James Farrell is a partner in the New York office of Latham & Watkins and a member of the firm's Litigation & Trial Department. Mr. Farrell has broad experience in a wide variety of complex civil litigation, with particular emphasis on securities and professional liability matters.
During the last 20 years, Mr. Farrell has worked on many large securities class action lawsuits and accountants' liability cases throughout the US and internationally. He specializes in defending cases involving a range of complex accounting issues, such as revenue recognition, securitizations, off-balance sheet entities, reserves, and various structured finance transactions. For example, Mr. Farrell defended Arthur Andersen in the multi-billion dollar claims asserted in the consolidated class actions regarding Enron. He has also handled all phases of securities litigation, including matters related to hostile takeovers, management buyouts, directors' and officers' liability, and class action securities disputes. He has defended regulatory matters involving the DOJ, SEC, PCAOB, and other government agencies. He has served as lead trial counsel in civil and regulatory matters.
Mr. Farrell has a significant international practice. He has defended clients and conducted internal investigations around the globe, including in the UK, Switzerland, Ireland, Portugal, Mexico, Thailand, the Middle East, and Hong Kong. He successfully defended an ICC arbitration involving claims over US$1 billion, and he is certified in the International Standards on Auditing (ISA).
Mr. Farrell's financial services litigation work has been recognized by The Legal 500 US. He has served as volunteer trial counsel for the Los Angeles City Attorneys' Office and as a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD). He is currently on the board of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers, the Advisory Board for the Journal of Taxation and Regulation of Financial Institutions, and the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles.
Recent Speaking Engagements and Articles
- Speaker, “Global Challenges,” Accountants’ Liability 2018: The Profession in an Uncertain World, October 19, 2018
- Speaker, “The Elements of Securities Litigation: Understanding the Basics,” The Knowledge Group, March 15, 2017
- Speaker, “Key Issues Facing Boards of Directors: New SEC Enforcement Initiatives and Corporate Governance Risks,” Directors Roundtable, MCLE, July 1, 2014
- Speaker, “Equipping the Board of the Future,” NACD August 14, 2013
- Speaker, “Top 10 Fraud Issues Every Accountant Should Know” CalCPA, July 2013
- Speaker, Chinese Financial Executives Institute, CFO Forum, May 30, 2013
- “Current Issues Concerning Credit Rating Agencies,” co-authored with Chris Harris and Zachary Rowen, Journal of Taxation and Regulation of Financial Institutions, 2014
The following is a partial list of representative matters:
- Trial counsel in SEC administrative hearing concerning major accounting firm.
- Washington Mutual - Represented Deloitte & Touche LLP in a multi-district litigation, asserting securities claims against Washington Mutual (WaMu) and its officers and directors, alleging that they omitted and misrepresented material information in WaMu's public disclosures relating to risk management practices, the quality of its underwriting procedures, the accuracy of appraisals used in underwriting residential mortgage loans, and the adequacy of its allowance for future loan losses. In re Washington Mutual Securities Litigation, Case No. 08-MDL-1919 MJP (W.D. Wash.).
- IndyMac - Represented Ernst & Young LLP in a class action securities lawsuit in US District Court for the Central District of California related to the failure of IndyMac Bancorp, Inc. Robert Daniel v. Michael Perry, et al., Case No. CV 08-03812 (VBKx).
BDO Ltd. - Lead counsel, defending BDO Ltd. in a class action securities lawsuit, claiming damages in excess of US$100 million. Munoz v. China Expert Technology, Inc. et al., Case No.: 1:07-cv-10531-AKH (SDNY).
First Regional Bancorp - Won motion to dismiss on behalf of Deloitte in a securities class action lawsuit concerning the failure of First Regional Bank. Buttonwood Tree Value Partners, LP v. Sweeney, et al., Case No.: SACV10-00537-CJC (CD Cal.).
- Enron - Represented Arthur Andersen in a multi-billion dollar consolidated case, In re Enron Corp. Securities, Derivative "ERISA" Litig., MDL 1446, as well as defending Andersen in numerous other venues relating to Enron's collapse.
- LDK - Lead defense counsel in a securities class action lawsuit, seeking over US$300 million in damages, based on Section 10(b) and 20(a) claims against a solar wafer manufacturer, its senior executives and members of its board of directors. In re LDK Solar Co. Ltd, Sec. Litig., Case No. 07-CV-05182 (ND Cal).
- Agria - Defended the company and its directors and officers in a securities class action lawsuit, seeking over US$140 million in damages based on Section 11 claims against an agricultural products company its senior officers and members of its board of directors. In re Agria Corp. Sec. Litig., Case No. 08-CV-03536 (SDNY).