Practices

Securities Enforcement and Corporate Governance Litigation

With experienced and highly regarded litigators well versed in the nuances of securities and corporate governance litigation, an established Chancery Court practice, and a keen understanding of the high stakes at play, Ballard Spahr is equipped to lead complex securities and corporate governance litigation of any size.

We advise companies and their officers and directors on every type of securities and corporate governance claim – from derivative actions and regulatory or internal investigations to special committee representations and significant shareholder class actions. We have the experience to identify and avoid potential obstacles in a case, a demonstrated ability to innovate, and a track record of success in the courtroom and through alternative dispute resolution.

Experience 

  • We represented an exchange and its board of governors in a lawsuit that arose from a series of transactions in which six major financial institutions acquired ownership interests totaling 89 percent of the exchange. The federal court suit was brought as Rule 10b-5 and Section 29 securities claims on behalf of a purported class of shareholders. We obtained dismissal of the complaint in the federal action, and an appeal is pending. The Delaware Chancery breach of fiduciary duty litigation was settled on the eve of trial.
  • We defended a national drugstore chain against civil securities multidistrict litigation, SEC and Department of Justice criminal investigations, and ERISA litigation arising out of accounting irregularities that ultimately resulted in a $1.6 billion restatement of the company's financial results. Ballard Spahr persuaded the government to decline any criminal prosecution of the company itself and was able to negotiate settlements of the securities and ERISA class actions and the SEC investigation that were funded in significant part by insurance.
  • We defended a national financial services company and certain of its officers against a securities fraud class action arising from its off-balance-sheet accounting treatment of volatile and non-performing loans and venture capital assets it had sold to special purpose entities. The plaintiffs expert estimated that the class suffered more than one billion dollars in damages. Ballard Spahr negotiated a settlement pursuant to which our client contributed a fraction of the cost, all of which was covered by its directors' and officers' liability insurance.