Mr. Levy in front of the 16th Street Station in West Oakland.
Consumer Rights & Class Action Litigation
Mercury Insurance Broker Fee Litigation: Mr. Levy was lead counsel in a trial that led to a permanent injunction requiring Mercury Insurance, California's third largest auto insurer, to publicly recognize all of its insurance agencies as Mercury agents. This injunction forced Mercury to become an "all agent" insurance company and ended Mercury's nearly 20-year practice of facilitating unregulated broker fees on Mercury insurance. The ruling saved and continues to save Californians millions of dollars annually on car insurance. In 2009, after 8-1/2 years of litigation, Mercury finally completed its agency transition and ended all broker fees.
Auto Insurance Specialists (AIS) Broker Fee Class Action: Mr. Levy was lead counsel in a five-year case against AIS, Mercury's largest insurance agency, to recover broker fees for AIS/Mercury customers. The case resulted in a $25 million class action settlement, mandating restitution to half a million customers.
PacBell Yellow Pages False Advertising Class Action: Mr. Levy was lead counsel in a class action against Pacific Bell Yellow Pages to recover illegal late charges charged to advertising customers. The case led to a $7 million class action settlement mandating restitution to Yellow Pages' advertisers.
Bank of America Late Fee Class Actions: Mr. Levy was lead counsel in two class actions against Bank of America to recover illegal late fees Bank of America charged on auto loans. The cases resulted in class action settlements that awarded significant restitution to the Bank's auto loan customers.
Xerox Sales Tax Class Action: Mr. Levy was lead counsel in a class action against Xerox, challenging its practice of charging sales tax on optional copier maintenance agreements. The case culminated in a class action settlement awarding restitution to Xerox customers.
IKON Sales Tax Class Action: Mr. Levy was lead counsel in a class action against IKON Office Solutions, challenging IKON's practice of charging sales tax on business equipment optional maintenance agreements. The case culminated in a class action settlement awarding restitution to IKON customers.
Historic Preservation Litigation & Advocacy
Oak to Ninth Avenue Project: Mr. Levy represented Oakland Heritage Alliance in challenging the City of Oakland's Environmental Impact Report for the massive Oak to Ninth Avenue Mixed Used Development Project. The project proposed to build 3,100 housing units on Port of Oakland land along the Oakland Estuary adjacent to Interstate 880, and included the demolition of nearly all of the historic Ninth Avenue Terminal. The Court ruled in favor of Oakland Heritage Alliance on seismic issues in voiding the EIR.
San Francisco's Harding Theater: Mr. Levy led two successful campaigns to defend the historic Harding Theater at Divisadero and Hayes streets in San Francisco's Western Addition. Build in 1926 as a combination vaudeville/silent movie theater, the Harding is the most intact San Francisco example of the work of the famed Reid Brothers architects, whose movie houses included the New Mission Theater, the Metro Theater, the Grand Lake Theater, the Redwood City Fox Theater, and Monterey's Golden State Theater. Levy's advocacy was pivotal in the 2005 decision of the Board of Supervisors and the 2007 decision of the City Planning Commission to reject environmental short-cuts and ultimately require a full Environmental Impact Report. Mr. Levy represented the Friends of 1800 in the 2007 Planning Commission case.
Oakland 16th Street Train Station: Mr. Levy advocated in collaboration with Oakland Heritage Alliance before the Oakland City Council and Planning Commission for the preservation of the historic 16th Street Station in West Oakland. the 1912 train station was the monumental western terminus of the transcontinental railroad, and the work of a leading train station architect, Jarvis Hunt. The building is a highly significant African-American cultural landmark, as the railroad provided employment for African-American railway porters in West Oakland and was the focal point for the Railway Porters Union, and early, historic effort to represent African-American employees. Levy's efforts contributed to the preservation of the threatened Baggage Wing of the structure, and a more significant portion of the elevated interurban tracks, which have proven important to the station reuse plan.
Bernal Heights Preservation: Mr. Levy represented a neighborhood preservation organization in contesting the illegal demolition of a cottage in Bernal Heights that pre-dated the 1906 Earthquake and Fire. Invoking the anti-demolition provisions of the Bernal Heights Special Use District, Mr. Levy obtained a Writ of Mandate directing the City to set aside project and demolition approvals. The cottage was eventually rehabilitated and sold for over $850,000.