Denis is a senior member of the Securities Litigation Practice Group and has tried to conclusion over 60 cases including jury trials, bench trials and more than 25 arbitrations before FINRA and the NYSE regarding claims such as suitability, selling away, misrepresentation and churning. As well, Denis has argued over 30 federal and state court injunctive hearings involving claims of misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of non-solicitation and non-compete contracts of individual Registered Representatives. He also represents clients in regulatory enforcement matters initiatied by the SEC and FINRA.
Denis has also successfully defended class actions involving many diverse and complicated issues. He has litigated claims involving a wide spectrum of investments including CMOs, UITs, options, REITS, private placements, variable annuities, limited partnerships, mutual funds (bonds and stocks), individual equities and debt. Denis handles litigation involving complex estate planning tools such as Charitable Remainder Unit Trusts and Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts which own variable, universal and whole life policies. He has defended claims involving allegations of defamation, discrimination, and wrongful termination brought by former employees.
Various entities have asked Denis to speak on topics involving securities litigation/arbitration matters, and Denis was the securities industry defense counsel representation for the FINRA Spring 2004 Conference on the topic of securities arbitration and mediation. He is an arbitrator for FINRA and is AV (highest) rated by Martindale-Hubbell. Denis has been quoted in such publications as the New Jersey Law Journal and Crains regarding securities litigation cases.
Denis' background also includes active duty in the United States Marine Corps, Judge Advocate General Corps where he served as a Captain at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, home of the Second Marine Division. While a member of the Marine Corps JAG, he tried numerous major jury and misdemeanor criminal cases while serving as a trial counsel.
After earning his juris doctor from the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, in Washington, District of Columbia, Denis earned his LLM in Taxation from Villanova University Graduate Tax Program. His studies concentrated in tax planning related to investments, qualified retirement and other employee benefit plans (ERISA), estate planning, federal wealth transfer, taxation and tax planning for closely held business. His practice also includes the defense of insurance agents and mortgage brokers in state and federal court and litigation of claims arising under ERISA.
As a part of his pro bono activities, Denis serves as a Judge for the Villanova Law School Reimel Moot Court competition.
Significant Representative Matters
•Successfully defended $37 million claim for breach of contract and conspiracy brought in FINRA arbitration and successfully counterclaimed for $1.7 million in compensatory damages as well as attorney fees and interest.
•Prepared successful Preliminary Objections resulting in case dismissal in commercial real estate matter where alleged damages were $12.5 million.
•Won Motion for Directed Verdict on behalf of national broker-dealer named as defendant in a jury trial involving claims of breach of franchise agreement and intentional interference with contractual relations with alleged damages in excess of $5 million.
•Defense verdict in bench trial venued in Pennsylvania state court involving claims against a major commercial real estate with alleged damages of in excess of $3 million based upon claims of breach of fiduciary duty and professional negligence.
•Successfully resolved securities class action suit against regional broker-dealer seeking $10 million in damages after court granted partial Motion to Dismiss.
•Won defense verdict in NASD arbitration on behalf of a national broker-dealer where the Claimant alleged claims related to the purchase of high-yield bonds.
•Successfully compelled to arbitration multiple Complaints where our client was not a party to the arbitration agreement.
•Won many FINRA arbitrations involving claims of unsuitability arising out of the market correction of 2000-2002.
•Obtained complete defense verdict at NYSE arbitration for claims involving defamation and discrimination with alleged damages in excess of $2 million.
•Obtained voluntary dismissal by Plaintiff of a Complaint involving a complicated business dispute with alleged damages in excess of $6 million.
•Won Motion to Dismiss Class Action Complaint filed against a national broker-dealer where the alleged damages on behalf of the class were in excess of $2 million.
•Successfully argued that Plaintiff must arbitrate a claim against a Nonsignatory Third Party to an arbitration agreement.
•Inside the Minds Series, Thompson Reuters Westlaw 2014, Chapter contributor, New Developments in Securities Litigation
•Will New FINRA Guidance Allow for Broker-Dealers To Litigate Selling Away Claims in Court?, Defense Digest, Vol. 19, No. 1, March 2013
•Nonsignatory Third Party Is Liable To Arbitrate Securities Case, Defense Digest, Vol. 18. No. 3, September 2012
•FINRA Allows For Leeway In Settling Claims Under The Reporting Thresholds, Defense Digest, Vol. 18, No. 2, June 2012
•Small Business Job and Credit Act of 2010 Greatly Reduces Tax Penalties Against 412(i) Plan Participants, Aon Advisor Solutions, Winter 2011 Newsletter
•FINRA Rule Update, Motions to Dismiss Ineligible Claims, Featured Article, Agents of America Monthly Publication, February, 2010
•Beware Of The Topsy-Turvey Economy, Insurance Agents of America, Fourth Quarter, 2007
•What Could Be Wrong With C Shares?, Defense Digest, Volume 12, No. 1, March, 2006
•SEC Expands Monitoring of Registered Representatives, Philadelphia Legal Intelligencer, June 20, Vol. 224, No. 119, 2001
•SEC Expands Monitoring of Registered Representatives, Pennsylvania Law Weekly, June, 2001
•PA Code Requires Periodic Inspection Of All Broker/Dealer Office Locations in PA, Defense Digest, Vol. 4, No. 6, 1998
•Third Circuit Clarifies Attorney Liability as Primary Actor in Claims Brought Under Section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5, Defense Digest, Vol. 4, No. 3, 1998
•Right to Compel NASD Arbitration is Expanded in Pennsylvania's Eastern District, Defense Digest, Vol. 4, No. 3, 1998
•Breadth of Customer Arbitration Agreement is Expanded In Pennsylvania, Securities Arbitration Commentator, Vol. IX, Nos. 10 and 11, June 1998
•NASD Arbitration and Mediation Panel, Speaker, NASD Spring Conference, 2004
•Mutual Fund/Investment Advisor Insurance Conference, Keynote Speaker, AON Third Annual Conference, 2003
•Annual Compliance Seminar, Speaker, Sun Trust Investment Services, 2005
•First Quarter Compliance Seminar on Mutual Fund Share Classes, Financial Services Institute Seminar, 2006
•Expungement, FINRA Claim Statistics and Claims By Senior and Broker Protocol, Speaker, Third Quarter Financial Services Institute Seminar, 2009
•What You Did Not Know About Transitioning A Book Of Business, Financial Services Institute Annual Conference, Spring 2011
•Various seminars for insurance carriers and third-party administrators on early resolution methods for securities litigation matters.
Honors & Awards
•Moot Court Honor Society
•AV Preeminent by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell