Craig J. Ackermann – Shareholder
I have 21 years of employment law experience. We have resolved 10 cases in recent years—9 class actions and 1 arbitration—for over $2.85 million each. We have been lead or co-lead counsel in 350 class actions from 2007 to the present that were resolved from $200k to $3.75 million.
In 2017, our firm settled 40 class actions for more than 44,000 workers as lead or co-lead counsel for a total amount over $21 million. In 2018, we resolved 58 class actions as lead or co-lead counsel for 60,000 workers for a total amount over $30 million. We are currently lead or co-lead counsel in over 200 class actions in California and Washington, half of which have already been resolved and will receive approval sometime in 2019.
We have obtained class certification in 8 contested class certification motions since 2008, including one in December 2018 for over 4,000 truck drivers in a still pending wage/hour case, and another one in mid-2017, in a trucker rest break case for 540 drivers that settled for $2.95 million. In 2016, after 7 years of litigation against a different trucking company, we obtained a $1.2 million fee award on a contested fee motion in a class action where the total recovery to the class, including fees, was over $3.3 million. In the early 2000’s, I was second chair on a $23.5 million settlement for 150 female workers in a case that, at the time, was the 2nd largest sexual harassment case in US history.
In addition to truck drivers, sales representatives, farm workers, security guards, and restaurant workers, we represent senior executives in private equity and fortune 1000 companies in contract and stock option cases, severance negotiations, and high-stakes litigation.
Our growing practice in Washington, where, along with Texas and California, I am now licensed led to our opening of a new Tacoma office. We are excited for 2019 and beyond!
Yael Tilajef Ackermann – Shareholder
As a shareholder of Ackermann & Tilajef, P.C., Yael Tilajef Ackermann was formerly involved in building the firm’s sexual harassment practices. She has served as lead or co-lead counsel in a growing number of sexual harassment cases in California. She has represented dozens of victims of workplace sexual harassment in cases throughout California, including cases involving male-on-male sexual harassment, anti-gay harassment, teenage sexual harassment cases, and traditional male on female harassment cases. Previously, Yael Tilajef Ackermann worked as an associate for the Law Offices of Vicki J. Greene, practicing complex litigation for clients in high net-worth family law cases. Before moving back to Los Angeles in early 2003, she also worked in New York City from 1999 through 2002 as an associate for the law firms of Rimberg & Associates, P.C. and Peter Axelrod & Associates, P.C., and served as a judicial intern to the Honorable Bernard J. Fried of the Supreme Court of the State of New York. Mrs. Ackermann holds a BS from Sy Syms School of Business, a division of Yeshiva University and a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School. She is admitted to the New York, New Jersey, and California Bars. Currently, Mrs. Ackermann occasionally works a couple of days per month, and is primarily involved in firm administration activities.
Jaclyn Blackwell – Office Manager
Since joining Ackermann & Tilajef in 2016, Jaci currently operates as the firm’s office administrator. She completed a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in history and environmental studies from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2011, and worked for a real estate firm for five years as a senior legal assistant. Jaci currently plans to apply for and attend law school in California in 2020.
Rosie L. Stolerman – Chief Marketing and Intake Officer
Since joining Ackermann & Tilajef, P.C. in 2009, Rosie has worked as the firm’s office manager and sole paralegal on dozens of wage and hour class actions and over 100 sexual harassment cases. As the firm’s fully bilingual paralegal in English and Spanish, Ms. Stolerman had the primary responsibility for all Spanish intakes and translations for Spanish speaking clients. Under the supervision of the firm’s attorneys, Ms. Stolerman was intimately involved in propounding and assisting in responding to discovery requests in state and federal court cases; preparing and assembling numerous Charges of Discrimination and Sexual Harassment for filing with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; e-filing court documents in federal court matters; conducting client and witness interviews; assisting in the preparation and compilation of exhibits for mediation briefs, depositions and trial; organizing and managing the firm’s documents and files; the preparation of pleadings in on-going litigation; and the entire spectrum of calendaring, case management and office management work for the firm.
Sam Vahedi – Senior Complex Litigation Counsel, Employment Litigation and Class Actions
Sam Vahedi joined Ackermann & Tilajef as Sr. Complex Litigation Counsel in 2016. Since joining the firm, Mr. Vahedi has handled over 50 class action cases involving claims for unpaid wages, missed rest breaks, unreimbursed business expenses and misclassification.
Sam Vahedi received his law degree from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, where he received the First Honors Award in Legal Drafting, and was admitted to the practice of law in California shortly thereafter. Mr. Vahedi also attended business school at Loyola Marymount University while he was studying law and earned his M.B.A. degree in 2011. He graduated cum laude from the University of California, Davis, with a dual degree in English and Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior.
Prior to joining our firm Mr. Vahedi founded Sam Vahedi & Associates, and also worked with several private law firms specializing in civil litigation. While in law school, he interned at the Office of the Los Angeles District Attorney, Hardcore Gang Division, and clerked at several private law firms specializing in civil litigation. Throughout his practice, Mr. Vahedi has gained extensive experience in the areas of consumer and employment class actions, civil litigation and other areas of law. He is a member of the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles, Consumer Attorneys of California, California Employment Lawyers Association, Beverly Hills Bar Association, and Culver Marina Bar Association, to name a few.
Avi Kreitenberg – Senior Associate, Employment Litigation and Class Actions
Avi Kreitenberg joined Ackermann & Tilajef as a Senior Associate in 2017. Since joining the firm, Avi has been assigned as the associate responsible for class action cases involving claims for unpaid wages, missed rest breaks, and unreimbursed business expenses.
Avi Kreitenberg received his law degree from the University of West Los Angeles School of Law. Soon after, Avi worked as a law clerk for Julian Hammond, Esq. who was of counsel to Ackermann & Tilajef in 2009.
Prior to joining our firm as Senior Associate, Avi was employed as an Associate by KamberLaw, LLP, a consumer and privacy class action law firm.
Brian Denlinger – Senior Associate, Employment Litigation, Class Actions and Sexual Harassment
Brian Denlinger joined Ackermann & Tilajef’s Tacoma, Washington office as a Senior Associate in 2017. Brian has been assigned as the associate responsible for numerous class action cases involving claims for unpaid wages, rest periods, and overtime. Brian is also involved in several multi-plaintiff and individual employment discrimination actions, including sexual harassment cases.
Brian Denlinger received his law degree with distinction from the University of Iowa College of Law in 2012, where he was a Managing Editor of the Journal of Corporation Law, and was admitted to the practice of law in Colorado shortly thereafter. Prior to law school, Brian graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Northern Iowa.
Prior to joining Ackermann & Tilajef, Brian was the principal officer of his own law firm, where he represented plaintiffs in employment matters, including employment discrimination. Brian also worked for private law firms as general counsel and practicing civil litigation. While in law school, Brian clerked at private law firms that specialize in civil litigation.
Amanda Lutsock – Paralegal
Amanda Lutsock joined Ackermann & Tilajef’s Tacoma, Washington office as a Litigation Assistant in 2017. In 2016, Amanda graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Hispanic Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in Chinese Studies from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA. Amanda attended Tacoma Community College from January 2018-December 2018 and received her Paralegal Pro Certificate Program in December of 2018. Amanda has hopes to either complete the Rule 6 program or attend law school in the future.
Prior to joining Ackermann & Tilajef, Amanda volunteered at Tacoma Community House in the immigration department and went on to work as a Legal Assistant for Villacorta Law, P.S., an immigration law firm located in Tacoma, WA.
Laurie Ritz – Paralegal
Laurie Ritz joined Ackermann & Tilajef ‘s Los Angeles, California office as a Litigation Assistant in 2017. Laurie is a graduate of the Haas Business School at UC Berkeley. In the fall of 2018, Mr. Ritz graduated from the UCLA ABA Approved Paralegal Program. He is also a regular volunteer at the Cedar Sinai Hospital contributing over 16 hours a month and a dedicated member of the Beverly Hills team. A fun fact about Mr. Ritz is that he is South African born and hails from the small town of Benoni.
Marae Slyter – Senior Litigation Assistant/IT Specialist
Marae Slyter joined Ackermann & Tilajef’s Tacoma, Washington office as a Litigation Assistant in 2019. In 2016, Marae graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Law and Policy and a Bachelor of Arts in Ethnic, Gender, and Labor Studies with a minor in Human Rights from the University of Washington Tacoma in Tacoma, WA. During college in the summer of 2014, Marae studied abroad in the Challenges of International Justice program. She traveled for a month in Ireland and the Hague observing international courts and tribunals
to understand the dynamic relationship between politics, human rights, and international law. Upon graduation, Marae received the inaugural Husky 100. The Husky 100 Award recognizes 100 University of Washington undergraduate and graduate students, in all three campuses, who are making the most out of their time at the UW. Marae hopes to become an attorney in the future.
Prior to joining Ackermann & Tilajef, Marae worked in numerous law firms in areas of traffic, criminal, civil, and personal injury law.