Steven P. Harte, Senior Associate
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Mr. Harte focuses his practice on securities litigation and consumer protection issues. Prior to joining Block & Leviton, Mr. Harte was an attorney at Choate Hall & Stewart, LLP, where he was a core member of the litigation and government enforcement practice groups. He began his career in the New York office of Jones Day, one of the three largest law firms in the world.
Mr. Harte represents the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System in the securities class action In re BP plc Securities Litigation, case no. 4:10-md-02185 (S.D. Tex.), where he is working to recover investor losses related to the catastrophic explosion and subsequent massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He is currently a lead or co-lead attorney in a number of securities class actions, including In re: CapitalSource Inc., where he represents investor interests in the $2.4 billion merger between CapitalSource Inc. and PacWest Bancorp, In re: Cybex Int’l, Inc., and In re: MIPS Techs., Inc. He also represents individual investors seeking lead plaintiff status in securities class actions filed against NQ Mobile Inc. and Atossa Genetics Inc.
In addition, Mr. Harte represents the Louisiana Police Municipal Employees Retirement System (“LMPERS”) in their pending litigation against Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc. over Onyx’s $11 billion dollar merger with Amgen Inc. He also successfully represented LMPERS in the Plains Exploration & Production Co. litigation, which challenged Plains’ $7 billion merger with Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. Plains shareholders ultimately received approximately $400 million above the initially agreed upon merger consideration. He also achieved a successful settlement representing LMPERS and the class of affected shareholders in an action arising out of the $5.3 billion merger between Sunoco, Inc. and Energy Transfer Partners.
Some of Mr. Harte’s other recent litigation successes include serving on the team of attorneys which negotiated a successful settlement with Google Inc., where Block & Leviton attorneys secured a sliding compensation payment to shareholders covering new Class C stock. The remuneration to Google shareholders could be the largest securities class action shareholder payment in United States history. He was also a key member of the team which asserted the interests of the Brockton and Quincy Retirement Boards against Oppenheimer Global Resource Private Equity Fund I and related entities and individuals in an action involving allegations of fraud perpetrated on investors, the result of which will be the return of significant assets to the retirement funds and other large investors. Moreover, Mr. Harte’s representation of an individual investor on behalf of the class of affected shareholders was responsible for a 10% increase to the price offered to investors in In re: Mod-Pac Corp. Index No. 800621/2013 (N.Y. Sup Ct Erie County 2013) regarding the going-private acquisition of Mod-Pac by certain members of its management team. Similarly, he and other Block & Leviton attorneys were able to recover a significant portion of the class-wide investor losses caused by accounting irregularities at Swisher Hygiene Inc.
In his decade of practice prior to joining Block & Leviton, Mr. Harte served as a lead associate in a number of class actions, major government investigations and antitrust matters. He worked on the Enron securities litigation, as well as class action lawsuits involving R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, including Schwab v. Phillip Morris et al., case no. 04-CV-1945, and was responsible for exhaustive investigations into, and defenses against, stock option back-dating allegations. His government enforcement experience includes representation of a Fortune 100 pharmaceutical company in complex, multi-year federal grand jury investigation into sales and marketing practices.
In addition to securities class action litigation, Mr. Harte has represented clients in a broad range of other matters, including complex commercial litigation and intellectual property litigation. His antitrust experience includes engagements working directly with the FTC to assure compliance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act. He has represented businesses from the start up level through the Fortune 100, and plaintiffs from the individual investor to statewide pension funds.
Mr. Harte received his B.S. from Cornell University and was awarded his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he was a Senior Editor of the Journal of Constitutional Law. While at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, he also earned a Certificate of Study in the areas of Business Management and Public Policy from the Wharton School of Business. Mr. Harte is admitted to the Bars of Massachusetts and New York, along with the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern District of New York and the Southern District of New York. He has appeared pro hac vice in courts across the country.