ACHIEVEMENTS

Case Successes
Featured Cases
  • Bank shareholders sue in UK for record loss

    Working with local counsel, we represent shareholders in a UK case alleging that in 2008 the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) misled investors about its exposure to subprime-related assets, collateralized debt obligations, and the inflated value of its assets. When the misrepresentations came to light, RBS lost £44 billion of its market value and many RBS shareholders lost substantially all their investments. RBS’s subsequent write-downs and reported full-year net loss for 2008 represented the largest loss ever for a UK-based company and the largest for any commercial bank in the world. Subsequently, the UK government bailed out RBS on three occasions, becoming an 82% shareholder of the company. The UK High Court has combined our clients’ claim with those of several other groups, and trial is slated for December 2016. 

  • Duke Energy recovery tops state record

    We represent individual and institutional investors in a federal securities action against Duke Energy, Inc. (Duke) and certain of its executives arising from Duke’s 2012 merger with Progress Energy and the subsequent ouster of Duke’s new CEO. The $146.25 million settlement, awaiting Court approval, is the largest federal securities recovery in North Carolina history and one of the top five securities fraud recoveries in the 4th Circuit. 

  • Dutch pension fund challenges U.S. merger

    We represent Dutch National Pension fund PGGM Vermogensbeheer B.V., in an action against Hewlett-Packard Company (HP) alleging that HP and its officers and directors made false and misleading statements relating to the $11 billion acquisition of Autonomy Corporation plc. The plantiff alleges that HP knew or should have known that Autonomy was worth considerably less than the purchase price, and that HP shareholders were harmed by the fraud.  A settlement for $100 million was recently announced and is awaiting Court approval.

  • Investors assert constitutional claim against U.S. government

    In a matter with significant constitutional implications, we have filed actions against the U.S. government in federal district court and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims on behalf of shareholders of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been under government conservatorship since 2008, and both cases challenge the government’s August 2012 decision to impose a “net worth sweep,” whereby all of the companies’ net income is paid to the government each quarter. In the Federal Claims action, our clients allege that the net worth sweep constitutes a “taking” under the Fifth Amendment, and that they are entitled to just compensation for the loss of their economic rights. In the district court case, our clients allege that the net worth sweep violates their common law rights and entitles them to damages. Both cases are pending. Kessler Topaz is conducting discovery in the Federal Claims case, and briefing of our appeal of the dismissal of the district court case has been temporarily suspended while the D.C. Circuit considers a motion to supplement the record.

  • Investors file direct actions in Brazil corruption scandal

    We have filed opt-out securities fraud actions in Manhattan federal court on behalf of several U.S. and European institutional investors against Petrobras, the Brazilian oil conglomerate, arising out of a decade-long bribery and kickback scheme that has been called the largest corruption scandal in Brazil’s history. The action alleges that Petrobras concealed bribes to senior officers and government officials and improperly capitalized these bribes as assets on its books in order to inflate the value of the company's refineries. 

  • JP Morgan/London Whale: Pursuing "London Whale" losses

    Representing Swedish National Pension Fund AP7 in a case against JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPMorgan) arising from the infamous London Whale scandal. 

    Our clients allege that JPMorgan and various individuals made or authorized false and misleading statements and failed to disclose material information about risk management policies and proprietary trading activities—activities that led to more than $6 billion in losses due to massive proprietary bets placed on exotic credit derivatives by the so-called “London Whale,” a trader in JPMorgan’s Chief Investment Office. 

  • Kessler Topaz Wins $148 Million For Stockholders in Dole Buyout Trial Victory

    On August 27, 2015, Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster issued his much-anticipated post-trial verdict in litigation by former stockholders of Dole Food Company against Dole’s chairman and controlling stockholder David Murdock.  In a 106-page ruling, Vice Chancellor Laster found that Murdock and his longtime lieutenant, Dole’s former president and general counsel C. Michael Carter, unfairly manipulated Dole’s financial projections and misled the market as part of Murdock’s efforts to take the company private in a deal that closed in November 2013.  Among other things, the Court concluded that Murdock and Carter “primed the market for the freeze-out by driving down Dole’s stock price” and provided the company’s outside directors with “knowingly false” information and intended to “mislead the board for Mr. Murdock’s benefit.” 

    Vice Chancellor Laster found that the $13.50 per share going-private deal underpaid stockholders, and awarded class damages of $2.74 per share, totaling $148 million.  That award represents the largest post-trial class recovery in the merger context.  The largest post-trial derivative recovery in a merger case remains Kessler Topaz’s landmark 2011 $2 billion verdict in In re Southern Peru

  • L.A. pension funds sue financial info leader for fraud

    We represent the fire and police pension systems of Los Angeles in securities class action litigation against financial information company Bankrate, Inc. (Bankrate). Our clients allege that between October 27, 2011 and October 9, 2014, Bankrate issued materially false and misleading statements that artificially inflated its financial metrics. In addition, Bankrate incorporated the misstatements by reference in documents underlying a March 2014 public offering of 16 million shares of common stock. When the misrepresentations came to light, Bankrate stock prices dropped by more than 30 per cent. The case is pending in federal district court in Florida.

  • Landmark victory lets London Stock Exchange buyers of BP sue in U.S.

    In a multi-district litigation stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil-rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, we represent seven public pension funds that purchased BP securities on the London Stock Exchange. Our clients allege that BP misrepresented its compliance with safety protocols and concealed the true extent of the oil spill following the explosion. We successfully opposed BP’s motion to dismiss, obtaining a landmark decision that allows our clients to pursue English law fraud claims in Texas federal court. The ruling was the first by a U.S. court to uphold foreign law securities fraud claims following the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Morrison v. National Australia Bank which limited the reach of the federal securities laws to U.S. transactions.  

  • Plaintiffs in Dutch subprime case lost up to 90% of investments

    In a case arising out of the subprime mortgage crisis, our clients are suing Fortis Bank, N.V. (Fortis) and its successor companies BNP Paribas and Ageas NL for fraud in connection with the company’s failed 2007 attempt to acquire Dutch bank ABN Amro Holding NV (ABN Amro). Specifically, our clients claim that Fortis misrepresented the value of its collateralized debt obligations, its exposure to subprime-related mortgage-backed securities, and the extent to which the decision to acquire ABN Amro jeopardized its solvency. After the acquisition failed, Fortis encountered financial difficulties and broke up in the fall of 2008.  Its investors lost as much as 90% of the value of their investments. Our lawsuit survived rigorous jurisdictional challenges in the Netherlands Court of Appeals, and proceedings on the merits are pending.

  • Plaintiffs seek recovery in Forex manipulation

    Launched the first class action brought on behalf of Bank of New York Mellon Corp’s (BNY Mellon) Forex (FX) trading clients.

    On behalf of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Pension Fund, we alleged that BNY Mellon secretly manipulated its clients’ FX transactions in order to unlawfully enrich itself— breaching its duties of prudence, loyalty, and exclusive purpose—and sought to recover proceeds of the unfair trading practices. After extensive discovery, including more than 100 depositions and the submission of multiple expert reports, the court granted preliminary approval for a $335 million settlement in April 2015.

  • Sellers allege secret tender offer plot for Botox company

    In a case raising novel, complex issues of U.S. tender offer law and regulation, we are co-lead counsel to a putative class of former shareholders of Allergan, Inc., (Allergan), maker of the popular drug Botox. Plaintiffs, including the Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System, allege that Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (Valeant) and Pershing Square Capital Management (Pershing Square) improperly purchased Allergan securities while secretly planning to make a tender offer for Allergan. As a result, the selling stockholders were deprived of the increase in Allergan stock prices that occurred when Valeant and Pershing Square disclosed their intentions. The action is pending in California federal court.  On August 18, 2015, defendants filed a motion to dismiss the litigation, which we will oppose on September 18, 2015.

"I know you know that I take this responsibility seriously and try to think hard about these issues. And I do want to compliment class counsel. I think that you behaved responsibly here and gave very good service to the class. They were well served by you."

The Honorable Denise Cote - United States District Court for the Southern District of New York