James C. Rutten

James C. Rutten

Jim Rutten is a litigation partner with Munger, Tolles & Olson.

Mr. Rutten focuses his practice on representing financial institutions in their most complex and high-stakes matters. He has represented banking institutions, investment firms, private equity funds, and other clients as both plaintiffs and defendants across a wide variety of matters, including securities and shareholder class action and derivative litigation, and cases asserting claims for fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, and unfair business practices. Mr. Rutten has litigated and defeated class certification on numerous occasions in both federal and state courts around the country.

Mr. Rutten joined Munger Tolles in 1998 after receiving his J.D. from the University of Southern California Law School and clerking for the Honorable John S. Rhoades, Sr. of the U.S. District Court, Southern District of California.



Key Representations

  • Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo, and UBS in numerous RMBS-related cases brought by institutional investors on class and non-class bases in federal and state courts in New York, New Jersey, California, Nevada, and Colorado. The cases have involved federal and state law securities claims, common law fraud and other tort claims, breach of contract claims, and Trust Indenture Act claims. Many of these cases were dismissed at the pleading stage or on summary judgment, others were dismissed in part, and still others have resolved on very favorable terms.
  • Wells Fargo as both a plaintiff and a defendant in numerous cases around the country arising from Wells Fargo’s role as trustee of various trusts, including in cases alleging fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, and other claims. Many of these cases have been dismissed at the pleading stage after a single round of motion practice, and others have resolved on very favorable terms.
  • A large investment firm that operated a securities lending program, and whose institutional client alleged tens of millions of dollars in losses arising from a reinvestment of cash collateral in asset-backed commercial paper issued by a structured investment “lite” vehicle. After a nine-day arbitration, the arbitrator found in favor of the firm’s client on all claims.
  • Citigroup in a case alleging employee “raiding,” misappropriation of trade secrets, and related torts arising from the hiring of nine financial advisors from a competitor. Following a 50-day arbitration, the arbitration panel unanimously decided in favor of Citigroup on all claims.
  • Burrill Life Sciences Capital Fund III, L.P., as a plaintiff, in a fraud case against the Fund’s former general partner and former auditor (a Big Four accounting firm) arising from a years-long multi-million dollar embezzlement scheme. After a year of litigation, the Fund settled with the former general partner for a significant portion of its damages, and then settled with the former auditor on a confidential basis.
  • E*TRADE, as a plaintiff, in a federal securities action arising from a complex securities lending fraud perpetrated by dozens of defendants operating in multiple countries. After E*TRADE defeated the defendants’ motions to dismiss and obtained spoliation sanctions against two of them, the case settled on very favorable terms.
  • Merrill Lynch, Verizon and Hewlett-Packard in three putative class actions and an individual action alleging the improper escheatment of shareholders’ stock. Two of the cases were dismissed on the pleadings, and another was dismissed on summary judgment while still at the pleading stage. In the fourth, class certification was denied, and the case thereafter settled on an individual basis.
  • Verizon Directories Corp. in a putative nationwide consumer class action alleging improper renewals of customers’ Yellow Pages advertising. Class certification was denied, and the case thereafter settled on an individual basis.
  • Various pro bono clients, including (i) victims of human trafficking; (ii) the victim of a real estate scam; (iii) the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law in submitting an amicus brief in support of the prosecution in the SDNY trial of an al Qaeda operative who bombed the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania; (iv) various former State Department Legal Advisers in submitting an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on the proper interpretation of the Alien Tort Statute; (v) several children’s advocacy organizations and law professors in submitting an amicus brief to the California Court of Appeal concerning the proper application of the Indian Child Welfare Act; and (vi) the widow of a 9-11 victim in seeking compensation from the federal September 11 victims’ compensation fund.



  • Book Review, The $100 Million Treatise, Daily Journal (Mar. 10, 2022) (reviewing Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts (5th ed. 2021); co-authored with Brad Brian)
  • Book Review, One-Stop Shop for Business and Commercial Litigation, Daily Journal (Oct. 6, 2017) (reviewing Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts (4th ed. 2016); co-authored with Brad Brian)
  • The Subtle but Profound Impact of Halliburton II, Inside the Minds: New Developments in Securities Litigation (2015)
  • Kiobel Commentary: Answers … and More Questions, SCOTUSblog (2013) (co-authored with Kristin Linsley)
  • Collateral Damage and Securities Litigation, 2009 Utah Law Review 717 (2009) (co-authored with Bradford Cornell)
  • Market Efficiency, Crashes and Securities Litigation, 81 Tulane L. Rev. 443 (2006) (co-authored with Bradford Cornell)
  • A Litigator’s Perspective on the PSLRA’s Requirement That an Issuer “Identify” Forward-Looking Statements To Bring Them Within the Safe Harbor, included in Critical Corporate Disclosure, Governance Issues & the Proxy Process (Glasser Legalworks 2003)
  • Note, Elasticity in Constitutional Standards of Review, 70 S. Cal. L. Rev. 591 (1997)