Richard A. Speirs is Of Counsel at Cohen Milstein, having joined the firm’s Securities Litigation & Investor Protection practice group in 2010. He worked on many of the mortgage-backed securities fraud cases that were successfully litigated by the firm. Currently, in addition to litigating securities fraud cases, Mr. Speirs is principally responsible for developing and litigating the firm’s derivative and merger-related lawsuits.
Since joining the firm, Mr. Speirs has litigated the following notable matters:
- Bear Stearns Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates Litigation: $505 million settlement by JPMorgan Chase & Co. to settle a class action litigation arising from Bear Stearns' sale of $27.2 billion of mortgage-backed securities that proved defective during the U.S. housing and financial crises.
- RALI MBS Litigation: $335 million settlement with Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and UBS. Cohen Milstein was lead counsel in a class action litigation alleging RALI and its affiliates sold shoddy MBS securities that did not meet the standards of their underwriters. Mr. Speirs was a critical member of the team of litigators, conducting fact discovery, deposing economic experts and preparing witnesses.
- Harborview MBS Litigation: $275 million settlement with Royal Bank of Scotland. Cohen Milstein was lead counsel in a complex case, in which presiding Judge Loretta A. Preska, of the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, commented on the “job well done” by the Cohen Milstein team.
- Sino-Forest Corp. Securities Litigation: Cohen Milstein served as lead counsel for U.S. investors in securities fraud class action brought on behalf of investors in Sino-Forest Corp., a Canadian corporation, which achieved $150 million in settlements from numerous defendants.
- Ebix Derivative Litigation: Cohen Milstein was lead counsel in a class action lawsuit alleging that Ebix’s board of directors breached their duties to shareholders in misrepresenting the company’s financial results and organic growth and in internal controls over financial reporting. The settlement resulted in the adoption of significant corporate governance improvements including the appointment of a Lead Independent Director, increasing the number of directors on the corporate governance committee, and creating a director of audit and director of internal tax positions to report directly to the Audit Committee.
- Dynex Capital Securities Fraud Litigation: Cohen Milstein was lead counsel in a class action suit alleging that Dynex Capital, a real estate investment trust, lied about the quality of mobile loans used as collateral for asset-backed loans sold to investors. The $7.5 million settlement is significant in having provided a road map for future asset-backed securities class action litigation.
Mr. Speirs’ current notable matters include:
- Bank Leumi Derivative Litigation: $400 million derivative suit against the directors and officers of Bank Leumi, an Israeli bank, asserting that bank officers violated their fiduciary duties in conspiring to aid American taxpayers in hiding income from the IRS.
- Intuitive Surgical Inc. Derivative Litigation: Pending derivative action against the company’s directors and officers, asserting breaches of fiduciary duties and insider trading claims in connection with concealing regulatory compliance problems and safety defects in the company’s flagship product, the da Vinci robotic surgery system.
- BioScrip Derivative Litigation: Derivative action alleging that BioScrip’s directors and officers disregarded regulatory and compliance requirements while engaging in a scheme in which the company accepted illegal kickbacks from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. on the sale of a dangerous Novartis drug resulting in government investigations, penalties and other sanctions.
In a career spanning more than 30 years, Mr. Speirs has been lead or co-lead attorney in a number of securities class actions where the court has issued an important decision under the federal securities laws. Among the issues decided were: the improper grouping of unaffiliated investors in a lead plaintiff motion; recommendation of default sanction against auditing firm for discovery misconduct involving electronic audit work papers; and liability under Section 10(b) of a non-issuer for disclosures made by the issuer.
Mr. Speirs has appeared on numerous panels and legal events to discuss securities fraud and investor protection. He attended Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, where he received a B.A., cum laude, and earned his J.D. at Brooklyn Law School, where he earned the Order of the Coif.