Eric T. Chaffin is the Managing Partner of Chaffin Luhana. He comes from humble roots as the son of a steelworker in West Virginia and the first person in his family to attend college. Since 2003, Mr. Chaffin has focused his career on representing plaintiffs. In 2010, Mr. Chaffin co-founded the firm in New York City as a national plaintiffs-only product liability and whistleblower law firm. Since then, the firm has expanded into traditional personal injury and trucking litigation in the Ohio Valley in eastern Ohio, West Virginia, and Western Pennsylvania where Mr. Chaffin grew up. Mr. Chaffin is a former federal prosecutor and his unique background in both civil and criminal law allows him to provide versatile, knowledgeable, and highly skilled legal representation to the firm’s personal injury and whistleblower clients.
In addition to managing Chaffin Luhana, Mr. Chaffin also maintains a thriving complex personal injury and whistleblower practice. His practice focuses primarily on representing injury victims in the trial of complex product liability and negligence cases against negligent third parties, product manufacturers, retailers, and employers. In the area of traditional products liability litigation, Mr. Chaffin has handled a wide array of cases against various types of manufacturers, with dozens of multi-million dollar recoveries. His work for injury victims has been recognized by Super Lawyers each consecutive year since 2010 and by membership in the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
In the area of mass tort pharmaceutical and medical device litigation, Mr. Chaffin has been appointed by federal and state courts to various leadership positions in national plaintiffs litigation. For example, he served as court-appointed liaison counsel in the Philadelphia Mass Tort Program (MTP) In Re: Denture Cream Litigation and as court-appointed Co-Lead Counsel in the Denture Cream Product Liability Litigation (MDL) in the Southern District of Florida. The denture cream litigation involved consumers who suffered hematological and neurological injuries from zinc in over-the-counter denture adhesives. As co-lead counsel, Mr. Chaffin negotiated a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that resolved claims for hundreds of victims who suffered debilitating copper deficiency myeloneuropathy (CDM). Mr. Chaffin served as a court-appointed member of the Plaintiff Steering Committee (PSC) in the Federal MDL Pelvic Mesh Litigations in the Southern District of West Virginia.
In addition to his thriving trial practice, Mr. Chaffin also has extensive experience in appellate courts in both civil and criminal cases. His appellate experience began in law school when he was the chairman of his law school’s moot court board and selected as a leading appellate advocate and brief writer. Since then, Mr. Chaffin has represented the government, organizations, and individuals before various state and federal appellate courts, including the Pennsylvania Superior Court, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court. In the U.S. Supreme Court, Mr. Chaffin was counsel to amicus in Wyeth v. Levine, which was a key Supreme Court case upholding the rights of consumers to sue pharmaceutical companies for injuries that resulted from dangerous and defective drugs. Mr. Chaffin has also represented the national AARP organization before the Second Circuit of Appeals in pharmaceutical litigation and before the U.S. Supreme Court in securities litigation. Early in his career along with other Reed Smith attorneys, he helped obtain reversal of a death penalty sentence for a death row inmate in Pennsylvania.
Further, while Mr. Chaffin’s practice now focuses exclusively on representing personal injury victims and whistleblowers, Mr. Chaffin has prosecuted a wide variety of plaintiff cases in various courts and forums around the country over the course of his career. His past experience includes the successful prosecution of securities fraud class actions, derivate actions, consumer fraud class actions, securities arbitrations (pre-FINR), FINRA actions, antitrust class actions, environmental contamination cases, Lanham Act cases, and employment discrimination/workplace harassment cases. Mr. Chaffin’s efforts for victims over his career have yielded over a billion dollars in recoveries for class members and individual victims.
Prior to focusing exclusively on plaintiffs work, Mr. Chaffin was a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York. As a federal prosecutor, Mr. Chaffin prosecuted a wide variety of cases, including narcotics trafficking, organized crime, murder, racketeering, money laundering, immigration fraud, terrorism, arms trafficking, securities fraud, and wire fraud. Mr. Chaffin’s most notable prosecutions included the highly-publicized Computer Associates International and Symbol Technologies accounting and securities fraud prosecutions (over $1.2 billion and $200 million respectively). Mr. Chaffin was also lead trial counsel in a number of criminal trials, including a successful securities fraud manipulation trial involving over $20 million in investor losses. Mr. Chaffin further was one of the early responders in the days after the 9/11 attacks, working as part of the FBI command center in NYC. Mr. Chaffin’s work as a federal prosecutor over the years took him all over the world—he traveled extensively in Europe, working with his counterparts in foreign governments—and resulted in helping hundreds of victims of violent crimes and corporate fraud.
Prior to his time as a federal prosecutor in New York, Mr. Chaffin was a corporate defense attorney with Reed Smith LLP in Pittsburgh—a large international corporate defense firm. There, he represented Fortune 500 companies in criminal investigations, defended a number of class actions, and tried an age discrimination case to a successful defense verdict. While Mr. Chaffin values the perspective his defense work at Reed Smith provided him, his work for victims is in keeping with his humble roots and personal values.
Early in his career, Mr. Chaffin also was a judicial law clerk to the Honorable D. Brooks Smith of the U.S.D.C. for the E.D. of Pennsylvania, who is now on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
Mr. Chaffin maintains residences with his family in New York and the Ohio Valley, splitting time among the firm’s offices. When Mr. Chaffin is not managing the firm or working with his clients, he enjoys time with his wife and kids, hiking, fishing, skiing, and traveling. His passion for fishing started with his grandfather on the lakes and streams of West Virginia and continues with his son in both fresh and saltwater.
Additional Plaintiff Successes
- Co-Lead Counsel and Co-Liaison Counsel In Re: Denture Cream Litigation, which resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in recoveries for individual plaintiffs.
- Served on the plaintiff’s counsel committees in the multidistrict litigation involving defective Medtronic and Guidant heart devices in the District of Minnesota, which resulted in over $100 million and $240 million in settlement respectively.
- Counsel for a California corporation in the Electronic Article Surveillance market in a David-and-Goliath type action for anti-competitive advertisements in violation of the Lanham Act in California federal court, resulting in a confidential settlement.
- $17,500,000 class settlement against Dell and Dell Financial on behalf of defrauded consumers who were victimized by a “bait and switch” financing scheme.
- $9,000,000 single product liability settlement against a product manufacturer.
- $3,800,000 settlement for wrongful death caused by automobile defect against an auto manufacturer.
- $2,000,000 settlement for child burned by gel fuel.
- $1,500,000 settlement for two investors against a broker for losses from unsuitable investments.
- $1,000,000 settlement for two individuals injured in an ATV accident.
- $800,000 settlement for foot fractures from an auto accident.
- $750,000 settlement for a concussion from an auto accident.
- $300,000 settlement for a shoulder tear from a trucking accident.
- Auto and Trucking
- Product Liability
- Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Mass Torts
Recognitions, Publications, and Lectures
- Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum
- Super Lawyer, New York, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
- Adjunct Clinical Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School, Prosecutions & Trial Advocacy Clinic
- Lecturer, EndDD.org Anti-Distracted Driving at various high schools in West Virginia and Pennsylvania
- Lecturer, Off-label Marketing of Pharmaceutical Drugs and Medical Devices, Albany Law School
- Author, “De-Escalate the Expert Discovery Wars,” AAJ Trial Magazine (June 2008)
- Author, “Higher Education Law: The Relationship with the Faculty,” The Law of Higher Education, Pa. Bar. Inst. (1997)
- Author, “Review of Third Circuit Antitrust Cases (May 1993-May 1995),” 1001 Antitrust Challenges in the 90’s: Enforcement Reaches New Heights, Pa. Bar. Inst. (1995)
- Legal expert appearances in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNBC’s Power Lunch, Lawline.com, Court Radio, Fox Radio and various local television news affiliates.
- Author, The Legal Examiner
- Washington & Lee University School of Law; cum laude; Chairman, Moot Court Board; John W. Davis Scholarship; U.S. Attorney Externship (tried three federal jury trials to verdict).
- West Virginia University; B.A. in Political Science & Economics with minor in Philosophy; summa cum laude; Phi Beta Kappa; University Honors Scholar; Arts & Sciences Scholar; Judith Herndon Fellow.
Memberships, Affiliations, and Philanthropy
- Leaders Forum, American Association for Justice
- Board of Governors, Pennsylvania Association for Justice
- Member, West Virginia Association for Justice
- Member, InjuryBoard
- Trustee, Chaffin Luhana Foundation
- New York
- West Virginia
- E.D. New York
- N.D. New York
- S.D. New York
- W.D. Pennsylvania
- S.D. West Virginia
- N.D. West Virginia
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit