News - 2017
Maya Saxena, Joseph White and Lester Hooker Recognized as Florida Legal Elite
Maya Saxena and Joseph White were recently recognized in the 2017 edition of Florida Trend’s Legal Elite™, an honor reserved for those respected by their peers for excellence in law. Lester Hooker was also recognized a Legal Elite Up & Comer, an honor which was bestowed on only 137 attorneys under 40 years old. Ms. Saxena, Mr. White and Mr. Hooker are among only 1.5% of attorneys in Florida who receive this distinction. To compile the list, Florida Trend invited all actively practicing Florida lawyers to name the attorneys that they hold in highest regard – lawyers with whom they have personally worked and would recommend to others.
The entire Legal Elite report can be viewed at www.FloridaTrend.com/Legal-Elite.
Joshua Saltzman Joins Saxena White
Joshua Saltzman focuses his practice on securities and derivative litigation. Before joining Saxena White, Mr. Saltzman litigated investor class actions, opt-out securities actions and derivative actions at two boutique law firms in New York City.
Mr. Saltzman received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Rutgers University in 2002, and a Juris Doctor degree from Brooklyn Law School in 2011, graduating magna cum laude. During law school, Mr. Saltzman served as an editor on the Brooklyn Law Review, where he published a note, and interned for the Hon. Victor Marrero in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Mr. Saltzman is a member of the New York Bar, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Super Lawyers Names Lester Hooker, Brandon Grzandziel and Kathryn Weidner a Florida “Rising Star”
Lester Hooker, Brandon Grzandziel and Kathryn Weidner have each been named a Super Lawyer “Rising Star”, an honor reserved for those lawyers who exhibit excellence in practice. Mr. Hooker, Mr. Grzandziel and Ms. Weidner are among only 2.5% of attorneys in Florida who receive this distinction. The list was announced on June 8, 2017.
Lester Hooker has been an attorney at Saxena White for over a decade and was named as a Director of the Firm in 2016. Mr. Hooker is involved in all of Saxena White's practice areas, including securities class action litigation, shareholder derivative actions, merger & acquisition litigation and class actions on behalf of consumers. During his tenure at Saxena White, Mr. Hooker has obtained substantial monetary recoveries and secured valuable corporate governance reforms on behalf of investors nationwide such as such as In re Jefferies Group, Inc. Shareholders Litigation ($70 million settlement); Central Laborers’ Pension Fund v. Sirva, Inc. ($53.3 million settlement); City Pension Fund for Firefighters and Police Officers in the City of Miami Beach v. Aracruz Celulose S.A., et al., ($37.5 million settlement); In re Sadia, Inc. Securities Litigation ($27 million settlement); and In re Tower Group International, Ltd. Securities Litigation ($20.5 million settlement).
Brandon Grzandziel has been an attorney at Saxena White for over 8 years. During that time he has been involved in all of the firm’s practice areas, including securities class action litigation, shareholder derivative actions, merger & acquisition litigation. He has obtained substantial monetary recoveries and secured valuable corporate governance reforms on behalf of investors across the country. Mr. Grzandziel has served on the litigation teams for the firm’s most significant recoveries, including In re Bank of America ($62.5 million settlement, which ranks among the top ten derivative settlements approved by the federal courts); City Pension Fund for Firefighters and Police Officers in the City of Miami Beach v. Aracruz Celulose S.A. ($37.5 million settlement); and In re Sadia, S.A. Securities Litigation (S.D.N.Y.) ($27 million settlement). Mr. Grzandziel also has significant appellate experience, and was part of the appeal team that reversed a district court summary judgment opinion and secured important new protections for investors in FindWhat Investor Group v. FindWhat.com (11th Cir.)
Kathryn Weidner has been an attorney at Saxena White for five years and Kathryn Weidner is currently a member of the team prosecuting In re Wilmington Trust Securities Litigation. She has a strong background in e-discovery, providing project management and litigation support services to national organizations and fortune 500 companies for large-scale corporate litigations, mergers, and acquisitions. Prior to joining Saxena White, Ms. Weidner developed valuable litigation skills as a full-time Certified Legal Intern for the Department of Homeland Security.
Saxena White Wins Motion to Dismiss Against Wells Fargo’s Board of Directors
On May 4, 2017, Judge Jon S. Tigar of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California delivered a resounding victory to the plaintiffs in In re Wells Fargo & Company Shareholder Derivative Litigation. The court denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss with respect to ten out of the eleven counts in the complaint, determining that a majority of Wells Fargo’s directors knew about widespread illegal activity occurring at the bank and “consciously disregarded their fiduciary duties to oversee and monitor the company.” Saxena White and Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein are serving as co-lead counsel in the action on behalf of two institutional investors.
The case arose out of Wells Fargo’s high pressure sales culture, where bankers were given unreasonably high sales quotas and were threatened with termination if they failed to meet those goals. To avoid being fired, thousands of Wells Fargo employees across the country fraudulently opened more than two million unauthorized deposit and credit accounts on behalf of customers. This high pressure sales culture allowed Wells Fargo to achieve its goal of becoming the industry leader in “cross-selling”—the sale of multiple banking products to the same customer.
Dubbed “the scandal of the year” by Wall Street Journal readers, the resulting fallout has inflicted severe damage on the company and its shareholders. In addition to fines of $185 million assessed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and other agencies, a number of states, including California, Ohio, and Illinois, and the cities of Seattle and Chicago, have suspended doing business with Wells Fargo. A study released last October showed that the bank stands to lose $99 billion in deposits, $4 billion in revenue, and 30% of its customer base as a result of the scandal. In Congressional hearings, Stumpf was harshly criticized by a number of Senators. In one memorable exchange, Senator Elizabeth Warren accused the CEO of “gutless leadership” and said he should be criminally investigated. Stumpf resigned as CEO shortly thereafter.
In its order denying defendants’ motion to dismiss, the court stated that the allegations in the complaint “create a reasonable doubt as to whether a majority of the Director Defendants face a substantial likelihood of liability as to Plaintiffs claims.” The court emphasized that Wells Fargo’s directors consciously disregarded their fiduciary obligations because “Wells Fargo’s success was dependent upon cross-selling, which was in turn dependent upon the same strict sales quotas that drove employees to create fake accounts.”
Kyla Grant Joins Saxena White
Kyla Grant has extensive experience in federal securities class action suits, securities enforcement, and complex commercial litigation in both federal and state courts. Before joining Saxena White, Ms. Grant practiced securities litigation at two top-ranked global law firms, Shearman & Sterling LLP and WilmerHale.
Mrs. Grant graduated from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa with distinction in 2004, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in both English and Political Science. She received her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2008. While attending law school, she was a recipient of the Dean’s Scholarship, was appointed as a Dillard Fellow (a role in which she worked with first year students to improve their persuasive writing skills), and was an Articles Editor for the Virginia Journal of International Law.
Ms. Grant is a member of the New York state bar and the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Saxena White P.A. Announces Proposed $73 Million Settlement of Rayonier Inc. Securities Litigation
Saxena White is pleased to announce that on March 13, 2017, the parties reached an agreement in principle to settle the securities class action litigation pending in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, In re Rayonier Inc. Securities Litigation, Case No. 3:14-cv-01395-TJC-JBT, against Rayonier and three former executive officers.
After litigating this case for almost two and a half years, Plaintiffs negotiated an outstanding $73 million settlement. Saxena White is pleased to achieve such an impressive settlement for shareholders. The proposed settlement is subject to completion of formal documentation and approval by the District Court following notice to all class members.
Court Grants Preliminary Approval of $32 Million Cash Settlement in In re Altisource Portfolio Solutions S.A. Securities Litigation
Saxena White P.A. served as Liaison Counsel in a securities fraud class action asserting violations of the federal securities laws against Altisource Portfolio Solutions S.A. and certain current and former senior executive officers and/or directors of Altisource.
After litigating this case for almost two and a half years, Plaintiffs negotiated a $32 million settlement—an outstanding result for the class. The Court preliminarily approved the settlement on February 10, 2017. A final fairness hearing has been set for May 30, 2017. The deadline for submission of claims is July 11, 2017. Additional information concerning this settlement can be found at http://www.altisourcesecuritieslitigation.com/.
The Daily Business Review Profiles Saxena White: ’Not Concerned with Press:’ Saxena White Quietly Wins Big
On January 20, 2017, the Daily Business Review published an article highlighting the Firm’s active leadership roles in important, high-profile cases, while quietly flying “under the radar”. Putting press aside to provide superior representation in complex securities litigation, while assisting our clients in furtherance of their fiduciary obligations, “the firm sidestepped the publicity that typically follows multimillion-dollar litigation involving some of the nation’s largest public companies.”
The full article can be found here.
Steven B. Singer Joins Saxena White and Announces Opening of New York Office
Steven B. Singer is the Director of Litigation at Saxena White. Prior to joining the Firm, Mr. Singer was employed for more than twenty years at Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP, a well-known plaintiffs' firm, where he served as a senior partner and member of the firm's management committee.
During his career Mr. Singer has been the lead partner responsible for prosecuting many of the most significant and high-profile securities cases in the country, which collectively have recovered billions of dollars for investors. He led the litigation against Bank of America relating to its acquisition of Merrill Lynch, which resulted in a landmark settlement shortly before trial of $2.43 billion, one of the largest recoveries in history. Mr. Singer's work on that case was the subject of extensive media coverage, including numerous articles published in The New York Times. He also has substantial trial experience, and was one of the lead trial lawyers on the WorldCom Securities Litigation, which settled for more than $6 billion after a four-week jury trial.
In addition, Mr. Singer has been lead counsel in numerous other actions that have resulted in substantial settlements, including cases involving Citigroup Inc. ($730 million, representing the second largest recovery in a case brought on behalf of bond purchasers), Lucent Technologies ($675 million), Mills Corp. ($203 million), WellCare Health Plans ($200 million), Satyam Computer Services ($150 million), Biovail Corp. ($138 million), Bank of New York Mellon ($180 million) and JP Morgan Chase ($150 million).
Mr. Singer has been consistently recognized by industry observers for his legal excellence and achievements. He has been selected by Lawdragon magazine as one of the "500 Leading Lawyers in America," by Benchmark Plaintiff as a "litigation star", and by the Legal 500 US guide as one of the "Leading Lawyers" in securities litigation -- one of only seven plaintiffs' attorneys so recognized.
Mr. Singer graduated cum laude from Duke University in 1988, and from Northwestern University School of Law in 1991. He is an active member of the New York State and American Bar Associations.
Saxena White P.A. Appointed Co-Lead Counsel in Wells Fargo & Company Shareholder Derivative Litigation
Saxena White P.A. is pleased to announce that, on January 12, 2017, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California appointed the Fire and Police Pension Association of Colorado and The City of Birmingham Retirement and Relief System as Co-Lead Plaintiffs in the Wells Fargo & Company Consolidated Derivative Litigation and appointed Saxena White and Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP as Co-Lead Counsel.
In its Order, the Court specifically held that the Lead Plaintiffs had fully demonstrated that they would adequately protect the interests of Wells Fargo and its shareholders, stating that Lead Plaintiffs and their counsel “have demonstrated a superior ability to move this litigation forward effectively and efficiently, and to otherwise best serve the interests of the plaintiffs.” The Court also noted counsel’s “key role” in this landmark derivative case, “which has made the outset of this litigation more efficient for both the parties and this Court.”