Michael Schrag has 25 years of experience representing consumers and small businesses in complex class actions and multi-plaintiff lawsuits against large corporations including banks, insurers, credit card issuers and telecommunication companies. He has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of his clients and his class action practice covers a broad range of legal areas including, breach of contract, consumer protection, antitrust, and civil RICO cases. Michael also represents individuals and large groups of plaintiffs in breach of fiduciary duty product liability, personal injury and medical malpractice cases.
He currently serves as court-appointed Co-Lead class counsel in Hernandez v. Wells Fargo Bank, representing a certified class of over one thousand borrowers who lost their homes after Wells Fargo wrongfully denied them mortgage modifications. Michael, helped craft an innovative damages theory to help borrowers recover losses, and achieved a $40 million settlement, which was praised for bringing “significant” relief to the class. Michael was also appointed Co-Lead class counsel in a related case that settled for $12 million.
Michael is also on the Expert Committee and trial team in the In re: Disposable Contact Lens Antitrust Litigation, a nationwide class action lawsuit alleging that manufacturers and distributors conspired to fix prices of contact lenses being sold to consumers. The court certified a nationwide class, and plaintiffs have obtained partial settlements from three defendants totaling $45 million. Michael was also appointed by a federal judge to serve on the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee in the In Re Cattle Antitrust Litigation and is prosecuting an antitrust class action against Jiffy Lube, which accuses the company of suppressing employees’ wages by prohibiting them from transferring from one Jiffy Lube franchise to another. He is also representing victims of a real estate Ponzi scheme in Camenisch v. Umpqua Bank, an action against a bank for allegedly aiding and abetting a fraudulent investment scheme that caused California investors to lose hundreds of millions of dollars.
A Bay Area native, Michael began his career prosecuting securities class actions and serving as a law clerk to the Honorable Judith N. Keep, U.S. District Judge, Southern District of California. Before joining Gibbs Law Group, Michael was a partner and co-founder of Meade & Schrag, LLP, where he prosecuted class actions and also litigated personal injury, medical malpractice, breach of contract, and business litigation matters.
Michael serves as court-appointed co-lead counsel representing a certified class of more than 1,200 home mortgage borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure after Wells Fargo erroneously denied them trial mortgage modifications. The case settled in two phases for a total of $40.3 million. Final approval of the second phase is pending. Class members have received significant compensation payments.
Ryder v. Wells Fargo
Michael was recently appointed co-lead class counsel in a lawsuit related to Hernandez on behalf of Wells Fargo borrowers who were erroneously denied trial modifications but didn’t lose their homes. In August 2021, the Court granted preliminary approval of a $12 million settlement and set the final approval hearing for January 2022.
Served as co-lead counsel on behalf of consumers in this unfair competition class action against real estate developers selling hotel-condominium units at the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego. The class action alleged that sellers concealed certain Congressionally-mandated protections in the sales contracts, including a federal statutory rescission right dictating that buyers could rescind the contract for any reason within two years. After six years of hard-fought litigation including a victory in the Ninth Circuit, the lawsuit settled for $51.15 million. In granting final approval, Judge Curiel concluded that the settlement was "an excellent result" for the class, and noted "Class Counsel overcame several hurdles that reflect their skill and experience."
Asokan et. al. v. American General Ins. Co.
Michael was part of the trial team in this insurance and investment fraud case against American General Insurance Co, an AIG subsidiary. Michael and his team represented six plaintiffs who were marketed an investment involving a specialized American General whole life policy that when purchased through a particular defined benefit plan would supposedly provide a multitude of tax benefits. American General, however, knew but concealed from plaintiffs that its attorney had advised that because the IRS had changed its regulations, these plans no longer complied with the law. Plaintiffs suffered losses as a result of this fraud by concealment. Michael had primary responsibility for working with plaintiffs’ damages expert and conducted the direct and re-direct examination of this expert at trial. The case settled for a confidential sum 8 days into the jury trial. Michael and his team also represented several other clients in a related action in federal court in California that settled for a confidential sum.
Serves on the court-appointed, three-firm Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in this multi-district litigation on behalf of consumers who took out car loans from Wells Fargo and were charged for auto insurance they did not need. The parties announced a proposed settlement of at least $393.5 million for affected consumers and the Court granted preliminary approval in August 2019. Final approval is pending.
Ammari v. Pacific Bell Directory
Represented consumers who overpaid an AT&T subsidiary for advertising in Yellow Pages directories. Plaintiffs prevailed at trial and on two appeals to obtain a $27 million judgment for class members, a result the National Law Journal deemed as one of the top 100 verdicts in 2009.
In re Currency Conversion Fee Antitrust Litigation
After prevailing at trial in a related state court action, plaintiffs negotiated a $336 million global settlement for the class in this multidistrict antitrust litigation against the country’s largest credit card issuers and networks.
In re Sulzer Hip Prosthesis and Knee Prosthesis Liability Litigation
Recovered over $10 million on behalf of his clients in this multidistrict litigation that awarded a total of $1 billion to patients who received defective hip implants.