Jim handles commercial litigation across a wide spectrum of substantive areas, focusing primarily on securities litigation, class action defense and complex commercial and financial matters.
Having attained a CPA certification and public accounting experience prior to law school has enabled Jim to address claims involving accountants and accounting issues throughout his legal career. He served as trial counsel for Sears, Roebuck and Co. when Sears won a jury verdict against the accounting firm of Coopers & Lybrand in In re PharMor Securities Litigation in the U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania. Jim has acted on behalf of nationally known investment advisors, including Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, ING, AEGON and BlackRock, as well as large private investors and banks, when such institutional investors sought to recoup losses arising from their reliance on misstated financial statements.
Jim also has represented corporations and CFOs in Securities Exchange Commission ("SEC") investigations, and accounting firms facing SEC and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board("PCAOB")inquiries. Working with forensic accountants, Jim has provided reports of such matters to audit committees, responded to broad agency-issued subpoenas, defended witnesses asked to give testimony to the SEC staff, and negotiated favorable settlements of SEC charges. Jim additionally has assisted the FDIC in investigating potential claims arising from failed financial institutions, supervising investigators in assembling evidence, taking administrative depositions, and preparing investigatory reports for the FDIC Board.
As part of his securities practice, Jim has assisted issuers in defending claims related to financial restatements, and senior financial executives in the defense of securities fraud class action claims or alleged securities violations. Jim has litigated issues such as the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act ("PSLRA") pleading standards; the interplay of federal and state law securities statutes; contribution and fault allocation issues under federal and state law; due diligence obligations of underwriters; disclosure standards for issuers and their legal counsel; and the standing of bankruptcy trustees to pursue claims. Additionally, Jim successfully led teams developing evidence in complex securities fraud matters involving the multi-party discovery throughout the United States and across borders, and the creation of databases for millions of paper and electronic documents.
Jim's practice also involves the defense of corporations and corporate officers in class actions. In particular, he has defended various insurance companies when they faced a multitude of market conduct and sales practices cases. By developing creative strategies to address these cases, he assisted clients in successfully eliminating these actions early in the litigation process or at the class certification stage of the litigation.
Jim additionally has handled various forms of complex commercial matters and financial disputes as well as intellectual property matters. Such representations include enforcement of purchase and sell agreements, merger contracts, vendor financing agreements, automotive supplier contracts and software licensing agreements.
Securities Litigation/Professional Malpractice Litigation
- Obtained a substantial recovery for multiple institutional investors, including AEGON, Ace Asset Management, BlackRock, ING, Liberty Mutual, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and Western Asset Management, in their pursuit of securities fraud claims arising from the purchase of more than $600 million in asset-backed debt securities in the In re CFS-related Securities Fraud Litigation, a case involving significant analysis of director and officer, underwriter, corporate counsel and auditor duties in the context of a securities offering.
- On behalf of asset-based lender, secured a favorable settlement from a regional accounting firm that failed to uncover and report an equipment lease financing fraud perpetrated by a microchip machinery refurbisher.
- Obtained a significant settlement from the auditor of a not-for-profit for failure to identify an embezzlement scheme.
- Won a jury verdict for Sears, Roebuck and Co. against Coopers & Lybrand in a securities fraud litigation arising from the fraudulent overstatement of retail inventories on annual financial statements.
- Successfully concluded, after the start of trial, a securities fraud and fiduciary duty litigation brought by the founding shareholders of MFS Communications Company, Inc., a fiber-optics telecommunications firm.
- Defeated a securities fraud claim brought by a terminated executive against a closely held developer of energy trading software.
- Obtained a multimillion-dollar settlement on behalf of Sanwa Business Credit Corp. against a national auditing firm that committed accountant malpractice in the audit of a wire manufacturer.
- Obtained a favorable settlement for a national bank after coordinating extensive expert analysis of the duties owed by registered representatives and banking relationship officers, and related damages analysis, where the borrower alleged the bank inappropriately made a collateral call under a loan secured by marketable securities.
- Obtained a multi-million settlement for the FDIC from the national public accounting firm that audited Washington Mutual Bank during a time period in which the bank had failed to employ reliable loss modeling or record a sufficient allowance for loan and lease losses.
- Represented an engineering firm in an SEC investigation of a financial statement restatement and insider trading scheme, obtaining a favorable finding from SEC staff.
- Investigated, on behalf of the FDIC, directors & officers malfeasance, audit malpractice, and other professional liability claims related to subprime and high-risk lending at several failed financial institutions.
- Investigated and prepared analysis of claims associated with a multibillion-dollar financial statement restatement for a Fortune 500 company.
- Led an investigation on behalf of an accounting firm to determine the firm's need to make section 10A disclosures, assisting the client in preparing responses to PCAOB and SEC inquiries.
- Obtained a multimillion-dollar settlement for the FDIC from the national accounting firm that performed audits of CenTrust Savings & Loan, which had overstated the value of its mortgaged-back and high risk bond portfolios.
Class Action Defense
- Obtained summary judgment against a putative class representative who alleged a U.S. insurance company had inappropriately calculated a contractual interest adjustment when purchasers of the insurer’s annuity products surrendered their policies.
- Negotiated the voluntary dismissal, without payment of any settlement amount, of a putative class action alleging a failure to refund deposits made under vehicle service contracts.
- Defended a senior sales annuity class action alleging deceptive sales practices.
- Defended U.S. Robotics' directors in shareholder disputes related to the 3Com/U.S. Robotics merger, obtaining a favorable settlement and dismissal of claims filed in Delaware and Illinois.
- Structured a multi-party settlement to resolve groundwater contamination claims brought against a manufacturing client by a class of down-gradient homeowners.
- Obtained denial of national and state class certification in a multi-district class action brought against Jackson National Life Insurance Company, and alleging various market conduct violations.
- Obtained dismissal of a federal securities class action and negotiated a favorable SEC consent decree on behalf of the chief financial officer of National Steel Corporation, in a case arising from allegations of financial statement management of earnings.
Commercial/Intellectual Property Disputes
- Obtained a favorable settlement for automotive supply manufacturer in a dispute regarding an alleged long-term requirements contract under the UCC.
- Represented Hospira, Inc. in the enforcement of a material adverse claim provision of a merger agreement.
- Successfully represented a senior lender in litigation seeking specific performance of a junior lender's obligation to fund a $200 million condominium development.
- Enforced security agreement, mortgage and guaranty in litigation against a logistics and warehousing company and its founder on behalf of Bank of America.
- Obtained $20 million in purchase price adjustment procedure and breach of representation arbitration arising from a $300 million private-equity firm purchase of a tank manufacturer.
- Represented an automotive supplier in litigation seeking damages for termination of a supply contract, obtaining a favorable settlement through mediation.
- Obtained, and successfully defended on appeal, a multimillion-dollar summary judgment verdict for Fleet Business Credit in a dispute with a telecommunications manufacturer concerning the interpretation of a lease financing agreement.
- Obtained dismissal of claims asserted under UCC Article 3 against Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company.
- Represented an automotive seating manufacturer in a pricing dispute with supplier, obtaining enforcement of long-term purchase orders.
- Represented COACH, a subsidiary of Sara Lee Corporation, in a preliminary injunction hearing, obtaining protection for the trade dress of COACH's products.
- Obtained emergency relief on behalf of Benrus Watch Company, an international watch manufacturer and trademark licenser, in a trademark infringement, disparagement and conversion litigation.