Practice/Industry Group Overview
The regulatory environment for the securities industry and public companies has never been more challenging, as can be readily seen in the daily headlines. Administrative agency investigations are on a dramatic upswing, and individuals and companies are under increased scrutiny by the SEC, NASD and state regulatory agencies.
Lane Powell is the leading Pacific Northwest law firm for securities industry defense work, with decades of producing excellent results for UBS (Paine Webber), Bank of America, A.G. Edwards, Dain Rauscher, Wells Fargo Securities, Wachovia Securities, Lincoln Financial and dozens of other high-profile clients. Lane Powell was ranked second among the top 10 law firms in the nation with the busiest securities practices by the 2009 Law360 Litigation Almanac.
Clients turn to Lane Powell’s Securities attorneys for their extensive securities litigation experience, thorough understanding of the industry and proven skill in solving challenging problems. Lane Powell’s clients include national and regional brokerage and municipal finance firms; issuers of securities, their officers and directors, accountants and lawyers; national banks; and national and international insurance companies.
Extensive Breadth and Depth in Securities Matters
Lane Powell is widely recognized for its skill in securities litigation and arbitration on virtually every type of case:
- Trials and appeals in all state and federal courts, plus federal, state and self-regulatory administrative agency proceedings.
- Arbitrations through the NYSE, NASD, AAA, Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board and Chicago Board Options Exchange.
- Responses to SEC/state securities investigations, and NASD disciplinary proceedings and appeals.
Recent cases reflecting the depth of Lane Powell’s expertise include:
- Procuring a no-liability dismissal of a regional broker-dealer from a $150 million class action.
- Defending Prudential Securities, Inc., as underwriter in a lawsuit arising out of a complex $31 million municipal bond transaction. After the city settled the bondholders’ claims and pursued contribution claims against other defendants, Lane Powell attorneys successfully obtained dismissal of the claims.
- Defending the former CEO/CFO of a public company facing SEC complaints and indictment by the Department of Justice (”DOJ”) alleging Sarbanes-Oxley violations, accounting fraud and securities fraud.
- Defending a national law firm under investigation by the SEC, IRS and DOJ in connection with alleged $80 million securities fraud.
- Convincing a claimant to withdraw claims against a Wall Street broker after replacing two New York firms that had been unable to induce a dismissal.
- Defending in Federal District Court a $65 million damage claim related to alleged agreement to purchase stock and a breach of fiduciary duties.
- Representing a venture capital firm in a federal suit against sellers of a plastics business, and formulating a strategy involving the recovery of deleted information from the sellers’ computers, enabling roughly $10 million in recovery.
Proven Skill in Selling-Away Cases
Lane Powell attorneys successfully defended the lead selling-away case in the United States in a nationally prominent appeal in which the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals revised its test for control-person liability under the federal securities acts.
As one of the few firms with extensive experience in selling-away cases, Lane Powell also prevailed in:
- Defending a national brokerage firm in a selling-away case, a decision that was upheld in the Washington State Court of Appeals and state Supreme Court.
- Prosecuting a securities broker-dealer’s contribution claim against a former representative who had fraudulently sold products concealed from the firm, then filed for bankruptcy. In the bankruptcy adversary proceeding, Lane Powell obtained a $1.4 million judgment of non-dischargeable debt to the firm.
Lane Powell attorneys understand both sides in matters of security law because the securities team includes CPAs as well as a former SEC Enforcement Attorney, federal prosecutor, U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division trial attorney, Vermont Deputy Commissioner of Securities and Oregon Assistant Attorney General. Lane Powell’s team understands the opposing side’s strategies and tactics, and it can communicate effectively with regulatory investigators and attorneys, all of which enables Lane Powell to represent its clients more capably.
Successful Handling of Employment Claims
Lane Powell has a wealth of experience representing employment claims against securities broker/dealers on the entire spectrum of employment matters, including trade secrets, unfair competition, trademark and defamation.
For example, in successfully representing Lincoln Financial in a multi-million dollar case, Lane Powell helped prevent a substantial client group from departing by enjoining a former securities broker/insurance agent – who had no employment contract restraints – from competing unfairly, misleading customers and misappropriating trade secrets. Lane Powell also obtained dismissal of the broker/agent’s counterclaim for sexual orientation, sexual discrimination and defamation.
Among other cases reflecting the breadth of our employment work, Lane Powell:
- Prevailed as lead counsel in a landmark decision establishing insurance coverage of directors and officers of Nordstrom, after highly favorable settlements of twin securities and employment class-actions against our client.
- Successfully defended Morgan Stanley Dean Witter in an arbitration brought by a former stockbroker alleging $3 million in damages due to ethnic-origin discrimination, defamation and wrongful termination/constructive discharge. Lane Powell procured dismissal of all claims with no forum fees allocated to the firm.
Lane Powell is part of the elite Securities Industry Association’s Compliance and Legal Division, that includes the top in-house attorneys of prominent national and international brokerage firms and the outside lawyers they depend upon. The Firm’s Securities attorneys belong to many other industry organizations to keep on top of emerging trends facing the securities industry, and they are frequent speakers at seminars on securities litigation and regulation.