Brett M. Middleton

Senior Counsel
San Diego

Tel: +1 (858) 720–3189
Fax: +1 (858) 793–0323Download vCard

Mr. Middleton has nearly two decades of significant trial and litigation experience, in which he has recouped billions of dollars in cash and shareholder value on behalf of the firm’s institutional clients.  He is involved in a number of the firm’s litigation practice areas, focusing specifically on securities fraud, corporate governance, and shareholder rights. 

Among numerous other matters, he was a key member of the trial team responsible for successfully prosecuting In re Clarent Corp. Securities Litigation, which resulted in a rare jury verdict in favor of plaintiffs and against the former CEO of Clarent Corp.; and the team that prosecuted In re Lehman Brothers Securities. Litigation., which recovered $735 million for investors from multiple defendants, including former Lehman directors and officers, the underwriters of Lehman securities offerings, UBS and Ernst & Young.  Mr. Middleton also served as counsel on behalf of the institutional investor plaintiffs in the Williams Securities Litigation Class Action, which resulted in a $311 million combined settlement, which was the largest known settlement at the time without a company restating its financial statements.  In the Accredo Health Securities Litigation, he was instrumental in the recovery of $33 million for investors arising from accounting fraud claims.  Mr. Middleton was also a member of the team that recovered $22 million for investors in In re Accredited Home Lenders Sec. Litig. for fraud claims relating to mortgage lending practices – one of the earliest settlements of the financial crisis.

Most recently, Mr. Middleton served on the trial team that successfully prosecuted In re Lumber Liquidators Securities Litigation, a federal securities fraud class action arising from an alleged scheme to inflate margins by importing cheap flooring products made from illegally harvested timber and containing dangerous amounts of formaldehyde as exposed by the CBS news show 60 Minutes.  The settlement was worth over $40 million in cash and common stock for class members.

After the financial crisis, Mr. Middleton was a member of the team that represented institutional investors, including money managers and insurance companies, in direct and class actions arising out of the fraudulent sale of residential mortgage-backed securities that were successfully resolved against Bear Stearns, Countrywide Financial, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, and Washington Mutual. 

Mr. Middleton also has extensive experience representing institutional and individual clients in shareholder derivative litigation seeking to improve corporate governance practices and enforce the fiduciary obligations of corporate boards and officers.  Among others, he was part of the teams that prosecuted the ActivisionApolloIntuitive SurgicalNews CorporationNu Skin, and Ryland Group derivative actions.  Moreover, he has contributed significantly to the firm’s efforts to challenge the improper use of defensive measures and deal protections for management’s benefit in mergers and acquisitions, including deal litigation actions involving ArenaCaremark/CVSCeleraEmulexLong DrugsMedco/Express ScriptsTicketmaster, and Yahoo!

For his professional achievements, Mr. Middleton has received multiple industry and national recognitions, including “Recommended Lawyer in M&A Related Shareholder Litigation” by Legal 500 USA Guide, a “San Diego Super Lawyer” by Super Lawyers, and one of the “Best of the Bar” by the San Diego Business Journal.

Education

  • University of San Diego School of Law, 1998, J.D.
  • University of California, Los Angeles, 1993

Bar Admissions:

  • California
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
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