Sean is a highly experienced litigator with significant experience defending clients facing shareholder litigation, SEC, FINRA, and DOJ investigations and enforcement actions, and other civil and criminal government and regulator investigations and enforcement proceedings. His clients have included public and private companies, officers and directors, board committees, broker-dealers, banks, investment advisors, hedge funds, certified public accountants, individual stock traders, and public officials.
A former SEC enforcement attorney, Sean has defended many clients in securities investigations and white-collar actions initiated by regulatory authorities across the country and with a focus on California, including the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); US Department of Justice, including Department of Treasury; FINRA; NYSE, NASDAQ, and other stock exchanges; California Department of Business Oversight; and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB).
Through his substantial securities litigation practice, Sean regularly defends public companies and their executives facing shareholder lawsuits and derivative actions in state and federal courts across the country, including in the Delaware Court of Chancery.
Prior to joining Mintz, Sean led the Southern California white collar, government investigations, and securities litigation practices of a leading international law firm. He was also a partner with another international practice as well as with a leading global intellectual property law firm.
Sean started his career as an attorney in the SEC’s Office of Enforcement and as a law clerk in the SEC’s Office of Broker-Dealer Enforcement.
He is frequently quoted in national legal and business publications on various topics, including SEC investigations and related legal matters.
- New York Law School (JD)
- University of Pennsylvania (BA)
Class Action, Derivative & Corporate Control Litigation
- Representing JMP Group, a highly-regarded capital markets firm, and its directors in ten shareholder lawsuits filed in federal courts across the country based on claims arising from the acquisition of JMP Group by Citizens Financial Group.
- Representing an investment entity and its owner in S.D. Cal. lawsuit by a microcap public company seeking to get out of its financial obligations after selling convertible notes and warrants to our client based on a litany of hyper-technical allegations.
- Representing Blackhawk Gold, LLC and its related entities in an EB-5 investor class action and related SEC enforcement issues. Negotiated and obtained Court approval of a class settlement in which our client agreed to take a specific corporate governance action and without the payment of any money.
- Represented Quartzburg Gold, LLC and its related entities in three EB-5 investor lawsuits involving claims of securities fraud. Negotiated a full voluntary dismissal of all cases without prejudice and without they payment of any money by our clients.
- Secured a complete motion to dismiss victory in a securities class action case on behalf of a large multinational operator of membership warehouse clubs, and its former executives. The case, brought in the Southern District of California, centered on allegations that the company misled the public about its performance, among other missteps.
- Represented a worldwide provider of global IT and enterprise application solutions and its officers and directors in a federal shareholder class action in the Central District of California and in shareholder derivative litigation in California and Nevada state courts. The matters settled on favorable terms.
- Represented a leading investment company in a pension plan lawsuit filed in the Central District of California. The plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the complaint.
- Represented investment partnerships in shareholder litigation in the Western District of Washington and District of Idaho arising from EB-5 program and SEC enforcement proceedings.
- Represented former officers and directors of a restaurant chain operator in connection with breach of fiduciary duty claims by the bankruptcy trustee. The matter was successfully resolved with no payment from the clients.
- Represented a global specialty pharmaceutical company in a shareholder class action lawsuit arising from its $1.3 billion acquisition of another pharmaceutical company.
- Represented a manufacturer of specialty chemicals and its directors in shareholder class action lawsuits filed in Nevada State Court and Delaware Chancery Court arising from a $400 million tender offer by investment funds.
- Represented a multinational holding conglomerate and its subsidiaries in shareholder class action lawsuits filed in Kansas state and federal courts arising from the company’s $22 billion acquisition of a large US telecommunications company. Successfully won a stay of a parallel federal court proceeding.
- Represented a multinational holding conglomerate and its subsidiary in a shareholder lawsuit arising from a large US telecommunications company’s $4 billion acquisition of another telecommunications provider.
- Represented a provider of surgical aesthetics products and its directors in shareholder class actions arising from a $1.1 billion acquisition by a multinational medical devices, pharmaceutical, and consumer packaged goods manufacturing company. Successfully obtained orders denying a motion for preliminary injunction in a California action and staying a parallel Minnesota action. Won summary judgment in the clients’ favor following discovery. Affirmed on appeal.
- Represented a leading provider of fingerprint identification systems and its directors in shareholder class action lawsuits filed in California state and federal courts and in Delaware Chancery Court arising from the company’s $943 million acquisition by a leading R&D company making a wide range of products. Successfully defeated the plaintiffs’ motion to enjoin the transaction, negotiated voluntary dismissal of the federal lawsuit, and obtained a stay of the parallel California lawsuit. Negotiated a favorable settlement.
- Represented a company providing fundraising software and its directors and officers in a shareholder derivative lawsuit in San Diego County Superior Court. Following a successful motion to stay discovery and demurrers on behalf of the company and the individuals, the plaintiff dismissed the case.
- Represented a multinational IT equipment provider and its officers and directors in a federal class action (Central District of California) and state shareholder derivative (Orange County, California) litigation. Favorably settled all litigation following successful federal motions to dismiss.
- Represented a San Diego–based defense solutions provider and its officers and directors in multiple federal class actions (Southern District of California) and federal and state court shareholder derivative actions (Southern District of California/San Diego Superior Court). Following successful motions, negotiated a favorable global settlement of all matters, including resolution of complex insurance issues.
- Represented two former officers of a multinational gaming company in connection with a federal class action (District of Nevada) and Nevada state and federal derivative actions. Dismissal of the cases was affirmed on appeal.
- Represented the former CEO of a diagnostics solutions company in California state court shareholder litigation. Settled with no payment by the client.
- Represented a company in a control lawsuit involving a closely held company in Delaware Chancery Court before Vice Chancellor Parsons. At trial, the jury decided in the client’s favor.
- Represented a Fortune 100 company in connection with a stockholder books and records inspection demand under Delaware corporate law.
- Represented the board of a NASDAQ company in connection with stockholder demand under Nevada corporate law.
- Represented multiple public companies in internal investigations and response to stockholder demands regarding stock option plans.
- Represented chairman of the board of a multibillion-dollar medical diagnostic company in connection with an internal audit committee investigation and a NASDAQ investigation regarding disclosure issues.
- Represented a special committee of a public biotechnology company regarding an internal investigation in response to a shareholder demand letter regarding a stock option plan.
- Represented the chief executive officer of a public technology company in connection with an internal audit committee investigation.
- Represented the audit committee of a $1 billion public communications company in connection with an internal investigation and an SEC inquiry arising from an accounting restatement.
- Represented the special committee of a public technology company in connection with an internal investigation and an SEC inquiry regarding stock option backdating issues.
- Represented multiple public companies in connection with internal investigations stemming from purported whistleblower complaints.
- Represented multiple individual officers, directors, and employees of public companies in connection with internal investigations.
White Collar & Regulator Enforcement Investigations and Proceedings
- Representing an investment advisory firm and its owners in an SEC enforcement lawsuit in S.D. Cal. alleging various fraud- based claims.
- Representing a Delaware entity in an SEC enforcement lawsuit in D. Nevada alleging various fraud-based claims.
- Represented a law firm and its partners in potential adverse proceedings by SEC receiver appointed in connection with a $400 million Ponzi scheme, in which the receiver investigated various claims against our client. Secured a reasonable settlement wholly paid by insurance as well as a bar order preventing investors and others from pursuing claims against our clients.
- Represented a US-based trader in an SEC lawsuit and a DOJ investigation arising from the Ukrainian hack of the SEC’s EDGAR database (District of New Jersey).
- Represented foreign defendants in an SEC insider-trading action arising from alleged misappropriation of an investment bank’s information (Southern District of New York).
- Represented multiple companies and executives in US Attorney investigations and Grand Jury proceedings.
- Represented the Corporate Monitor of a large multinational medical device company arising from joint SEC and DOJ actions under the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
- Represented the appointed Independent Manager of EB-5 Funds and related companies arising from SEC enforcement action.
- Represented multiple securities traders in SEC insider-trading investigations.
- Represented an individual regarding an investigation by the SEC’s Los Angeles office into capital raising by an electronics company.
- Represented securities traders in an investigation by the SEC’s Chicago office related to alleged market manipulation activities.
- Represented an NYSE-listed company in an investigation by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) regarding disclosure and securities trading activities.
- Represented investment advisors and brokers in multiple FINRA investigations.
- Represented a major apparel company in an investigation by the SEC’s Los Angeles office related to securities disclosure issues.
- Represented the CFO of a technology company in an investigation by the SEC’s Home Office regarding selective disclosure issues.
- Represented a medical device company in a med corporation in a public SEC investigation related to matters concerning a then-pending FDA application for approval of silicone breast implant devices. The investigation closed with no enforcement recommendation.
- Represented a $1+ billion foreign company and a principal shareholder in a DOJ investigation, grand jury, and asset-blocking action by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
- Represented a former general counsel of a public biotechnology company in connection with a joint SEC and DOJ investigation into Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) issues involving China.
- Represented a former general manager of a Chinese company in connection with an SEC investigation into FCPA issues involving a US public company.
- Represented the chief scientist of a public life sciences company in connection with SEC and DOJ investigations regarding test data. The investigations closed with no enforcement recommendations as to the client.
- Represented an entertainment company in an SEC investigation regarding film financing.
- Represented a public accounting firm and CPAs in multiple SEC investigations conducted by Denver, New York, Washington, DC, Chicago, and Miami offices.
- Represented a securities trading software and education company in an SEC investigation.
- Represented a broker-dealer in an SEC investigation regarding cherry-picking activities by hedge fund customers. No enforcement action was taken against the broker-dealer client.
- Represented a broker-dealer and an investment advisor in connection with federal grand jury and other government proceedings relating to potential money laundering issues.
- Represented a broker-dealer in a FINRA investigation regarding registered foreign agents and anti-money laundering issues.
- Represented a secretary of a former senior US House of Representatives member in connection with grand jury proceedings.
- Represented a former officer of a public gaming company in an SEC enforcement action and litigation alleging insider trading based on non-public material information concerning the company’s financial performance.
- Represented a publishing company in connection with an investigation by the SEC’s Pacific Regional Office arising from a $250 million accounting restatement.
- Represented a San Diego City Council member and former acting mayor in an SEC investigation related to municipal bond offering disclosures.
Recognition & Awards
- Best Lawyers in America: Commercial Litigation, Corporate Compliance Law, Corporate Governance Law, Litigation - Securities (2010-2020, 2022)
- San Diego Super Lawyers: Securities Litigation (2020)