February 22, 2017

Experienced Co-Chairs Bring New Leadership to Key Practice Area

Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, a leading national plaintiffs’ law firm, has announced that partners Betsy A. Miller and Victoria S. Nugent will lead the firm’s Public Client Practice Group. The group represents state attorneys general, municipalities, and other government entities in affirmative, civil law enforcement investigations and litigation. Areas of focus include protecting state and local governments – and the consumers, patients, and government treasuries within those states and municipalities – from false claims for public funds and unfair and deceptive trade practices.  

Miller joined the firm in 2009 as a founding member of the Public Client Practice. Nugent joined the firm in 2000 and has worked with the Public Client practice since 2011. During their tenures at Cohen Milstein, Miller and Nugent have directed major cases in the areas of mortgage fraud, financial fraud, health-care fraud, and deceptive advertising across a variety of industries.   

Most recently, Miller served as counsel for the co-lead state in last month’s $864 million settlement achieved by 22-states and the U.S. Department of Justice with Moody’s, one of the nation’s largest credit rating agencies.  Together with the $1.375 billion settlement with Standard & Poor’s, in which Miller also represented a co-lead state in 2015, these cases produced key industry reforms that guarantee greater transparency for consumers and divested the credit rating agencies of more than $2.2 billion for their conduct contributing to the national housing crisis and Great Recession. Nugent is currently representing multiple states that are investigating and litigating against some of the nation’s largest for-profit nursing home chains, in cases alleging that these companies promised, but failed to provide, basic care to their elderly residents.

“Cohen Milstein’s Public Client Practice is nationally recognized as a top choice for government clients seeking to supplement their firepower against deceptive conduct at the state and local level,” said Betsy A. Miller, Co-Chair of the Public Client Practice Group at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll. “Now more than ever, states and municipalities will play an important role in this effort.  The Public Client Practice provides smart, sophisticated legal counsel for our government clients – whether in the form of hard-fought litigation or settlement outcomes that reform industry practices and policies in a way only achievable through voluntary resolution with the defendant.  Public-sector lawyers do the hard work every day, and it is an honor to be in a position where we can support them with assistance from our talented team at Cohen Milstein.  State and local governments hire us to help level the playing field against powerful corporations with vast litigation and lobbying budgets.” 

“Whether it is standing up to investment banks, nursing homes, pharmaceutical companies, or other actors in the marketplace, we work with our clients to attain meaningful results in the toughest of cases,” said Victoria S. Nugent, Co-Chair of the Public Client Practice Group at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll. “States and municipalities investigate the lion’s share of bad conduct without assistance from outside counsel, but there are occasions when they need more resources than their limited budgets can provide.  Our Public Client Practice provides support to government clients in this narrow area.  It is a privilege to be enlisted by them to take on these crucial cases.” 

“Betsy Miller and Victoria Nugent are highly respected and thoughtful leaders who have dedicated their careers to taking on important challenges and to delivering impressive results.  They are driven by a commitment to look at each case as an opportunity to improve the lives of vulnerable consumers through results that can deliver immediate and long-lasting impact,” said Joe Sellers, Chair of the Executive Committee at Cohen Milstein. “We are thrilled to have them co-chair our Public Client Practice.” 

An accomplished litigator and negotiator, Miller has been recognized by the National Law Journal as one of Washington, D.C.’s “Rising Stars.” Prior to joining Cohen Milstein, she served as Chief of Staff and Senior Counsel in the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, where she managed high-profile legal issues and policy initiatives.  Prior to that, she served as Counsel on the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, where she worked for former Chairman, Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT). She also spent eight years as a litigator at Jones Day and Crowell & Moring, where she represented some of the nation’s largest companies and individuals in matters including First Amendment litigation, complex commercial disputes, collective bargaining negotiations and arbitration, employment class actions and internal corporate audits. Since 2001, she has served on the Adjunct Faculty at Georgetown University Law Center, where she teaches seminars on negotiation and mediation. Miller graduated magna cum laude from Dartmouth College and earned her law degree from Harvard Law School, where she was awarded post-graduate fellowships for her commitment to government service and public interest work.

Before joining the Public Client Practice, Nugent spent 11 years in Cohen Milstein’s Consumer Protection Practice, where she focused on telecommunications and investment services, interest sales practices, and product safety litigation. Upon joining the firm’s Public Client Practice Group in 2011, Nugent represented the state of Nevada in efforts to hold investment banks, lenders, and loan servicers accountable for the mortgage crisis that rocked the state.  Those efforts yielded substantial payments to the state, mortgage modifications and other equitable relief valued at more than $1 billion.  

Prior to joining Cohen Milstein, Nugent worked for seven years at Public Citizen, the national, non-profit consumer advocacy organization founded by Ralph Nader; there, she worked on legislative and organizing campaigns addressing issues that ranged from auto safety to international trade agreements.  Immediately following law school, Nugent was awarded a fellowship from the National Association for Public Interest Law to develop and prosecute impact litigation in the areas of mandatory arbitration and consumer credit at Public Justice. She has served on the D.C. Bar Committee on the Rules of Professional Conduct since 2012. She is a graduate of Wesleyan University and earned her law degree from Georgetown University.

About Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC

Founded in 1969, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC is recognized as one of the premier law firms in the country handling major, complex plaintiff-side litigation. With more than 90 attorneys, Cohen Milstein has offices in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Ill., New York, N.Y., Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Philadelphia, Pa., and Raleigh, N.C.  For additional information, visit www.cohenmilstein.com or call 202.408.4600.