David H. Tracey, Firm Managing Partner and Public Interest Litigation Practice Group Co-Chair

David H. Tracey

Firm Managing Partner and Public Interest Litigation Practice Group Co-Chair

David Tracey is the Firm Managing Partner at Sanford Heisler Sharp and Co-Chair of the firm’s Public Interest Litigation Practice Group.

In 2024, The National Law Journal named David one of its Rising Stars of the Plaintiffs Bar. At Sanford Heisler Sharp, David’s practice has focused on discrimination and retaliation, wage and hour, civil rights, and employee benefits cases. David’s representations have included:

  • Serving as class counsel to a class of over one hundred thousand current and former participants of the Walgreens Retirement Savings Plan, resulting in a $13.75 million proposed settlement
  • Litigating discrimination claims on behalf of sales representatives employed by Forest Pharmaceuticals, culminating in a $4 million court-approved class settlement
  • Litigating discrimination and retaliation claims on behalf of former in-house counsel of Zara USA, Inc
  • Pending litigation as class counsel to hundreds of thousands of current and former participants in the Home Depot FutureBuilder 401(k) Plan
  • Litigating on behalf of consumers who alleged they were defrauded by energy company (Starion Energy), resulting in a $2.5+ million court-approved class settlement
  • Negotiating $1+ million in settlement payments for financial workers with claims of discrimination
  • Negotiating $1+ million in settlement payments for university employees with claims of discrimination and retaliation
  • Successfully obtaining findings of discrimination from the EEOC for a professor with claims of race discrimination, resulting in a settlement
  • Representing students and student groups in litigation before the Second Circuit and an amicus brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court

David received his law degree magna cum laude and Order of the Coif from New York University School of Law and his Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude from Yale University. While at law school, David worked in the Children’s Rights Clinic and Racial Justice Clinic. He also represented tenants of the New York City Housing Authority in eviction proceedings and successfully petitioned for the released of an incarcerated individual who was serving a life sentence under California’s former “three strikes” law.

A member of the New York and New Jersey bars, David is the co-author of “Employers Should Owe a Duty of Loyalty to Their Workers,” which appeared in Cardozo Law Review – De Novo (2020).

Before joining Sanford Heisler Sharp, David completed a clerkship for the Hon. Garland E. Burrell Jr. of the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California.

Before his career in law, David worked as a community organizer in New York City on issues including tenants’ rights, environmental health, and gun control.


  • J.D., New York University School of Law, magna cum laude
  • B.A., Yale University, magna cum laude


  • New York University Racial Justice Clinic


  • Honorable Garland E. Burrell Jr., Senior Judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California

Bar Admissions

  • New York
  • New Jersey

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey

These folks were absolutely amazing

“I was referred to Sanford Heisler regarding an employment dispute. These folks were absolutely amazing. They totally went to bat for my interests and quickly assigned a super-competent lead and team to work incessantly on the details of my case. We encountered some very difficult situations and arduous negotiations, but they worked patiently and deftly throughout to eventually help reach a satisfactory settlement. I would highly recommend them!”
– C-Level Executive at a Fortune 500 Company

Wonderful attorneys and even better people

“At one of the most difficult times in a person’s life it is tremendously helpful to have calm, level-headed legal advice. That is exactly what I received from David Tracey, Alok Nadig, Chris Owens & Jamila Beesley. I cannot sing the praises of the exceptional attorneys at Sanford, Heisler, Sharp enough. Their knowledge, professionalism, and responsiveness is the benchmark for the legal profession. Wonderful attorneys and even better people.”
Former Government Relations Executive

Sanford Heisler Sharp team during a very difficult time in my life.

“Working with the Sanford Heisler Sharp team during a very difficult time in my life was a source of stability and strength. David Tracey, Madison Zucco, and Sean Kolkey consistently demonstrated a fierce commitment to advocating on my behalf and showed the utmost professionalism and empathy throughout the process. I cannot thank SHS enough for being an invaluable part of my team. They were pragmatic and transparent about everything and were a much-needed wealth of knowledge to bring my case to a successful conclusion. I would recommend SHS 100% of the time – especially with David Tracey and his team surgically navigating a very complex and adversarial matter. My team was not only the most impressive legal technicians I’ve ever seen, but they were unreservedly human. Thank you for everything.”
Former Client

Sanford Heisler is an amazing law firm to work with.

“Sanford Heisler is an amazing law firm to work with. Attorneys Michael Palmer and David Tracey always kept me up on my case. My case was a difficult claim but they continued fighting for me. I would definitely refer anyone I know to them. They were always available for questions and kept in constant contact during the entire process. Michael and David were amazing.”
Debra Julian

I was in awe of the firm’s command of employment law.

“I was referred to Sanford Heisler by an associate that has experienced their excellence. The details of a class action lawsuit were more than I could have ever imagined. My team at Sanford Heisler was responsive, understood the complexities of the case, and understood my position and they put forth amazing effort. Their legal skills, and knowledge, allows them to handle the most intricate employment issues. Not once did I have to contact the firm for an update on how my case was progressing. I was informed every step of the way. I was in awe of the firm’s command of employment law. Amazed at their available resources and sense of obligation to fight for the rights of the individual. I always felt that my case was of the utmost importance to Sanford Heisler. The firm works tirelessly to ensure justice prevails and that you receive the best possible outcome under the law. I worked closely with Attorney Michael Palmer and Attorney David Tracey. They not only handled the litigation but sheltered me from the “hired bullies” working for the large insurance company. I always felt prepared and protected. Attorney Palmer and Attorney Tracey were always; receptive, accessible, realistic, strategically focused on my best interest. During my litigation additional issues arose, I was always treated respectfully, and I continually received pragmatic assessments of the circumstances, and of the potential difficult process that would lay ahead. I could not ask for better representation than what I received. I was fortunate Sanford & Heisler agreed to represent me. They are by far one of the best employment firms in the country.”
– Stephanie McKinney

Very good, patient listeners.

“I am so grateful to have had David Sanford, David Tracey, Kate MacMullin and Alex Johnson fight for me. They never once wavered in believing in my case and helped me not only settlement wise, but also in sending the long-coming message to my firm that their mistreatment of women was no longer tolerated, nor will we stay quiet any longer. The team clearly demonstrated their expertise in employment discrimination law throughout my case. I felt that they always had my best interests at hand. They were very professional but also very good, patient listeners. And just overall good, genuine people. I used to blame myself for what happened, but now I have clarity and closure about the reality of the situation and can confidently move forward with my life and my future endeavors.”
– Former Client

Endless support and careful guidance.

“David Sanford, David Tracey, Kate MacMullin and Alex Johnson provided me with endless support and careful guidance through one of the most challenging chapters of my career. After experiencing discrimination in the workplace, I felt helpless and afraid. The team at Sanford Heisler Sharp spoke with me for months to develop trust and share the information I needed to make a decision regarding legal representation. During this time, I never felt pressured to rush to an answer as my own interests and goals were always put first by the team.

Sanford Heisler Sharp gave me the courage to stand up for myself, and I feel extremely fortunate to have been represented by such sincere, talented and hardworking individuals. Thanks to the team, I have moved on to the next phase of my career with renewed confidence, inspiration and passion. I highly recommend Sanford Heisler Sharp to anyone navigating a similarly difficult situation. I’m so glad I went forward with the support of this group!”
– Former Client 


Merck Gender Pay, Promotion and Pregnancy Discrimination Class Action

This gender discrimination class action against pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co., Inc. was originally filed by Plaintiff Kelli Smith in May 2013 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. In January 2014, four additional class representatives from around the country joined the suit as plaintiffs alleging pay, promotion and pregnancy discrimination against the company.

Starion Energy Consumer Fraud Class Action

Sanford Heisler Sharp filed a $50 million nationwide class action complaint alleging that Connecticut-based Starion Energy perpetrates an illegal bait-and-switch scheme that has deceived and defrauded thousands of energy consumers out of millions of dollars. The suit is filed the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.


MetLife Overtime Pay Violation Class Action

The lawsuit seeks unpaid overtime wages for Claim Specialists who worked on long term disability insurance claims (“LTD Claim Specialists”) for MetLife and two of its subsidiaries, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and MetLife Insurance Company USA.

Yale University Gender Discrimination Class Action

According to the complaint, the three student plaintiffs were groped at fraternity parties in their first semesters at Yale. The student plaintiffs know of other female students who experienced similar sexual harassment and assault during and after fraternity parties and at the hands of fraternity brothers.

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.

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.

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.

Ian Jack Miller v. Zara USA, Inc. et al.

In 2015, Sanford Heisler Sharp filed a $40 million lawsuit against Zara USA, Inc., the flagship brand for the largest fashion retailer in the world, Inditex Group. The lawsuit alleges that Zara discriminated against and then fired its in-house counsel, Ian Jack Miller, because he is Jewish, American, and gay. The case seeks damages for creating a hostile work environment, pay discrimination, and unlawful and retaliatory termination based on Mr. Miller’s nationality, religion, and sexual orientation.

Forest Laboratories Gender Discrimination Class Action – $4 Million Settlement

In July 2012, Sanford Heisler Sharp filed a $100 million class action lawsuit against Forest Laboratories, Inc., and Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (“Forest”) in federal court in New York, alleging, among other claims, that Forest discriminates against its female Sales Representatives by paying them less than their male counterparts. The Plaintiffs also allege claims of failure to promote, discrimination based on pregnancy and maternity leave, sexual harassment, and retaliation. In 2014, the Court denied Forest’s attempt to dismiss the Plaintiffs’ claims, and in 2015 the Court conditionally certified a class under the Equal Pay Act (EPA).