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United States > Dispute resolution > Securities litigation - plaintiff

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Securities litigation - plaintiff
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP is ‘a formidable firm that does a great job on the plaintiff side’. The securities litigation team, led by Max Berger, has a well-established position and is known among defense firms as a serious player focusing on substantive cases. New York-based Gerald Silk, Salvatore Graziano and John Rizio-Hamilton were part of a team that led a class action against Facebook and the underwriters of its IPO in 2012. Avi Josefson played a key role in the securities fraud class action brought against JPMorgan Chase for the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System and the Oregon State Treasurer on behalf of the Common School Fund. In San Diego, David Kaplan and Blair Nicholas brought a class action for stockholders of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Grant & Eisenhofer P.A. is ‘smaller than some but a still a top firm and a formidable adversary’. Its reputation as one of the country’s leading securities litigation practices has brought a steady flow of international mandates to its traditional roster of domestic litigation. Jay Eisenhofer in New York and Stuart Grant in Wilmington lead the team and are ‘formidable plaintiff-side lawyers’. Eisenhofer and Geoffrey Jarvis, working with two other law firms and Japanese counsel, achieved a $92m settlement from camera manufacturer Olympus in a case concerning allegations that the company misrepresented its finances over five years and hid large losses by logging them as fees paid to investment advisers, which when revealed caused a $6bn loss in the company’s market capitalization. The settlement was the largest of its kind in Japan. The busy caseload now includes representing institutional investors in a securities class action against RBS in London’s High Court regarding a $12bn rights offering in 2008, in which the plaintiffs allege material misrepresentations and omissions in the prospectus relating to subprime credit market exposures. The case is scheduled for trial at the end of 2016.

Pure litigation firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP is ‘certainly a top firm, its record speaks for itself’. The practice has ‘fantastic professionals who play by the rules and who are imaginative, dependable and fully knowledgeable in complex financial matters’. Philippe Selendy in New York - who led a team that won an $800m settlement from Nomura and RBS for the Federal Housing Finance Agency - and Harry Olivar in Los Angeles are the department heads, and also ‘leading the charge’ is New York-based Daniel Brockett, who is ‘reasonable, rational and good to deal with’. He defeated motions to dismiss in RMBS cases for Prudential Insurance and Allstate Insurance, and is working on numerous cases regarding the manipulation of LIBOR. Peter Calamari represented Financial Guaranty Insurance Company in a case against Putnam Advisory Company, which was collateral manager of the Pyxis ABS CDO. Co-chair of the firm’s structured finance litigation practice Jon Pickhardt is known for mortgage-backed securities cases and his clients include National Australia Bank. The firm is ‘head and shoulders above the competition, very aggressive and known for a track record of strong results’.

Bernstein Liebhard LLP in New York is ‘relatively small but litigates cases relentlessly, gives objective, long-term advice and is focused on high-quality cases’. A highlight for Stanley Bernstein and Stephanie Beige was the $50m settlement secured for The Public Employees Retirement Association of New Mexico (PERA) in its action against Wachovia Bank that alleged breach of fiduciary duty relating to PERA’s securities lending program and investments in structured investment vehicles. Seth Ottensoser and Michael Bigin served as lead counsel to the Austin Police Retirement System, for which they negotiated a $33m settlement in a class action against Kinross Gold Corp, which it alleged had issued a false and misleading development schedule for its largest gold mine in order to inflate its share price. Jeffrey Haber and Christian Siebott are also recommended.

Gibbs & Bruns LLP in Houston is ‘very good, a very active firm on the plaintiff side’ and has ‘a reputation for creativity that has led to great success in the RMBS space’. Defense counsel see the practice as ‘a formidable opponent that pushes cases aggressively’, and clients praise founding partner Robin Gibbs, who has over four decades’ trial experience, and Kathy Patrick, who ‘stands out from the crowd as a litigator’. In a major victory, Patrick, Scott Humphries, Robert Madden and David Sheeren secured approval of an $8.5bn settlement from Countrywide for RMBS investors, including BlackRock and MetLife. Patrick is also leading a team that filed suit on behalf of Fannie Mae against nine major banks seeking $800m in damages as a result of alleged manipulation of LIBOR. The firm is also pursuing banks, including Citibank and Deutsche Bank, in regard to failures by Ocwen Financial Corporation as servicer to 119 RMBS trusts with a total value of $82bn, and is acting for institutional investors, including WGI Emerging Markets Fund, in a securities fraud action against Brazilian national oil company Petrobras and auditor PwC.

Its services are invaluable’, say clients of Labaton Sucharow LLP, which is ‘relentless and extremely diligent’. Lawrence Sucharow leads the team, which is based in New York. Thomas Dubbs is a key name in the practice and he achieved a settlement of $170m from Fannie Mae for investors who lost out in the company’s subprime mortgage activity following an SEC investigation that alleged the misclassification of poorly performing loans. A highlight for Joel Bernstein and Ira Schochet was the recovery of $120m for Sacramento City Employees’ Retirement System from oil and gas services company Weatherford. Jonathan Gardnerhas an uncanny ability to master the nuances of securities class actions’, and with rising star Serena Hallowell he successfully defeated a motion to dismiss for the State of Hawaii Employees’ Retirement System in a case alleging violation of securities fraud laws by Intuitive Surgical by concealing violations of FDA regulations. The firm is also known for its ‘impressive internal investigations team’. Christopher Keller is also highly regarded.

Superb firmMilberg LLP in New York is ‘extremely good in the area of class actions and securities’. ‘Consummate professional’ Ariana Tadler, who leads the e-discovery unit, is ‘exceptional, clear and forceful, a giant in her field’, and she and Andrei Rado are praised as ‘excellent class action lawyers - detail oriented and able to navigate technical discovery issues at a very high level’. Tadler’s highlights included a securities fraud matter for shareholders of ARIAD Pharmaceuticals alleging failure to disclose material information about cancer medication ponatinib. The firm was co-lead counsel to shareholders in Merck in a securities fraud class action against the pharmaceutical company arising from its withdrawal of blockbuster drug Vioxx, with Matthew Kupillas, Peggy Wedgworth and Jeffrey Messinger currently preparing for trial. The highly regarded Sanford Dumain is also recommended.

MoloLamken LLP is a well-known boutique specializing in complex litigation, and Steven Molo in New York ‘has a big reputation in this space’. The firm has ten pending cases relating to mortgage-backed securities, with potential damages exceeding $6bn. Molo led a team that defeated a motion to dismiss in Deutsche Bank v Decision One in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, where the case is nearing trial. Molo and Robert Kry are acting for one of Citigroup’s largest shareholders in an $850m securities action alleging the bank fraudulently induced him into holding shares rather than selling them pursuant to an established divestiture plan in a case that raises important legal issues concerning the viability of holder claims under New York law. Jeff Lamken is leading the defense of a jury verdict in an appeal of the decision in Miami Group et al v Vivendi, which found Vivendi liable for material misstatements that concealed liquidity risk from the market.

Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP is ‘a top notch firm that has the ability to handle the largest and most sophisticated matters’ and is known for ‘a very dogged approach to litigation’. The team in San Diego has ‘earned the firm’s reputation as a serious player’. It is currently constructing a class action suit against consumer electronics company GoPro alleging that the company made false and misleading statements concerning its financial position and future revenue prospects that caused its stock to trade at artificially inflated prices in the second half of 2015. Mark Solomon, who is dual qualified in English and US law, leads the international litigation practice and acts for both US and UK-based pension funds and asset managers. Elise Grace, who is responsible for advising the firm’s state and government pension fund clients on securities fraud and corporate governance, is also recommended, as are founding partners Paul Geller in the Boca Raton office and San Diego-based Michael Dowd.

Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP is ‘one of the top firms in this practice area’, according to sources, and both Robert Kaplan, who specializes in antitrust and securities litigation, and Frederic Fox are highly regarded. The team acted as co-lead counsel in the Bank of America Securities Litigation, which settled for $2.4bn, and often represents some of the leading US pension funds in securities matters. The firm won significant settlements in numerous high-profile matters during 2015, including re Fannie Mae Securities Litigation for $170m, re Gentiva Securities Litigation, and the re Nevsun Res., Ltd Securities Litigation. It also settled a securities derivative litigation, Paul Rodney v John Thomas Capital Management Group, LLC, in the Delaware Chancery Court, and negotiated a $38m partial settlement in re Sandridge Energy, Inc. Shareholder Derivative Litigation. Kaplan and Fox are both based in New York.

Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP is ‘a go-to firm for institutional plaintiffs in cases against banks’. Sheron Korpus is representing CDO investor Loreley Financing - which lost billions of dollars in the mortgage-backed securities collapse of 2007 - in a multibillion-dollar case against Citigroup and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, having already settled a similar matter against Deutsche Bank. Marc Kasowitz is leading the firm’s work, alongside co-counsel Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, for the Federal Housing Finance Agency against financial institutions such as Barclays Capital, RBS Securities and Goldman Sachs in cases alleging misrepresentation or failure to disclose material information in the sale of residential mortgage-backed securities.

Pomerantz LLP is one of the oldest securities litigation firms in the US and is known for its ability to handle large and complex matters. In New York, Jeremy Lieberman is ‘super impressive - a formidable adversary for any defense firm’. He is counsel to the lead plaintiffs in the securities fraud class action against Brazilian oil company Petrobras that centers on claims that the revelation of a long-running kickback scheme caused a precipitous drop in the company’s share price. The District Court for the Southern District of New York denied a motion to dismiss and allowed claims to proceed to trial. Marc Gross is also a key partner and is leading the BP securities litigation on behalf of dozens of US and foreign institutions that suffered investment losses when share prices dropped after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Also recommended is Matthew Tuccillo, who secured approval of a $14m settlement for investors in Silvercorp Metals.

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