Sean M. Handler

Partner

EDUCATION
  • Colby College
    B.A. with distinction
  • Temple University Beasley School of Law
    J.D. cum laude
ADMISSIONS
  • Pennsylvania
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • USDC, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • USDC, Eastern District of Michigan
  • USDC, District of Nebraska
  • USDC, District of Colorado
  • USCA, Ninth Circuit
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Sean Handler helps clients recover assets and damages in litigation worldwide. He handles a wide variety of cases, including securities fraud (both shareholder class actions and direct—or opt-out—actions), breach of fiduciary duty, product liability, consumer fraud, whistleblower, antitrust, and oil and gas litigation. 

Sean jointly oversees the lead plaintiff appointment process for institutional clients with his partner, Naumon Amjed. He has obtained numerous noteworthy appointments for clients in reported decisions and has argued before federal courts throughout the country, including the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Experience
Ongoing Cases
  • 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 and value of Autonomy Corporation plc. PGGM alleged, on behalf of the putative class, that the defendants knew or should have known that Autonomy was worth considerably less than the purchase price, and that HP shareholders were harmed by the fraud.  After several years of hard-fought litigation and settlement negotiations, HP agreed to settle the matter for $100 million in cash. The settlement was presented to the Court for preliminary approval on July 17, 2015 and final approval on November 13, 2015. The Court granted both motions and, on each occasion, complimented the terms of the settlement and PGGM's and KTMC's efforts, calling the settlement "an excellent resolution of this case" and "a very good result for their class."

  • Court-appointed Co-Lead Counsel, Kessler Topaz, has negotiated a $150 million cash settlement on behalf of a certified class of investors with defendant JPMorgan Chase & Co. (“JPMorgan”).  The settlement resolves claims arising out of the 2012 trading and risk management activities of JPMorgan’s Chief Investment Office (“CIO”) and its so-called “London Whale” trades.

    The case was initially filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in July 2012.  In August 2012, the Court appointed Kessler Topaz, along with two other law firms, to serve as Lead Counsel in the action.  In November 2012, Kessler Topaz filed a Consolidated Amended Class Action Complaint on behalf of the Lead Plaintiffs, including its client, Sjunde AP-Fonden or AP7, and the putative class of JPMorgan investors.  Following investigations by various governmental entities, including the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the U.S. Senate, Kessler Topaz amended the operative complaint by filing a Second Amended Consolidated Class Action Complaint in April 2013 (“Complaint”). 

    The Complaint asserted claims pursuant to Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder against JPMorgan and certain of its officers during the relevant period.  The Complaint alleged that defendants violated the federal securities laws by issuing false and misleading statements regarding the activities of the CIO and the extent of the risk posed by the London Whale trades within the CIO’s synthetic credit portfolio.  Specifically, the Complaint alleged that on April 13, 2012, when defendants characterized the London Whale trading as customary “hedging” activity, they knew or recklessly disregarded that the London Whale trades were undisclosed, high-risk proprietary trades.  Furthermore, the Complaint alleges that when analysts began expressing concern over the London Whale trading activities, JPMorgan CEO James Dimon fraudulently dismissed them as a "complete tempest in a teapot."  The alleged false and misleading statements caused the price of JPMorgan common stock to be artificially inflated during the Class Period and when it was disclosed in May 2012 that the London Whale trades had lost over $2 billion, the price of the stock declined significantly, causing damage to investors.

    Following more than three years of hard-fought litigation, including the Court’s certification of a class of investors, the parties agreed to mediate the case before the Honorable Daniel H. Weinstein (ret.).  The mediation process, which commenced in June 2015, was successful and culminated in the settlement.  The parties filed the settlement papers on December 18, 2015 and received preliminary approval of the settlement on January 19, 2016. The Court scheduled a final fairness hearing on May 10, 2016.

    Additional information concerning the settlement can be found at www.jpmorgansecuritieslitigation.com.

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.

  • Represented the Miami Beach Employees’ Retirement Plan, the City of Tallahassee Pension Plan, the Philadelphia Public Employees Retirement System and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Pension Fund in pursuing claims against Citigroup for concealing its exposure to subprime mortgage debt—exposure that, once revealed, led to massive investment losses during the 2008 financial crisis. 

    Investors’ claims resulted in a historic settlement of $730 million, the second largest recovery ever under Section 11 of the Securities Act.   

  • Represented the Alameda County Employees’ Retirement Association, former shareholders of Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc., (Lehman) in a case alleging that Lehman made false and misleading statements prior to its unprecedented bankruptcy filing in 2008. 

    The statements, which concerned Lehman’s net leverage, risk management and concentration of risks, were made ’in registration statements and prospectuses used to market numerous offerings leading up to the bankruptcy filing. Despite Lehman’s bankruptcy, we were able to negotiate a $616 million settlement funded by Lehman’s underwriters, auditor and officers and directors. 

  • In one of the most significant cases arising out of the financial crisis, we recovered $627 million for purchasers of certain Wachovia Corporation (Wachovia) preferred securities.

    Our client, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Pension Fund, alleged that registration statements, prospectuses and prospectus supplements used to market 30 separate offerings had contained materially false and misleading statements and omissions regarding Wachovia’s liquidity and portfolio value. The settlement included a $37 million recovery from the company’s outside auditor. 

Speaking Engagements

Sean also lectures and serves on discussion panels concerning securities litigation matters, most recently appearing at American Conference Institute's National Summit on the Future of Fiduciary Responsibility and Institutional Investor’s The Rights & Responsibilities of Institutional Investors.

Membership

American Bar Association

Community Involvement

Board Member—Seasit (Cancer Recovery Through Recreation)

Baseball Committee Member—Huntingdon Valley Athletics Association

Participant and Fundraiser —American Cancer Society’s Bike-A-Thon