Securities

Munger, Tolles & Olson has had a prominent role in major securities litigation for decades, continuing up to the present with its leading role in the explosion of litigation arising from the mortgage crisis and housing market collapse.

Currently, and remarkably for a firm our size and centered in California, the firm has a leading role on behalf of both Wells Fargo and Bank of America in the nationwide litigation arising from the issuance of mortgage backed securities (MBS). The firm is lead counsel for Wells Fargo in all class and individual litigation nationwide by institutional investors in Wells-sponsored mortgage backed securities. It is also one of the leading firms charged with helping Bank of America manage its overall mortgage-backed exposure, including with respect to demands for repurchase of failed mortgages, and is lead counsel for Bank of America in numerous MBS securities lawsuits, including most prominently, a $10 billion lawsuit filed by AIG.

Other examples span the recent history of crises in American business, in which the firm’s successful representations include:

  • Salomon Brothers in the Treasury auction scandal of the early 1990s
  • Merrill Lynch in
    • the Orange County bankruptcy litigation over derivative securities
    • a lawsuit brought by the founder and CEO of a major Internet retailer alleging analyst conflicts, “laddering,” and other matters in connection with the company’s initial public offering
  • E-Trade Financial Corporation as a defendant in three lawsuits and then as a plaintiff in litigation arising from an international securities lending fraud involving more than a dozen defendants operating in four different countries
  • One of the nation’s largest law firms in the litigation and investigations arising from the collapse of Enron
  • Time Warner in numerous lawsuits brought by public pension funds arising from its merger with AOL.
  • Mattel in shareholder derivative litigation arising from highly publicized lead-based paint product recalls
  • More than a dozen public companies accused of stock-option backdating
  • Outside professionals and financial institutions in investigations and lawsuits related to municipal government financial scandals
  • Citigroup in a claim brought by an Internet business that attempted to shift blame to its investment bankers for the business’ failure to thrive. A panel of arbitrators found for Citigroup and awarded legal fees against the claimant.
  • Michael Ovitz, the former president of The Walt Disney Co., in shareholder derivative litigation arising from the severance package he received upon separation from the company. The trial, which was one of the longest in Delaware Chancery Court history, ended with a complete defense victory that was later affirmed by the Delaware Supreme Court.

Our securities litigation practice includes the defense of publicly traded companies, their directors and officers, special committees, financial advisors and counterparties, in securities class actions, derivative actions SEC investigations and enforcement actions. Munger Tolles has obtained dismissals of securities class actions and derivative actions for dozens of clients, including Northrop Grumman Corp., Edison International, The Walt Disney Company, Mattel Inc., Corinthian Colleges Inc., and General Reinsurance Company.

Another area of strength is our mergers and acquisitions litigation practice. Among the acquisitions successfully defended by our litigators in California, Delaware and elsewhere have been those of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation, Wesco Financial Corporation, 99¢ Only Stores, Danaher Corporation, MidAmerican Energy Holdings and HNC Software Inc.

Contact:
Robert L. Dell Angelo (213) 683-9540
Marc T.G. Dworsky (213) 683-9256
George M. Garvey (213) 683-9153
John W. Spiegel (213) 683-9152