S. Douglas Bunch is a Partner at Cohen Milstein and a member of the Securities Litigation & Investor Protection practice group.
Mr. Bunch represents individual and institutional investors in securities and shareholder class actions. His work and path-breaking legal arguments in precedent-setting cases, such as In re Harman International Industries, Inc. Securities Litigation, have earned him numerous accolades, including being named one of Law360’s Rising Stars (2017), honoring lawyers under the age of 40 whose professional accomplishments transcend their age.
Mr. Bunch has played a leading role in the following securities class actions:
- Harman International Industries, Inc. Securities Litigation: Cohen Milstein obtained a precedent-setting ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, reversing the dismissal of the case by the lower court, protecting investors by limiting the scope of protection afforded by the so-called “safe-harbor” for forward-looking statements in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.
- ITT Educational Services, Inc. Securities Litigation: Cohen Milstein achieved a $16.96 million settlement against ITT and two of its officers. The case was hotly contested and involved unraveling complex accounting treatments governing ITT’s transactions with third-party lenders, whereby the third parties agreed to assume liability for student loan defaults up to a particular threshold. The case settled during discovery after the parties had reviewed and analyzed over two million pages of documents, after depositions had been taken, while class certification briefing was ongoing.
- Plumbers & Pipefitters National Pension Fund v. Orthofix International N.V.: Cohen Milstein reached an $11 million settlement against this medical device company headquartered in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles, despite significant logistical obstacles during investigation and discovery. Much of the information relevant to the case—including internal company documents and witness testimony—were in six foreign languages, and located in nine different countries on four different continents.
- Rubin v. MF Global, Ltd.: Cohen Milstein achieved a significant $90 million settlement in this precedent-setting case, in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit sided with the plaintiffs and held that companies cannot make false or misleading statements in their offering documents, and then hide behind associated risk disclosures in an attempt to escape liability. The National Law Journal named Cohen Milstein to its Plaintiffs’ Hot List for its achievement.
- MBS Litigation: Cohen Milstein is a legal pioneer in mortgage-backed securities (MBS) litigation, having negotiated some of the largest and most significant MBS settlements in history and achieved more than $2.5 billion in investor recoveries. Mr. Bunch played a key role in these cases, particularly those against Residential Accredit Loans, Inc. (RALI) ($335 million settlement), Harborview Mortgage Loan Trusts ($275 million settlement), and Bear Stearns & Co. Inc. ($500 million settlement).
Mr. Bunch is currently involved the following notable cases:
- Cape Fear River Contaminated Water Litigation: On January 4, 2018, Cohen Milstein was appointed Interim Co-Lead Class Counsel to consolidate and oversee a series of putative toxic tort class actions filed against E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company and The Chemours Company in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Southern Division. These consolidated cases allege that for more than four decades, DuPont and Chemours polluted the Cape Fear River near Wilmington, North Carolina, with a chemical called GenX; contaminated the water supply in five North Carolina counties; and misrepresented the company’s conduct to state and federal regulators, all while knowing that GenX was carcinogenic. Plaintiffs allege extensive property damage and personal injury as a result of defendants’ actions.
- Nieves v. Performance Sports Group Ltd.: Cohen Milstein is Lead Counsel in this high-profile, putative securities class action involving PSG’s failure to disclose that its purported financial success was not based on sustainable, “organic” growth as represented, but was driven by the company’s manipulative and coercive sale practices, which included pulling orders forward to earlier quarters and pressuring customers to increase their orders without regard for market demand. The SEC and Canadian authorities subsequently initiated investigations, and PSG filed for bankruptcy.
- Schwartz v. Opus Bank: Cohen Milstein is Lead Counsel in this putative securities class action, alleging that certain directors and officers of this commercial bank misled investors by portraying an image of a disciplined and conservative approach to credit, underwriting, and credit controls. In March 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California granted preliminary approval of a $17 million settlement, and a hearing on final approval of the settlement is currently scheduled for July 2018.
In recognition of his legal achievements, Mr. Bunch was named a Law360 Rising Star (2017), recognizing outstanding lawyers under the age of 40. Mr. Bunch has also been annually recognized by Washington, DC Super Lawyers (2014-18).
Mr. Bunch is co-founder and chairman of Global Playground, Inc., a nonprofit that builds schools and other educational infrastructure in the developing world, and serves or has served on the boards of the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, Ascanius: The Youth Classics Institute, and Virginia21. In 2016, the Governor of Virginia appointed Mr. Bunch to the Board of Visitors of the College of William & Mary.
A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Mr. Bunch graduated with a B.A., summa cum laude, from the College of William & Mary, earned an Ed. M. from Harvard University, and received his J.D. from William & Mary Law School, where he was a recipient of the Benjamin Rush Medal in 2006. In 2011, he was awarded William & Mary’s inaugural W. Taylor Reveley III award, recognizing alumni who have demonstrated a sustained commitment to public service.