Michael A. Paskin is a partner in Cravath’s Litigation Department. He has a broad commercial litigation practice, which in recent years has focused on the representation of financial institutions and other corporations in securities and bankruptcy matters. In addition, Mr. Paskin has extensive experience representing corporations and boards of directors in connection with internal investigations and external investigations by the SEC, DOJ and other governmental agencies.
Mr. Paskin is currently defending JPMorgan Chase & Co. (“JPMC”) and related entities—including former affiliates of Washington Mutual Bank (“WaMu”) and Bear Stearns (“Bear”)—in litigation relating to residential mortgage‑backed securities (“RMBS”) in Federal and state courts across the country. As part of that work, Mr. Paskin represented the defendants in the first two large cases brought by RMBS investors since the start of the credit crisis to proceed through the conclusion of discovery and summary judgment:
- In re Washington Mutual Mortgage Backed Securities Litigation (W.D.Wa.). In this class action brought on behalf of purchasers of RMBS issued and underwritten by various WaMu affiliates, Mr. Paskin successfully defeated plaintiffs’ efforts to add JPMC as a defendant on a successor liability theory and obtained one of a handful of decisions limiting RMBS class claims based on tranche‑level standing. That ruling reduced the original face value of the RMBS at issue from approximately $10 billion to $2.6 billion. The case settled shortly before a scheduled September 2012 jury trial for $26 million, which was less than 5% of plaintiffs’ claimed $558 million in damages on the remaining tranches.
- Dexia SA/NV, et al. v. Bear, Stearns & Co., et al. (S.D.N.Y.). Won summary judgment against the vast majority of claims brought by affiliates of Dexia, a large Franco‑Belgian bank, relating to $1.6 billion in RMBS issued and underwritten by JPMC, Bear and WaMu affiliates. Defendants argued that the Dexia affiliates that did not originally purchase the RMBS lacked standing to sue and the affiliate that was the original purchaser had only suffered a loss with respect to, at most, 5 of the 65 RMBS at issue. As a result of the Court’s ruling, plaintiffs’ maximum damages were reduced by over 99%, from approximately $774 million to $5.7 million.
Mr. Paskin’s other current and recent matters include:Securities
- Willis v. Big Lots, Inc. et al. and In re Big Lots, Inc. Shareholder Litigation: Representing Big Lots, Inc. and several of its officers and directors in a securities class action and consolidated derivative litigation pending in Federal court in Columbus, Ohio, as well as in connection with investigations by the U.S. Attorney’s Office (S.D.N.Y.) and SEC, relating to allegations of insider trading and alleged false statements regarding the company’s sales prospects.
- State of New Jersey and its Division of Investment v. Sprint Corporation, et al.: Won summary judgment in 2010 for Sprint Nextel Corporation and certain of its former officers and directors in a securities class action in Federal district court in Kansas regarding alleged fraudulent statements concerning long‑term employment contracts that Sprint had entered into with its former CEO and President. Mr. Paskin also previously represented Sprint and its outside directors in a class action in Kansas state court claiming breaches of fiduciary duty in connection with the transaction whereby Sprint recombined its FON and PCS “tracking stocks.”
- In re Beazer Homes USA, Inc. Securities Litigation: Represented Beazer Homes and its officers and directors in securities class action and related litigation in Federal district court in Atlanta. The cases alleged improper mortgage origination practices and accounting improprieties designed to obscure the impact on Beazer’s business of the declining U.S. housing market.
- Currently representing Credit Suisse and various affiliates as creditors in the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in connection with claims in excess of $1 billion related to derivatives trades on which Lehman defaulted when it filed for bankruptcy in 2008.
- Representing funds managed by Dimensional Fund Advisors that have been named as defendants in multiple proceedings to recover, as fraudulent transfers, payments received by shareholders in connection with the leveraged buyout of Tribune in 2007 and its subsequent bankruptcy.
Antitrust and other commercial litigation
- Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors v. Credit Suisse, et al. (In re Tronox Incorporated): Represented Credit Suisse and other secured lenders in an adversary proceeding filed by the creditors’ committee in the Tronox bankruptcy. The adversary complaint sought to avoid transfers and obligations pursuant to a $200 million secured debt facility, among other claims. Mr. Paskin secured a settlement pursuant to which the lenders agreed to waive default interest and recovered all but $5 million of the amounts due under the secured debt facility.
- In re Aftermarket Filters Antitrust Litigation: Defended Cummins Filtration Inc. in a consolidated MDL proceeding in Federal district court in Chicago. Following nearly three years of litigation, Mr. Paskin obtained a settlement for significantly less than it would have cost to continue to defend the case.
- Morgan Stanley v. Discover Financial Services: Won partial summary judgment for Morgan Stanley in a breach of contract action in New York State Supreme Court, following which Discover agreed to settle for $775 million. The case was based on Discover’s refusal to pay, pursuant to the agreement by which it was spun‑off from Morgan Stanley, a special dividend of approximately $800 million out of the proceeds of Discover’s settlement of an antitrust case against Visa and Mastercard that had been filed when Discover was owned by Morgan Stanley.
- Successfully represented Big Lots in an action to block a research analyst from wrongfully obtaining and publishing confidential and proprietary information concerning Big Lots’ business.
In 2012, Mr. Paskin was recognized by The Legal 500 for his work in financial services litigation and corporate restructuring litigation.
Mr. Paskin was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He received a B.A. cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992 and a J.D. from Fordham School of Law in 1995, where he was a member of the Law Review. Following graduation, Mr. Paskin served as law clerk to Hon. Paul J. Kelly, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. He joined Cravath in 1996 and became a partner in 2003.
Mr. Paskin may be reached by phone at 212‑474‑1760 or by email at email@example.com.