David Wales

Partner
New York

Tel: +1 (212) 554-1409
Fax: +1 (212) 554-1444Download vCard

One of the leaders of the firm’s Corporate Governance litigation practice, David prosecutes a variety of derivative, class, and private litigation arising from breaches of fiduciary duty and other misconduct by boards of directors and senior executives at public companies.

He is an experienced trial attorney who has recovered billions of dollars on behalf of his institutional investor clients.  A former Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, David has tried numerous cases both as a prosecutor and in private practice.

David’s current and recent cases include the following:

  • In re McKesson Corporation Derivative Action – derivative action against the board of directors and senior executive officers, for breach of fiduciary duties, for failure to exercise oversight of McKesson’s compliance with the Controlled Substances Act and related regulations for distribution of opioids and reporting of suspicious orders. Final approval has been granted for the proposed settlement of $175 million plus corporate governance reforms;
  • In re 21st Century Fox Derivative Action – derivative action against the Board of Directors and controlling stockholders, and a senior executive, for breach of fiduciary duty for a systemic culture of sexual harassment and discrimination; a landmark settlement with two key components: 1) the first-ever Board-level watchdog of its kind –  the "Fox News Workplace Professionalism and Inclusion Council" of experts (WPIC) – majority independent; and 2) one of the largest financial recoveries – $90 million –  ever obtained in a pure corporate board oversight dispute; the WPIC is expected to serve as a model for public companies in all industries;
  • In re New Senior Investment Group, Inc. Derivative Litigation – derivative action alleging that a conflicted Board of Directors allowed a self-dealing and over-priced transaction with entities controlled by Fortress Investment Group; $53 million settlement, representing more than 10 percent of the market capitalization of the company;
  • In re Alphabet Shareholder Derivative Action – derivative action against the Board of Directors and senior executives of Alphabet for violating antitrust laws, including for the recent European Commission fines of $9 billion; and
  • In re Yahoo!, Inc. Derivative Litigation – action alleging that the Board and senior executives of Yahoo breached their duties by failing to disclose large hacks of Yahoo email users, resulting in the price of the sale of Internet business being reduced, as well as numerous consumer lawsuits; $29 million settlement. Only derivative action based on a hack that achieved a monetary recovery.

 As lead counsel in numerous major securities litigations, some of David’s significant recoveries include:

  • In re Merck & Co., Inc. Securities Litigation – a recovery of $1.06 billion in a certified class action on behalf of investors in Merck Securities;
  • In re Citigroup Inc. Bond Litigation – a class action on behalf of investors in numerous securities offerings which resulted in $730 million recovery;
  • Public Employees' Retirement System of Mississippi v. Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. – $315 million settlement in a class action on behalf of investors in residential mortgage-backed securities;
  • In re Pfizer Inc. Shareholder Derivative Action – $75 million settlement and substantial corporate governance changes in a derivative action that set new benchmark for highly regulated businesses;
  • In re Jefferies Group, Inc. Shareholders Litigation – $70 million settlement on behalf of shareholders in the sale of the company; 
  • In re Sepracor Corp. Securities Litigation – $52.5 million recovery in a certified class action; and
  • In re Cablevision Systems Corp. Derivative Litigation – $34.4 million recovery in a back-dated stock option action.

David is rated AV, the highest rating possible from Martindale-Hubbell®.  He has also been regularly recognized by Legal 500 as a top practitioner, and by Thomson Reuters as a New York Super Lawyer for his work in securities litigation. Leading industry publication, Lawdragon, has also named him to its list of the “500 Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyers.” In addition, David is a frequent speaker on corporate governance and securities fraud matters.

Education

  • Georgetown University Law Center, 1987, J.D., cum laude, Notes and Comments Editor for the Journal of Law and Technology
  • State University of New York at Albany, 1984, B.A., magna cum laude

Bar Admissions:

  • New York
  • District of Columbia
  • United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • United States District Court, Southern District of New York
  • United States District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • United States District Court, Western District of New York
  • United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
  • United States District Court, District of Columbia
  • United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois and Trial Bar