Michael D. Blanchard represents clients in all facets of shareholder litigation, class actions, securities enforcement matters, investigations, and business disputes. Michael has obtained numerous dismissals at the pleading stage, including, for example, the dismissal of a 1933 Act class action which Forbes magazine called a “stunning class action victory.” Where dismissal is not achievable, Michael has successfully tried cases to judges and juries alike, and successfully litigated numerous appeals. Michael also counsels clients on litigation avoidance strategies, and is member of Morgan Lewis’s crisis management practice.
Staying abreast of the cutting edge issues in his specialized fields of practice, Michael serves as an adjunct professor of law, teaching courses in securities litigation and business torts. Michael is active in the American Bar Association’s Corporate Governance, D&O Liability and Business Litigation sections, where he is contributing in the areas of board-driven investigations, special litigation committees and securities litigation. He is also serving as Chair of an ABA Task Force Regarding the Fiduciary Duties of Officers and Protections of the Business Judgment Rule. Michael also serves on the Boston Bar Association’s Financial Services Committee, focusing on Civil Enforcement and Securities Litigation, and to Connecticut’s Securities Advisory Council, a panel of experts on securities matters advising on issues for the Connecticut Securities and Business Investments Division of the Department of Banking.
Michael splits his time between Boston and Hartford, where he serves as litigation practice leader. The Hartford litigation team was recently recognized by the Connecticut Law Tribune as the “Litigation Department of the Year,” for the third year in a row. Michael has also been recognized as “exceptional” by The Legal 500.
Boston Options Exchange, LLC (High Frequency Trading Class Action) — Obtained dismissal of class action challenging timing of exchange's transmission of securities trading data, inspired by Michael Lewis' New York Times best-seller, "Flash Boys." Affirmed on appeal.
Curaleaf, LLC (Equity Ownership)– Obtained rare early-stage dismissal in Connecticut state court against a bet-the-company claim by an alleged co-founder to ownership of one-third of the startup company’s equity.
Jenzabar, Inc. (Stock Options Jury Trial) – Won a jury defense verdict on a claimed breach of a stock option agreement, based on the technical defense that the optionee intended to sell the stock rather than hold it for investment as required.
David Lerner Associates, Inc.(1933 Act Class Action) — Obtained dismissal in New York federal court of 1933 Act class action alleging securities violations in connection with DLA’s role as best efforts underwriter and exclusive distributor of publicly issued, non-traded securities of a series of real estate investment trusts in what Forbes magazine called a “stunning class action victory.” Dismissal of the 1933 Act claims affirmed on appeal.
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (Madoff Litigation) — Successfully defended against Blue Sky claims brought by investors of a MassMutual subsidiary arising from the subsidiary's investments with Bernard L. Madoff.
Oppenheimer & Co., Inc. (1933 Act Class Action) — Obtained dismissal in Massachusetts federal court for private equity fund in 1933 Act class action purportedly brought on behalf of all investors, alleging misrepresentations regarding valuation in connection with foreign currency assets.
Merrill Lynch (Auction Rate Securities) — Represented broker dealer in multiple litigations and FINRA arbitrations alleging violations of the 1934 Act, Blue Sky laws and common law in connection with sales of auction rate securities (“ARS”), Merrill Lynch’s role in the ARS market and its 2008 collapse.
Charles Schwab (State Securities Investigations) — Represented Schwab in connection with multiple state securities investigations under “Blue Sky” law concerning mutual fund disclosure issues; resulted in successful negotiated resolution.
Confidential Financial Institution (Internal Investigation/Attorney General) — On behalf of a private fund of a major financial institution, conducted expedited internal investigation regarding high profile, sudden collapse of a portfolio company; successfully negotiated resolution of exposure (financial and reputational) with state attorneys general.
Biopure Corporation (1934 Act Class Action/SEC Enforcement Action) — Defended company, officers and directors in parallel proceedings by SEC and class action plaintiffs alleging 1934 Act violations.
Special Litigation Committee Investigations
Fortune 100 Company — Conducted internal investigation on behalf of a special litigation committee appointed by the board of a Fortune 100 company concerning shareholder's demand letter regarding executive compensation.
Pharmaceutical Company — Performed internal investigation on behalf of a special investigative committee appointed by the board of a pharmaceutical company regarding shareholder's demand letter alleging securities and state fiduciary claims in connection with a missed earning projection.
Shareholder Derivative Litigation
WisdomTree Investments, Inc. (Stock Ownership) — Obtained from Delaware Chancery Court order granting motion to dismiss, with prejudice, case in which the plaintiff sought to invalidate WisdomTree’s ownership of a significant block of stock in Tradeworx, Inc.
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (Voting Rights Class Action) — Obtained dismissal for MassMutual and its board in a purported class action claiming the mutual insurance company had improperly disenfranchised policyholders.
Jenzabar, Inc. — Obtained dismissal for a company and its board in Massachusetts state court against derivative claims of breach of fiduciary duty and waste arising from alleged compensation decisions and political and charitable contributions.
Access Pharmaceuticals (Alleged Lowball Asset Sale) — Obtained dismissal in Pennsylvania federal court of derivative and purported class claims alleging conspiracy surrounding sell-off of dissolving company’s IP assets.
i2 Technologies (Spin-Off Transaction) — Obtained dismissal in Delaware Chancery Court on behalf of company and its board with respect to derivative claims arising from the board’s alleged grossly negligent oversight of the sale of a subsidiary to its former CEO for a fraction of value.
Teradyne, Inc. (Books & Records Action) — Obtained summary judgment against shareholder’s seeking books and records for the purpose of investigating alleged possible options backdating.
Confidential Technology Company (Options Backdating) — Defended former officers and directors of publicly traded company in shareholder derivative action alleging options backdating, resulting in favorable nuisance value settlement.
Wave Systems Corp. (Misrepresentations of Material Contracts) — Obtained dismissal in Massachusetts federal court for company and its board of directors against claims of breach of fiduciary duty arising from alleged misrepresentations in SEC filings concerning material contracts with third parties.
Battery Ventures/Index Ventures (Preferred Shareholder Litigation) — Obtained dismissal in California federal court of all claims, including federal and state securities law violations and common law breach of fiduciary duty claims by major preferred shareholder of a portfolio company in connection with defendant funds’ sales of preferred stock.
Village Ventures/Worcester Ventures/Point Judith Capital (Venture Capitalist /Founder Dispute) — Obtained dismissal in Connecticut state court for VC funds of complaint by alleged founders of portfolio company claiming entitlement to substantial percentages of equity and proceeds of sale of company for near $500 million. Affirmed on appeal.
Confidential Fund Of Funds —(Portfolio Manager Dispute) — Represented fund of funds named as respondent in arbitration by portfolio manager seeking several millions of dollars in damages; through mediation, turned the tables to obtain a highly favorable settlement in which the portfolio manager paid well over a million dollars to the fund.
Confidential PIPE Fund (Suspension Of Redemptions) — Defeated investor’s injunctive action seeking to block exchange offer made in conjunction with suspension of redemptions; represented fund and its principal in subsequent litigations, books and records proceedings and SEC investigations and counseled fund with respect to Cayman Islands petition for liquidation of offshore fund.
Fleet Development Ventures, LLC (Receivership Of Fraudulent Portfolio Company) — Represented seed capital fund as plaintiff in a shareholder derivative litigation in Connecticut federal court, protecting its preferred equity investment from fraud and mismanagement; succeeded in obtaining, after bench trial, emergency injunctive relief and appointment of receiver to wind down business and recover capital invested.
LeCroy Corporation — Achieved voluntary dismissal of a class action seeking to enjoin the LeCroy Corporation-Teledyne Technologies, Inc. merger, after obtaining denial of motion for expedited discovery and preliminary injunction hearing, a decision which appears to be the first of its kind issued in New York federal court.
Acme Packet — Achieved voluntary dismissal of a class action seeking to enjoin merger after defeating motion for expedited discovery.
Tempur-Pedic — Obtained disclosure-only settlement for Tempur-Pedic in deal litigation arising from its acquisition of Sealy, following defeat of motion for expedited discovery.
Kayak — Obtained disclosure-only settlement for Kayak in deal litigation arising from its acquisition by Priceline.
Enernoc — Obtained disclosure-only settlement for Enernoc in deal litigation arising from its acquisition of World Energy.
Business Torts/Complex Litigation
LifeIMAGE (Non-compete/Trade Secrets) — Obtained preliminary injunction in Massachusetts state court enjoining LifeIMAGE’s former Vice President – Business Strategy from working for its largest competitor and passing on trade secrets in violation of his non-compete agreement.
IKON Office Solutions (Privacy Law Class Action) — Obtained dismissal of purported nationwide class action alleging violations of the Stored Communications Act and state law in Connecticut federal court.
Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company (Forfeiture for Competition Trial) — Defended Nationwide in action by agents seeking to invalidate “forfeiture for competition” clause in its agent agreements; favorable settlement following jury trial.
Trinity College, 1994, Master of Arts, Public Policy
Western New England College School of Law, 1997, Juris Doctor, Summa Cum Laude
Westfield State College, 1991, Bachelor of Arts, History
US District Court for the District of Massachusetts
US District Court for the District of Connecticut
US District Court for the Eastern District of New York
US District Court for the Southern District of New York
US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
US Supreme Court
Clerkship to the Arizona Supreme Court (1996 - 1997)
Awards and Affiliations
Member, Law Firm of the Year, Securities Regulation, US News/Best Lawyers – Best Law Firms (2019)
Recommended, Dispute resolution: Securities litigation: defense, The Legal 500 US (2018)
Recommended, Financial services litigation, The Legal 500 US (2014, 2016)
Member, Litigation Department of the Year, Connecticut Law Tribune (2013–2015)