Richard St. John is a litigation partner with Munger Tolles whose practice includes representing leading financial institutions, telecommunications providers and technology concerns in high-stakes civil litigation, as well as internal investigations and counseling. Mr. St. John’s practice emphasizes complex, multi-jurisdictional representations and class action defense.
Mr. St. John has represented banks, broker-dealers and private equity firms including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, UBS Securities, UBS Financial Services, E*TRADE, Merrill Lynch, Oaktree Capital Management and Hancock Park Associates in matters collectively involving billions of dollars.
Mr. St. John has advised numerous clients seeking to mitigate their exposure to the recent upheavals in the credit markets. For example, he advised large mortgage originators on the framework for responding to massive volumes of repurchase requests received from stakeholders including investors, trustees and monoline insurers, and he counseled a large multi-national manufacturer on the strategy for successfully terminating its private label credit card program in light of imperatives in the credit and consumer markets.
Mr. St. John also has defended putative class actions brought in state and federal courts against financial institutions, telecommunications carriers, Internet service providers, and companies engaging in commercial solicitation.
- Bank of America, as both plaintiff and defendant in some of its most significant litigation arising from the mortgage crisis. Among these, Mr. St. John represented Bank of America in obtaining dismissal of a claim by investors that the bank should be required to buy back a pool of $1.75 billion in securitized loans.
- International law firm Covington & Burling, in defending litigation brought by the bankruptcy trustee of Heller Ehrman, that charged Covington with aiding and abetting breaches of fiduciary duty resulting in the failure of Heller Ehrman.
- E*TRADE Securities in a crisis arising from the meltdown of MJK Clearing – the largest failure of a Securities Investor Protection Corp.-insured institution to that date. Originally retained to defend E*TRADE against contractual claims arising from multi-broker securities lending transactions, Mr. St. John and his colleagues took discovery around the world and filed suit against two large foreign banks. Munger Tolles ultimately achieved a series of pre-trial motion victories for E*TRADE and substantial recoveries from the institutional and other defendants.
- Oaktree Capital Management, in a dispute with a fund manager who resigned abruptly to launch his own private equity firm. Mr. St. John and his team defeated the manager’s claims for additional incentive compensation and demonstrated pre-departure misconduct on the part of the manager, following which Oaktree was awarded compensatory damages and fees of more than $20 million.
- MCI Communications in the state of Washington, where plaintiffs sought more than $6 billion in statutory damages for alleged violation of state telemarketing laws. After removing the case from state to federal court, Mr. St. John obtained a dismissal with prejudice on grounds of both state substantive law and federal preemption. Mr. St. John then represented MCI before the Ninth Circuit, which affirmed the dismissal.
- Verizon Online in a putative class action challenging the marketing of Internet speed. After removing the case to federal court, Mr. St. John obtained dismissal of the action with prejudice.
An involved member of the community, Mr. St. John is a board member of the Adam Leventhal Memorial School and Museum and has served on the board of the International Visitors Council of Los Angeles. He also is a member of Pacific Council on International Policy.