Melanie Blunschi is a partner in Latham & Watkins’ San Francisco office and former Co-Chair of the firm’s San Francisco Litigation & Trial Department. Ms. Blunschi's practice focuses on high-stakes business disputes, including litigation and international and domestic arbitration. Ms. Blunschi focuses in particular on cases involving challenging financial issues, such as accounting and auditing, revenue forecasting and recognition, and complex damages claims.
Ms. Blunschi has extensive experience defending securities class actions, shareholder derivative claims, professional liability matters (including trustee litigation), and private arbitrations. Ms. Blunschi represents Big 4 professional services firms, major foreign accounting firms, financial institutions, and public companies in securities and professional liability matters.
In addition, Ms. Blunschi has expertise in resolving transnational disputes through international arbitration proceedings and litigation. Ms. Blunschi regularly handles matters before the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Court of Arbitration as well as international matters in the US courts. Ms. Blunschi also serves as an arbitrator, including in ICC proceedings.
Ms. Blunschi's securities and professional liability experience includes:
- Representing Deutsche Bank in securities actions related to its residential mortgage-backed securities business
- Successfully defending the work of a group of auditors regarding off-balance sheet structured finance transactions in a three-week trial arising out of the largest accountancy case ever brought by the Texas Attorney General's Office
- Winning dismissal on behalf of Ernst & Young LLP in a securities class action stemming from the failure of audit client IndyMac Bancorp
- Obtaining summary judgment in favor of Deloitte & Touche LLP in litigation arising from the bankruptcy of one of the country's largest hard money real estate lenders
- Securing summary judgment in favor of Oracle Corporation and three of its executive officers in a US$3 billion securities fraud class action based on a missed earnings forecast
- Successfully defending Rentech, Inc. and several of its senior officers and directors in a securities class action and follow-on derivative litigation following a restatement of its financial statements; favorable settlements were reached in all actions following the filing of defendants’ motion to dismiss
- Securing dismissal on behalf of Noah Education in a securities class action lawsuit seeking over US$120 million in damages based on Section 11 claims against a developer of interactive multimedia learning materials, its senior officers and directors
Ms. Blunschi’s international arbitration and litigation experience includes:
- Representing Southern California Edison as claimant in an ICC arbitration against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries regarding defective steam generators for a nuclear power plant
- Representing a major Spanish company in connection with an ICC arbitration and other disputes regarding the construction of solar and gas-fired power plants
- Securing dismissal of contract claims brought against a German cosmetics company on grounds that the claim should have been brought in Germany
- Obtaining a favorable settlement of claims brought against an Israeli manufacturer following a merger