Victoria S. Nugent is a partner at Cohen Milstein and co-chair of the Consumer Protection practice and immediate past co-chair of the Public Client practice. She was also a member of the firm’s Executive Committee (2020 - 2022).
Ms. Nugent is a highly regarded consumer protection litigator, having overseen significant consumer fraud investigations and litigation on behalf of the state Attorneys General of Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Indiana, and Vermont – as well as class actions brought on behalf of consumers under the laws of numerous states. Ms. Nugent is named among Lawdragon’s “500 Leading Lawyers in America” (2019 – 2022), as well as Lawdragon’s “500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers” (2020 – 2022), and The National Law Journal’s “Plaintiffs’ Lawyers Trailblazers” (2017).
Most recently, Ms. Nugent has been representing restaurant owners, retailers, and other small businesses across the United States in litigation against their insurance companies for failing to honor their business interruption claims due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These cases are being litigated in state and federal courts as class actions and individual cases.
While working in the Public Client practice, Ms. Nugent represented state attorneys general in civil law enforcement investigations and litigation involving consumer protection, Medicaid fraud, and other areas of enforcement that protect government interests and vulnerable communities. These included:
- Deceptive and Unfair Opioid Marketing and Distribution: Representing the states of Indiana, New Jersey, and Vermont in consumer protection, Medicaid fraud, and nuisance claims against opioid manufacturers and distributors.
- Deceptive and Irresponsible Lending: Representing the state of Nevada in investigations into the conduct of Deutsche Bank and the Royal Bank of Scotland, two of the investment banks that encouraged and enabled the predatory lending practices of retail lenders. Ms. Nugent helped develop the State’s legal theories and claims and handled numerous aspects of these investigations.
- Improper Foreclosures: Representing the states of Arizona and Nevada in litigation against Bank of America for deceptive conduct in connection with servicing approximately 500,000 mortgages, resulting in financial payments to consumers and the states, commitments to mortgage modifications and other equitable relief valued at nearly $1 billion.
During her earlier years in the Consumer practice, Ms. Nugent was involved in precedent-setting matters:
- In re StarLink Corn Product Liability Litigation (N.D. Ill.): Ms. Nugent represented farmers suing Aventis CropScience after an unapproved variety of genetically modified corn was detected in the U.S. corn supply and drove down prices for all U.S. corn exports. More than $100 million was recovered for the class in a landmark settlement.
- Negative Option Marketing Litigation: In 2009 and 2010, Ms. Nugent filed suit on behalf of consumers challenging the post-transaction marketing practices (also sometimes called “negative option marketing”) and in two significant rulings persuaded federal courts in California and Washington that these practices ran afoul of state consumer protection laws.
In addition to trial court work, Ms. Nugent has argued cases before the high courts of Georgia, Nebraska, and the District of Columbia, as well as the federal D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania.
Prior to joining Cohen Milstein in 2000, Ms. Nugent worked for seven years at Public Citizen, a national consumer advocacy organization. There, she worked on many legislative and regulatory campaigns addressing issues that ranged from automobile safety to international trade policy. After graduating from law school in 1998, Ms. Nugent received a two-year fellowship sponsored by the National Association for Public Interest Law (NAPIL/Equal Justice Works). As a NAPIL Fellow, she worked at Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, where she helped develop and prosecute impact litigation in the areas of arbitration, banking, credit, and insurance.
Since 2018, Ms. Nugent has been a member of Public Justice Foundation's Board of Directors. Public Justice Foundation is the nation’s foremost consumer litigation and advocacy organization. Ms. Nugent served on the D.C. Bar Committee on the Rules of Professional Conduct from 2012 to 2019. Since 2019, she has been a member of the Bar’s Legal Ethics Committee. In 2022, she was elected by The American Law Institute to become a member.
Ms. Nugent received her B.A. from Wesleyan University and her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.
- Board Member, Board of Directors, Public Justice Foundation (2018 - present)
- Member, American Law Institute (2022)
- Member, Legal Ethics Committee, District of Columbia Bar Association (2019 - present)
- Member, Committee on the Rules of Professional Conduct, District of Columbia Bar Association (2012 to 2019)