Donald C. Arbitblit

Donald C. Arbitblit

Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP

Recognized since 2012

San Francisco, California

Practice Areas

Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions - Plaintiffs

Personal Injury Litigation - Plaintiffs

Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2022 - Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions - Plaintiffs
Spinning circle Big letter B

A Lawyer with Unmatched Expertise in Medical and Scientific Cases

Donald C. Arbitblit is a leader among plaintiffs’ attorneys in assessing the legal, medical, and scientific aspects of personal injury, mass torts, and environmental and toxic exposure litigation. Mr. Arbitblit has served on Plaintiffs’ Science/Expert Committees in several national cases, and he is currently a member of the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee in the Actos bladder cancer injuries federal multidistrict litigation that settled in 2015 for $2.4 billion.

Mr. Arbitblit was a member of the trial team that won the first Actos bellwether trial in April 2014, including a $9 billion punitive damage award. Mr. Arbitblit was also Chair of the Epidemiology/Causation Subcommittee of the federal Vioxx litigation from 2005-2010, and he was a member of the trial team that won a plaintiffs' verdict in that litigation in 2006. Between 1998 and 2014, Ms. Arbitblit served on science and expert witness committees in the Actos, Yaz, Fen-Phen Diet Drug, Rezulin, Baycol, Vioxx, and Sulzer hip implant cases.

Mr. Arbitblit has specialized in toxic exposure and defective pharmaceutical cases for twenty years. From 1994 to 1998, Don was lead counsel for a certified class of women who were intentionally exposed to radioactive iron without their consent while receiving prenatal care at Vanderbilt University hospital in the 1940s. Settlement included $10.3 million and a formal apology from Vanderbilt University.

Mr. Arbitblit also played a leading role in California coordinated litigation arising out of the Sacramento River Spill of 1991; the release of a sulfuric acid cloud from the General Chemical plant in Richmond, California in 1993; and a 1995 toxic release from the Unocal refinery in Rodeo, California. These cases resulted in settlements of approximately $300 million.

Mr. Arbitblit has authored articles on environmental and pharmaceutical drug issues for Ecology Law Quarterly, Mealey’s Emerging Toxic Torts, and Hastings West-Northwest Journal of Environmental Law and Policy. Super Lawyers magazine has recognized Mr. Arbitblit as a Super Lawyer for Northern California five times. He has lectured to attorneys on science issues in pharmaceutical defect litigation for the American Association of Justice in 2011 (Yaz) and 2013 (Actos).


  • 275 Battery Street, 29th Floor
    San Francisco, CA 94111


  • University of California Berkeley, J.D., graduated 1979
  • Tufts University, B.S. (Magna Cum Laude), graduated 1974

Bar Admissions

  • California, The State Bar of California
  • Vermont, Vermont Bar Association


  • ACTOS MDL Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee - Member
  • Bar Association of San Francisco - Member
  • California JCCP Yaz Science Committee - Co-Chair, 2010-Present
  • Federal Science and Expert Witness Committees (Diet Drugs MDL; Baycol MDL; Rezulin MDL) - Member
  • State Bar of California - Member
  • VIOXX MDL Chair of the Epidemiology/Clinical Trials Subcommittee - Member
  • YAZ MDL Federal Court-appointed Science Executive Committee - Member

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, 1986

Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2022 - Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions - Plaintiffs

Named "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers® for:

  • Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions - Plaintiffs, San Francisco (2022)

Recognized in The Best Lawyers® in America 2023 for work in:

  • Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions - Plaintiffs
  • Personal Injury Litigation - Plaintiffs


  • AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell
  • Selected for inclusion by peers in The Best Lawyers in America in fields of "Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions - Plaintiffs" and "Personal Injury Litigation - Plaintiffs," Best Lawyers, 2012 - 2023
  • "Super Lawyer for Northern California," Super Lawyers, 2004, 2006 - 2008, 2014-2022
  • “Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers in America,” Lawdragon, 2021, 2022
  • “Lawyer of the Year for Mass Tort & Class Action Litigation,” Northern California, Best Lawyers, 2022
  • Legal 500 recommended lawyer, 2013
  • Lawdragon Finalist, Lawdragon, 2009 - 2011


Your browser is not fully compatible with our automatic printer friendly formatting.

Please use the print button to print this profile page.

Spinning circle Big letter B