Saxena White P.A., its attorneys and support staff have extensive experience representing both institutional and individual clients in securities class action litigation, derivative actions, and individual federal and state securities actions. Since Saxena White's inception in 2006, the firm and its attorneys have been involved in actively litigating over 100 such actions, over 75% of which involved public pension fund clients. Saxena White specializes in these types of cases, which has enabled Saxena White's attorneys to master these complex areas of law.
Saxena White's excellent litigation record would not be possible without our dedicated portfolio monitoring and case analysis team. Saxena White is particularly selective about the cases that we choose to litigate, and we will not file actions that we do not believe have substantial merit. The firm bases its case evaluation on many factors, but most heavily relies on the collective experience of its members in making this crucial determination. Our monitoring and evaluation services are the key to ensuring that we recommend only the best cases to our clients. Saxena White's portfolio monitoring and case evaluation services are provided at no charge to our clients.
Saxena White Settles Second Largest Securities Class Action
Settlement in the Middle District of Florida
Saxena White is very proud to have secured this $73 million Rayonier settlement on behalf of our clients and shareholders alike. This Settlement is a product of years of diligent and complex work, including extensive investigation; consulting with experts in specialized areas of forestry, accounting and damages; preparing 2 detailed amended complaints, opposing 2 rounds of motions to dismiss and reviewing 1.58 million pages of relevant documents.
The $73 million recovery is the second largest ever for a securities class action in the Middle District of Florida. It is also one of the largest such settlements within the entire 11th Circuit, nearly nine times the national median of $8.3 million, and secures a recovery of at least 20.8% of estimated aggregate Class-wide damages—dwarfing the median 2.6% recovery in similarly-sized securities class actions.
The Settlement is also remarkable in light of the unique risks and difficulties of the Action. No one else sought for lead which is highly unusual in securities class actions, and the SEC conducted a full-scale investigation, including the review of Rayonier documents and depositions of executives, and yet ultimately chose not to pursue an enforcement action, further highlighting how difficult these claims were to prosecute. Without Saxena White taking lead, there would have been no recovery. Other attorneys may have settled the case for much less in the face of the 2nd motion to dismiss, instead, Saxena White remained steadfast in pursuit of their claims, ultimately securing this remarkable and historic recovery on behalf of the Settlement Class.
Saxena White Has Served as Lead Counsel in Numerous
Securities Class Actions
A precedent-setting action, in which we served as sole lead counsel, is Central Laborer's v. SIRVA Litig. (04-cv-4644), which we litigated in the Northern District of Illinois. (SIRVA is the parent company of North American Van Lines). After 2 1/2 years of hard-fought litigation, an extensive investigation which involved conducting nearly 120 witness interviews, and the review of approximately 2.7 million documents produced by defendants, we conducted a two day mediation at which we were able to reach a global $53.3 million dollar settlement on behalf of the proposed shareholder class. In addition, we conducted a comprehensive review of SIRVA's corporate governance procedures in an effort to ensure that securities fraud and accounting violations were less likely to occur at the company in the future. This careful and comprehensive review, which we spearheaded in conjunction with retained corporate governance experts, confirmed that SIRVA had made great strides in improving its governance standards over the course of our lawsuit. This was especially true in the area of its internal controls, which were one of our primary concerns. The company formally recognized that our lawsuit was one of the main reasons it reformed its governance standards, which confirmed that we were the key catalyst compelling SIRVA to recognize the need to change the way it does business.
In addition, we were able to obtain even more governance improvements by convincing the Board to discard their plurality (also known as "cumulative") standard for the election of their directors in favor of a modified majority standard (also known as the "Pfizer model"). This important change gives every SIRVA shareholder a greater voice, and improves director accountability by forcing directors who do not receive a majority of the votes to tender their resignation. SIRVA also agreed to strengthen its requirements regarding director attendance at shareholder meetings, which created more director accountability and increased shareholder input. Because the courts are unable to order these types of governance changes; it was only through our litigation pressure and settlement negotiations that the company agreed to implement these important changes.
Another important case we litigated as lead counsel is Fernandez v. Knight Capital Group, Inc., (12-cv-06760) in the District of New Jersey. Knight is a financial services company whose core business involved high frequency electronic trading. The Company represented that it had comprehensive risk management and internal control practices to protect its trading platform, however on August 1, 2012; Knight’s “robust” trading platforms caused the Company to accumulate an unintended market position of $7 billion worth of securities in the span of 45 minutes. The Company experienced massive technological malfunctions that ultimately resulted in a loss of over $750 million loss in Knight's market capitalization. Despite the significant hurdles we encountered in investigating and prosecuting the case, the case settled for $13 million in 2015.
In approving the settlement, Judge Arleo of the District of New Jersey stated:
“I look at the skill and efficiency of counsel. There are many lawyers that wouldn't touch this case or couldn't touch this case, didn't have the skill or expertise. Lead counsel here are national experts in the field of securities and complex litigation, and I am satisfied that their personal skill and efforts were the large reason why this case was able to settle on such favorable terms.”
“There were many complex issues attendant to this case, as in many security fraud cases, including scienter, including inflation damages, et cetera, and there's no question that we have skilled counsel on the defense end, and I think they met their match with Plaintiff's counsel, and their strong reputation for excellence also is not lost on this Court.”
One of our firm’s areas of expertise is litigating cases against foreign corporations. We recently obtained a significant victory in City Pension Fund for Firefighters and Police Officers in the City of Miami Beach v. Aracruz Celulose S.A., et al. (08-cv-23317). Accomplishing what no other law firm has ever done, Saxena White successfully served process on all three individual executives under the Inter-American Convention on Letters Rogatory. Our efforts included working closely with a Brazilian law firm to defeat the defendants’ challenges to service in both the Brazilian trial and appellate courts.
After defeating three motions to dismiss filed by the foreign defendants, Saxena White began the massive and highly technical discovery process. Because the vast majority of the documents were in Portuguese, we hired native Brazilian attorneys to analyze and translate the tens of thousands of documents that were produced. These documents were also incredibly complex, dealing with five dozen separate financial derivative instruments. Simply valuing one instrument required approximately 50,000 calculations. We consulted closely with highly-respected industry and academic experts to gain an unprecedented understanding of the workings of these instruments and how they were valued.
In the end, our hard work paid off. Saxena White successfully negotiated a $37.5 million settlement against Aracruz and its executives. This represents up to 50% of maximum provable damages – an outstanding result compared to the average national recovery of just 2.2% in cases of this magnitude.
Saxena White Has Substantial Experience in Derivative and Other Types of Shareholder Actions
In addition to federal securities litigation, Saxena White has obtained meaningful results for institutional investors in derivative cases, merger and acquisition litigation, and other types of cases involving corporate misconduct. A few notable examples include:
Saxena White served as co-lead counsel on in In re Bank of America Securities, Derivative and ERISA Litigation (09-md-2058). This case arose out of Bank of America’s acquisition of Merrill Lynch during the height of the financial crisis in late 2008. After successfully defending the complaint’s core allegations against multiple motions to dismiss, Saxena White embarked on an extensive discovery process that included 31 depositions of senior BofA and Merrill executives and their attorneys, the review and analysis of 3 million pages of documents from BofA, Merrill and multiple third parties, and close consultation with nationally recognized financial and economic experts.
Nearing the end of the discovery phase, the Court approved the Settlement, which included a $62.5 million cash component and fundamental corporate governance reforms. The monetary component of the derivative settlement of the section 14(a) claim ranks among the top 10 approved by the Federal courts.
Saxena White has obtained solid increases in shareholder value in merger-related litigation. A recent example of such a success is In re Jefferies Group, Inc. Shareholder Litigation (8059-cb). Saxena White served as co-lead counsel in a class action involving breach of fiduciary duty claims against the board of directors of Jefferies Group, Inc., in connection with that company’s merger with Leucadia National Corporation. In 2012, Jefferies entered into a merger agreement with Leucadia, a holding company which owned 28% of Jefferies and whose founders served on Jefferies’ board. Leucadia’s founders had a longstanding personal and professional relationship with Jefferies CEO, Richard Handler, which included lucrative joint ventures, personal investment advice and support, numerous financing transactions, and off-market stock purchases. As Leucadia’s founders neared retirement, Handler recognized an opportunity to merge his company with Leucadia and serve as CEO of the much larger, combined company. Negotiating in secret for months before informing the independent board members, Handler and Leucadia’s founders structured a deal that greatly benefitted Leucadia, to the detriment of Jefferies shareholders.
After aggressively litigating this case for almost two years and defeating the defendants’ motion to dismiss and motion for summary judgment, the plaintiffs ultimately negotiated a settlement which required Leucadia to pay $70 million to class members, an outstanding result for former Jefferies shareholders.