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Trends in Direct Actions and the Rise of Direct Actions in the Securities Fraud Arena

(130 reviews)

Produced on January 23, 2018

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Course Information

Time 1h
Difficulty Intermediate

Course Description

Join securities attorneys Serena P. Hallowell, the head of the Direct Action Litigation Practice at Labaton Sucharow LLP, and Rachel Avan, also of Labaton Sucharow LLP, for an engaging look at the rise of direct actions in the fight against securities fraud.

This program is designed to provide a general overview of direct actions as an alternative to participation in class action litigation, what investors need to consider in evaluating direct action opportunities, and recent trends in these types of cases in the aftermath of ANZ Securities v. CalPERS

Specifically, Ms. Hallowell and Ms. Avan will address the consequences of the recent Supreme Court decision in ANZ Securities v. CalPERS, which resolved conflicting circuit court authority in holding that the three-year statute of repose under the Securities Act of 1933 could not be equitably tolled during a pending class action. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the dynamics of opting out of a securities class action as an alternative to participation in class action litigation
  2. Evaluate the factors that investors need to consider in evaluating direct action opportunities
  3. Identify recent trends in direct action cases in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in ANZ Securities v. CalPERS, which held that the three-year statute of repose under the Securities Act of 1933 could not be equitably tolled during a pending class action, and its potential long-term effects

Credit Information

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Serena Hallowell

Labaton Sucharow

Serena P. Hallowell leads the Direct Action Litigation Practice and focuses on complex litigation, prosecuting securities fraud cases on behalf of some of the world's largest institutional investors as well as investigations and litigation on behalf of governmental entities aimed at achieving significant financial recoveries and injunctive relief that remedies and deters fraudulent, illegal, or improper conduct. She is prosecuting In re Intuitive Surgical Securities LitigationPublic Employees' Retirement System of Mississippi v. Endo International plc, and Schaffer v. Horizon Pharma PLC. She is also currently advising a number of institutional investors in connection with pursuing potential direct actions against a large pharmaceutical manufacturer. In addition to her litigation responsibilities, Serena serves as Co-Chair of the Firm's Women's Networking and Mentoring Initiative.

For the last two years Serena has been recommended by The Legal 500 in securities litigation. In 2016, she was named a Benchmark Litigation Rising Star and a Rising Star by Law360

Serena was part of a highly skilled team that reached a $140 million settlement against one of the world's largest gold mining companies in In re Barrick Gold Securities Litigation. Playing a principal role in prosecuting In re Computer Sciences Corporation Securities Litigation in a "rocket docket" jurisdiction, she helped secure a settlement of $97.5 million on behalf of lead plaintiff Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board, the third largest all cash settlement in the Fourth Circuit at the time. She was also instrumental in securing a $48 million recovery in Medoff v. CVS Caremark Corporation, as well as a $41.5 million settlement in In re NII Holdings, Inc. Securities Litigation. Serena also has broad appellate and trial experience. 

Prior to joining Labaton Sucharow, Serena was an attorney at Ohrenstein & Brown LLP, where she participated in various federal and state commercial litigation matters. During her time there, she also defended financial companies in regulatory proceedings and assisted in high-profile litigation matters in connection with mutual funds trading investigations.

Serena received a J.D. from Boston University School of Law, where she served as the Note Editor for the Journal of Science & Technology Law. She earned a B.A. in Political Science from Occidental College.

Serena is a member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, the Federal Bar Council, and the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL). She has also devoted time to pro bono work with the Securities Arbitration Clinic at Brooklyn Law School.

She is conversational in Urdu/Hindi.

Rachel Avan

Labaton Sucharow

Rachel A. Avan prosecutes complex securities fraud cases on behalf of institutional investors. She focuses on advising institutional investor clients regarding fraud-related losses on securities, and on the investigation and development of U.S. and non-U.S. securities fraud class, group, and individual actions. Rachel manages the Firm’s Non-U.S. Securities Litigation Practice, which is dedicated to analyzing the merits, risks, and benefits of potential claims outside the United States. She has played a key role in ensuring that the Firm’s clients receive substantial recoveries through non-U.S. securities litigation.

In evaluating new and potential matters, Rachel draws on her extensive experience as a securities litigator. She was an active member of the team prosecuting the securities fraud class action against Satyam Computer Services, Inc., in In re Satyam Computer Services Ltd. Securities Litigation, dubbed "India's Enron." That case achieved a $150.5 million settlement for investors from the company and its auditors. She also had an instrumental part in the pleadings in a number of class actions including, In re Barrick Gold Securities Litigation($140 million settlement); Freedman v. Nu Skin Enterprises, Inc. ($47 million recovery); and Iron Workers District Council of New England Pension Fund v. NII Holdings, Inc. ($41.5 million recovery).

Rachel has spearheaded the filing of more than 75 motions for lead plaintiff appointment in U.S. securities class actions including, In re Facebook, Inc. IPO Securities & Derivative LitigationIn re Computer Sciences Corporation Securities LitigationIn re Petrobras Securities LitigationIn re Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Securities LitigationWeston v. RCS Capital Corporation; and Cummins v. Virtus Investment Partners Inc.

In addition to her securities class action litigation experience, Rachel also played a role in prosecuting several of the Firm’s derivative matters, including In re Barnes & Noble Stockholder Derivative LitigationIn re Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. Shareholders Litigation; and In re The Student Loan Corporation Litigation.

Rachel brings to the Firm valuable insight into corporate matters, having served as an associate at a corporate law firm, where she counseled domestic and international public companies regarding compliance with federal and state securities laws. Her analysis of corporate securities filings is also informed by her previous work assisting with the preparation of responses to inquiries by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

Before attending Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Rachel enjoyed a career in editing for a Boston-based publishing company. She also earned a Master of Arts in English and American Literature from Boston University.

Rachel is proficient in Hebrew.


Assly S.

Good background section on Statutes of limitations vs. statues of repose and how it is affecting direct action suits.

Andrew S.

Very informative - thanks!

Rosemary G.

Presenters very knowledgeable.

Claire C.

These presenters were amazing - thank you

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