George Garvey is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Munger, Tolles & Olson. He focuses his practice on securities and corporate governance issues and on related corporate counseling and enforcement matters. He has represented issuers, underwriters, officers and directors in securities actions and derivative suits in California, New York, Delaware and elsewhere. Mr. Garvey also frequently represents banks and securities dealers in lawsuits and arbitrations involving financial products, including hedge funds, swaps, options and various debt securities and their derivatives.
Mr. Garvey has served as an industry-affiliated arbitrator for FINRA Dispute Resolution (the arbitration and regulatory authority of the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ) and the National Futures Association. He is a member of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers and of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association Legal and Compliance Division.
Mr. Garvey’s community service efforts have included pro bono representation of the poor in real estate fraud cases and work for various charities, including Catholic Relief Services.
- Successfully defended stockholder litigation challenging acquisitions by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. of H.J. Heinz Company (Pennsylvania, 2013), Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation (Delaware and Texas, 2010-2011) and Wesco Financial Corporation (Delaware and California, 2011-2012).
- Won dismissal with prejudice of securities class action that alleged that Bank of America should have disclosed threat by AIG to sue the bank over AIG’s mortgage-backed securities losses; court found that the bank’s statements were not misleading and that accounting standards did not require disclosure of the potential AIG lawsuit. In re Bank of America AIG Disclosure Securities Litigation, 2013 WL 5878814 (S.D.N.Y. 2013), affirmed, 2014 WL 2019279 (2d Cir. 2014).
- Represented founders of Google, Inc. in litigation challenging proposal to issue non-voting stock alleged to extend the founders’ control of Google; a settlement reached the day before trial permitted the issuance of the challenged stock. In re Google, Inc. Class C Shareholder Litigation (Delaware Chancery Court 2012-13).
- In a case of first impression in Delaware, won dismissal of derivative action on in pari delicto grounds for financial counterparties who allegedly aided and abetted accounting fraud perpetrated by senior management of the company on whose behalf the derivative action was brought. In re American International Group, Inc. Consolidated Derivative Litigation, 976 A.2d 872 (Del. Ch. 2009), affirmed, 11 A.3d 228 (Del. Supr. 2010).
- Successfully represented 99 Cents Only Stores in litigation related to its going-private transaction (California 2011-2012).
- Won dismissal with prejudice of Florida litigation against Merrill Lynch for alleged misrepresentations in prospectuses of collateralized debt obligations. Space Coast Credit Union v. Merrill Lynch, et al., 2014 WL 1230719 (S.D. Fla. 2014).
- Successfully defended (and obtained an award of costs for) a major securities firm in arbitration alleging unfair competition and misappropriation of trade secrets in connection with the recruiting of the most successful financial advisors from competitor’s flagship office. Oppenheimer & Co. v. Citigroup Global Markets, Inc., FINRA Dispute Resolution Arbitration No. 03-02421 (award dated Jan. 4, 2011).
- Successfully defended leading shopping center REIT against litigation brought by its former partner in the development of The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. Action was settled for a confidential amount after client won dismissal or summary judgment on most of the claims (including all claims under federal and state securities and RICO laws) and an order striking the jury demand on the principal remaining claim. G.K. Las Vegas Limited Partnership v. Simon Property Group, Inc., United States District Court for the District of Nevada, Case No. 2:04-cv-001199 (dismissed Aug. 31, 2010).
- Successfully defended (and obtained award of attorneys’ fees for) investment bank/broker-dealer in claim by failed technology company that the bank had wrongfully interfered with its efforts to obtain financing. Recipco Corporation v. Citigroup Global Markets, Inc., FINRA Dispute Resolution Arbitration No. 06-00393 (award dated Dec. 17, 2007).
- Represented clients in SEC investigations resulting in Staff decisions not to bring charges against those clients. (Undisclosed clients, 2010-2012; subject matters included municipal finance and corporate acquisition disclosure issues.)
- Other matters have included the defense of lawsuits and arbitrations arising from the 2007-2009 financial crisis and from the technology stock market crash of the early 2000s; the representation of Merrill Lynch in litigation arising from the Orange County bankruptcy; and the representation of Salomon Brothers in litigation arising from its employees’ participation in irregularities in United States Treasury bond auctions.