Financial litigation involves civil, criminal, and/or administrative claims and investigations against entities and individuals which concern money and financial transactions, including banks (both commercial and investment), mortgage lenders, consumer finance companies, credit card companies, payment processing and multi-currency service firms, credit unions, brokerage firms, investments firms and funds, including hedge and private equity funds, and insurance companies, among others.
Banking and finance litigation typically arises over specific loans, trades, transactions or financial products, or disputes and investigations concerning stock and commodities exchanges, pricing, disclosure, management, and servicing issues. However, because consumers and/or public shareholders are often involved, these industries are among the most highly regulated and scrutinized. Banks and financial services institutions, many of which are public, must comply with — and can also easily be accused of violating — any number of laws, including federal and state securities laws, Dodd-Frank, the Bank Secrecy Act, the Patriot Act, Credit Card and Consumer Protection laws, Truth in Lending, Equal Credit Opportunity, Fair Credit Reporting Act, and Fair Debt Collection Practices Acts.
Banks and financial institutions often become the targets of investigative or enforcement proceedings commenced by governmental entities, including the Securities And Exchange Commission, FINRA, Department of Justice, State AGs, Commodities Futures Trading Commission, FTC, Treasury Department, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, OCC, and other regulators. Counseling companies on the potential liability and risk they face for failing to comply with relevant laws and regulations also is an essential part of the financial litigator’s role.
Financial litigators generally have experience representing corporate and individual clients in a wide spectrum of matters involving the federal securities laws, and state corporate, consumer, securities and common laws, and bankruptcy proceedings. Such matters can include, for example, shareholder class actions and derivative suits challenging the validity of disclosures and the appropriateness of transactions, as well as suits alleging insider trading, broker-dealer non-compliance, misrepresentations in financial reporting, and securities or other fraud. Financial litigators also should be experienced in the representation of corporate directors and officers in litigation arising from alleged breaches of their fiduciary and other duties. Often, the duties of officers and directors are intertwined with the substantive claims asserted against the financial entities for whom they serve.
Finally, skilled financial services litigators also regularly defend and prosecute claims arising out of complex securities, derivatives, commodities, and foreign exchange transactions in both litigation and arbitration proceedings throughout the United States and globally. Success in dealing with such claims often requires a thorough understanding of the regulations, laws, customs, and practice in various state and foreign countries.
Vincent Sama and Aaron Rubinstein
Co-Heads, Securities & Financial Services Litigation Practice