• Profile
  • Credentials
  • Accolades
  • Testimonials
  • Major Cases
  • News
  • Commentary

Charles Field is the Managing Partner of the San Diego office of Sanford Heisler Sharp and Chair of the firm’s Financial Services Litigation Practice Group.

Since joining Sanford Heisler Sharp, Charles has been recognized in the legal community as a National Law Journal Employment Trailblazer (2021) and was part the Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Employment Lawyer list (2021).

At Sanford Heisler Sharp, Charles’s representations have included:

  • Litigating a number of ERISA class action cases against several Fortune 500 companies for claims of mismanaging their employees’ 401(k) retirement plans, resulting in multi-million-dollar settlements in Brown-Davis, et al. v. Walgreen Co. ($13.75 million), Karg v. Transamerica ($5.4 million), and Price, et al. v. Eaton Vance Corp. ($3.45 million)
  • Litigating ERISA class claims against UnitedHealth Group, GE, Home Depot, and Allstate for mismanaging 401k plans
  • Representing elderly and high-net worth individuals in their claims of financial abuse and fraud against investment firms, promoters and brokers, including winning a $2.1 million award for an investor against Madison Avenue Securities

Charles received his law degree from McGeorge Law School, a degree in European Legal Studies from The University of Edinburgh and The University of Salzburg, and his undergraduate degree from Indiana University-Indianapolis.

A member of the California bar, Charles has been interviewed by CNBC’s Closing Bell, the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Law360, and several trade publications dealing with ERISA and investment issues.

Prior to joining Sanford Heisler Sharp, Charles served as the general counsel of an institutional money management firm that furnished investment management services to ERISA retirement plans, cities and towns, endowments, and investment companies. During his 17-year tenure, he oversaw compliance with ERISA, as well as federal and state securities laws, including the federal fiduciary duty standards embodied in the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. He served on the firm’s various investment and investment performance committees, and securities valuation committees as well as on the boards of directors of various investment funds that invested billions of dollars in the global securities markets. As an investments industry lawyer, Charles constructed hundreds of investment funds that are the very type at issue in the cases Sanford Heisler Sharp litigates and was responsible for overseeing the funds’ compliance with U.S. securities laws and, in some cases, the law of the jurisdiction of organization (e.g. Mauritius, Ireland, Cayman Islands).

When not lawyering, Charles enjoys traveling and living an active life in sunny San Diego.

    Education

    • J.D., McGeorge Law School
    • B.A., Indiana University-Indianapolis
    • European Legal Studies, The University of Edinburgh and The University of Salzburg

    Bar

    • California, 1997

    I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation [for] Charles Field’s highly effective representation in advancing the financial mismanagement litigation that I sought to undertake last summer. At that time I wrote an essay to your firm, describing my retirement fund manager's chronic underperformance vs. market benchmarks, which then culminated in an abominable series of executive decisions surrounding the 2020 COVID Crash.

    I felt that I had been exploited for their management fees, and taken advantage of as a result of their negligence. By the summer, I decided I had nothing to lose by submitting the information to Sanford Heisler for review. I am grateful that it soon made its way across the country to Mr. Field. From our earliest discussions, I could tell that Charles Field understood the gravity of the mistreatment I suffered, and that he was empathetic towards my plight. I got the sense that Mr. Field would leave no stone unturned in getting to the bottom of the case.

    Charles Field’s analysis of the materials I submitted showed me that is exactly what he did. Sanford Heisler Sharp drilled down on everything and identified several unethical practices, such as investing in vehicles that featured poor performance records, yet maximized management fees. In calling out the unscrupulous behaviors and general incompetence, Mr. Field cited FINRA and finance industry standards. When I read his final brief, I knew that my interests had received the best advocacy possible.

    Going forward, I feel confident that Mr. Field and the Sanford Heisler Sharp team have given me the best shot at a successful result in litigation.
    — Thomas G. Bering, MD

    Charles Field and Sanford Heisler have been excellent partners as our business has grown. They understand our firm and have helped us navigate the legal landscape in our industry. Charles is particularly responsive when we need him and is willing to bring in other resources to address our issues. Because of their efficiency and teamwork, we feel Sanford Heisler offers great value and service.
    — Horacio Valeiras, CEO, Frontier Global Partners, LLC

    Mr. Charles Field, Esquire was very professional, courteous and polite in helping me research an equities matter. He contacted me timely with the results of an equity public filing review, and I was thoroughly impressed by everyone I interacted with at Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP.
    — Canning Kraft

    Working with this firm was a very positive experience for me, personally. Particularly, the support from Katie, Shaun and Charles from the first filing thru depositions to settlement. If I had any questions they were answered promptly. They were all friendly, knowledgeable and I always felt like they had my back. Highly recommended.

    — Former Client

    UnitedHealth Certified ERISA Class Action

    This class action accuses the fiduciaries of UnitedHealth’s 401(k) plan of violating their fiduciary duties under ERISA by keeping one of the worst-performing target date investment options in the entire market, the Wells Fargo Target Fund Suite, as the plan’s default investment for over a decade.

    Milliman Class Action

    The Amended Complaint alleges that Milliman breached the duties of loyalty and prudence that it owed to its employees under ERISA by failing to remove a family of target risk funds – funds that Milliman itself managed – despite nearly a decade of abysmal underperformance. Milliman’s failure to remove its own funds from the Plan have cost employees as much as $50 million in retirement savings.

    Allstate ERISA Class Action

    Sanford Heisler Sharp LLP is currently evaluating whether Allstate mismanaged its 401(k) plan.

    UnitedHealth Group ERISA Class Complaint

    Sanford Heisler Sharp filed a class complaint in the U.S. District Court of Minnesota alleging that the UnitedHealth Group breaches basic fiduciary duties under ERISA and violates its employees’ trust by mismanaging their retirement funds. The complaint alleges UnitedHealth Group failed to remove from its employee […]

    Walgreens ERISA Class Action

    The complaint alleges Walgreens failed to remove from its employee retirement plan a suite of ten target retirement date funds that have underperformed their investment benchmarks.

    Eaton Vance ERISA Breach of Fiduciary Duty Class Action – $3.45 Million Settlement

    Sanford Heisler Sharp alleged the company filled its 401(k) plan with expensive, poorly performing funds that earned fees for the company but deprived employees of millions of dollars in retirement savings.

    VentureMoney Management Co. Investor Fraud

    The amended complaint alleges Mark Bernier trolled a dating website, exchanging over 29,000 messages with over 3,000 women in a two-year period, to lure unsuspecting women into investing their money in his fraudulent scheme.

    Transamerica ERISA Class Action

    The complaint alleges the company invests employees’ retirement savings in multiple funds that consistently underperform their investment benchmarks and other similar collective investment funds.

    Madison Avenue Securities LLC FINRA Arbitration – $2.1 Million Award

    In the fight to protect investors from stockbroker misconduct, Sanford Heisler Sharp has obtained a $2.1 million FINRA arbitration award on behalf of a San Diego client whose investment nest egg was decimated by an imprudent, high-risk investment strategy that her stockbroker David Barber had recommended.

    Home Depot ERISA Class Action

    According to the complaint, Home Depot has selected multiple poorly-performing funds for its 401(k) plan, allowed investment advisers to charge its employees unreasonable fees, and turned a blind eye to a kickback scheme between an investment adviser and the plan’s recordkeeper.

    General Electric ERISA Class Action

    The Complaint asserts that GE and the Plan violated the Federal Employee Retirement Security Act (ERISA) by breaching their fiduciary duties and engaging in prohibited transactions and unlawful self-dealing detrimental to the three named plaintiffs individually and as representatives of a class.

    Madison Avenue Securities FINRA Claim

    The claim alleges Madison Avenue Securities turned a blind eye in allowing one of its stockbrokers who had a disciplinary history of misappropriating clients’ funds to loot hundreds of thousands of dollars from client’s account.

    Charles Field Photo

    Charles Field

    San Diego Managing Partner

    Client Testimonials

    • “Working with this firm was a very positive experience for me, personally.”

      - Former Client
    • “I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation [for] Charles Field’s highly effective representation in advancing the financial mismanagement litigation that I sought to undertake.”

      - Thomas G. Bering, MD
    • “Charles Field and Sanford Heisler have been excellent partners as our business has grown.”

      - Horacio Valeiras, CEO, Frontier Global Partners, LLC
    • “Mr. Charles Field, Esquire was very professional, courteous and polite in helping me research an equities matter.”

      - Canning Kraft