Mark Lebovitch co-leads the firm's corporate governance litigation practice, focusing on derivative suits and transactional litigation. He is resident in the firm's New York office, but splits his time between New York and Wilmington*, where he co-leads the firm’s Delaware office. Working with his institutional investor clients, he fights to hold management accountable, pursuing meaningful and novel challenges to alleged corporate governance-related misconduct and anti-shareholder practices. A seasoned litigator, Mark also prosecutes securities fraud class actions and has been a senior or lead member of the trial teams on some of the most high-profile securities fraud class actions and corporate governance litigations in history. His cases have created key legal precedents while helping recoup billions of dollars for investors and improving corporate governance practices in numerous industries.
Most recently, Mark led the Allergan Proxy Violation Litigation, alleging an unprecedented insider trading scheme by billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management fund and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. After a ferocious three-year legal battle over this attempt to circumvent the spirit of the U.S. securities laws, defendants accepted a $250 million settlement for Allergan investors. In 2017, before the birth of the #metoo movement, he led the prosecution of an unprecedented shareholder derivative litigation against Fox News parent 21st Century Fox, Inc. arising from the systemic sexual and workplace harassment at the embattled network. The case resulted in one of the largest financial recoveries – $90 million – ever obtained in a pure corporate board oversight dispute; and the creation of an independent council of experts – named the "Fox News Workplace Professionalism and Inclusion Council" – which is expected to serve as a model for public companies in all industries.
For these and other several other recent prosecutions, the New York Law Journal bestowed Mark with its most prestigious honor, naming him the 2019 "Attorney of the Year" at the New York Legal Awards. Among other industry leading recognitions, he has been named a “Leading Lawyer” by Lawdragon. He is also recognized by Chambers USA for what quoted sources describe as his “very smart” approach, along with his “particular strength in corporate governance litigation, focusing on shareholder derivative suits.”
Other select current and past representations include:
- In re DISH Corp. Shareholder Litigation: derivative suit challenging misappropriation and front-running by a controlling shareholder, costing investors over $800 million;
- Insys Derivative Litigation: challenging a board-approved illegal marketing scheme that actively encouraged off-label marketing of a deadly opioid fentanyl drug;
- In re TIBCO Software Stockholder Litigation: pursued novel and precedent-setting merger agreement reformation claims and received 33% of potential damages shortly before trial;
- In re Freeport-McMoRan Derivative Litigation: settled for a cash recovery of nearly $154 million, plus corporate governance reforms;
- In re Jefferies, Inc. Stockholder Litigation: settled for a $75 million net payment paid entirely to a class of former Jefferies investors through a first-of-its-kind dividend;
- Safeway Appraisal Litigation: provided clients with a nearly 30% increase in value above the negotiated merger consideration;
- In re News Corp. Shareholder Derivative Litigation: settled for a $139 million cash recovery, and an unprecedented package of corporate governance and oversight enhancements;
- In re El Paso Corp. Shareholder Litigation: resulted in a $110 million post-closing settlement and a ruling that materially improved the way M&A financial advisors address conflicts of interest;
- In re Delphi Financial Group Shareholder Litigation: challenged the controlling shareholder’s unlawful demand for an additional $55 million in connection with the sale of the company, resulting in the recovery of $49 million;
- In re Pfizer Derivative Litigation: resulted in a $75 million payment and creation of a new Healthcare Law Regulatory Committee, which sets an improved standard for regulatory compliance oversight by a public company board of directors; and
- In re ACS Shareholder Litigation: settled on the eve of trial for a $69 million cash payment to ACS shareholders.
Mark pioneered challenges to the improper but widespread practice of using “Proxy Put” provisions in corporate debt agreements, obtaining pro-shareholder rulings in cases like In re Amylin Shareholders Litigation, In re SandRidge Energy, Inc. Shareholder Litigation, and In re Healthways, Inc. Shareholder Litigation, which have caused the industry to materially change its use of such provisions. He also prosecutes securities litigations, and in that capacity, was the lead litigation attorney in In re Merrill Lynch Bondholders Litigation, which settled for $150 million; and a member of the team prosecuting In re Bank of America Securities Litigation, which settled for $2.425 billion. Currently, he is the lead attorney prosecuting In re Allergan Proxy Securities Litigation.
Mark has received national recognition for his work in securities and M&A litigation. The National Law Journal named Mark, as a “Plaintiffs’ Lawyers Trailblazer,” recognizing him among the top practitioners in the nation. He was selected 2016 national “Plaintiff Attorney of the Year” by Benchmark Litigation and is regularly honored as a New York “Litigation Star” by Benchmark in its exclusive annual list of top practitioners. Named a leading lawyer in M&A litigation by Best Lawyers®, Mark was selected as its 2016 M&A Litigation “Lawyer of the Year” for New York City. He is one of Lawdragon’s “500 Leading Lawyers in America,” a New York Super Lawyer, and is recognized by Chambers USA and Legal 500 as one of an elite group of notable practitioners in securities and M&A litigation. In 2013, Law360 named him as one of its five “Rising Stars” nationally in the area of securities litigation – the only plaintiff-side attorney so selected, and in 2017 and 2018 honored him as a “Titan of the Plaintiffs Bar.” In 2012, The Deal magazine prominently profiled Mark as one of the top three lawyers nationally representing shareholder plaintiffs in M&A litigation in its feature article, “The Troika Atop the M&A Plaintiffs’ Bar.”
Mark serves as an Adviser on the prestigious American Law Institute’s Restatement of the Law, Corporate Governance project. He is also a member of the Board of Advisors for both the Institute for Law and Economics and the NYU Institute for Corporate Governance and Finance, and is an author and a frequent speaker and commentator at industry events on a wide range of corporate governance and securities related issues. His publications include "Of Babies and Bathwater: Deterring Frivolous Stockholder Suits Without Closing the Courthouse Doors to Legitimate Claims” (Delaware Journal of Corporate Law, Vol. 40, 2015), “Making Order Out of Chaos: A Proposal To Improve Organization and Coordination in Multi-Jurisdictional Merger-Related Litigation" (ABA Journal), "‘Novel Issues’ or a Return to Core Principles? Analyzing the Common Link Between the Delaware Chancery Court’s Recent Rulings in Option Backdating and Transactional Cases" (NYU Journal of Law & Business, Volume 4, Number 2), “Calling a Duck a Duck: Determining the Validity of Deal Protection Provisions in Merger of Equals Transactions” (2001 Columbia Business Law Review 1) and “Practical Refinement” (The Daily Deal, January 2002), each of which discussed evolving developments in the law of directors’ fiduciary duties.
Mark clerked for Vice Chancellor Stephen P. Lamb on the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware, and was a litigation associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in New York, where he represented clients in a variety of corporate governance, commercial and federal securities matters.
* Not admitted to practice in Delaware.