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 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 in New York City 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 product liability and personal injury practice, which focuses primarily on representing survivors in the trial of complex product liability and negligence cases against third parties, including product manufacturers, retailers, and employers. In the area of traditional product liability litigation, Mr. Chaffin has handled a wide array of cases against various types of manufacturers, with dozens of multimillion-dollar recoveries. His work for survivors has been recognized by Super Lawyers every year since 2010 and by his 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 also 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 litigation and 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 W&L’s moot court board and selected as a leading appellate advocate and brief writer in the school’s annual competition.
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, a key Supreme Court case that upheld the rights of consumers to sue pharmaceutical companies for injuries that resulted from dangerous and defective drugs. Mr. Chaffin has also represented AARP 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, he has prosecuted a wide variety of plaintiff cases in various courts and forums around the country. 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 $1 billion in recoveries.
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, perjury, mail fraud, and wire fraud.
Mr. Chaffin’s most notable prosecutions include 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 after the 9/11 attacks, working with the team at the New York City FBI command center. 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, the more extensive work he does these days—for victims—is in keeping with his humble roots and personal values.
Early in his career, Mr. Chaffin was also a judicial law clerk to the Honorable D. Brooks Smith of the U.S. District Court for the E.D. of Pennsylvania; Judge Smith now sits on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
Mr. Chaffin maintains residences with his family in New York and the Greater Pittsburgh area, 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 family, endurance sports, hiking, fishing, skiing, and traveling. Mr. Chaffin is a 2020 Ironman 70.3 All World Athlete (top 10% points ranking in the world for the 70.3-mile triathlon distance) and a New York City Marathon finisher. His passion for fishing started while spending time with his grandfather when he was a boy on the lakes and streams of West Virginia and continues today 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 settlements 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
- $17.5 million class settlement against Dell and Dell Financial on behalf of defrauded consumers who were victimized by a “bait and switch” financing scheme
- $9 million single product liability settlement against a product manufacturer
- $3.8 million settlement for wrongful death caused by automobile defect against an auto manufacturer
- $2.5 million settlement for workplace wrongful death
- $2 million settlement for child burned by gel fuel
- $1.5 million settlement for two investors against a broker for losses from unsuitable investments
- $1 million 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
- $435,000 settlement for a cervical fracture from a single car auto crash
- $300,000 settlement for a shoulder tear from a trucking accident
- Auto and Trucking
- Product Liability
- Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Mass Torts
- Workplace Injuries
- Premises Liability
Recognitions, Publications, and Lectures
- Member, Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum
- Super Lawyer, New York, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019
- 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, KDKA News Radio, and various Pittsburgh radio and television news affiliates.
- Author, The Legal Examiner
- Various awards as an Assistant U.S. Attorney including from the New York Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and U.S. Customs
- W&L School of Law; cum laude; Chairman, Moot Court Board; John W. Davis Scholarship; Moot Court Winner of Best Brief and Runner-up for Best Oral Advocate; 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; Debate Team Captain; Founder, WVU Chapter of Habitat for Humanity
Memberships, Affiliations, and Philanthropy
- Leaders Forum, American Association for Justice
- Board of Governors, Pennsylvania Association for Justice
- Member, West Virginia Association for Justice
- Member, Injury Board
- Trustee, Chaffin Luhana Foundation
- New York
- West Virginia
- Eastern District of New York
- Northern District of New York
- Southern District of New York
- Western District of Pennsylvania
- Southern District of West Virginia
- Northern District of West Virginia
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit