Joshua Hamilton is a partner in the Los Angeles and Century City offices of Latham & Watkins. His practice focuses on complex litigation and trials, representing companies and senior executives in securities and corporate governance-related litigation and investigations, defense of class actions, and other high-stakes commercial disputes. Mr. Hamilton is a first-chair trial lawyer with jury trial, bench trial, and arbitration experience. He represents clients ranging from emerging growth through public companies and investment firms. He is a member of the firm's Securities Litigation & Professional Liability; Complex Commercial Litigation; White Collar Defense & Investigations; and Entertainment, Sports & Media Practices. He is also the current Chair of the Executive Committee of the Litigation Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association.
Mr. Hamilton is regularly recognized as a leading attorney. Clients note his “bright and detail-oriented approach to securities litigation work” in Chambers USA 2017. He has substantial experience representing investment firms, public and private companies, and officers and directors in civil proceedings involving private plaintiffs, as well as in actions and investigations initiated by government agencies. He represents clients in securities class actions, shareholder derivative actions, corporate governance disputes, and “deal cases” challenging mergers and acquisitions. Many of these cases involve claims arising out of public offerings, disclosure obligations, proxy contests, alleged insider trading, accounting practices, or allegations of breaches of fiduciary duties.
He also represents clients in investigations and proceedings initiated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), United States Department of Justice (DOJ), and other government agencies. Further, Mr. Hamilton counsels public and private companies and their boards on corporate governance and disclosure issues, and represents special committees of boards of directors in internal investigations.
Mr. Hamilton has deep and substantial experience representing and advising clients in the mutual fund, hedge fund, private equity, venture capital, and investment management industries in litigation, counseling, and regulatory investigations and proceedings. He has extensive experience representing and advising investment funds, financial institutions, officers and directors, portfolio managers, general and limited partners, and investment advisors in matters alleging breach of fiduciary duties, fraud, negligence, violations of the Investment Company Act of 1940 and the Investment Advisors Act, and securities law violations.
Mr. Hamilton’s practice in complex litigation and trials is also vast. He has significant experience representing clients in both the trial and appellate courts in class action, commercial, and real estate-related lawsuits, including but not limited to claims alleging breach of contract, unfair business practices, trademark infringement, fraud, racketeering and violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law (section 17200), and other state and federal consumer protection laws.
Chambers USA ranked Mr. Hamilton in 2016 and 2017 as Up and Coming in the field of Securities Litigation, where clients noted his “creativity and thoroughness, and his ability to approach a case in a unique way which gets good results”. Mr. Hamilton was named as a Top 20 Lawyer Under 40 in 2010 by the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal. In addition, Mr. Hamilton was recognized as a Super Lawyer in Securities Litigation in 2014-2017 by Southern California Super Lawyers and a Rising Star for each of the prior eight years (2006-2013).
Mr. Hamilton is very active in bar and community activities. He is a trustee of the Federal Bar Association. He is also a longstanding board member of the Independent School Alliance for Minority Affairs, a non-profit organization focused on providing educational opportunities for underserved minority children and in 2016 received the Impact Award at its annual Gala for his contributions.
Mr. Hamilton's representative experience includes:
- Securities Class Action and Derivative Actions Relating to Accounting Misstatements: Representing senior executives in securities class action and derivative actions in multiple jurisdictions relating to alleged accounting improprieties and financial misstatements.
- Complete Dismissal in Securities Class Action for Chief Financial Officer: Obtained dismissal with prejudice on all claims, including control person claims, brought against a former Chief Financial Officer of a public semiconductor company in a securities class action brought in the Northern District of California.
- RICO Class Action: Represent defendant in high-profile putative class action alleging civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and state law violations.
- Representation of Joint Venture Member In Funding Dispute: Currently representing the member of a joint venture relating to a dispute against its joint venture partner in claims seeking to dilute our client’s interest in the venture. Obtained dismissal with prejudice as to all dilution claims, and now pursuing counterclaims for damages.
- SEC Trade Allocation Investigation: Represented investment advisor in SEC enforcement investigation relating to trade allocations for client accounts.
- SEC Investigation of Real Estate SPVs: Represented manager of multiple real estate special purpose vehicles in formal SEC investigation relating to profit allocations and custody issues. SEC concluded the investigation with a recommendation of no charges.*
- SeaWorld Entertainment Securities Class Action: As counsel for a group of investment banks that served as underwriters, obtained dismissal of all claims brought against underwriters relating to an initial public offering and two secondary offerings of stock of SeaWorld Entertainment.*
- DOJ FIRREA Investigation: Successfully represented former executives of lending institution in Department of Justice investigation under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989. After a two-year investigation, the DOJ closed its investigations with no charges being filed.*
- RMBS Securities Lawsuits: Successfully represented former senior officers of then the largest lender in the country in numerous securities lawsuits and government investigations spanning a period of approximately eight years.*
- Securities Class Action: Represented public gaming company and its senior management in a securities class action and derivative case relating to alleged accounting misstatements. Cases resulted in settlements approved by the courts.*
- Derivative Litigation: Representation of special review committee of independent directors of a closed-end mutual fund in connection with a shareholder derivative demand investigation and subsequent shareholder derivative lawsuit. Case resulted in settlement approved by court.*
- Appraisal Litigation: In matter of first impression relating to charter amendments eliminating appraisal rights under Maryland law, obtained dismissal with prejudice on behalf of closed end mutual funds in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Maryland.*
- Commercial Arbitration Victory: Successfully represented joint venture as first-chair in commercial arbitration for breach of environmental indemnity agreement. The case related to the development of one of the largest multi-use developments in Downtown Los Angeles. Obtained a multi-million dollar arbitration award and defeated all cross-claims, in addition to the client receiving a multi-million dollar award of fees as prevailing party.*
- Trial Victory for Intrawest: Successfully represented an affiliate of Intrawest as first-chair in trial in defense of claims alleging violations of Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act, a statute modeled after federal securities laws. Prevailed at trial on all of Plaintiffs' claims, with Plaintiffs recovering nothing. Judgment affirmed in full on appeal.*
- Film Slate Royalty Dispute: Representation of hedge fund in dispute with purported investors over royalty payments for slate of studio motion pictures.*
- FACTA Legislative Reform and Class Action Defense: Led joint effort between litigation and legislative affairs group resulting in Congress unanimously enacting the Credit and Debit Card Clarification Act of 2007. The statute retroactively amended the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA), resulting in elimination of damages for hundreds of companies across the country.*
- LaSalle Investment Management: Representation of Real Estate Investment Trust in litigation relating to US$21 million option and take-out agreements.*
- 9th Circuit Victory in RICO Class Action: Successful representation of Kroger Co. and it subsidiaries and employees in defense of claims brought under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Obtained dismissal of all claims with prejudice, which was affirmed on appeal by the Ninth Circuit.*
*Matter handled prior to joining Latham