News - 2017
Saxena White P.A. Appointed Lead Counsel in DaVita, Inc. Securities Class Action
Saxena White P.A. is pleased to announce that on November 6, 2017, the United States District for the District of Colorado appointed the Peace Officers’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Georgia and the Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund as Co-Lead Plaintiffs in the Davita, Inc. securities fraud class action litigation and appointed Saxena White as Lead Counsel.
Saxena White Wins Motion to Dismiss Against FXCM, Inc.
On September 29, 2017, Saxena White secured a major victory with an important decision issued by the Delaware Court of Chancery in Kandell v. Niv et al., C.A. No. 11812-VCG. In a 54-page opinion, Vice Chancellor Sam Glasscock III denied defendants’ motion to dismiss with respect to the three most significant counts of the plaintiff’s complaint.
The complaint alleged that FXCM’s business model violated CFTC Regulation 5.16, which prohibits foreign exchange trading firms like FXCM from representing in any way that they are guaranteeing their customers against losses from trading activity. The regulation was implemented to protect companies from becoming undercapitalized and forced into bankruptcy when volatile events cause large customer losses. But FXCM’s board of directors ignored Regulation 5.16 and instead promoted in marketing and customer agreements that customers would never owe debit balances to FXCM. This guarantee allowed FXCM to grow its customer base and its commissions, while at the same time increasing the company’s risks. Indeed, with many of its domestic customers leveraged at ratios of 50:1 (with overseas customers leveraged as high as 200:1), FXCM’s guarantees meant that the company was on the hook for its customers’ highly risky foreign exchange bets. When the Swiss National Bank announced on January 15, 2015 that it was unpegging the Swiss franc from the euro, extreme market volatility caused FXCM customers to lose $276 million, forcing FXCM to seek emergency funding from Leucadia National Corporation. In response, FXCM’s stock dropped 89% in two trading days. The complaint focused on FXCM’s business model and the Leucadia loan, asserting claims for breach of fiduciary duty against FXCM’s current and former directors.
In denying the defendants’ motion to dismiss, the court found that “the Regulation itself is so clear on its face that . . . it [is] reasonably likely that the directors knowingly condoned illegal behavior.” With respect to the Leucadia loan—which, according to a Citibank analyst “essentially wiped out” the value of FXCM’s stock—the court held the alleged facts indicate that the transaction was not approved by a board with a majority of disinterested and independent directors, and that it is reasonably likely that the entire fairness standard of review will apply. Once the entire fairness standard is triggered, the corporate board has the burden of demonstrating that the transaction is inherently fair as to both process and price.
Kenneth Rehns Joins Saxena White
Kenneth M. Rehns represents institutional and individual investors in state and federal securities litigations nationwide. His work includes complex shareholder class-actions and individual actions, shareholder derivative actions and merger and proxy challenges. Prior to joining Saxena White, Mr. Rehns was a Senior Associate at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, a well-known national securities litigation firm where he was as an active member of litigation teams that recovered nearly $2 billion on behalf of investors and achieved meaningful corporate reforms over the span of just eight years, including cases against Countrywide Financial Corp. ($500 million recovery), Royal Bank of Scotland (a $275 million recovery), Bear Stearns ($505 million recovery), Credit Suisse (a $110 million recovery), IntraLinks Holdings (a $14 million recovery) and Ally Securities, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and UBS Securities (a $335 million recovery).
Mr. Rehns’ efforts have focused on all stages of litigation from case origination through pre-trial discovery and resolution. In particular, Mr. Rehns lead discovery efforts in a securities fraud action in which nearly two million pages were produced and 21 depositions were taken in just a short time period, which ultimately led to a successful settlement at the conclusion of fact discovery.
Mr. Rehns has been regularly recognized for his legal abilities as well. Before moving to South Florida in mid-2017, Mr. Rehns was selected as a Rising Star in Securities Litigation by SuperLawyers Magazine in 2015, 2016, and 2017 in the New York Metro Area.
Mr. Rehns earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from The George Washington University in 2005 with a concentration in Business, Economics and Public Policy, graduating with honors. He received his Juris Doctor from the Syracuse University College of Law in 2008, again graduating cum laude. During law school, Mr. Rehns served as an Associate Editor of the Syracuse University Journal of International Law and Commerce and a member of the Business and Community Development Law Clinic.
Mr. Rehns is a member of the New York, New Jersey and Florida Bars. He is admitted to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the United States District Courts for the Southern District of New York and the District of New Jersey.
The Best Lawyers in America© Recognizes Maya Saxena for the Third Year in a Row
Maya Saxena has been selected by her peers for the third year in a row for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2018 edition as a leading lawyer in the field of securities litigation. Recognition in Best Lawyers is a significant honor, and is widely regarded by both clients and legal professionals. Best Lawyers has more than three decades of publications that have earned the respect of the profession, media and the public.
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.”