi-state class action lawsuits against manufacturers and consumer service providers, such as banks, insurers, credit card companies and others. He has helped litigate precedent-setting cases, involving issues of preemption, choice of law, and class certification. He is a hands-on litigator who takes pleasure in the details, facts, and documents of each case. Mr. McNamara is also a highly regarded speaker who has presented at several forums on such topics as federal preemption, class certification and civil litigation, and is the author of scholarly articles focusing on emerging legal issues.
Mr. McNamara has worked on numerous cases involving data breaches, dangerous pharmaceuticals and medical devices, light cigarettes, defective consumer products, and environmental torts.
Mr. McNamara is currently litigating the following notable matters:
- General Motors Litigation (E.D. Mich.): On September 26, 2019, Cohen Milstein (via Theodore Leopold) was appointed Lead Counsel to oversee a consolidated consumer class actions filed on behalf of hundreds of thousands of GM vehicle owners across 30 states against GM related to defective eight-speed automatic transmissions in vehicles manufactured between 2015 and 2019. Mr. McNamara has led discovery and briefing efforts. Class certification Is pending before the court, seeking over a billion dollars for injured consumers.
- In re MGM Resorts International Data Breach Litigation (D. Nev.): On February 1, 2021, Cohen Milstein’s Douglas J. McNamara was appointed Co-Lead Interim Class Counsel in this consolidated data breach class action against MGM Resorts for failing to implement reasonable data security practices, thereby allowing the personal information of between 10.6 million and 142 million MGM hotel guests and customers to be stolen on or about July 7, 2019.
- In re: Marriott International Inc. Customer Data Security Breach Litigation (D. Md.): In April 2019, Cohen Milstein was appointed Consumer Plaintiffs’ Co-Lead Counsel to oversee a class action related to the data breach that compromised the personal data of nearly 400 million customers, making it one of the largest data breaches in U.S. history. On May 3, 2022, the Court granted class certification to eight classes of plaintiffs.
- In Re: Blackbaud, Inc., Customer Data Breach Litigation (D.S.C.): On February 16, 2021, Cohen Milstein’s Douglas J. McNamara was appointed to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in this data breach class action in which Plaintiffs claim that Blackbaud failed to take reasonable steps to prevent a data beach, starting in February 2020, and failed to promptly or accurately provide notice of the data breach to those affected.
- Cape Fear River Contaminated Water Litigation (E.D.N.C.): On January 4, 2018, Cohen Milstein was appointed Interim Co-Lead Class Counsel in a consolidated toxic tort class action filed against DuPont and Chemours, alleging that for more than four decades the companies polluted the Cape Fear River near Wilmington, North Carolina with a chemical called GenX, contaminating the water supply of five counties, and misrepresented their conduct to state and federal regulators.
Some of Mr. McNamara’s recent successes include:
- Facebook 2018 Data Breach Litigation (N.D. Cal.): On May 6, 2021, the Court granted final approval of an injunctive relief settlement in this data breach class action against Facebook, which requires Facebook to adopt, implement, and/or maintain a detailed set of security commitments for the next five years, which will be independently assessed by a third-party. In 2019, Cohen Milstein was appointed Co-Interim Class Counsel.
- In re Apple Inc. Device Performance Litigation (N.D. Cal.): On March 17, 2021, the Court granted final approval of a $500 million settlement fund, concluding this consumer litigation between iPhone users and Apple. Specifically, the settlement fund will be used by Apple to pay out between $310 million and $500 million to iPhone users — which the Court called one of the largest class action settlements in the Ninth Circuit. Owners of Apple’s iPhone SE, 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, and 7 Plus claimed that Apple failed to disclose material information about Apple’s iOS software operating system updates. Mr. McNamara was appointed to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee and was Co-Chair of the Expert Committee.
- Herrera v. JFK Medical Center and HCA, Inc. (M.D. Fla.): Cohen Milstein was Lead Counsel in a class action, alleging that emergency room patients were billed unreasonably high fees for emergency radiology services, in excess of the amount allowed by their mandatory Florida Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. In December 2018, the Court granted final approval of a $220 million injunctive relief settlement.
- Lumber Liquidators Chinese-Manufactured Flooring Products Liability Litigation (E.D. Va.): Cohen Milstein is co-lead counsel in a consumer class action lawsuit, alleging the nationwide retailer sold Chinese-made laminate flooring containing hazardous levels of the carcinogen formaldehyde while falsely labeling their products as meeting or exceeding California emissions standards, a story that was profiled twice on 60 Minutes in 2015. On October 9, 2018, the Court granted final approval of a $36 million settlement. Mr. McNamara was involved in all aspects of the litigation, including discovery, writing and arguing pleadings, and settlement.
- Khoday et al. v. Symantec Corp. et al. (D. Minn.): Cohen Milstein was lead counsel in a nationwide class action involving the marketing to consumers of a re-download service in conjunction with the sale of Norton software. In April 2016, the case settled in a $60 million all-cash deal a month before it was to go to trial – one of the most significant consumer settlements in years. Mr. McNamara was involved in all aspects of the case, from managing the litigation to overseeing a staff of contract attorneys to settlement discussions.
- Caterpillar Engine Product Liability Litigation (D.N.J.): Cohen Milstein was co-lead counsel on behalf of 22 trucking and transportation companies in 18 states in a class action lawsuit against Caterpillar alleging that the MY2007 CAT engine, designed to meet the EPA’s tougher Clean Air Act emissions standards, was defective, causing power loss and shutdowns that prevented or impeded vehicles from transporting goods or passengers. Caterpillar sought to dismiss the case claiming EPA approval of the engine preempted any state law claims. Mr. McNamara was the architect of the successful opposition to the motion, and he was involved in all aspects of the litigation. On September 20, 2016, the Court granted final approval of the $60 million settlement.
Mr. McNamara also is actively involved in the firm’s high-profile pro bono litigation, including:
- NAACP v. Donald J. Trump, President of the United States (D.D.C.): Cohen Milstein represented the NAACP and two unions in a lawsuit against President Donald J. Trump, Department of Homeland Security and other U.S. immigration enforcement agencies and their efforts to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. On June 18, 2020, in a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court blocked the Trump Administration’s plan to rescind DACA, preserving immigration protections for approximately 650,000 current DACA recipients.
Prior to joining Cohen Milstein in 2001, Mr. McNamara was a litigation associate at an international defense firm, specializing in pharmaceutical and product liability cases. He started his career at New York City's Legal Aid Society, defending indigent criminal defendants at trial and on appeal.
He has been the lead author on three law review articles: “Buckley, Imbler and Stare Decisis: The Present Predicament of Prosecutorial Immunity and An End to Its Absolute Means,: 59 Albany Law Review, 1135 (1996); “Sexual Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct: Applying New York’s Gender-Specific Sexual Misconduct Law to Minors,” 14 Touro Law Review, 477 (Winter 1998), and most recently, Douglas McNamara, et al, “Reexamining the Seventh Amendment Argument Against Issue Certification,” 34 Pace Law Review, 1041 (2014). He has also taught a course on environmental and toxic torts as an adjunct at George Washington University School of Law. Mr. McNamara is currently on Law360's 2022 Cybersecurity & Privacy Editorial Advisory Board.
Mr. McNamara graduated summa cum laude from SUNY Albany, and he earned his J.D. from New York University School of Law.