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Complex Civil Litigation

Practice Overview

Buckley represents individual and corporate clients in nearly every category of complex civil litigation, from contract enforcement to class-action defense, in state and federal courts nationwide.

Our deep understanding of the industries we represent and the regulatory environment in which disputes arise informs our litigation strategy. Our attorneys analyze complicated issues with a business-minded perspective that helps clients set appropriate goals and meet them. We are skilled at resolving disputes before they ripen into litigation — and when litigation becomes necessary, we litigate effectively, efficiently, and creatively. The firm’s well-established record of multimillion dollar judgments and settlements attests to our success in and out of court.

We assist clients in a wide range of industries in matters involving multidistrict actions, class and mass actions, and domestic and international arbitration. We regularly handle civil disputes involving alleged consumer deception and unfair trade practices, financial services and products, whistleblower and qui tam claims, shareholder claims, corporate governance, commercial contracts, civil claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), securities claims, and anti-discrimination laws. We also handle disputes in a wide array of contexts, ranging from ordinary civil litigation to lawsuits against governmental entities, emergency appeals, and injunctions. 

We have significant experience prosecuting and defending commercial claims involving all types of financial services and products, including PACE financing, residential mortgage-backed securities, deposit accounts, credit cards, payment systems, investment products, and the purchase and sale of financial assets such as loan portfolios and mortgage servicing rights. We also regularly defend clients in cases involving allegations of unfair and discriminatory lending, unlawful discrimination and retaliation, unfair competition, and unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices (UDAAP).

Our complex civil litigation practice is supported by FORTÉ, Buckley’s comprehensive e‑discovery process that combines strategic input from our attorneys, state-of-the-art technology, and metrics-based document review.

Noteworthy representations include:

  • Preston Moon, son of Rev. Sun Myung Moon, in major civil litigation pitting the son against his mother in a battle for control of the Unification Church and its assets. The case, which raises important constitutional questions about court resolution of intrareligious disputes, also involves breach of trust and breach of fiduciary duty claims related to decades-old conduct in multiple countries.
  • Eight top mortgage servicers in a False Claims Act qui tam litigation in the Southern District of New York. The relator alleged that certain foreclosure counsel overcharged the mortgage servicers for foreclosure-related expenses, and that the servicers subsequently submitted those inflated expenses for reimbursement to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The court dismissed the claims against the servicer defendants with prejudice, ending a potentially costly and protracted litigation before any discovery was taken.
  • A fintech company that operates a lending platform and services loans on behalf of a bank originator as part of a bank partnership program in a civil action against them regarding federal preemption of state usury law and late-charge limitations.
  • Universal Entertainment Corp. (UEC), a large Japanese gaming manufacturer, in litigation brought by Wynn Resorts Ltd. in Nevada state court. A UEC subsidiary was Wynn Resorts’ largest shareholder, but in 2012 Wynn Resorts alleged that UEC and its now-former Chairman, Kazuo Okada, had bribed foreign government officials in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), and then “redeemed” UEC’s stock at a substantial discount to its market value. After years of litigation — during which the parties produced millions of documents, argued scores of motions, and took dozens of depositions — Wynn Resorts agreed to pay $2.6 billion to settle UEC’s claims shortly before trial.
  • The Navajo Nation in a landmark lawsuit alleging that the U.S. breached fiduciary obligations by failing to manage, invest, and account for tribal trust funds and resources under the custody and control of the U.S. in a manner that maximized financial return from those assets. The firm secured a $554 million settlement on behalf of its client — the largest settlement obtained in any action by a single Native American tribe against the U.S.
  • A leading PACE financing administrator in consumer class actions related to origination, marketing, and structure of PACE financing programs in different jurisdictions. 
  • A cannabis delivery platform in unfair competition litigation related to state and federal cannabis regulation in the United States, and the use California’s Unfair Competition Law to enforce violations of federal criminal laws. 
  • Several lenders in indemnification lawsuits brought by Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., alleging that purported defects in mortgage loans led to claims by RMBS trustees and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
  • Mark Jackson, the former CEO/CFO of an oilfield services company, in a Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement action regarding alleged FCPA violations in Nigeria. After more than two years of litigation in federal court, the SEC voluntarily dropped several claims, paving the way for a favorable settlement prior to trial. The settlement did not include monetary damages or any restrictions on Mr. Jackson’s future employment.
  • Leanne Spencer, the former controller of Fannie Mae, in one of the largest securities fraud class action lawsuits ever litigated in the United States. Arising out of a highly publicized regulatory report alleging intentional accounting fraud, followed by the company announcing a $6 billion restatement, the plaintiffs claimed that our client and others had intentionally misstated Fannie Mae’s earnings over a multi-year period. After eight years of litigation, which included the production of millions of documents and more than 150 depositions, the court granted summary judgment based on a lack of evidence of intent to defraud, completely exonerating our client. Parallel derivative and ERISA lawsuits were also dismissed, and the DOJ and SEC investigations were also conducted and concluded without charges. 
  • Latvian bank AS Citadele Banka and its CEO in a matter involving allegations of RICO violations and fraud brought by real estate developers in federal district court in the Central District of California. The developers alleged that our client conspired with a U.S.-based private equity firm to wrongfully foreclose on more than 80 properties. After several rounds of briefing (on U.S. and Latvian law), the court granted a motion to dismiss without leave to amend.
  • Numerous correspondent lenders in actions for breach of contract and indemnification brought by the ResCap Liquidating Trust as successor to the Residential Funding Company arising from the sale and subsequent securitization of residential mortgage loans.

Topic Spotlight: Assistance in responding to government oversight of pandemic relief

The federal government’s financial response to the Covid-19 pandemic is measured in trillions of dollars, and the intensity of oversight related to that response reflects this unprecedented commitment. All involved in the government’s response, particularly financial services providers, should expect increased scrutiny of how those dollars have been and will be spent.

Buckley’s white collar, enforcement, congressional investigations, class actions, complex civil litigation, and False Claims Act & FIRREA teams are prepared to assist with government and congressional inquiries, examinations, investigations, and government and private party litigation that arise from the pandemic response. We work closely with our financial services regulatory practices to combine the firm’s core substantive experience with our deep knowledge of government investigations and litigation of all kinds.

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