Jason M. Leviton, Partner
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Mr. Leviton is a co-founding partner of Block & Leviton and focuses his practice on investor protection and shareholder rights matters. He serves as Co-Chair of the Firm’s New Case Investigation and Monitoring Team and Chair of the Merger and Acquisition Litigation Team. In 2011 and 2012, Mr. Leviton was named a “Rising Star” by Massachusetts Super Lawyers, an honor given to only 3% of all lawyers in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. After receiving his law degree from the Gonzaga School of Law (cum laude, Editor of the International Law Journal, member of the Moot Court Council), Mr. Leviton attended the Georgetown University Law Center and received a Master’s of Law (LL.M.) in Securities and Financial Regulation (Dean’s Award, 1 of 6). While attending Georgetown, he was the inaugural LL.M. student selected for an externship with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Enforcement Division, in Washington, D.C. Mr. Leviton is currently a member of the Association of Securities and Exchange Commission Alumni.
Mr. Leviton has dedicated his practice to upholding shareholder rights. Currently, Mr. Leviton represents several Ohio Pension Funds against BP following the largest oil spill in United States history (In re BP plc Securities Litigation, 10-cv-2185 (S.D.Tex.)). Mr. Leviton is also a key member of several other securities class action cases being litigated by the Firm, including, but not limited to: In re Empire State Realty Trust, Inc. Investor Litigation, case No. 650607/2012 (alleging breaches of fiduciary duty; settled for $55 million); In re KIT Digital, Inc. Securities Litigation, case No. 12-04199 (S.D.N.Y.) (settled for more than $6 million following the company’s voluntary petition for bankruptcy); In re Swisher Hygiene, Inc. Sec. and Deriv. Litig., MDL No. 3:12-MD-2384-GCM (W.D.N.C) (suit brought pursuant to Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Exchange Act; settled for nearly 40% of all cognizable damages); and Brockton Retirement Board and City of Quincy Contributory Retirement Systems v. Oppenheimer Global Resource Private Equity Fund I, L.P., et al., case no. 1:12-cv-10552 (D. Mass.) (claims brought pursuant to Section 12(a)(2) of the Securities Act; settled for numerous improvements to Oppenheimer’s corporate governance structure regarding the valuation of assets).
Mr. Leviton’s considerable experience bringing claims involving breaches of fiduciary duties arising from mergers and acquisitions of public companies is also notable. For example, Mr. Leviton has been named lead or co-lead counsel in numerous merger actions throughout the United States, including, but not limited to: In re Plains Exploration & Production Co. Stockholder Litig., case no. 8090-VCN (Del. Ch.) (litigation led to an increase of $400 million to the original merger amount); In re MIPS Technologies, Inc. Stockholder Litig., case no. 8103-VCN (Del. Ch.) (settled for numerous material disclosures and amendments to the merger agreement); In re Cybex Int’l Shareholders Litig., case no. 653794/2012 (N.Y. Sup. Ct) (alleging that Cybex’s Board of Directors agreed to bring the company private for inadequate consideration; settlement involved substantial dividend payment to shareholders); and In re Sunoco, Inc., case no. 1204-03894 (settlement required Sunoco to publish an update to its Proxy Statement to correct for material omissions).
Prior to forming Block & Leviton, Mr. Leviton was an attorney at three of the preeminent securities class action firms in the nation and worked on behalf of numerous institutional and individual investors. For example, he was instrumental in recovering $10.5 million in the Welmon v. Chicago Bridge & Iron, 06-CV-01283,securities class action litigation. In that case, Mr. Leviton represented Fortis Investments, a major European asset management company and, in addition to the monetary settlement, was able to institute several corporate governance changes at the company. In granting the Chicago Bridge & Iron settlement, the Honorable John Sprizzo stated that “Plaintiffs’ Counsel have conducted the litigation and achieved the Settlement with skill, perseverance and diligent advocacy.” Chicago Bridge & Iron, 06-CV-01283 (June 3, 2008). Moreover, in the Ong v. Sears Roebuck & Co., case no. 03 C 4142 (N.D. Ill.), securities class action, Mr. Leviton represented the State Universities Retirement System of Illinois (SURS) and helped settle the action for $15.5 million. He also represented the Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System, the Policemen’s Annuity & Benefit Fund of Chicago, the Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension Fund in the securities class action against MF Global that settled for $90.0 million. See Rubin v. MF Global, LTD., et al., 08-cv-02233 (S.D.N.Y.). Likewise, he was a member of the In re VeriSign Securities Litigation, C-02-2270 (N.D. Cal.) team that recovered more than $78.0 million for investors. Furthermore, Mr. Leviton represented the Oklahoma Firefighter’s Pension and Retirement System in In re Smith & Wesson Corp. Securities Litigation, 07-cv-30238 (D. Mass.). He has also litigated and settled cases involving SourceCorp, Inc., case no. 04-cv-02351 (N.D. Tex.) (settled for $3.0 million), Xybernaut Corporation, case no. 05-cv-01705 (E.D.Va) (company filed for bankruptcy protections and the action still settled for $6.3 million), and Mid-American Waste Management, case no. C-2-97-449 (S.D. Ohio) (settled for $7.5 million).
Mr. Leviton also has considerable experience litigating cases involving mortgage-backed securities and other toxic assets. For example, he represented the Wyoming State Treasurer’s Office and the Wyoming Retirement System in the In re IndyMac Mortgage-Backed Securities Litigation, case no. 09-cv-04583 (S.D.N.Y.), and SURS in an action involving General Electric (In re General Electric Securities Litigation, case no. 09-cv-0195 (S.D.N.Y.)). Similarly, he represented the Oklahoma Police Pension and Retirement System and the Municipal Police Employees’ Retirement System of Louisiana in the In re BankUnited Financial Corp. Securities Litigation, case no. 08 CIV 22572 (S.D. Fla.) action that settled for $3.0 million.
In addition to his class action experiences, Mr. Leviton has litigated other forms of complex litigation. For instance, he worked with a former State of New York Attorney General in the defense of an attorney accused of insider trading, which included a criminal referral to the United States Department of Justice. He was also heavily involved in the representation of four detainees being held at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Station in Cuba.
Moreover, Mr. Leviton is a frequent commentator and author on issues relating to the federal securities laws and corporate governance issues. For example, he has been a recurring guest on Rights Radio, including programs entitled “Stock Fraud: How to Get A Portion of Your Money Bank”and “Protecting Shareholder Rights Through Civil Prosecutorial Litigation.” He was also interviewed and quoted by Securities Law360 in an article entitled “CB&I Settles Securities Class Action for $10 million” and “Zipcar Investor Challenges $491M Avis Deal.” Likewise, he was the primary author of SEC Litigation Release No. 18638, “SEC Charges Cedric Kushner Promotions and Three of its Officers and Directors with Fraud; Chairman and Principal Financial and Accounting Officer Charged with Filing False Certifications Required by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002”and was acknowledged for contribution in a Nebraska Law Review article entitled, “After the Ball is Over: Investor Remedies in the Wake of the Dot-Com Crash and Recent Corporate Scandals.” Similarly, Mr. Leviton was invited to speak with Georgetown University Law Center students on issues arising when prosecuting securities class action lawsuits and he participated as a member of a Business Law Symposium entitled “Corporate Law, Then and Now,” which included several prominent speakers, including the Hon. Andrew Moore, a former Delaware Supreme Court Justice, and United States Senator Maria Cantwell (Wash.). In May 2013, Mr. Leviton conducted a presentation at the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems’ (“NCPERS”) summer conference, entitled “Google, Inc. and Its Proposed Recapitalization: A Case Study of Hidden Threats to Corporate Governance and Diminution of the Franchise, What You Need to Know to Fulfill Your Duties As Trustee.” Most recently, in November 2013, Mr. Leviton presented at the Business Law Symposium Shareholder Rights: An Idea Whose Time Has Come.
Mr. Leviton has always been active in his community as well. For example, he tutored at-risk children, volunteered at several Rotary Club fundraising events, and participated with the Kiwanis Club’s Mentally Challenged Adults Program. He was also an Election Supervisor for the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election and the 2010 Mid-Term Elections.
Mr. Leviton is admitted to the Bars of Massachusetts and the District of Columbia and is on voluntary inactive status for the Bars of Washington State and Florida. He is also a member of the District of Massachusetts, District of the District of Columbia, and Western District of Washington federal courts.