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Financial Services Litigation

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Rankings & Honors

  • U.S. News/Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” ranked as National Tier One in Commercial Litigation, Litigation—First Amendment, Litigation—Labor & Employment and Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions—Defendants. Received Tier One Metropolitan Honors in Commercial Litigation, Criminal Defense: White Collar, Litigation—Securities, Litigation—Bankruptcy, Litigation ERISA, Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions—Defendants, Product Liability Litigation—Defendants, Litigation—Construction and in Civil Rights Law in numerous cities throughout the U.S.
  • BTI Litigation Outlook 2013
    • “Most Feared Law Firm”—Honor Roll
    • Strong Performance—Commercial Litigation, IP Litigation, Product Liability Litigation
  • Chambers USA/Global
  • Legal 500
  • Benchmark: Litigation/Appellate
  • Best Lawyers “Lawyers of the Year” 2014
    • Scott O’Connell, Boston Litigation—Banking & Finance
    • Carolyn G. Nussbaum, Rochester—NY Litigation—Securities
    • Susan C. Roney, Buffalo—Civil Rights Law
 

FINANCIAL SERVICES LITIGATION

We help participants in the banking and financial services industry navigate issues affecting their business in order to provide certainty and predictability in the ever-changing landscape of high exposure regulatory, statutory, civil and criminal proceedings.

Our approach

From the volatility in the credit markets to the evolving law and regulations applicable to those markets, the past several years have been challenging for those in the banking and financial services industry. 

This is especially true for any company facing a financial dispute—when resolution based on the client’s needs and timing is often just as important as the monetary amounts at stake. In today’s environment when disputes arise, a holistic approach is essential.

While we are veteran trial lawyers who are experienced in helping businesses navigate the many nuances involved in complex financial services litigation, we also understand the financial elements of a client’s business and recognize the implications that long protracted disputes may have on company performance. We understand that early, cost-effective resolution through mediation or other forms of ADR may be the preferred course as opposed to active litigation.

We bring a no-surprises approach to our matters and work closely with each client to craft a solution that works for their business and helps them manage to the bottom line.

Who we work with

  • Financial service institutions including insurance companies
  • Banks
  • Regulators
  • Public and private companies
  • Broker dealers

Representative Experience

  • U.S. Bank Nat’l Assn., as Trustee v. Black Diamond CLO 2005-1 Adviser, L.L.C., No. 11 CIV 5675 (JSR) (S.D.N.Y.).
    Successfully prosecuted on behalf of a corporate trustee from inception to conclusion (including an appeal later dismissed) in less than a year a complex interpleader action concerning the use of funds for investments in connection with a billion dollar collateralized loan obligation.
  • IPofA West 86th Street 1, LLC, et al. v. Morgan Stanley Mortgage Capital Holdings, LLC, U.S.D.C. Southern District of Indiana, Cause No. 1:09-cv-00573-SEB-DML.
    Represented a lender, as the defendant, in a case arising out of the sale of a $7.1 million commercial real estate mortgage loan to 20 borrowers, who owned the mortgaged property as tenants-in-common (TIC). Plaintiffs alleged claims of breach of contract and conversion and sought punitive damages. Plaintiffs sought to characterize one of the lender’s standard practices, netting out funds due and owing between the parties in a loan sale transaction, as a statutory conversion of funds, which entitled plaintiffs to punitive damages. The lender prevailed on its cross-motion for summary judgment and the breach of contract and conversion claims were dismissed.  Summary judgment was upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
  • Massachusetts Mutual Life Ins. Co. v. DLJ Mortgage Capital, Inc. et al., No. 11-cv-30047 (D. Mass); Massachusetts Mutual Life Ins. Co. v. Credit Suisse First Boston Mortgage Sec. Corp. et al., No. 11-cv-30048 (D. Mass).
    Representing Credit Suisse entities and executives as co-counsel in two actions brought by the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company against issuers, sponsors and underwriters of residential mortgage-backed securities. The plaintiff is seeking rescission and/or damages under the Massachusetts Uniform Securities Act for approximately $110 million of purchased securities. The Credit Suisse defendants moved to dismiss the complaints in their entirety for failure to state a claim for relief. In February 2011, Judge Michael Ponsor largely granted the motion, dismissing all claims against the individuals and all claims against all but one of the Credit Suisse entities. The parties are currently in discussions regarding discovery issues.
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  • First Community Bank v. First Tennessee Bank, et al., No. E2012-01422-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. May 14, 2013).
    Defended nine pairs of issuer/co-issuer defendants in a securities fraud case brought by a Virginia-based community bank involving alleged losses in excess of $100 million relating to investments in a total of nine different CDO issuances backed by pools of “trust preferred” securities. All claims against our 18 clients were dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction and for failure to state any claim upon which relief could be granted. The plaintiff appealed the Court’s entry of judgment, and on August 20, 2013, the Tennessee Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of all claims against our clients.

  • Romano v. Kazacos No. 08-6187 and Lawton v. Isabella, 08-6190, (W.D.N.Y., 2d Circuit).
    Represented financial advisors as defendants in motions to dismiss two complaints initially brought in state court alleging fraud and breach of fiduciary duty. The district and appellate courts affirmed the dismissal of claims by a putative class of more than 1,000 retirees who claimed they were misled into taking early retirement after having been given deceptive financial projections by their former financial advisors. The court determined that the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act of 1998 (SLUSA) precluded the plaintiffs’ state law claims.

  • In re Pacific Bancorp Securities Litigation, No. CV09-06501 RGK (PLAx), (C.D. Cal.).
    Successful defense of investment bank in Rule 10b-5 class action brought by purchasers of shares in bank holding company. Allegations included misrepresentation in the issuance of analyst reports. Prevailed on motion to dismiss. Also represented investment bank in related shareholder derivative litigation, from which client was dismissed.

  • Kilgore v. KeyBank National Association, 718 F.3d 1052 (9th Cir. April 11, 2013) (En banc).
    Representing Keybank as lead counsel in a putative class action brought by individuals who had received student loans from the bank to attend a helicopter flight academy that ultimately went bankrupt. The plaintiffs alleged violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law in connection with the student loans they received from KeyBank. Other lenders had settled a similar class action involving the same school for more than $100M. After prevailing on the merits in a California Federal District Court, KeyBank pressed a threshold issue on appeal—that under the Federal Arbitration Act, the arbitration and class waiver provisions of the bank’s promissory notes mandated arbitration of plaintiffs’ claims. Plaintiffs argued that California’s Broughton/Cruz “public injunction” rule mandated judicial resolution of their claims. But the Ninth Circuit, first a three-judge panel and then the full en banc court on rehearing, agreed with KeyBank that the bank’s arbitration clause must be enforced in accordance with its terms regardless of the California law. The Ninth Circuit upheld KeyBank’s arbitration and class waiver provisions rejected arguments of unconscionability. The case was remanded to the District Court with instructions to dismiss the federal lawsuit.

Media Clips

  • U.S. PE Firms Greet AIFMD With a Shrug—for Now
    Dow Jones Private Equity Analyst | September 1, 2014
    Boston partner and co-leader of the Commercial Litigation practice Jon Sablone provides commentary on implications of the European Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive for U.S. private equity firms.
  • Picard Powerless to Block Independent Madoff Settlements
    Law360 | August 19, 2014
    Boston partner and co-leader of the Commercial Litigation practice Jon Sablone and Boston Commercial Litigation associate Danielle McLaughlin authored this column discussing the impact of a decision that Bernard L. Madoff bankruptcy trustee Irving Picard may not block two large settlements involving Madoff feeder funds.
  • String of Defeats Puts Madoff Trustee on the Ropes
    Law360 | August 18, 2014
    Boston partner and co-leader of the Commercial Litigation practice Jon Sablone discusses Irving Picard, who has recovered more than $9 billion for victims of the Bernard L. Madoff Ponzi scheme, but has suffered judicial backlash against his tactics.
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  • Resolving Post-Acquisition Disputes
    Financier Worldwide | August 1, 2014
    Commercial Litigation co-leader and partner Jon Sablone provides commentary about how buyers and sellers can help avoid disuptes with each other or with another group of interested parties post-acquisitions.
  • Brokerage Firm's GC Returns To Nixon Peabody
    Law360 | September 18, 2013

    This feature article highlights the arrival of Long Island commercial litigation counsel Chris Porzio.

  • Staying out of Court
    PE Manager | July 19, 2013

    Boston partner and leader of the firm’s Private Fund Disputes team Jon Sablone discusses some of the biggest litigation risks in private equity.

Ideas

Can an investor "win" in its claim against a private fund manager, yet still "lose?"
Private Fund Disputes Alert | May 6, 2014

Supreme Court interprets Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower protection to reach employees of public company's private contractors
Financial Services Alert | March 6, 2014

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"But I thought we were just negotiating"—Are the good faith provisions in a term sheet or letter of intent enforceable upon the parties?
Private Fund Disputes Alert | July 24, 2013

Second Circuit holds that the relevant period for determining a foreign debtor's COMI is the filing of the Chapter 15 petition
Bankruptcy Law Alert | May 15, 2013

Second Circuit holds that Madoff feeder fund's "center of main interests" is located in British Virgin Islands
Private Fund Disputes Alert | May 1, 2013

Update on the Kilgore Ninth Circuit appeal: California's public injunction exception escapes for another day, but the en banc court reads the exception to arbitration narrowly and rejects plaintiffs' attempt at artful pleading
Class Action Alert | April 16, 2013

Gabelli v. SEC
Securities Litigation Alert | March 1, 2013

Don't "put the cart before the horse": Supreme Court rejects Amgen's argument that securities fraud plaintiffs must prove materiality of alleged misrepresentations at the class certification stage
Class Action Alert | February 28, 2013

RMBS repurchase litigations — how to win or lose the war of the experts when proving breach and damages at trial
Corporate Trust and Banking and Financial Services Litigation Alert | February 15, 2013

Federal banking regulators issue proposed guidance and seek comments on use of social media by banks, credit unions, and savings associations
Privacy Alert | February 11, 2013

U.S. Supreme Court tells Oklahoma state court that state law does not trump the Federal Arbitration Act: Nitro-Lift Technologies, L.L.C. v. Howard
Class Action Alert | November 29, 2012

U.S. Supreme Court will hear landmark class action waiver case: American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant
Class Action Alert | November 19, 2012

Ninth Circuit applies Concepcion to invalidate California's "public injunction" exception to arbitration and further upholds KeyBank's "opt-out" clause
Class Action Alert | March 12, 2012

New York Court of Appeals affirms limited duties for banks in counterfeit check scams—and provides a cautionary tale for lawyers
Banking and Financial Services Litigation Alert | February 6, 2012

The Newest Deputies on Wall Street: Private Citizens—Private Actions No Longer Precluded under New York's Martin Act
Banking and Financial Services Litigation Alert | December 28, 2011

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Financial Services Litigation