Financial Services Litigation
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Our Financial Services Litigation team offers a depth and breadth of experience, global reach, winning track record, and commitment to client service that few other firms can match.
Your company’s needs define our service. Whether defending a relatively straightforward breach of contract claim or an especially complex high-profile consumer class action, we structure our representation around our clients’ specific legal needs.
We provide the specialized industry knowledge and litigation experience necessary to respond effectively to any matter, using sophisticated legal knowledge, cutting-edge technology, and strategic thinking.
Our practice is strengthened by our ready access to Morgan Lewis leaders in areas such as securities law, bankruptcy and finance, regulation of financial institutions, mergers and acquisitions, tax, real estate financing, employment, ERISA, insurance, corporate, criminal investigations, and environmental law.
Our Financial Services Litigation attorneys have a proven track record in representing every type of financial services institution, including:
- Trust companies
- Investment banks
- Hedge funds
- Savings and loan associations
- Insurance companies
Whether your needs involve transactional, operational, or regulatory work, our lawyers’ in-depth business and legal knowledge of the dimensions of the banking industry can be invaluable to your business whenever litigation arises.
Our partners are leaders in:
Consumer Class Actions: With more than three decades of significant class action experience across a range of practice areas and industries, our financial services litigators are especially adept in protecting your interests by identifying weaknesses in plaintiffs’ cases and defeating class certification.
We have strategically used class certification in order to reach resolutions favorable to our clients. We recently successfully defended a putative class action brought by a plaintiffs’ firm that makes a business of targeting banks by alleging violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
General Banking Litigation: Our practice encompasses a wide range of general banking litigation. Recent accomplishments include recovery efforts initiated on behalf of our client, a lender, relating to a $100 million fraud in connection with a letter of credit financing an international transaction. Another matter involved the defense of various claims against a major bank arising from the collapse of the state’s largest nonprofit healthcare system, for which the bank had been a major lender.
Loan and Lender Liability Litigation: We routinely represent banks in lender liability cases. After a three-month jury trial, we recently won a defense verdict on a $300 million claim and a $10 million judgment for our client on a fraudulent transfer counterclaim.
Insurance-Backed Financing Litigation: Our track record includes positive outcomes for bank clients in a complex series of related cases in New York, California, Texas, England, and Australia involving insurance-backed film financing transactions. One case was won after a six-week jury trial arising from the insurance policies issued to our client as security for loans it made for several film productions.
The sophisticated securities talent of Morgan Lewis is well known in the legal field. We have more than 100 lawyers in our domestic offices alone, close to 40 of whom joined us after distinguished careers at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This mix of Wall Street know-how, veteran regulatory experience, and litigation savvy means that you receive optimal sound business strategy and shrewd legal guidance.
Our team of trial-seasoned securities litigators includes a former Chief Trial Counsel for the SEC Division of Enforcement and several attorneys who are members of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
Our lawyers have prevailed on dispositive motions in courts throughout the country against leading plaintiffs’ firms or have convinced plaintiffs’ counsel to withdraw cases before such motions were ever decided. When appropriate, our lawyers are adept at negotiating advantageous settlements.
Our clients include leading investment banking and brokerage firms, investment advisers, mutual fund organizations, and many of the nation’s best-known broker-dealers. In the investment management area, we advise clients with assets under management that well exceed $1 trillion.
We also represent clients in stockholder and investor suits; securities-related class actions; SEC and self-regulatory organization investigations; enforcement actions; private proceedings; broker-dealer claims; and actions involving fraud, tender offers, and proxy contests.
Your financial services litigation needs often involve complicated IP issues. Our practice in the area of IP has undergone explosive growth in the last few years. With more than 150 IP professionals, 95 of whom are lawyers, we advise some of the world’s largest financial institutions about all aspects of IP, providing strategic advice and representation throughout the life cycles of products and services, including research and development, financing, marketing, licensing, and enforcement of relevant rights.
Our IP lawyers broke new ground when they obtained business method patents for the Merrill Lynch Cash Management Account® and then defended the patents against other leading financial services firms. Since then, we have assisted a number of our financial services clients in patenting a variety of business processes and representing them in related patent infringement cases.
Labor and Employment
Morgan Lewis’s labor and employment attorneys are nationally recognized for their litigation capabilities, and have substantial background in counseling and representing financial services clients.
This combination of litigation preeminence and in-depth understanding of the labor and employment issues your company is facing means we are well positioned to provide representation that is not only responsive to each individual case but also sensitive to larger corporate concerns.
Typical matters include:
- Defense of an age discrimination pattern and practice case brought against an investment bank by the EEOC on behalf of a group of investment bankers.
- Defense of nationwide gender discrimination class actions brought against two national securities firms.
- Defense of a race discrimination pattern and practice case brought by the EEOC on behalf of employees of a national home mortgage lender.
- Defense of nationwide collective actions brought against major financial institutions alleging misclassification of employees as overtime-exempt.
- Defense of a major securities firm against a class action on behalf of former employees alleging age discrimination.
We have also successfully represented financial services clients in arbitration proceedings sponsored by the NASD, NYSE, and AMEX addressing age discrimination, disability discrimination, sex discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful denial of bonus, compensation disputes, and defamation claims.
Your eCommerce matters require sophisticated knowledge and experience. Morgan Lewis has advised the world’s largest financial institutions and affiliates concerning the establishment of electronic trading platforms, the interconnectivity of financial institutions to electronic brokerage and trading, mergers of FX trading platforms, related bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings, data supply agreements, and litigation.
Our familiarity with these evolving technologies is unique among law firms and is essential to successfully representing your interests in eCommerce matters.
If you require legal services in either a workout or bankruptcy context, you can rely on our background in complex reorganizations as well as our reputation with financial institutions.
Supported by the breadth of the firm’s practice and intimate involvement in a wide array of industries, we have obtained positive results for clients as diverse as retailers, telecommunications providers, ocean carriers, and mortgage trusts.
Your transactions and litigation matters entail complex tax matters. Our Tax Practice plays a key role in the federal, state, local, and international taxation aspects of our clients’ transactions.
The Tax Practice works closely with the Financial Services Litigation Practice to develop and implement tax-efficient structuring that satisfies your business objectives. Our practice includes litigating tax matters before courts and government agencies.
Representative matters include:
- A recent landmark case in which we persuaded the Oregon Supreme Court, on behalf of our banking client, to change the way Oregon apportions income of nondomiciliary banks and financial institutions.
- A proceeding in which we persuaded the California Franchise Tax Board, on behalf of our financial institution client, to completely change the way it determines the income of an affiliated group of insurance and noninsurance companies.
If environmental issues arise in the context of your litigation, Morgan Lewis lawyers offer an impressive resource.
Our Environmental Practice has successfully handled environmental diligence and negotiation of environmental concerns in a broad array of business and financial transactions, including federal and state voluntary cleanup and brownfield program transactions, remediation matters under the New Jersey Industrial Sites Recovery Act, environmental claims in bankruptcy, and issues in the international environmental arena.
Lead Morgan Lewis lawyers have designed environmental credit systems for lending institutions including those involved in international project finance. Several of our partners lead the environmental audit functions for our financial services clients, including those seeking assurances under ISO and other international consensus standards.