September 03, 2019
The National Law Journal (NLJ) has named Global Chair of the Litigation & Trial Department Michele Johnson and Global Chair of the Securities Litigation & Professional Liability Practice Andrew Clubok Litigation Trailblazers as well as Winning Litigators in two different special reports. The annual Winning Litigators report features a select group of lawyers who “scored big victories for their clients in high-stakes cases” and the Litigation Trailblazers report highlights lawyers who have “achieved remarkable successes” in their field of work, according to the NLJ.
Both awards recognize Clubok and Johnson’s remarkable trial result for Puma Biotechnology in the first federal securities class action to reach a verdict in nearly 10 years. Highlighting how rare these cases go to trial Clubok told the NLJ, “We think this was one of only three trials involving securities class-action stock drop cases against a publicly traded company that have gone all the way to a verdict this century. The other two were billion dollar verdicts for the plaintiffs.” The lawsuit involved a drop in Puma’s stock price after it announced clinical trial results for a breast cancer drug. Plaintiff sought damages exceeding $1.2 billion against Puma which, at the time of trial, had a market cap of $1 billion, truly bet-the-company litigation. The jury delivered a unanimous verdict in Puma’s favor on three of the four alleged misstatements, and awarded less than 5% of claimed damages (estimated to be $9 million or less after a lengthy claims process). Johnson and Clubok’s near-complete win preserved the company’s ability to deliver life-saving cancer treatments to patients who would otherwise be out of options under the standard of care before Puma.
Discussing the significance of the verdict with the NLJ Johnson said, “The plaintiffs’ lawyers wanted to take this one to trial because they were convinced they would get a giant jury award and it would impact settlement negotiations in other cases going forward. But it’s had the opposite effect. This verdict supports negotiating for smaller settlements now. And in our pretrial motions, we won an important ruling on reliance which, along with the judgment, will impact these types of cases for the future.”
Johnson is one of the most well-regarded trial-minded litigators in the securities litigation space, with a particular focus on M&A litigation. She counsels clients in the boardroom as transactions are being structured, and serves as lead advocate once industry-shaping litigation commences.
Clubok is a sophisticated and strategic trial lawyer who has long been on the cutting edge of securities litigation. He has obtained complete defense verdicts, appellate victories, and trial wins in dozens of securities class actions, complex commercial matters, shareholder derivative lawsuits, and arbitrations.