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John F. Sylvia

Member / Co-chair, Securities Litigation Practice

[email protected]

+1.617.348.1820

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Jack is Co-chair of the Securities Litigation Practice. He is a seasoned trial lawyer whose clients include public and private corporations, officers, directors, special committees, accountants, mutual funds, portfolio managers, and investment advisors. His practice encompasses all facets of securities and financial fraud litigation, and he has handled complex civil and criminal matters involving insider trading, revenue recognition, high-yield investment schemes, market timing, late trading, options backdating, and auction rate securities. In addition, he frequently represents clients in connection with internal investigations and investigative and enforcement proceedings conducted by the SEC, FINRA, and state regulatory agencies.

In addition to his trial experience, Jack also has represented clients in arbitration and alternative dispute resolution, including proceedings before the American Arbitration Association and FINRA. He is frequently asked to provide expert commentary on high-profile civil and criminal cases, having appeared on CNBC, FOX News, the BBC, and WHDH and been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Financial Times, and Businessweek.

Education

  • Boston College (JD)
  • Dartmouth College (BA)

Experience

  • Represented Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in a decision crystalizing the standard required to plead scienter in securities fraud cases, the First Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a securities class action complaint filed against Vertex and the company’s senior executives by Local No. 8 IBEW Retirement Plan and Trust.  This decision ends four years of litigation defending against plaintiff’s false and unfounded allegations that Vertex’s disclosures regarding the results of clinical trials assessing the safety and efficacy of the company’s combination drug therapy for the treatment of patients with cystic fibrosis violated the federal securities laws. We successfully rebuffed plaintiffs twice in the District Court, ultimately securing victory in the First Circuit.
  • Retained as trial counsel to defend former CFO of a two-and-a-half billion-dollar NYSE-listed company based in China, in a securities class action trial relating to the company's 2011 financial collapse. Having obtained an $880 million default judgment against China-based corporate defendants, Plaintiffs alleged that the CFO had acted recklessly and made misstatements about the company's financial health. Secured a favorable trial verdict and resulting settlement that required no monetary payment from the CFO.
  • Represented the Orchid Cellmark board in connection with shareholder derivative litigation alleging breach of fiduciary duty in connection with a merger transaction. Plaintiffs moved to enjoin the merger. Rather than settle the matter (the typical resolution of these cases), the clients elected to litigate. After expedited discovery and motion practice, we defeated plaintiffs’ attempt to enjoin the transaction and the merger closed on schedule.
  • Represented the former officers and directors of The Learning Co. (TLC) in a shareholder class action alleging violation of Section 11 of the '33 Act brought by former shareholders of Broderbund, Inc., a company previously acquired by TLC.  We prevailed at the motion to dismiss stage, advancing a novel legal argument demonstrating the lack of legally cognizable damages. We secured an affirmance of the dismissal on appeal.
  • Successfully represented a former employee of a pre-eminent financial services industry firm charged with violations of the securities laws in connection with the firm's sale of funds invested in subprime securities. Prevailed in a three week trial before the SEC’s Chief Administrative Law Judge, and again before the First Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Defended a public pharmaceutical company and its officers against 10b claims and Section 11 claims arising out of a secondary public offering and successfully obtained a motion to dismiss these claims on behalf of our client.
  • Represented a technology company and its officers and the inside directors in a case where the plaintiff class alleged a variety of securities violations. Plaintiffs claimed that the company misrepresented its financial condition by failing to take a reserve for obsolescent inventory. After successfully obtaining dismissal of certain claims, we negotiated a favorable settlement.
  • Defense jury verdict in class action litigation for a prominent biotech corporation and a CEO charged with violation of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
  • Favorable post-trial decision in Delaware Court of Chancery for corporate and individual clients charged with breaches of fiduciary duties.
  • Defense jury verdict for corporate officers charged with violation of Section 10(b) in connection with the purchase of convertible-preferred securities.
  • Represented iBasis, Inc. and its officers and directors in a shareholder derivative action alleging breach of fiduciary duty and violations of Section 14(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, arising out of alleged stock options “backdating” and improper accounting attendant thereto.  We won the case on a motion to dismiss.
  • Represented a multinational professional services firm in a month-long jury trial in which our client admitted employee breach but denied claims of supervisory liability. The jury found no supervisory liability, and rejected claims for punitive damages and attorneys’ fees.
  • Jury acquittal for a CEO client charged with criminal tax evasion arising from an options backdating investigation.

Recognition & Awards

  • Chambers USA: Massachusetts - Litigation: Securities (2011 – 2018)
  • Best Lawyers in America: Litigation - Securities (2018 – 2019)
  • Massachusetts Super Lawyers: Securities Litigation (2006, 2010 – 2018)

Recent Insights

News & Press

Viewpoints

In a boon for public company shareholder plaintiffs this week, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld state courts’ concurrent jurisdiction over securities class actions alleging violations of certain federal securities laws.
The SEC’s closely watched insider trading suit against entrepreneur and investor Mark Cuban, the outspoken owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, ended on October 16th when a Dallas jury cleared Cuban of any wrongdoing. 
On June 25, 2013, Delaware Chancellor Strine issued a fulsome opinion upholding the power of Delaware boards to amend corporate bylaws to include binding forum selection provisions.

News & Press

This column discusses a recent securities class action decision – the first-ever concerning climate change-related allegations. The column is authored by Members and Co-Chairs of the Securities Litigation Practice Adam Sisitsky and Jack Sylvia and Attorney Rebecca Zeidel.
Member and Co-chair of the Securities Litigation Practice Jack Sylvia is one of the securities industry sources quoted in this feature article discussing a recently dismissed putative class action which many believe to be the wrong test case to challenge the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's ability to seek disgorgement penalties.
Mintz partner and Massachusetts lawyer Julie Korostoff is one of 49 attorneys recognized as “Leaders in Their Fields” by the 2018 Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business guide. Chambers named Korostoff a “Recognized Practitioner” in Technology.
Best Lawyers named 85 Mintz attorneys to its 2018 list of The Best Lawyers in America. In addition, Mintz attorneys Matthew J. Gardella and Samuel M. Tony Starr were named “Lawyer of the Year” in their respective practice areas.
Jack Sylvia, Co-chair of the Mintz Securities Litigation Practice, was quoted in this Bloomberg BNA Daily Report for Executives article on Republican lawmakers’ desire to curb the SEC’s authority to use in-house tribunals to bring enforcement actions.
Jack Sylvia, Co-chair of the Mintz Securities Litigation Practice, was quoted in this ABA Journal article discussing President-Elect Trump’s promise to repeal the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
Jack Sylvia, Co-chair of the Mintz Securities Litigation Practice, was quoted in this Law360 article on the stepping down of the SEC Chair Mary Jo White. The article discusses the potential impact such a change in leadership will be in the areas of enforcement and rulemaking.
Fifty-three Mintz attorneys have been named Massachusetts Super Lawyers for 2016 and thirty-one have been named Massachusetts Rising Stars. The findings will be published in the November 2016 issue of Boston Magazine and in a stand-alone magazine, New England Super Lawyers. 
Jack Sylvia, Co-chair of the Mintz Securities Litigation Practice, was quoted in this Bloomberg BNA Securities Law Daily article on the U.S. Supreme Court’s upcoming decision in Salman v. United States, its first major insider trading case in nearly twenty years.
Firm’s National Healthcare Practice, NY Corporate/M&A and Litigation: General Commercial Among Newest Rankings
The 2015 Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business guide names 52 Mintz, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.  attorneys as “Leaders in Their Fields.”

Events

Speaker
Sep
22
2017

Hot Topics and Trends in D&O Coverage and Liability

PLUS

John J. Moakley Courthouse, 1 Courthouse Way, Boston, MA

Speaker
Feb
1
2017

Mintz and Grant Thornton Present a Multitopic CLE Workshop

Grant Thornton 757 3rd Avenue and 47th Street New York, NY

Panelist
May
12
2016

Preparing for the SEC

Marsh, Mintz Levin, and Grant Thornton

New York, NY

Speaker
Jun
10
2015