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The Firm's Securities Litigation Department has been comprised of experienced litigators, including two Directors of the Firm who previously held senior trial attorney positions in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Since leaving the SEC, Messrs. Sacher (until his death in 2015) and Hartman have practiced with distinction in Miami, achieving significant trial victories when required, while successfully resolving multi-million dollar cases and claims, totaling hundreds of millions of dollars (prior to trial, whenever possible). We are comfortable, experienced and respected in all state and federal courts, state and federal administrative tribunals, all arbitration fora, and in all forms of international dispute resolution.
Securities Litigation Directors
Barton S. Sacher, the Firm's former President, is the former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's Chief of Investigations and Enforcement for the Southeastern United States. He graduated from the University of Alabama School of Law with highest honors and clerked for one of the foremost U.S. District Court trial judges in the nation. Mr. Sacher had both extensive private practice and government securities and other litigation experience, spanning nearly 40 years.
Roy M. Hartman is a graduate of Case Western Reserve School of Law. Following his law school graduation, Mr. Hartman served as an Enforcement Attorney and Trial Counsel in the SEC's Miami Branch Office, and thereafter, he practiced at the Miami law firm of Mershon, Sawyer, Johnston, Dunwody & Cole and the Miami office of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. He is an active member of the creditors' and bankruptcy bar. During his over 35 years of practice, Mr. Hartman has successfully represented accounting firms, nationwide, in governmental investigations, private litigation, and class actions.
All of the Firm's Litigation Directors are active trial attorneys. They are supported by the Firm's younger law clerks, paralegals, and staff.
Securities Litigation and Regulation
Representing both Plaintiffs and Defendants in major, complex securities cases and arbitrations, the Firm has earned its reputation for high quality and results. Among the more significant recent cases are the successful representation of two separate, but related, classes of purchasers and sellers of shares of Ideon Group (formerly known as SafeCard Services, Inc.) stock. Those class actions resulted in a settlement in excess of $21 million, as well as the settlement of related non-class litigation for $80 million. In addition, the Firm was instrumental in recovering settlements/judgments for the Class in the Cash 4 Titles Litigation, totaling approximately $400 million in two separate civil actions.
SEC & FINRA Compliance and Defense
The Firm has successfully prosecuted and defended claims between investors/customers, large and small stock brokerage firms, and clearing brokers. The Firm has frequently represented broker-dealers in arbitrations before the NASD/FINRA, the NYSE, and the American Stock Exchange. The Firm routinely handles the defense of SEC investigations and the defense of SEC enforcement actions in U.S. District Courts throughout the United States. The Firm has extensive, successful experience involving all aspects of securities and accounting fraud, raiding, trade secret protection, suitability and insider trading. The Firm also represents regulated entities, including investment advisors, and their associated personnel in SEC and FINRA investigations throughout the United States. In addition, the Firm regularly advises regulated entities and their associated personnel, on regulatory compliance, and assist each of them in keeping current in their respective statutory and regulatory obligations. Most significantly, the Firm has a proven track record of successfully defending and defeating Government actions brought against its clients.
Public Company Regulation
The Firm regularly advises the Boards of Directors of public reporting companies, including their Audit Committees, on their obligations under Sarbanes-Oxley and the other, ever-changing securities laws and regulations. In this regard, the Firm assists them to keep current and in compliance. The Firm also advises Boards of Directors and Audit Committees in their obligations to conduct internal investigations required under the securities laws, and acts as counsel to conduct such investigations.
The Firm has had extensive experience in prosecuting and defending class actions for violations of the securities laws, ERISA, RICO, insurance, and other commercial claims, successfully. The Firm has secured multi-million dollar recoveries for the classes we have represented, or dismissals before trial of class action cases defended.
In addition,the Firm's litigators have significant experience in complex corporate, securities and accounting fraud litigation, as well as defending insurance companies in pension plan ERISA litigation and suits involving complex "coverage" questions.
Appellate litigation is another area where the Firm's attorneys have achieved considerable success, having won appeals at every level of appellate court, including the Florida Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court. A list of representative published appellate opinions is available from the Firm upon request.
A growing area of practice for the Firm is serving as a Mediator in commercial disputes. Mr. Hartman is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator.
SEC v. Merkin, 283 F.R.D. 699 (S.D. Fla. 2012): Overruling SEC's Objections to Magistrate Judge's Order Permitting a Rule 30(b)(6) deposition of the SEC; and denying SEC's motion to stay the deposition.
SEC v. Merkin, 283 F.R.D. 689 (S.D. Fla. 2012): Ordering SEC to submit to Rule 30(b)(6) deposition.
SEC v. Kramer, 778 F. Supp. 2d 1320 (M.D. Fla. 2011): Successful defense of SEC suit, alleging unregistered broker-dealer activity, through bench trial and appeal.
Compania de Elaborados de Café v. Cardinal Capital Mgmt., Inc., 401 F.Supp.2d 1270 (S.D. Fla. 2003): Successful defense of broker-dealer against suit by non-customer for alleged conversion and fraud.
Financial Federal Sav. & Loan v. RTC, 57 F.3d 1025 (11th Cir. 1995): Successful appeal in letter of credit litigation.
Sosa v. Southeast Bank, N.A. (S.D. Fla. 1990): Successful defense of bank, respecting claims brought by victims of alleged separate securities fraud, resulting in dismissal with prejudice on bank's original motion, while discovery on merits stayed by Federal Court, followed by successful demand for reimbursement of bank's attorneys' fees and expenses.
SEC v. World-Wide Coin Invs., Ltd., 567 F. Supp. 724 (N.D. Ga. 1983): Successful litigation and trial of nine count civil injunctive action against officers/directors of only public corporation engaged in gold/silver trading, for violating every provision of Exchange Act applicable to them, including first trial test of books and records and internal control provisions of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, seeking injunctions, accounting and disgorgement of wrongful benefits, resulting in full relief requested, plus unique criminal indictment (for fraud, perjury, and criminal falsification of public company's books and records) and conviction with maximum sentence.
SEC v. Carriba Air, Inc., CCH  Fed. Sec. L. Rep. 97,700 (N.D. Ga., Nov. 7, 1980), aff'd on all points, 681 F.2d 1318 (11th Cir. 1982) (first comprehensive Federal securities law opinion decided by 11th Circuit): Successful litigation and trial of injunctive action against officers/directors of startup Caribbean airline venture for anti-fraud violations in first trial test of S-18 small business registration provisions, resulting in expanded Commission venue choices.
SEC v. Unitron Int'l Sys., Inc., CCH [Current] Fed. Sec. Law Rep. 98,753 (N.D. Ga., July 14, 1982): Injunctive and disgorgement proceeding against aviation-related manufacturer, its chief executives and general counsel for fraudulent sale of unregistered securities throughout Southeast, resulting in permanent injunctive relief, substantial disgorgement and ouster of past management, and further resulting in finding of contempt of principal defendant..
SEC v. Youmans, 543 F. Supp. 1292 (E.D. Tenn. 1982), aiffirmed and remanded with instructions to enter additional, industrial projections. 729 F.2d 413 (6th Cir. 1984): Litigation and trial of a seven count civil injunctive action against the principal executive officers and directors of Hamilton Bancshares, Inc., arising from the third largest American banking collapse at that time, resulting in findings of egregious violations and Commission relief..
Successfully retained previously appointed state-court receivers and stay relief to continue foreclosure actions by GECC in In re Cardinal Indus. Inc. (Bkrtcy. S.D. Ohio).
Other Representative Cases
Kast v. Tube Media, et al. (Broward County Circuit Court Complex Litigation Division): Successfully obtained dismissal of prejudice of claims for negligence, Florida securities fraud, aiding and abetting breaches of fiduciary duty, common law fraud and conspiracy against international accounting firm, and obtain order of entitlement of attorneys' fees for accounting firm as prevailing party under Chapter 517, Florida statutes.
Perez de Castro v. EFG Capital Int'l Corp. (EFG Bank, Zurich) (FINRA Arbitration Dispute Resolution (Arbitration Panel decision rendered 2007): Defense and trial of bogus arbitration claims filed against international bank and its U.S. based and SEC-registered broker-dealer, seeking actual and punitive damages, and attorneys' fees, resulting in FINRA Arbitration Award in favor of Respondent EFG, resulting in a finding that there was no basis in fact or at law for the claim; pending in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, on EFG's Application for Confirmation of Arbitration Award, and recovery of attorneys' fees and costs from Claimants.
Valles v. EFG Capital Int'l Corp. (EFG Bank, Zurich (FINRA Arbitration Dispute Resolution): Dismissed by Claimants with prejudice, following trial and conclusive victory on identical claims in the above-listed Perez De Castro matter, and successful defense of Respondent just prior to commencement of trial of these identical claims.
Wolff, et al. v. Cash 4 Titles, et al. (S.D. Fla.): Representation of plaintiffs in certified class action, arising under federal RICO laws, for post-investment theft of victims' funds in Ponzi scheme; jurisdiction established over off-shore financial institution which immediately thereafter settled for $67.5 million; additional judgment entered against other off-shore bank and its affiliate for $334 million (companion case in S.D. Fla.), claims remain pending against other defendants.
CalPERS, et al. v. Arthur Andersen LLP. (D. Ariz.): Representation of several defrauded public and private institutional investors in federal securities/accounting fraud action; very significant settlement reached on eve of trial; post judgment equitable procedures entered.
Raymond James and Assocs. et al. v. Smith Barney, Inc., et al. (NASD Arbitration, Ft. Lauderdale, Office): Successful defense of all claims asserted against Smith Barney and successful prosecution of its counterclaims alleging illegal "raiding" of branch office.
James B. Chambers, et al. v. SafeCard Servs. Inc., et al. (S.D. Fla.): Class action counsel in securities fraud and accounting fraud class action, successfully litigated, resulting in $18 million dollar class settlement.
James L. Binder, et al. v. SafeCard Servs., Inc., et al. (S.D. Fla.): Class action counsel in securities fraud class action; successfully litigated and resulting in multi-million dollar class settlement, as well as additional $119 million individual client companion settlement.
Barnett Bank, Inc. v. Smith Barney Shearson, Inc., et al. (S.D. Fla. and NASD Arbitration, Ft. Lauderdale Office): Prosecution of claims alleging "raiding" of a branch of client bank's brokerage services; successfully litigated and settled to the client's satisfaction; saved $150 million of client accounts from transfer.
Frank Debora v. WPP Group plc., et al. (S.D.N.Y.): Special securities defense counsel for alleged multi-million securities laws violations by class action claimant; dismissed on initial motions and sustained on appeal, representing WPP Group (U.K. Public Holding Co.), NASDAQ, which owns the world's largest advertising and public relations companies, and its founding Chairman/CEO.
Super Bowl Corp. v. Askowitz, et al. (NASD Arbitration, N.Y.): Prosecution of $8 million claim by customer against former Drexel personnel -- the only claim out of more than 17,000 filed in U.S. moved forward to trial, despite Drexel bankruptcy, with fidelity coverage and other related Drexel bankruptcy litigation matters.
Bantock, et. al. v. Whittington, et al. (Circuit Court of the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit in and for Brevard County, Florida): Representation of 592 individual plaintiffs in a "group action" who were defrauded as a result of a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme; successfully litigated and settled to the clients' satisfaction.
Wolfson v. Cary (Miami-Dade County Circuit Court): Successful prosecution of shareholder's derivative action concerning ownership and control of automobile insurance company, with preliminary injunction victory and ultimate multi-million settlement to client's satisfaction.
In re American Cmty. Dev. Group, Inc.: General corporate, securities, litigation and defense representation of publicly registered real estate development company, including successful defense of numerous multi-million dollar foreclosure actions and preservation of South Pointe, the largest re-development and construction project located at the Southern tip of Miami Beach.
Other SEC Enforcement Actions Brought by Messrs. Sacher and Hartman
SEC v. Paradyne Corp. (M.D. Fla.): Multiple count civil injunctive action, alleging violations of the anti-fraud and periodic reporting provisions, arising from the fraudulent procurement of a $100 million computer system contract from the Social Security Administration -- vigorously litigated but settled on eve of trial, Sept. 9, 1985, for relief sought by Commission; follow-up Justice Department criminal prosecution for securities and government contracting fraud, perjury and obstruction of justice resulted in guilty pleas [and $1 million fine and other sanctions] by corporate defendant and six executive officers/directors.
SEC v. Barclay Fin. Corp., et al., Civil Action No. 81-708 CIV (S.D. Fla., filed April 1, 1981) Litigation of injunctive action against broker-dealer firm and individuals, arising from $50 million-plus fraud perpetrated upon customers of broker-dealer firm, resulting in granting of temporary restraining order, appointment of receiver and immediate recovery of more than $20 million, settled prior to trial for relief requested, companion criminal case resulted in maximum sentence.
SEC v. Safety Fin. Serv., Inc., et al. (E.D. La.): A civil injunctive and disgorgement action against principal officers/directors of issuer, arising from multi-year Ponzi Scheme relief requested, and criminal prosecutions and maximum jail terms.
SEC v. A.T. Bliss and Co., Inc., et al. (S.D. Fla. 1983): A civil injunctive action against issuer and principals officers/directors of issuer, arising from multi-year tax shelter fraud, which was one of the first SEC enforcement actions to allege that fraudulent tax shelters were securities in the form of investment contracts.