Mary Gail Gearns is Co-Leader of the litigation practice in New York. Her practice includes all aspects of complex commercial litigation, with a focus on securities litigation and enforcement matters. She represents clients in securities fraud actions, shareholder derivative suits, class actions, and qui tam actions. She also regularly represents clients in investigations by the SEC, FINRA, state attorneys general, and various other regulators. Mary Gail has substantial experience conducting internal investigations, and she counsels clients on compliance issues.
Many of Mary Gail’s matters involve parallel proceedings by multiple regulators and follow-on civil litigation. Her clients include banks, broker-dealers, investment advisers, hedge funds, and other public and private companies, as well as members of their senior management. Several of her recent matters stem from the financial crisis and concern the origination, sale and marketing of residential mortgage-backed securities and other complex financial products. Mary Gail has significant experience defending against allegations of disclosure fraud, market manipulation, insider trading, sales practice and other regulatory violations, false claims made to the government, RICO violations, and violations of federal and state consumer protection laws. During her thirty years of practice, Mary Gail has litigated in federal and state courts throughout the country, including through trial and appeal, and she has handled numerous FINRA and other arbitrations through the issuance of the final award.
Mary Gail is a frequent author and lecturer on securities law issues and other topics related to her practice.
Note: This list includes engagements completed prior to joining Morgan Lewis.
Defending a mortgage servicer in a qui tam action alleging violations of federal and state false claims statutes arising from alleged foreclosure documentation issues
Defending a major Wall Street bank and its affiliated mortgage servicer in putative class actions arising from the use of lender-placed insurance
Represented a leading global bank in connection with parallel SEC and other regulatory investigations focused on the issuance of residential mortgage-backed securities
Represented a major Wall Street bank in connection with a Federal Reserve examination and inquires by multiple state regulators concerning foreclosure and servicing activities
Represented a global financial services firm in connection with investigations by the SEC, FINRA and multiple state regulators relating to the sale of auction rate securities
Represented a major Wall Street firm in connection with an internal investigation of two former employees’ sales of auction rate securities backed by subprime assets and in related investigations by the SEC, FINRA and the Department of Justice
Represented a leading broker-dealer in connection with an SEC investigation concerning variable annuity revenue sharing
Represented various individuals and entities in connection with insider trading investigations
Represented the CFO of a publicly traded company in connection with an SEC investigation arising from allegedly false or misleading disclosures contained in the company’s financial statements
Regularly represents major Wall Street firms and registered representatives in FINRA arbitrations
Successfully defended a big four accounting firm against putative class action alleging Section 11 violation
Represented a multinational communications company in obtaining a $46.6 million jury verdict, sustained on appeal, on federal securities fraud and RICO claims
Successfully represented a Japanese pharmaceutical company in the prosecution of a $750 million civil RICO and securities fraud action against the seller of a U.S. generic drug company
Successfully defended a venture capital firm against claims that its actions in connection with a leveraged buy-out constituted a fraudulent conveyance and breached its fiduciary duties
Cornell Law School, 1985, Juris Doctor
Princeton University, 1982, Artis Baccalaureate
US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
US District Court for the Eastern District of New York
US District Court for the Northern District of New York
US District Court for the Southern District of New York
Awards and Affiliations
Board of Directors, New York County Lawyers’ Association (2011–2014)
Co-Chair, Securities and Exchanges Committee, New York County Lawyers’ Association (2007–2011)
Judiciary Committee, Association of the Bar of the City of New York (2004–2007)