In his fourth decade of practice, Ira Kasdan is focused on complex civil litigation and alternative dispute resolution. He has successfully argued, and won, high-stakes litigation in federal and state courts and before government agencies, as well as achieved several precedent-setting results in a variety of cases in different areas of the law.
Not only is Ira’s practice diverse, it is nation-wide. In 2019, Ira filed an amicus curiae brief in the United States Supreme Court for a coalition of eight clients, including trade organizations and associations, in a case dealing with the scope of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Exemption 4. He filed another amicus curiae brief in the Supreme Court for a client in 2022 dealing with the dormant commerce clause. In a class action brought in federal District Court in Ohio, he won class certification and summary judgment against The Social Security Administration (SSA) for a class consisting of more than 129,000 members. As a result, as of January 2021, more than 71,000 class members had been awarded over $107,500,000 in underpayments going back to 2002. The Section 406(b) fee award granted by the district court in that case was upheld in September 2022 by the Sixth Circuit. Previously, Ira successfully brought a class action lawsuit in federal court in the District of Columbia against SSA, recouping over $7 million dollars for deserving retirees. In that matter, Ira and his team obtained a precedent-setting decision involving entitlement to attorney’s fees under Section 406(b) of the Social Security Act.
In 2022, Ira won the reversal of separate adverse decisions by a federal agency and a state agency for an exhibitor of animals. In 2021, he obtained dismissal for a client, on grounds of lack of personal jurisdiction, in a case brought by PETA under the D.C. Consumer Protection and Procedures Act. In a prior case against an animal rights group, Ira obtained intervention for a client in the United States District Court for the District of Montana. The court there granted his client summary judgment against activist groups that had sought to block a U.S. export program tied to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) based on a claim that the government had violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). In a completely different kind of case in D.C. federal court, Ira was first chair in defending a government-sponsored entity against wrongful termination and related charges brought by an alleged whistleblower. Ira and his team obtained summary judgment for his client in District Court and then Ira argued and won again on appeal before the D.C. Circuit.
Ira is dedicated to resolving disputes in the most economical way possible, which does not always involve litigation. As a result, he works diligently to help his clients avert and avoid litigation altogether and is regularly involved in private arbitration and mediation. In the event a claim cannot be resolved outside of court, Ira serves as a formidable advocate. He has represented corporations and individuals in matters involving complex breach of contract claims, class action lawsuits, fraud, misrepresentation and related tort claims, as well as in disputes involving telecommunications law, real property and zoning issues, non-competition contract clauses, theft of high-tech trade secrets, wrongful termination and conspiracy claims, internal investigations and allegations of false advertising.
As alluded to above, Ira advises clients in the increasingly contentious area of animal law litigation. As co-chair of the firm’s Animal Law practice, Ira has litigated claims arising under the Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act and Animal Welfare Act. He has also defended clients involved in a variety of other animal law–related issues dealing with state trapping statutes and regulations, and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests made by animal rights groups’ claims. And, he has authored several amicus briefs in opposition to the Nonhuman Rights Project in their efforts to have animals be treated as “persons” for purposes of habeas corpus.
A consummate team player, Ira is known for acute attention to detail, honed analytical skills, his responsiveness to clients and an innate ability to synthesize and streamline large amounts of information into easily understood, fact-based and effective positions. Ira understands his clients’ business goals and the results they need to remain competitive and not bogged down in wasteful litigation. If, however, his clients must litigate, Ira works to help them to obtain attorneys’ fees. While generally there are very few cases where attorneys’ fees are awarded under the “American rule” of litigation, Ira’s advocacy has resulted in several awards of attorneys’ fees, based on Rule 11 sanctions and under applicable statutes.
Select Reported Decisions
Steigerwald v. Commissioner of Social Security,
--- F.4th ---- , 2022 WL 4115857 (6th Cir. 2022)
Steigerwald v. Saul
, 2020 WL 6485107 (N.D. Ohio 2020)
Steigerwald v. Berryhill
, 357 F.Supp.3d 653 (N.D. Ohio 2019)
Steigerwald v. Commissioner of Social Security
, 326 F.R.D. 469 (N.D. Ohio 2018)
Herron v. Fannie Mae, 292
F. Supp. 3d 421, 2018 WL 1036358 (D.D.C. 2018)
Steigerwald v. Commissioner of Social Security
, 2018 WL 454400 (N.D. Ohio 2018)
Herron v. Fannie Mae
, 861 F.3d 160 (D.C. Cir. 2017)
Herron v. Fannie Mae
, 2016 WL 1177918 (D.D.C. 2016)
WildEarth Guardians v. Kirkpatrick
, 2015 WL 5923608 (D.N.M. 2015)
Greenberg v. Colvin
, 2015 WL 4078042 (D.D.C. 2015)
Greenberg v. Colvin
, 63 F.Supp.3d 37 (D.D.C. 2014)
Sears, Roebuck and Co. v. Riggs Distler & Co., Inc.,
2013 WL 4780062 (D. Md. 2013)
WildEarth Guardians v. Lane
, 2012 WL 6019306 (D.N.M. 2012)
Tilikum ex rel. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc. v. Sea World Parks & Entertainment, Inc.,
842 F. Supp. 2d 1259 (S.D. Cal. 2012)
Sears, Roebuck and Co. v. Riggs Distler & Co., Inc.
, 2012 WL 1391838 (D. Md. 2012)
SecureInfo Corp. v. Telos Corp.
, 387 F. Supp. 2d 593 (E.D.Va. 2005)
Live Entertainment, Inc. v. Digex, Inc.
, 300 F. Supp. 2d 1273 (S.D.Fla. 2003)
Verizon Maryland Inc. v. RCN Telecom Services
, 232 F. Supp. 2d 539 (D.Md. 2002)
Animal Protection Institute v. Mosbacher
, 799 F. Supp. 173 (D.D.C. 1992)
Smith v. Chamber of Commerce of United States
, 645 F. Supp. 604 (D.D.C. 1986)
Lead attorney in a class action against the Social Security Administration in which more than 71,000 class members were awarded over $107 million in past-due benefits, and Class Counsel (Kelley Drye was appointed co-Class Counsel) was awarded 15% of Section 406(b) fees.
Lead counsel in case brought by PETA under D.C. Consumer Protection and Procedures Act; dismissal granted for lack of personal jurisdiction.
Lead attorney in successfully defending Fannie Mae and executives against claims brought by an alleged whistleblower; the court awarded all defendants summary judgment on all counts against them for wrongful termination, tortious interference with business expectancies and conspiracy. In a reported decision which included an issue of first impression in the D,C. Circuit relating to certain “copying” costs, the Court also granted costs to Fannie Mae against plaintiff.
Lead attorney in a class action suit against the Social Security Administration in which Kelley Drye was appointed class counsel, and the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia awarded attorneys’ fees under Section 406(b) of the Social Security Act in a precedent-setting decision.
Lead attorney in obtaining a dismissal with prejudice and entry of a summary judgment against WildEarth Guardians in defending State of New Mexico officials against allegations that they violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to ban all trapping in areas where Mexican gray wolves were found. The court granted our motion and awarded attorney’s fees for New Mexico against WildEarth Guardians.
Lead attorney in obtaining a dismissal of a complaint brought in federal court claiming that animals have standing to bring lawsuits and have rights under the Thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution.
Lead attorney in obtaining a summary judgment in federal court on behalf of a telecommunications client against a plaintiff who, as it turned out, was a fugitive from the law and had sued for breach of contract and fraud.
Lead counsel in defending a telecommunications firm and principals in a putative class action brought in federal district court under the Telephone Protection Consumer Protection Act; won a dismissal on the grounds of a lack of jurisdiction.
Lead counsel in defending a company in the advertising field against a class action brought in state court; convinced the plaintiff’s counsel that the case was unsupported and not certifiable as a class action; the case settled for a nominal amount without the client having to file an answer.
Lead co-counsel in a class action case brought against a storage company in state court; the case settled without the plaintiff obtaining class certification after the court made favorable discovery rulings in favor of our client.
Lead attorney in obtaining a favorable, mediated settlement in a case brought in federal court against a mortgagee to recover a prepayment penalty fee.
Lead attorney in persuading a federal agency to reverse a decision to release proprietary and private information of a trade association and individuals in a “reverse-FOIA” case, and instead voluntarily remanded the case from federal court to the agency for further administrative review and consideration.
Lead attorney in obtaining an early, favorable mediated settlement after filing suit in federal court for a high level executive who had been improperly denied severance pay and benefits by a former employer.
Lead attorney in defending a small, high-tech start-up company against charges that it stole trade secrets, forcing the plaintiff, a subsidiary of an AMEX-listed company, to dismiss the lawsuit and pay partial legal fees.
Defended a software company in arbitration involving three parties and alleging breach of contract and related claims; our aggressive litigation stance resulted in a dismissal of all claims against the client with no liability.
Lead attorney in defending a former bank CEO, who departed the bank after its takeover, against breach of contract and related charges resulting in the bank’s agreement to make all severance payments due under the CEO’s contract, plus attorneys’ fees.
Negotiated numerous, favorable settlement agreements on behalf of telecommunications companies who had been denied their access service fee payments.
Lead attorney in three related actions involving federal and state securities law, fraud, RICO and breach of contract claims resulting in favorable recoveries for a client against a Wall Street brokerage firm and accountants.
Lead attorney in winning a summary judgment on behalf of a large independent oil company in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit brought in federal court by a major U.S. refiner.
Lead attorney in a petition filed before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit challenging proposed OSHA regulations; obtained a stay and ultimately, on the strength of the arguments in the Court of Appeals petition, OSHA withdrew the proposed regulations.
Lead attorney for a NYSE-listed company in a multi-party FERC “market power” proceeding; obtained an Administrative Law Judge opinion that was favorable to the client.
Served as a member of a team of lawyers with a pivotal drafting and research role in connection with a $70 million international arbitration award to a NYSE-listed telecommunications client in the 1980s.
Recognized as a leading attorney in the Business Litigation practice area by Washington D.C. Super Lawyers, 2012-2014 and 2019-2020.
Martindale-Hubbell "AV" Peer Review Rated for Very High to Preeminent Ethical Standards and Legal Ability.