Deborah L. Thaxter has extensive experience in complex business litigation in both federal and state jurisdictions, with special emphasis on securities and corporate disputes representing corporations and their officers and directors, as well as general partnerships and public and private limited partnerships.
She has also taught and lectured extensively on state and federal trial tactics involving securities and class action litigation, as well as litigation involving trade secrets and restrictive covenants.
Before entering private practice, Deborah served as a law clerk to Hon. June Green in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
What do you focus on?
I have extensive trial experience in both state and federal courts, including bankruptcy courts, throughout the country, including the New England states, Delaware, Florida, California, New Jersey, Maryland, New York, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas. I’ve also litigated extensively in the Chancery Courts of Delaware.
Over my decades of practice, I have litigated a variety of corporate control contests and regulatory enforcement actions. For example, I recently represented the CEO of a public company in federal court in Massachusetts in a civil enforcement action brought by the SEC, where the jury, after a lengthy trial, rendered a defense verdict for the CEO on all counts.
I have also litigated numerous cases involving trade secrets and non-competition agreements for software, distribution and financial companies in both federal and state courts in over a dozen states.
What do you see on the horizon?
Litigation attorneys need to be more willing to partner with clients through alternative fee arrangements and to adopt disciplined project and budget management strategies. I believe clients will continue to look for trial lawyers who have solid court room experience and who can use that experience to manage cases efficiently, avoid unnecessary discovery disputes and expenses and to identify, when appropriate, the alternative dispute resolution procedures that are most likely to succeed.
Selected Case Experience
- Successful defense of principals and founders of one of the Country's largest real estate companies in multijurisdictional litigation involving control of $500 million in assets including public and private funds. Litigation included:
- Proxy solicitation litigation in the Southern District of New York (917 F.Supp. 1050)
- Change of control, breach of fiduciary duty, and contempt proceedings in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland
- Derivative and securities litigation in connection with tax-exempt bond funds in the Delaware Chancery Court
- Books and records litigation in Delaware Chancery Court making new law (685 A.2d 365, (1996))
- Successful defense of officers and directors of CRIIMI MAE in 10(b)5 securities class action seeking $800 million in damages; (Dismissed on motion) (94 F.Supp.2d 652 (2000)
- Successful defense of CEO and founder of high technology biotechnology business in 10(b)5 securities fraud case seeking $300 million including claims of insider trading and improper revenue recognition
- Successful defense of public REIT with more than $1 billion invested in mortgage-backed securities in derivative and 14(a) securities class action concerning a $50 million related-party transaction
- Successful defense and settlement of a securities class action against the managing partners and trustees of twenty public equipment leasing funds and trusts with owned assets in excess of $400 million
- Successful defense and settlement of a 14(a) securities class action against the managing partners of fourteen public equipment leasing funds in connection with self-tender offer
- Successful defense of institutional owners of real estate in multiple disputes arising from mini-tender offers in real estate partnership
- Successful prosecution by private investor fund against broker dealer for unsuitable investment in complex mortgage-backed derivatives resulting in multimillion dollar arbitration award
- Appointed to the advisory board for the Business Session of the Massachusetts Superior Court.
- Speaker at various continuing legal education seminars, including most recently:
- MCLE Annual Business Litigation Conference 2004-2007 on “Non-Competes, Trade Secrets and Employee Raiding";
- ACC 2004 Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL-Trade Secrets & Restrictive Covenants—Competing Considerations in a Mobile Marketplace;
- ABI Northeast Bankruptcy Conference in Newport, RI (2003) Boston Bar Association Commercial Litigation CLE Program entitled “Advice from the Experts: Successful Strategies for Winning Commercial Cases in Federal Courts";
- MCLE Mass. Business Litigation Conference 2002 on “Non-Competes and Trade Secrets"; and
- Numerous Institute for Professional Executive Development (IPED) Seminars on litigation in investment tax credit partnerships 2005-2007.