Jeffrey C. Block, Partner
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Mr. Block is a co-founding partner of Block & Leviton. His career spans more than twenty five years and he is one of the nation’s preeminent securities class action attorneys. Throughout his career, Mr. Block has gained a vast range of experience in representing institutional and individual investors in shareholder actions. Mr. Block has also appeared as a panelist on numerous presentations concerning shareholder litigation and class actions.
Mr. Block began his career in 1987 at one of New York’s oldest firms representing shareholders in class and derivative litigation. Mr. Block gained valuable experience in representing investors in class actions, most notably in the In re First Executive Corp. Securities Litig.,89-cv-7135(C.D. Cal.) case which alleged that Michael Milken and Drexel Burnham Lambert engaged in securities fraud in connection with a massive insider trading scheme involving the officers and directors of First Executive. The action ultimately settled for $100 million. Mr. Block also represented investors in In re National Health Laboratories Sec. Litig., 92-cv-1949 (S.D. Cal.), which settled for $64 million in 1994.
Mr. Block then became a partner in Boston’s largest firm representing investors in shareholder class and derivative litigation. Mr. Block has represented institutional investors such as the Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board (PRIM), the State of Michigan Retirement Systems, the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, the Ohio State Teachers Retirement System, the School Employees Retirement System of Ohio, the Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund, the Oklahoma Police Pension and Retirement System, the Oklahoma Firefighters Pension Plan, the Chicago Laborers Employees Retirement System, and the State Universities Retirement System of Illinois, among others. While at his former firm, Mr. Block chaired the firm’s New Case Investigations Team and functioned as the head of its securities litigation practice.
Some of the major securities cases Mr. Block has either led, or played a significant role in, include: In re Google Class C Shareholder Litig. C.A. No. 7469-CS (Del. Ch.) (settlement valued as high as $7.5 billion); In re Xerox Corp. Sec. Litig., 3:00-cv-01621 (D. Conn.) (settled for $750 million); In re Bristol Myers Squibb Sec. Litig., 02-cv-2251 (S.D.N.Y.) (settled for $300 million); In re Lernout & Hauspie Sec. Litig., 1:00-cv-11589 (D. Mass.) (settled for $180 million); In re Symbol Technologies Sec. Litig., 2:02-cv-1383 (E.D.N.Y.) (settled for $127 million); In re Prison Realty Corp. Sec. Litig., 3:99-cv-0452 (M.D. Tenn.) (settled for over $100 million); In re Philip Services Corp. Sec. Litig., 98-cv-835 (S.D.N.Y.) (settled for $79.75 million); and In re American Home Mortgage Sec. Litig., 07-MD-1898 (E.D.N.Y.) (settled for $50.5 million).
In the Philip Services securities litigation, Mr. Block was successful in persuading the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to reverse the District Court’s dismissal of the action on the grounds of forum non conveniens. See Dirienzo v. Philip Services Corp., 294 F.3d 21 (2d. Cir. 2002). Upon reversal, Mr. Block led the team of attorneys in taking more than 40 depositions and, upon the eve of trial, the action settled as among the largest recoveries ever in a securities action from a Canadian accounting firm. Mr. Block’s skills were discussed in great lengths by the court, specifically noting that counsel:
“pursued this fact-intensive and legally complex litigation vigorously over a nine-year period, rejected offers of settlement for amounts inferior to the amounts upon which the parties ultimately agreed, and assumed significant risks of non-recovery. Co-Lead Counsel persisted, notwithstanding an adverse decision of the district court … and through multiple stages of the appellate process. The bankruptcy of the issuer during the course of the proceedings created additional risks and uncertainties …. Co-Lead Counsel had to overcome the disclaimers and uncertainties of insurance coverage, and vigorous advocacy of extremely able and deeply-staffed defense counsel. … And they did their work efficiently, with minimal duplication, and maximum effectiveness. As I held [previously] … the three settlements … achieved fair and substantial results for the several sub-classes benefiting from the $79,750,000 settlement.”
In re Philip Servs. Corp. Sec. Litig., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101427, 13-14 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 27, 2007).
In Lernout & Hauspie Sec. Litig., Mr. Block was the lead attorney in securing over $180 million for defrauded investors. The action involved an accounting fraud of a company headquartered in both the United States and Belgium. Mr. Block was instrumental in persuading the Belgian prosecutor to allow plaintiffs’ counsel to review the evidence the prosecutor had seized. In addition, Mr. Block led the effort to have the United States Court of Appeals affirm an anti-suit injunction entered by the District Court which prevented the Belgian courts from entering orders interfering with the prosecution of the lawsuit. See Quaak v. Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler Bedrijfsrevisoren, 361 F.3d 11 (1st Cir. 2004). Mr. Block also successfully argued against dismissal of plaintiffs’ claims under Rule 10b-5(a) and (c) for a third-party’s scheme liability based on its participation in the fraud.
In approving the $24 million settlement in In re Force Protection Sec. Litig., 2:08-cv-845 CWH (D.S.C.), the court specifically said of Mr. Block that “I have … been involved in the selection of the attorneys and, in that process, I was careful to choose attorneys who have great ability [and] great reputation … And I think you’ve undertaken the representation of these people, you've done an excellent job, you've reached a settlement that I think is fair and in their benefit …”.
Mr. Block also represented the Louisiana Municipal Police Employees’ Retirement System in a derivative action against the senior officers and directors of Intel Corporation. See In re Intel Corp. Derivative Litigation, 09-cv-00867 (D. Del.). The action stemmed from Intel’s multi-billion dollar settlements and fines with regard to its alleged antitrust violations. As part of the settlement, Mr. Block and his colleagues required Intel to significantly improve its oversight of its antitrust compliance and practices, which improved Intel’s overall corporate governance practices. In approving the settlement, the court specifically noted that the corporate governance changes achieved through the litigation were “reflective of a substantial benefit rendered to the Company by the efforts of counsel.”
Mr. Block is a frequent lecturer and panelist on securities litigation and class action matters, including, among others, participation at an ALI-ABA Conference for Insurance and Financial Services Industry Litigation in July 2009 on the scope and limitations on class actions; as a panelist sponsored by Law Seminars International at the Harvard Club entitled “Damages in Securities Litigation”; and he spoke at Harvard Law School's Capital Matters conference on “Litigation to Remedy Meltdown Damages: What Can Be Gained?” Mr. Block has also appeared as a guest commentator on CNBC.
Mr. Block received his B.A. from the State University of New York at Albany (cum laude 1983) and his J.D. from Brooklyn Law School (cum laude 1986). He is admitted to the courts of the States of New York and Massachusetts, the Federal District Courts of New York, Massachusetts, the First, Second, Third and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeal and the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Block is the Managing Partner of Block & Leviton and Co-Chairs the Firm’s New Case Investigation and Monitoring Team and is the Chair of the Firm’s Employment Litigation Team.