Joshua E. D'Ancona

Partner

EDUCATION
  • Wesleyan University
    B.A. 1999, with honors
  • Temple University Beasley School of Law
    J.D. 2007, magna cum laude, Received Hon. S.R. Beckett Memorial Scholarship and Law Faculty Scholarship. Member of the Temple Law Review and Moot Court Honors Society
ADMISSIONS
  • Pennsylvania
  • New Jersey
  • USDC, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • USDC, District of New Jersey
PDF

Joshua E. D’Ancona, a partner of the Firm, litigates complex matters on behalf of institutional and individual clients. Josh focuses his practice on cases involving violations of federal and state laws prohibiting securities fraud, as well as claims for breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, fraud and negligence, and breaches of state statutes established for the protection of financial institutions and individuals.  

Josh has litigated in various federal and state courts, and before the American Arbitration Association.  Josh served as a law clerk to the Honorable Cynthia M. Rufe of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania from 2007 to 2009.

Experience
Ongoing Cases
  • In December 2014, Kessler Topaz was appointed co-lead counsel on behalf of two institutional lead plaintiffs and a putative class of investors in SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. (“SeaWorld”).  The action asserts claims on behalf of investors in SeaWorld regarding the company’s issuance of materially false and misleading statements concerning SeaWorld’s business.  For decades, SeaWorld has kept orca whales in captivity and used them as performers in animal entertainment shows at its theme parks.  The documentary film ‘Blackfish,’ released in 2013, portrayed SeaWorld’s treatment and use of orcas in a harshly negative light.  ‘Blackfish,’ seen by millions of people around the world, sparked widespread public outcry and protests about SeaWorld’s animal treatment practices and orcas-as-entertainment business model.  At the same time, attendance at SeaWorld theme parks – an important factor in SeaWorld’s revenues – turned sharply downward, and celebrity and corporate partners severed ties with the company.  SeaWorld repeatedly asserted, however, that the film and the related public backlash was having no effect on the company’s business or attendance at its parks.  Lead Plaintiffs claim that these representations by SeaWorld were false, and that when the falsity of these statements was finally revealed in August 2014, and the company’s stock price fell by approximately 33%, SeaWorld shareholders were harmed.  After the case was initially dismissed with leave to re-plead, in 2016 Kessler Topaz, on behalf of the Lead Plaintiffs, successfully re-pled the complaint and argued to the federal court in San Diego, California, that the case should go forward.  The court agreed, sustained the case over SeaWorld’s motion to dismiss, and in late 2016 merits discovery began. 

    On June 23, 2017, SeaWorld disclosed in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it had received subpoenas from the United States Department of Justice and the SEC “concerning disclosures and public statements made by the Company and certain executives and/or individuals on or before August 2014, including those regarding the impact of the ‘Blackfish’ documentary, and trading in the company’s securities.” Kessler Topaz, on behalf of Lead Plaintiffs, subsequently filed a notice with the court indicating that the federal investigations concern the same events that are at issue in the ongoing securities litigation led by Kessler Topaz, and news outlets have also linked the federal investigations with the shareholder litigation (https://www.thestreet.com/story/14194454/1/feds-investigating-seaworld-for-blackfish-documentary-statements.html). Kessler Topaz will continue to monitor these investigations while it vigorously pursues merits discovery and the successful resolution of this case at trial.

Representative Outcomes
  • Obtained a $2.4 billion settlement in litigation against Bank of America (BoA) relating to its merger with Merrill Lynch & Co. (Merrill). Our clients, Dutch National pension fund PGGM and Swedish National pension fund AP4, alleged that BoA gave shareholders false and misleading information about Merrill’s financial condition and obligations prior to a key vote on the merger. 

    The settlement, which included an undertaking to improve corporate governance policies, was the 6th-largest ever in a securities class action and the largest so far to come out of the subprime meltdown and credit crisis.

  • Served as co-lead counsel on behalf of Norwegian mutual fund manager SKAGEN A/S in this securities fraud class action against Satyam Computer Services Limited (Satyam) and certain of its former officers and directors and its former auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers International Ltd. (“PwC”), relating to Satyam’s disclosure that its former chairman had falsified the company’s financial reports by inflating reported cash balances by more than $1 billion.

    The news caused the price of Satyam’s common stock and American Depository Shares to collapse. On behalf of the defrauded investors, we secured a $125 million settlement from Satyam as well as $25.5 million settlement from PwC, which allegedly signed off on the misleading audit reports. 

  • Arbitrator’s award of $75 million for Transatlantic Holdings, Inc., and its subsidiaries (TRH) in a case alleging that American International Group, Inc. (AIG) breached its fiduciary and contractual duties and committed fraud in connection with its securities lending program.

    Until June 2009, AIG was TRH’s majority shareholder and administered TRH’s securities lending program.  We alleged that AIG breached its fiduciary obligations by imprudently investing the majority of the cash collateral obtained from TRH under its lending program in risky mortgage-backed securities, including Alt-A and subprime investments. We further alleged that AIG concealed the extent of TRH’s subprime exposure and that when the collateral pools began experiencing liquidity problems in 2007, AIG unilaterally carved TRH out of the pools so that it could provide funding to its wholly owned subsidiaries to the exclusion of TRH.

Awards/Ranking

Pennsylvania “Super Lawyers” Rising Star in the area of Securities Litigation in 2013, 2014 and 2015

Community Involvement

Josh supports the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia and charitable organizations including Philabundance.