Sharan Nirmul


  • Cornell University
  • New College, Oxford University
    Joint Programme in International Human Rights Law
  • The George Washington University Law School
  • Pennsylvania
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Delaware
  • USCA, Second Circuit
  • USDC, Southern District of New York
  • USDC, District of New Jersey
  • USDC, District of Colorado
  • USDC, District of Delaware

Sharan Nirmul, a partner of the Firm, concentrates his practice in the area of securities, consumer and fiduciary class action and complex commercial litigation, exclusively representing the interests of plaintiffs and particularly, institutional investors. 

Sharan has represented a number of the world’s largest institutional investors in cutting edge, high stakes securities class action and complex commercial litigation.  He has also been in the forefront in developing the Firm’s fiduciary litigation practice, seeking recoveries on behalf of public and private institutional investors for losses arising from the securities lending practices of investment managers, foreign exchange practices of custodial banks, and MBS securitization practices that underpinned the 2008 financial crisis.       

Representative Outcomes
  • Won arbitration 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. 

  • 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 in case alleging that BNY Mellon Bank, N.A. and the Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon) breached fiduciary and contractual duties in connection with its securities lending program. 

    On behalf of the Electrical Workers Local No. 26 Pension Trust Fund, we claimed that BNY Mellon imprudently invested cash collateral obtained under the lending program in medium term notes issued by Sigma Finance, Inc.—a foreign structured investment vehicle that went into receivership—in breach of its common law fiduciary duties, its fiduciary duties under ERISA and its contractual obligations under the securities lending agreements. After the close of discovery, the case settled for $280 million. 

  • As co-lead counsel representing the Maine Public Employees’ Retirement System, secured a $500 million settlement for a class of plaintiffs that purchased mortgage-backed securities (MBS) issued by Countrywide Financial Corporation (Countrywide).

    Plaintiffs alleged that Countrywide and various of its subsidiaries, officers and investment banks made false and misleading statements in more than 450 prospectus supplements relating to the issuance of subprime and Alt-A MBS—in particular, the quality of the underlying loans. When information about the loans became public, the plaintiffs’ investments declined in value. The ensuing six-year litigation raised several issues of first impression in the Ninth Circuit. 

  • Represented an Austrian mutual fund manager, Raiffeisen Capital Management, as co-lead plaintiff in class action litigation alleging that auto-parts manufacturer Delphi Corporation (Delphi) had materially overstated its revenue, net income and financial results over a five-year period. 

    Specifically, we charged that Delphi had improperly (i) treated financing transactions involving inventory as sales and disposition of inventory; (ii) treated financing transactions involving “indirect materials” as sales of these materials; and (iii) accounted for payments made to and credits received from General Motors as warranty settlements and obligations. When the fraudulent accounting practices became known, Delphi was forced to restate five years of earnings, and ultimately declared bankruptcy. We reached a $38 million settlement with Delphi’s outside auditor; in addition, the class has excellent prospects for recovery through bankruptcy litigation. 

  • Led class action on behalf of participants in JPMorgan Chase Bank’s (JPMorgan) securities lending program that incurred losses on JPMorgan’s investments in medium-term notes issued by Sigma Finance, Inc. 

    Our clients, the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists Retirement Fund and the Imperial County Employees’ Retirement System, asserted claims for breach of fiduciary duty under ERISA, as well as common law breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract and negligence. During discovery, the parties produced and reviewed hundreds of thousands of pages of documents, took 40 depositions and submitted 21 expert reports. The case settled on the eve of trial for $150 million.

  • 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 and a class of similarly situated domestic custodial clients of BNY Mellon, we alleged that BNY Mellon secretly assigned a spread to the FX rates at which it transacted FX transactions on behalf of its clients’ who participated in the BNY Mellon’s automated “Standing Instruction” FX service.  BNY Mellon determining this spread by executing its clients’ transactions at one rate and then, typically, at the end of the trading day, assigned a rate to its clients which approximated the worst possible rates of the trading day, pocketing the difference as riskless profit.  This practice was despite BNY Mellon’s contractual promises to its clients that its Standing Instruction service was designed to provide “best execution,”  was “free of charge” and provided the “best rates of the day.” The case asserted claims for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty on behalf of BNY Mellon’s custodial clients and sought to recover the unlawful profits that BNY Mellon earned from its unfair and unlawful FX practices.  The case was litigated in collaboration with separate cases brought by state and federal agencies, with Kessler Topaz serving as lead counsel and a member of the executive committee overseeing the private litigation.  After extensive discovery, including more than 100 depositions, over 25 million pages of fact discovery, and the submission of multiple expert reports, Plaintiffs reached a settlement with BNY Mellon of $335 million.  Additionally, the settlement is being administered by Kessler Topaz along with separate recoveries by state and federal agencies which bring the total recovery for BNY Mellon’s custodial customers to $504 million.  The settlement was finally approved on September 24, 2015.  In approving the settlement, Judge Lewis Kaplan praised counsel for a “wonderful job,” recognizing that they were “fought tooth and nail at every step of the road.”  In further recognition of the efforts of counsel, Judge Kaplan noted that “[t]his was an outrageous wrong by the Bank of New York Mellon, and plaintiffs’ counsel deserve a world of credit for taking it on, for running the risk, for financing it and doing a great job.”

  • 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. 

Additional Experience

Heckmann Corp.
As lead counsel, Sharan spearheaded an innovative securities case arising from this Special Purpose Acquisition Company’s merger with a Chinese water company, accomplished through a merger proxy that was alleged to have materially misstated the Chinese Company’s financial condition, and Heckmann’s due diligence into the transaction.  This was one of the first cases to develop a trial damages model for determining damages to shareholders under Section 14(a) of the Exchange Act and resulted in a stock and cash recovery for investors of $30 million.   

Speaking Engagements

Sharan is a regular speaker at the Firm’s annual conferences, the Rights & Responsibilities of Institutional Investors in Amsterdam and the Evolving Fiduciary Obligations of Pension Plans in Washington, D.C.


Caught Off-Guard by Securities Lending Programs: How Supposedly Conservative Investments

Have Turned Into Unexpected Losses for Pension Funds, NAPPA Report, May 2009

Not All Foreign Plaintiffs Are Equal in U.S. Securities Class Actions, KTMC Client Update,

2nd Circuit’s Dynex Decision, A Sensible Approach, Law 360, August 1, 2008.

Second Circuit Affirms "Corporate Scienter" Doctrine, KTMC Client Update,


Lewis Memorial Award, George Washington National Law Center, 2001, for excellence in clinical practice.