Four Sanford Heisler Sharp Women Partners Selected To The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 Civil Plaintiff Trial Lawyers Membership

Gilbert, Zheng, Fuschetti  & St. Charles Honored for Representation of Civil Plaintiffs

May 11, 2021 – Sanford Heisler Sharp today announced that three of its women partners in the San Francisco office and one Senior Litigation Counsel in the firm’s Nashville office have been selected for inclusion to The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 for their work as trial lawyers representing civil plaintiffs.

The firm’s honorees are Felicia Gilbert, the firm’s San Francisco Managing Partner; Qiaojing Ella Zheng, chair of the Asian American Litigation and Finance Practice Group; Danielle Fuschetti, an accomplished employment lawyer and Leigh Anne St. Charles, a Senior Litigation Counsel. Three are located in Sanford Heisler’s San Francisco office and St. Charles is in Nashville; they all represent clients nationwide.

“We are proud of the hard work and accomplishments of Felicia, Ella, Danielle and Leigh Anne,” said David Sanford, Chairman and co-founder of Sanford Heisler Sharp.  “They are committed to litigating public interest and social justice cases on behalf of those most in need at the highest levels of the profession; it’s gratifying to see their efforts recognized in this way.”

Gilbert joined Sanford Heisler Sharp in 2016 and within three years was named as the San Francisco Office Managing Partner. Her practice includes both individual and class action cases involving race, gender and pregnancy discrimination in contentious employment matters. She has a rare gift of succeeding in protecting employees’ rights and achieving significant settlements that make a difference in their lives, priding herself on the rapport and trust she builds with clients and attributes much of her success to those relationships.

Most recently, Gilbert settled two individual employment discrimination cases against law firms – one involving sexual harassment claims, the other involving retaliation claims. She is currently managing the Julia Vega v. Honeywell International lawsuit, an individual gender discrimination and retaliation case in the Southern District of California.  She oversees and manages scores of additional cases and is a resource for all attorneys in the firm.  Gilbert is a graduate of Columbia Law School.

Zheng joined Sanford Heisler Sharp in 2014 and has built a strong presence and reputation in the Asian American community with a solid practice representing bilingual clients in Silicon Valley. Her success in representing the community was the impetus for Sanford Heisler Sharp's establishment of the Asian American Litigation and Finance Practice Group, which she now leads. Zheng has also developed a proven track record of achieving great private settlements for C-suite executives and entrepreneurs/startup co-founders.

Zheng earned a Bachelor of Laws degree from a top university in China and an LL.M. from Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. Among the innovations that she has pioneered at Sanford Heisler Sharp are educational programs for diverse groups of employees, including workshops for low-wage earners on basic wage and hour laws and seminars to professionals on discrimination and retaliation in the workplace. In 2019, Zheng was invited by Yale Law School’s Paul Tsai China Center as the first U.S. litigator to speak at its annual workshops, as part of innovative collaborations with civil advocates and practitioners in China to facilitate legal reform on anti-discrimination and harassment issues in the country.  Zheng also authors a popular blog on matters of interest to Chinese American workers, has a strong social media presence, and provides expert commentary on emerging legal issues to local, statewide, national and international media.

A graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, Fuschetti joined the firm in 2015.  She has led and been an essential member of litigation teams earning significant substantive victories for plaintiffs in employment matters. These include a $7.75 million pre-suit settlement of Chen V. Western Digital on behalf of a class of 1,863 current and former women employees in 2020; the Qualcomm Technologies $23.5 million gender discrimination class action settlement; and Burns v. San Diego State University, where the trial team achieved a $3.4 million jury verdict for the most successful female basketball coach in the university’s history. She was recently co-trial counsel in Abrishamcar v. Oracle, a multiphase PAGA trial of Labor Code violations affecting thousands of current and former Oracle sales employees based in California.

St. Charles, a graduate of Columbia Law School, joined Sanford Heisler Sharp in 2017. Since that time, she has represented employees in a variety of individual and class action litigation challenging powerful corporations. Her matters span a diverse body of laws, including age and gender discrimination, equal pay, family and medical leave, employee 401(k) benefits, civil rights, and retaliation. She has been a key team member in several recent and significant litigation successes, including representing female partners in a lawsuit brought against a large law firm for employment discrimination and equal pay in California that settled before trial; representing auto workers in individual arbitrations as well as a class and collective action against Volkswagen in Tennessee challenging an alleged policy of age discrimination which settled before trial, and resulted in significant injunctive relief against the challenged policies; successfully representing a former employee and co-founder of a tech start-up through a final hearing in arbitration in California, which resulted in an award of over $3.9 million on claims of breach of contract, fraud, and tortious interference.

St. Charles is also an active member of the ERISA practice group, representing employees in claims arising out of the mismanagement of their employer-sponsored 401(k) retirement plans. She is co-lead counsel in an ERISA class action currently pending against Home Depot, in which St. Charles successfully argued on behalf of plaintiffs against four separate motions for summary judgment, as well actions currently pending against Allstate, and UnitedHealth.

The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 Under 40 is a professional organization comprised of America’s top young trial attorneys. Membership by invitation is extended exclusively to individuals who meet stringent qualifications and specialize in the legal practice of criminal defense or civil plaintiff law. The lawyers selected “must exemplify superior qualifications, trial results, and leadership as a young lawyer.”

About Sanford Heisler Sharp

Sanford Heisler Sharp is a national public interest class-action litigation law firm with offices in New York, Washington, DC, San Francisco, San Diego, Nashville, and Baltimore. Sanford Heisler Sharp focuses on employment discrimination, wage and hour, whistleblower, criminal/sexual violence, and financial services matters.

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