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Megan Burns currently represents the FDIC on a number of RMBS actions. She is also involved in cases on behalf of the Federal Home Loan Banks of San Francisco and Seattle, handling aspects of expert discovery. Ms. Burns has experience in all phases of civil litigation, including motion practice, discovery, and trial. Before joining the firm, Ms. Burns represented corporate clients in a wide variety of matters in state and federal courts, ranging from securities class actions to breach of contract cases to antitrust matters. Ms. Burns’ pro bono work has included counseling incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals on family law issues, representation of families affected by grief and loss, and counseling nonprofits on obtaining tax-exempt status and governance issues.
Lara Chassin represents the FDIC in connection with multi-billion dollar claims under federal and state securities laws arising from the purchase of residential mortgage-backed securities. She represented Charles Schwab in a multi-billion dollar lawsuit that resulted in a favorable out-of-court settlement for that client. Ms. Chassin is also a member of the team representing the Federal Home Loan Banks of San Francisco and Seattle. Before joining the firm, Ms. Chassin defended pharmaceutical companies against a number of commercial and antitrust claims in both federal and state courts, and counseled pharmaceutical and financial companies on various antitrust issues.
Eileen Cunningham currently represents the FDIC and the Federal Home Loan Banks of Seattle and San Francisco on a number of matters arising from complex financial transactions. Ms. Cunningham participates in all phases of litigation, and works closely with clients on various matters, including preparations for key depositions. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Cunningham represented large investment banks and other financial institutions. She has experience litigating in federal and state courts, as well as resolving claims through mediations and other forms of alternative dispute resolution.
Owen Cyrulnik represents clients in a broad range of complex securities litigation in federal and state courts around the United States.
Mr. Cyrulnik currently represents the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco and The Charles Schwab Corporation in their litigation against securities dealers to rescind the purchase of certificates backed by residential mortgage loans. He also advises certificate holders in mortgage-backed securitizations and CDOs in disputes against the originators and servicers of the loans in those trusts. Mr. Cyrulnik was named “Litigator of the Week” by The American Lawyer for his work in removing the proceedings involving Bank of America’s $8.5 billion settlement with mortgage-backed securities investors to federal court.
Previously, Mr. Cyrulnik represented one of the world’s largest media companies in a multi-billion dollar securities class action and dozens of related suits in the wake of one of the largest mergers in history; a major investment bank in multi-faceted litigation arising out of the fall of Enron; and a medical device company claiming patent infringement in an arbitration before the World Intellectual Property Organization.
Kay Ellsworth is a co-founder of the firm. She specializes in a variety of complex commercial disputes, including securities, franchise, and business tort litigation, as well as insurance and reinsurance litigation and arbitration.
Ms. Ellsworth currently focuses her practice on pursuing recovery on behalf of institutional investors for securities law and other violations relating to structured securities, especially mortgage-backed securities.
Previously, Ms. Ellsworth represented clients and won trials and arbitrations involving franchise disputes, reinsurance claims, alleged breaches of contract, claims of fraud and breach of fiduciary duty, and a variety of other commercial torts. Chambers USA describes Ms. Ellsworth as a “sparkler” in the courtroom.
David Grais is a co-founder of the firm. He was one of the first litigators to focus on securities backed by subprime and Alt-A mortgage loans. He is a prominent advocate for investors in structured finance securities, especially mortgage-backed securities and has written and spoken widely on the issues. American Banker calls Mr. Grais the “new nemesis” of the mortgage-backed securities industry.
In his three decades of practice, Mr. Grais has won several dozen trials and arbitrations, involving mainly reinsurance and the performance of complex computer, satellite, telecom, and other technical systems. Chambers USA describes Mr. Grais as an “aggressive and proactive lawyer and a brilliant thinker.” He is a member of the American Law Institute.
Outside the office, Mr. Grais is a director of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Westchester and Hudson Valley chapter, and a former director of the Musica Sacra Chorus and Orchestra and the Battery Dance Company.
Masha Heifetz represents institutional investors in litigation against issuers and underwriters of mortgage-backed securities and mortgage servicers. She has also represented a sovereign wealth fund in an international arbitration, as well as consumer goods companies in product liability and trademark disputes. In her pro bono practice, Masha has represented incarcerated clients in deportation proceedings. Masha is fluent in Russian and has a working knowledge of Spanish and French.
Brian Holbrook is a member of the teams representing the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, The Charles Schwab Corporation, and the FDIC in litigation against securities dealers and sponsors to rescind the purchase of certificates backed by residential mortgage loans.
Mark Holton is an experienced litigator, specializing in securities litigation.
Mr. Holton primarily represents the FDIC as receiver for various failed banks in connection with multi-billion dollar claims against numerous leading Wall Street financial institutions arising from the purchase of residential mortgage-backed securities. These claims have netted over $1 billion in settlements for the FDIC to date.
Previously, Mr. Holton represented clients in a variety of complex disputes, including an investor class action and related derivative litigation arising out of allegations of wrongdoing in the insurance placement process, litigation with a monoline insurer over the validity of a credit default swap agreement, and a collection of more than 300 coordinated class actions concerning allegations of wrongdoing in connection with the initial public offerings of internet and other technology companies.
Bryan Koch advises investors and other financial institutions in litigation arising out of complex financial transactions. He is a member of the team representing the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle in connection with its multi-billion dollar claims under state securities laws arising from the purchase of residential mortgage-backed securities. Before joining the firm, Mr. Koch worked at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, where he focused on securities litigation, including representation of a financial institution in a multi-billion dollar derivatives contract dispute.
Melissa Mathis currently represents the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco and The Charles Schwab Corporation in their actions against securities dealers in connection with the purchase of mortgage-backed securities. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Mathis worked at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, where her practice included a variety of commercial litigation in both federal and state courts. Ms. Mathis has represented a major international securities systems company in connection with federal multidistrict securities class actions and dozens of related state court suits; one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies against claims of patent infringement and antitrust violations; and a top fashion designer in a case alleging trademark and trade dress violations. She has also assisted several pro bono clients, including a homeless services organization’s claims against the City of New York for state constitutional law violations.
Kate Matthews is an experienced litigator, specializing in complex commercial and securities litigation in state and federal courts throughout the country. Ms. Matthews currently represents the FDIC in its role as receiver for a number of failed banks in actions seeking to recover damages arising out of the banks’ investments in residential mortgage-backed securities.
Previously, Ms. Matthews represented clients in a variety of complex disputes, including investor suits arising out of alleged wrongdoing in the insurance placement process and a consolidation of more than 300 class actions alleging misconduct in the initial public offering of internet and other high technology companies. Ms. Matthews also has represented plaintiffs and defendants in high-stakes disputes relating to alleged breaches of fiduciary duty by directors and offers of a public company, the interpretation and enforcement of reinsurance contracts, and the bidding process leading to the award of a lucrative public contract.
Katherine Miller’s practice includes complex commercial and structured finance securities litigation. Ms. Miller is part of the team that represents investors and trustees in litigation against sellers of mortgage loan collateral to require the sellers to repurchase mortgage loans that did not comply with representations and warranties made about them in the governing agreements. Ms. Miller is also part of the teams representing various banks in actions against securities dealers seeking to recover damages arising out of their investments in residential mortgage-backed securities. Ms. Miller has worked extensively on expert discovery matters related to the mortgage loan collateral backing residential mortgage-backed securities.
Before joining the firm, Ms. Miller worked at Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP where she represented a State-City organization in a multi-million dollar construction contract dispute.
Brad Miller joined the firm in 2013 after serving for a decade in the U.S. House of Representatives. He specializes in studying and analyzing misconducts within the financial services sector.
As a member of the House Financial Services Committee, Mr. Miller led efforts to enact financial reform legislation, including legislation to prohibit predatory mortgage lending and create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He also led efforts to address the foreclosure crisis and reform the private mortgage securitization market.
Before election to Congress in 2012, Mr. Miller practiced law for more than 20 years in North Carolina. He argued issues to North Carolina appellate courts as diverse as liability for environmental cleanup costs under general liability insurance policies, will interpretation, the priority of security interests, the rights of public employees, and the rights of developmentally disabled adults. He served for two years in the North Carolina House of Representatives and six years in the North Carolina Senate.
Since joining the firm, Mr. Miller has frequently testified before congressional committees on the Dodd-Frank Act and other financial reform issues. He wrote the chapter on regulatory enforcement in An Unfinished Mission: Making Wall Street Work for Us, published by Americans for Financial Reform and the Roosevelt Institute. Mr. Miller was principal author of an amicus curiae brief for 19 current and former members of Congress on the “cross-border” enforcement of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s swaps rules under the Dodd-Frank Act.
Mr. Miller is also a Senior Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute.
Silvia Ostrower currently represents the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco and other institutional investors in RMBS litigation. She also represents health plans and out-patients in an antitrust class action for monopolization against a major laboratory testing company.
Before joining the firm, Ms. Ostrower represented leading companies in antitrust, RICO, breach of contract, tort, and estate disputes. She also represented a foreign government in an international arbitration. Ms. Ostrower is bilingual (Spanish/English).
Jisun Park represents the FDIC on a number of RMBS actions, one of which resulted in a favorable settlement shortly before trial. She is also a member of the team representing the Federal Home Loan Banks of San Francisco and Seattle. Ms. Park has experience in all phases of civil litigation, from discovery through trial. Before joining the firm, Ms. Park represented corporate clients in a wide variety of matters in state and federal courts, ranging from securities class actions to breach of contract cases to antitrust matters.
Dianne Peterson has extensive experience in complex commercial litigation. Her practice currently focuses on mortgage-backed securities litigation on behalf of The Charles Schwab Corporation and the Federal Home Loan Banks of San Francisco and Seattle. She successfully managed litigation for a New York insurer in rehabilitation, including representing the insurer in transfer proceedings and contractual disputes relating to annuities, and aiding in liquidation proceedings.
Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Peterson defended a major pharmaceutical company in federal and state actions involving allegations of fraudulent pricing practices, and participated in the defense of a leading insurance company under investigation by the SEC, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the New York Attorney General’s Office.
Michael M. Pomerantz represents clients in a broad range of high-stakes, complex commercial disputes, with a focus on financial products and markets. Mr. Pomerantz has represented an international finance company in litigation over interest rate and currency swap transactions; international trading conglomerates in litigation over foreign exchange transactions and other derivatives; a well-known commodities expert in litigation over the transfer of assets from a commodities index fund; a broker-dealer in an industry-wide dispute involving the “when-issued” securities market; and an international trading conglomerate in litigation over long-term fixed-price fuel contracts. He also has represented clients in multi-million dollar litigations involving complex contracts, tax, antitrust, bankruptcy, and product liability.
Mr. Pomerantz currently is part of the teams representing the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle and the FDIC in their multi-billion dollar actions against securities dealers to rescind the purchase of certificates backed by residential mortgage loans.
Vickie Reznik represents clients in a broad range of complex commercial litigation, including securities, corporate governance and counseling, regulatory investigations, M&A, and bankruptcy litigation. As trial counsel, Ms. Reznik has represented both plaintiffs and defendants. She has successfully litigated multi-million dollar cases for a variety of private and Fortune 500 companies and has represented clients in hearings and trials in federal and state courts across the country.
Ms. Reznik currently represents the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco and The Charles Schwab Corporation in their litigation against securities dealers to rescind the purchase of certificates backed by residential mortgage loans. Also, Ms. Reznik recently represented the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle in connection with multi-billion dollar claims against leading Wall Street banks arising from the purchase of residential mortgage-backed securities, and the FDIC in its role as receiver for a number of failed banks in actions seeking to recover damages arising out of the banks’ investments in residential mortgage-backed securities.
Previously, Ms. Reznik represented a leading competitive energy company in its successful defense against a hostile takeover bid, including an expedited trial and related class action suits; an independent oil and gas exploration company in evidentiary hearings and an expedited adversary proceeding as part of its successful Chapter 11 restructuring; a leading financial advisory services firm in its successful defense against fraudulent misrepresentation claims arising out of a bankruptcy asset sale, and a global financial services firm in SEC investigations and arbitrations related to research conflicts.
Lourdes Slater focuses her litigation practice on issues involving electronically stored information (ESI) and discovery management. She provides her clients with advice on all aspects of data identification, preservation, collection, review, production, and presentation at trial. She has litigated domestically and internationally for over 20 years, and has practiced in state and federal courts and in domestic and international arbitrations.
Ms. Slater has extensive experience litigating securities, insurance, reinsurance, and complex civil cases with multi-million document collections and productions, and in handling complex discovery disputes. She has extensive expertise on privacy law and compliance regulations, including in the implementation of proper procedures to handle and secure data implicating personally identifiable information.
Ms. Slater currently represents several plaintiffs in actions filed in federal and state courts in connection with multi-billion dollar claims under federal and state securities laws arising from the purchase of residential mortgage-backed securities.
Previously, Ms. Slater advised clients on the European Data Privacy Protection Act and its application in U.S. actions; in connection with the handling of complex claims under primary, excess, umbrella, catastrophe and third-party liability policies on behalf of insurance companies covering a range of issues in environmental, toxic tort, and product liability actions; worked for the Securities Investor Protection Corporation’s appointed Trustee in the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC.; and was responsible for overseeing all service, procedures, and discovery issues arising out of the 1,000 + actions filed by the Trustee.
She is a frequent speaker and panelist, particularly in the area of ESI, and has also written extensively on the topic, including co-authoring IT Law For Businesses: The Legal Risks Every CEO Should Be Aware Of. Outside the office, Ms. Slater is a Director of the Board and a Philanthropy Committee Member of Birch Family Services, Inc.
Judd Spray has represented clients in a variety of complicated commercial disputes, including lawsuits arising out of a fraudulent life insurance premium financing program and the misappropriation of charitable trust fund assets. He represented a sovereign wealth fund in an international arbitration concerning the fund’s multi-billion dollar investment in a major financial institution. Mr. Spray is part of the team representing the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco and The Charles Schwab Corporation in their litigation against securities dealers to rescind the purchase of certificates backed by residential mortgage loans.
Rachel Stanton has represented clients in state and federal courts throughout the country, and she has experience in multi-district litigation. Ms. Stanton currently represents plaintiffs in connection with multi-billion dollar actions arising from the purchase of residential mortgage-backed securities. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Stanton worked as an attorney at the New York Legal Aid Society, where she represented children in all stages of abuse and neglect proceedings in family court. Ms. Stanton was awarded the Legal Aid Society’s Pro Bono Publico award in recognition of her outstanding pro bono service.
Siobhan Stewart currently represents investors in connection with claims arising from the purchase of residential mortgage-backed securities. Before joining the firm, Ms. Stewart represented an investment bank in litigation arising out of allegations of securities fraud, and a brokerage firm in arbitration and litigation arising out of a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme.
Meredith Strauss is a member of the teams that represent The Charles Schwab Corporation and the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco. She handles all aspects of discovery, including document review and production, deposition preparation, and written discovery. In addition, Ms. Strauss works closely with expert witnesses relating to the firm’s RMBS cases, assists with legal research and motion practice, and marshals evidence for trial.
Prior to joining Grais & Ellsworth, Ms. Strauss represented both institutional and individual clients in complex commercial litigation in areas including art law, breach of contract, corporate veil-piercing, and joint ventures. In the course of her practice, she participated in several trials, took and defended depositions, drafted briefs, and negotiated favorable settlements. Ms. Strauss also won asylum in immigration court for pro bono clients from Tibet, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Iraq.
Ross Wallin specializes in complex financial litigation. He has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in some of the most high profile securities cases in the country. Mr. Wallin also has extensive experience in antitrust litigation and M&A litigation.
Mr. Wallin currently represents the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle in connection with multi-billion dollar claims against 11 leading Wall Street banks arising from the purchase of residential mortgage-backed securities. He also represents a class that is asserting ERISA claims against many of those same banks based on manipulation of the foreign exchange markets.
Previously, Mr. Wallin represented the Canadian affiliate of a major accounting firm in a securities class action and related litigation (Philips Services Corp. Securities Litigation); a manufacturer of process equipment in a securities class action and related shareholder derivative litigation (In re Veeco Instruments); a special committee of the board of directors of one of the world’s largest energy companies in derivative litigation related to a major industrial accident; Tyco International in a securities class action; and a major U.S. investment bank in connection with securities litigation arising from the demise of Enron.
In antitrust, Mr. Wallin currently represents a class of outpatients and health plans that paid monopoly overcharges for routine diagnostic testing. He has also represented a major health insurer in connection with a multi-year investigation by various regulators into alleged bid rigging in the insurance markets.
Mr. Wallin also has extensive experience in M&A disputes. Among other clients, he has represented minority shareholders of a leading carrier of international voice traffic, iBasis Inc., in a case arising from an inadequate tender offer made by the majority shareholder. The case settled after trial, but before the Court ruled, because the majority shareholder increased its tender offer price to an amount that was almost 100% higher than the initial offer price. Mr. Wallin also represented Maxwell Shoe in defending against a consent solicitation and tender offer from Jones Apparel, which ultimately resulted in a greatly improved offer for Maxwell Shoe.
Leanne Wilson advises investors and other financial institutions in litigation arising out of complex financial transactions. She represents a trustee of two RMBS trusts on a loan repurchase case in the Supreme Court of New York. She advises distressed credit funds on their rights under transaction agreements for ABS and CDOs and has helped to negotiate favorable out-of-court settlements on behalf of those clients. Ms. Wilson is also a member of the team representing the Federal Home Loan Banks of San Francisco and Seattle. Before joining the firm, Ms. Wilson represented companies in cases on appeal to appellate courts and the U.S. Supreme Court.
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