Stephen A. Sheller
Founding Partnerclass action and whistleblower/qui tam law firms in the United States.
His long and storied career can be summed up in a few words: a principled, fervent champion for those harmed by the negligence or intentional acts of corporations or others, in need of a strong legal voice.
Mr. Sheller has been at the forefront of celebrated national lawsuits, representing pharmaceutical whistleblowers and recovering over $6.25 billion for the U.S. government: most recently a $7.3 million whistleblower settlement with Astellas Pharma in April 2014, and other, historic whistleblower settlements including $2.2 billion against Johnson & Johnson in 2013, $520 million against AstraZeneca in April 2010, $2.3 billion against Pfizer Inc. in September 2009 and $1.4 billion against Eli Lilly & Company in January 2009. Serving as a lead attorney in these recent pharmaceutical whistleblower cases, these are among the top fifteen civil and criminal settlements in U.S. history. Mr. Sheller continues to work with whistleblowers and is recognized as one the country's premier experts on qui tam whistleblower and False Claims Act cases.
Mr. Sheller also has an ongoing dedication to representing clients injured by defective drugs. His representation of children injured by antipsychotic drugs was profiled on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. He recently filed cases in Pennsylvania and New Jersey on behalf of clients harmed by antipsychotic drugs Risperdal(R) and Invega(R). Boys and young men who took the drug developed gynecomastia, growth of breasts, requiring mastectomy removal. In addition to naming pharmaceutical companies, Mr. Sheller named the "ghostwriting" company who wrote the medical literature that promoted the drugs alleging they knew or should have known of the dangerous side effects. Naming the "ghostwriting" company puts corporations on notice they cannot obscure the risks of drugs by engaging a third party to write supposedly "impartial" medical articles. One of the first if not the first time, naming the "ghostwriters" demonstrates a creative approach to pharmaceutical product liability lawsuits.
Mr. Sheller is currently mounting national class action on behalf of clients in pharmaceutical drug and medical device injury, whistleblower qui tam cases and other matters.
"An American Hustle: Whistleblowers & Prosecuting False Claims Cases" was the title of Mr. Sheller's address as the featured CLE speaker for the Montgomery County Bench Bar Conference held at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort in Cambridge, Maryland on September 13, 2014.
In 2014, Mr. Sheller was selected for inclusion in the 2015 "Best Lawyers in America" guide for legal excellence in the Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions - Plaintiffs and Qui Tam Law" practice areas.
Selected as a Pennsylvania “Super Lawyer,” Mr. Sheller has been honored each year since the award’s inception in 2003, and in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 was recognized as both a Top 100 Philadelphia and Top 100 Pennsylvania SuperLawyer.
In 2003 Mr. Sheller was named a finalist for the Trial Lawyer of the Year Award given by Trial Lawyers for Public Justice for discovering the light cigarette fraud and initiating the litigation strategy to remedy the deception. This innovative legal strategy resulted in a $10.1 billion verdict against Phillip Morris.
Attorney Sheller was also invited and presented the Edward J. Ross Memorial Lecture in Litigation at the Temple University Beasley School of Law. His lecture, “Lawyering in Times of Saints and Evil-Doers,” reminded future lawyers to always lead with their conscience and to seek fairness and justice over personal gain. His talk highlighted by newsreels and video illustrated significant mileposts in his career.
As a result of Mr. Sheller's unique legal strategies now used as a model in states across the U.S., he was honored with the first annual "Pioneer Award" by the Tobacco Control Resource Center at the winter 2011 American Association for Justice conference.
In November 2000, Mr. Sheller instituted litigation in Palm Beach County, Florida involving butterfly ballots and the 2000 U.S. Presidential election. As a result, he was featured in national, regional and local media for his role as a lead attorney challenging the poll results. Mr. Sheller argued that the Broward and Palm Beach County ballots were unconstitutional, denying citizens their rights to vote. Sheller alleged that if a proper analysis had been conducted, it would have been proven that Al Gore won the election by several thousand votes.
Mr. Sheller and his firm represent clients throughout the United States. His practice includes pharmaceutical products injury, whistleblower/qui tam litigation, consumer protection, class actions, complex catastrophic personal injury, consumer products liability, medical device product and mass tort litigation.
The passionate and provocative views of Mr. Sheller provide regular legal commentary on The American Law Journal television program. He has appeared nationally on ABC's "Good Morning America," CNN, MSNBC, CBS's Early Show, CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, FOX National News, three Insider Exclusive legal documentaries and all major Philadelphia-area network news programs.
Mr. Sheller is a sought-after guest lecturer on legal matters in continuing legal education courses and national legal and medical symposia. He has presented programs and sat on distinguished panels discussing whistleblower/qui tam, tobacco, pharmaceutical products, breast implants and other medical device litigation. He has been a special presenter and lecturer on law at The National Judicial College, Northeastern Law School, the 19th and 20th Conferences of the Tobacco Products Liability Project and other educational institutions. At a program sponsored by Wall Street Journal he discussed direct to consumer pharmaceutical advertising with the CEO of Pfizer and Ralph Nader.
Mr. Sheller's publications include "The Physician and Hospital as Potential Defendants in Drug and Medical Device Claims" in the legal textbook Pharmaceutical Law published by Harrison Company in 2000 and Law Review articles such as the Temple Law Review article "The Consumers Interest - Is It Being Protected by the Public Utility Commission."
Mr. Sheller is in his second term appointed as a member of the Drexel University Board of Trustees, past member of the Board of Trustees of Pennsylvania State University and past and present member of the boards of several other organizations and entities, including the Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia, Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware.
Stephen Sheller and his wife Sandra are active philanthropically in Philadelphia and beyond. Their most recent endeavors through the Sheller Foundation include the new Stephen and Sandra Sheller Center for Social Justice at Temple University and the Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services Center at Drexel University.
In August 2010, Mr. Sheller was recognized for his continued support of, and dedication to, the Pennsylvania National Guard and specifically to the troops of Operation Iraqi Freedom by Raymond T. Odierno, then U.S. Commanding General for Iraq. General Odierno had a plaque and a flag that originally flew at the U.S. Embassy in Iraq presented to Mr. Sheller.
Mr. Sheller and his wife Sandy sponsor a permanent exhibit honoring the Pennsylvania National Guard at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia. Entitled “Civilian in Peace/Soldier in War” the exhibit is in the museum’s “Awards of Valor” gallery.
Areas of Practice
Defective Medical Devices
Consumer Class Action
Complex Automotive Products Liability
Complex Commercial Litigation
Admitted to Practice
State and Federal Courts in:
Mr. Sheller also works with courts in other states as admitted counsel for specific litigation or in cooperation with co-counsel.
University of Pennsylvania, J.D. & L.L.B.
University of Pennsylvania, B.A.
Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association
Pennsylvania Association for Justice
Pennsylvania Bar Association
New Jersey State Bar Association
American Association for Justice
Selected as a Pennsylvania SuperLawyer 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014
Distinguished for the past five years as a Top 100 Philadelphia SuperLawyer and Top Pennsylvania SuperLawyer for four years.