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Kannon Shanmugam Named “Litigator of the Week” by The American Lawyer for Goldman Sachs Class Decertification

The American Lawyer recognized litigation partner Kannon Shanmugam as a “Litigator of the Week” on August 18 alongside co-counsel for winning a “blockbuster” Second Circuit decision in a $13 billion securities class action against our client Goldman Sachs. Kannon, who delivered the oral argument and who previously argued the Supreme Court appeal in the case, persuaded the panel to decertify the class on grounds that there was a mismatch between the drop in Goldman’s stock price after a regulatory enforcement action and the bank’s previous generic statements about conflicts of interest and business ethics.

Litigation partner Audra Soloway, who devised our legal strategy, and associates Kristina Bunting, Sarah Prostko and Garrett West were also recognized in the article.

In the underlying lawsuit, which dates back to 2008 financial crisis, three pension funds claimed that Goldman violated securities laws by making false and misleading statements about its business principles and management of conflicts of interest, which artificially inflated its share price, resulting in a stock drop and consequent losses to Goldman shareholders after the SEC announced an enforcement action against Goldman in 2010.

Kannon and team were retained in 2020 for the Supreme Court appeal after the Second Circuit affirmed certification in the case. On remand, the district court again certified a class, and our team once again handled the interlocutory appeal to the Second Circuit—before the very same panel that had previously affirmed certification.

“It may seem like an odd thing to say when a case takes over a decade to litigate, but it’s exactly how the system should work,” Kannon says in the interview with The American Lawyer. “The Second Circuit and Supreme Court did their job in reviewing the district court’s repeated decisions to certify the class. This case presented some very complex legal and factual issues, so it’s not surprising that it took the courts some time to sort through all of them. In the end, the Second Circuit reached the right result, and it provided much-needed clarification on the law governing securities class actions.”

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