Rachele Byrd is a managing partner of Wolf Haldenstein’s San Diego office. Ms. Byrd practices in complex class actions representing clients, including institutional investors such as public and labor pension funds, who suffered losses due to corporate fraud. She also has extensive experience litigating federal and state class actions in matters of antitrust, privacy, unfair and deceptive practices, civil rights and unlawful taxation.
She is a member of the Firm’s litigation team that recovered over $7 billion for investors. Ms. Byrd is a member of the Investor Protection, Consumer Protection, Business Practice and Social Justice litigation groups with an emphasis on unfair and deceptive practices law, privacy litigation, securities litigation and shareholder derivative litigation, civil rights law and unlawful taxation.
Ms. Byrd joined Wolf Haldenstein in 2001 as an associate and became a partner in 2008. Prior to joining Wolf Haldenstein, Ms. Byrd served as Deputy Alternate Public Defender for the County of San Diego representing children and parents in juvenile dependency proceedings.
- Ms. Byrd currently represents clients in a wide array of matters, including:
- Children placed at a county detention facility who were improperly subjected to medical evidentiary examinations in a civil rights action pending in the Southern District of California;
- Consumers in several privacy cases concerning data breaches and against a video conferencing service for failing to protect and sharing users’ personal information with third parties;
- Taxpayers challenging unfair taxation of a gas users’ tax imposed by the City of Los Angeles in Los Angeles County Superior Court;
- Consumers of iPhone applications in an antitrust class action pending in the Northern District of California;
- Consumers of iPhone voice and data service in an antitrust class action pending in the Northern District of California;
- Ratepayers challenging the unlawful imposition of water sewage fees imposed by the City of Oxnard in Ventura County Superior Court; and
- Investors in an e-commerce platform in a securities class action pending in San Mateo County Superior Court.
- Ms. Byrd has successfully litigated and negotiated numerous multi-million dollar settlements, serving as lead or co-lead counsel. For example:
- Engquist v. City of Los Angeles, No. BC591331 (Los Angeles Super. Ct.) (gas tax refund action against the City of Los Angeles that recently settled following certification of the class and on the eve of a hearing on the parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment);
- Defrees v. Kirkland, et al., 11-04272 (JLS) (C.D. Cal.) ($12.2 million settlement reached in derivative action on the eve of trial);
- Granados v. County of Los Angeles, BC361470 (Los Angeles Super. Ct.) ($16.9 million settlement reached in taxpayer refund action following class certification); and
- McWilliams v. City of Long Beach, BC361469 (Los Angeles Super. Ct.) ($16.6 million settlement reached in taxpayer refund action).
- Ms. Byrd was recently appointed to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in In re: Zoom Video Communications, Inc. Privacy Litigation, No. 5:20-cv-0291 (N.D. Cal.) and to the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee in In re Robinhood Outage Litigation, No. 20-cv-01626-JD (N.D. Cal.).
- In precedent-setting unfair taxation class action against the City of Los Angeles, Ms. Byrd represented Plaintiffs, who prevailed by not only recovering over $92 million in improperly collected telephone utility taxes for city residents, but also by obtaining a unanimous landmark California Supreme Court decision that established the rights of taxpayers to file class claims for tax refunds from local governmental entities. Ardon v. City of Los Angeles, 52 Cal. 4th 241 (2011).
- Ms. Byrd represented taxpayers in McWilliams v. City of Long Beach, 56 Cal. 4th 613 (2013), where the California Supreme Court held that local charter provisions and ordinances cannot supplant the right of taxpayers under the Government Claims Act to file class claims for tax refunds from local governmental entities.
- Ms. Byrd represents iPhone apps purchasers In re Apple iPhone Antitrust Litigation, No. 4:11-cv-06714-YGR (N.D. Cal.), an antitrust class action that secured a favorable opinion in the U.S. Supreme Court: Apple Inc. v. Pepper, 139 S. Ct. 1514 (2019).
Ms. Byrd is a on the board of Ranchita El Shadai, a non-profit ministry to disadvantaged children in Jamul, California.
Ms. Byrd authored “Class Actions: There Is No Reason To Fix What Isn’t Broken,” San Diego ABTL Report, Vol. XIV, No. 3, Summer 2007, a counter-point article discussing class action reform in California.