Overview

Justin T. Berger is a Principal at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP, where he handles high-profile cases of corporate fraud, including representing whistleblowers in qui tam actions under the federal and California False Claims Acts, individuals who have been wrongfully terminated by their employers, and co-founders who have been squeezed out of successful start-ups. Justin handles complex cases across California and around the country.

Justin has been recognized as one of the top litigators in California. Justin has twice received a California Lawyer Magazine Attorney of the Year (CLAY) Award, and in 2019 was named Consumer Attorney of the Year by the Consumer Attorneys of California. Earlier in his career, he was listed by the Daily Journal as one of the “Top 40 Under 40” attorneys in California, and in The Recorder’s "Lawyers on the Fast Track," as one of the top 50 attorneys in California with less than 10 years of practice. Each year since 2013, Justin has been selected as a Northern California “Super Lawyer" by San Francisco Magazine, and from 2009 to 2012, was named as a “Rising Star.”

Justin is active in the community, currently serving on the Board of Directors of the San Mateo County Bar Association. He is also the current Board President of Housing and Economic Rights Advocates (HERA), an Oakland-based non-profit serving working class Californians facing economic hardships. For his mentorship of newer and aspiring attorneys in the community, Justin was recently honored with the San Mateo County Bar Association Barristers Award. Prior to law school, Justin served as a United States Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador, and as a United States AmeriCorps volunteer in San Diego.  

"Berger has developed a reputation for handling complex litigation on behalf of employees and consumers. He represents employees in high-stakes whistleblower litigation and has helped his clients win some of the largest recoveries in the history of the False Claims Act." -The Daily Journal

Justin also represents employees, homeowners and consumers in class actions, cases of financial elder abuse, wage and hour litigation, and other complex cases. In 2008, Justin was selected as a finalist for the 2008 Consumer Attorney of the Year Award by the Consumer Attorneys of California, for his work on Komarova v. National Credit Acceptance.

Justin received his Bachelor of Arts from Yale University, graduating Cum Laude, with Honors in the Major. He received his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. At Berkeley Law, Justin was a member of the California Law Review and the LAS-ELC Workers’ Rights Clinic. In addition, through Berkeley Law's International Human Rights Law Clinic, Justin served on the trial team that successfully prosecuted the case Yean and Bosico v. Dominican Republic before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Following law school, Justin clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston of the Northern District of California.

Prior to law school, Justin served for two years as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Ecuador. Justin also served for a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer at Casa Cornelia Law Center, a non-profit immigration law firm in San Diego. Justin is fluent in Spanish.

Justin is a past-President of the San Mateo County Barristers. Justin is a member of the San Mateo County Bar Association, Consumer Attorneys of California, American Business Trial Lawyers, and the San Mateo County Trial Lawyers Association.

Experience

Representative matters:

  • In 2019, three former lead paint manufacturers agreed to pay $305 million to ten California cities and counties—money that will save tens of thousands of low-income California children from lead poisoning. For his work on the case, Justin was named Consumer Attorney of the Year, along with Joseph W. Cotchett and Mary Alexander, by the Consumer Attorneys of California. 
  • Justin helped recover $102 million for California taxpayers against BP, in a case under the California False Claims Act alleging that the oil company overcharged the State of California on purchases of natural gas. The case was brought on behalf of a terminated employee, Christopher Schroen.
  • Justin represented four former employees of Hyperloop Technologies, Inc. (d/b/a Hyperloop One), former Chief Technology Officer Brogan BamBrogan, Dr. Knut Sauer, David Pendergast, and William Mulholland, in a lawsuit against the company and its CEO Robert Lloyd, Board Chair Shervin Pishevar, Board member Joseph Lonsdale, and former General Counsel Afshin Pishevar (Click here for article).
  • Justin obtained $11 million for taxpayers from Marinello Schools of Beauty in a qui tam action filed by six whistleblowers, former employees of Marinello. Based on overlapping allegations, the United States Department of Education denied Marinello’s reapplication to receive federal student loan funds, forcing Marinello to close its doors. Prior to its closure, Marinello was one of the largest chains of for-profit beauty schools in the United States.
  • Justin helped recover $75.5 million for taxpayers from VMware, Inc., in a qui tam suit alleging misrepresentations to the federal General Services Administration (GSA). Justin was selected as a finalist for Consumer Attorney of the Year, along with Niall McCarthy, for his work on this case.
  • Justin represented the campaign committees of United States Senator Dianne Feinstein and several other elected officials against Kinde Durkee—the “Bernie Madoff of campaign treasurers.” Durkee was sentenced to seven years in federal prison for embezzling millions of dollars from hundreds of campaign and political action committees.
  • Justin recovered $19.4 million from Diagnostic Laboratories, Inc., the largest provider of laboratory and x-ray services to nursing homes on the West Coast, in a case brought by two whistleblowers under the False Claims Act.
  • In 2011, Justin was selected as a finalist for Consumer Attorney of the Year along with Niall McCarthy, for their work in recovering a record $300 million on behalf of the State of California in a case brought under the California False Claims Act against Quest Diagnostics and other medical laboratories.

News

News

Blog Posts

Honors & Awards

Honors & Recognitions

Consumer Attorney of the Year, Consumer Attorneys of California (2019)

California Lawyer Magazine Attorney of the Year (CLAY) Award (2012, 2019)

California Daily Journal, "Top 40 Under 40" (2017)

Selected by The Recorder in 2012 as a "Lawyer on the Fast Track," one of the top 50 attorneys in California under 10 years of practice (2012)

Named a finalist for the 2011 Consumer Attorney of the Year Award by the Consumer Attorneys of California (2011)

Honored as a Northern California "Super Lawyer," by Northern California Super Lawyers and San Francisco Magazine (2013-2015), and “Rising Star” (2009-2012)

Named a finalist for the 2008 Consumer Attorney of the Year Award by the Consumer Attorneys of California (2008)

  • 2019 DJ CLAY Award (NPM & JTB)

Affiliations

American Bar Association

California Bar Association

San Mateo County Bar Association

Consumer Attorneys of California

American Business Trial Lawyers

San Mateo County Trial Lawyers Association

Million Dollar Advocates Forum

Taxpayers Against Fraud

Community Involvement

Housing and Economic Rights Advocates (Board President, 2018-present)

San Mateo County Bar Association, Board Member (2020-present)

Northern California Peace Corps Association (Board Secretary, former)

San Mateo County Barristers (President, 2013-2014)

San Diego Peace Corps Association (Board Member, former)

Americorps-Vista Volunteer, Casa Cornelia Law Center (2002-2003)

United States Peace Corps Volunteer, Ecuador (1999-2001)

Education

University of California, Berkeley School of Law, J.D., 2006

Yale University, B.A.

  • Cum Laude
  • Honors in the Major

Clerkships

  • U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston of the Northern District of California

Admissions

  • California
  • All Federal Courts in California
  • 4th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

Languages

  • Spanish
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