Kevin Metz, partner in Latham & Watkins’ Washington, D.C. office, has extensive experience representing companies, boards of directors, senior officers, and accounting firms in commercial litigation, securities class actions, derivative litigation, internal investigations, and regulatory enforcement actions.
Mr. Metz advises clients on securities and corporate governance litigation, complex commercial litigation, and white collar defense and investigations. His significant clients have included Berkeley Heartlab, Bio-Rad Laboratories, Checkpoint Systems, DG Fastchannel, Ernst & Young, K12 Inc., KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Proquest, Sizmek, Syneos Health, TechnipFMC LLP, the University of Maryland Medical System, Weatherford International, Willbros Group, and Xerium Technologies.
Mr. Metz has represented clients in state and federal court and before the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Department of Justice (DOJ) and other regulatory bodies, in matters involving financial restatements, accounting problems, disclosure requirements, insider trading, professional liability, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), and other issues. He has conducted numerous management and audit committee investigations and has successfully defended an auditor in a trial on charges brought by the SEC Division of Enforcement.
In 2004, Mr. Metz served as a deputy finance director for the John Kerry presidential campaign, in which he was responsible for fundraising in San Francisco and the Pacific Northwest. At Latham, he advises clients on compliance with the Federal Election Campaign Act, lobbying rules and federal gift rules, including rules on corporate political activity, PAC formation, and campaign contributions.
He currently serves as Co-Chair of the American Bar Association Business Litigation subcommittee on Class Action and Derivative Litigation, and since 2012, he has been a lead editor of the Class Action chapter of the ABA’s Recent Developments in Business Litigation. He has also spoken and written frequently on topics involving corporate governance. He has been a member of the firm’s Recruiting and Pro Bono Committees and, since 2010, the firm’s Ethics Committee.
Mr. Metz maintains an active public-service practice. In 2020, he led a group of Latham attorneys who challenged the living conditions at a Washington, D.C. halfway house at the start of the pandemic, resulting in the federal Bureau of Prisons ending its contract with the facility. He has also represented construction workers in a collective action over unpaid wages and overtime, an 8-year-old boy and 13-year old girl in immigration court, and the anti-human trafficking organization Polaris.
Mr. Metz is the Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, a member of the Boards of Directors of Ayuda, Inc. and the Burgundy Farm Country Day School, and serves on the Vestry of Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia. He joined Latham in 2000 following a judicial clerkship for Judge Michael S. Kanne on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Prior to law school, he spent several years as a newspaper reporter for The Tampa Tribune, where he wrote about Florida politics and the governor's office.
Mr. Metz has extensive experience representing companies, officers, directors, and accounting firms in all types of corporate governance, securities, and complex commercial litigation and investigations. Select matters include:
- Won dismissal of all accounting malpractice charges brought by the SEC Division of Enforcement on behalf of a partner of a "Big Four" accounting firm after a two-week trial; the dismissal was later upheld on appeal by the Commission
- A technology company and its officers in a SEC investigation of a data breach resulting in no action against the company or officers
- Led Audit Committee investigation into whistleblower claims related to company’s implementation of ASC 606 revenue recognition guidance
- Led investigation by Special Committee of Board of Directors of major hospital system into allegations of conflicts of interests by Board members
- Won dismissal with prejudice as lead counsel for Checkpoint Systems and its officers and directors in a securities class action related to the company’s restatement of its financial statements to correct for tax errors Maier v. Checkpoint Systems (District of New Jersey)
- Obtained dismissal in the Southern District of New York on behalf of a "Big Four" accounting firm of complaints brought by trustees of a bankrupt commodities and securities broker. The trustees alleged that the accounting firm had aided and abetted a multi-billion dollar fraud perpetrated by certain company insiders. The court dismissed two cases with prejudice and referred a third to arbitration.
- Won dismissal with prejudice of a securities class action in the Middle District of Florida on behalf of a "Big Four" accounting firm accused of making false statements regarding the company’s accounting for stock options from 2000 through 2006. Goodman v. Jabil Circuit
- Won dismissal with prejudice as lead counsel for the officers and directors of Sizmek Inc. in a securities class action challenging its merger with a private equity fund based on allegedly misleading Schedule 14-D9. Also obtained dismissal with prejudice for Sizmek in a related shareholder action brought in Texas state court in violation of the Company’s mandatory forum selection clause. Burns v. Harris (Southern District of Texas) and Deltac v. Sizmek Inc. (Dallas County (Texas) District Court)
- Won dismissal with prejudice for the company, its officers and directors of a securities class action involving online education provider K12 Inc. On a motion to dismiss, the Court found that the plaintiffs had failed to meet the pleading standard for fraud. K12 Inc. Securities Litigation (Eastern District of Virginia)
- Checkpoint Systems in several shareholder class actions and derivative actions challenging the Board of Directors’ decision to merge with a Canadian company. On expedited basis, obtained favorable settlements that allowed the merger to close on schedule. In re Checkpoint Systems Inc. (various state and federal courts)
- Won dismissal of an FCPA case brought by shareholders against the officers and directors of Weatherford International in Texas state court. Neff v. Brady (Harris County District Court)
- Obtained dismissals of shareholder derivative actions in Delaware and California alleging breaches of duty by the Board of Bio-Rad Laboratories related to the Company’s settlement of FCPA charges. City of Riviera Beach v. Schwartz (Contra Costa County Superior Court and Delaware Chancery Court)
- Obtained a declination by the SEC Division of Enforcement after a three-year investigation into a company’s revenue projections. After interviews and extensive document collection, the SEC decided not to bring any charges.
- Obtained a favorable settlement of an SEC investigation for a senior accountant at a global internet data security firm over charges that the company had inflated the company’s adjusted net income. The SEC agreed to a settlement that did not allege that the accountant knowingly made or directed false accounting entries.
- Successfully represented a partner of a "Big Four" accounting firm during an investigation by the SEC into allegations that the accountant failed to report, as required by Section 10A of the Securities Exchange Act, suspicions that the company was manipulating its accounting for income from credit card derivatives.
- Conducted an internal investigation for a South Florida company related to allegations of insider trading and subsequently represented the company during the SEC’s own investigation. Following a two-year investigation, the SEC filed charges against several outside parties but took no action against the company.
- A leading online provider of educational content, along with its CEO and CFO, in an SEC investigation concerning allegations that a senior executive had manipulated financial results over a several-year period. Following a lengthy investigation, the SEC closed the matter without taking action against the company, the CEO or the CFO.
- Conducted an internal investigation for a Houston oil and gas pipeline construction company into allegations of FCPA violations involving the company’s operations in South America and Africa. Successfully defended the company and its senior officers during SEC and DOJ investigations, obtaining favorable settlements for the company with no action taken against the officers. Also obtained a favorable settlement of a securities class action against the company, its CEO and CFO. In re Willbros Group Sec. Litig. (Southern District of Texas)
- Obtained dismissal of most counts and a favorable settlement of the remaining counts in a securities class action filed in the Northern District of California against a leading independent DSL provider. In re Northpoint Communications Sec. Litig. (Northern District of California)