S. Douglas Bunch is a Partner at Cohen Milstein, a member of the Securities Litigation & Investor Protection practice group, and Co-Chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee.
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 to Benchmark Litigation’s 2019 “40 & Under Hot List” and as one of Law360’s “Rising Stars – Securities” (2017), honoring lawyers under the age of 40 whose professional accomplishments transcend their age.
Mr. Bunch played a leading role in the following securities class actions:
- In re Harman International Industries, Inc. Securities Litigation (D.D.C.): 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.
- Schwartz v. Opus Bank (C.D. Cal.): Cohen Milstein was 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 November 2018, the Court granted final approval of a $17 million settlement.
- In re ITT Educational Services, Inc. Securities Litigation (S.D.N.Y.): 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. (S.D.N.Y.): 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. (S.D.N.Y.): 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 (S.D.N.Y): 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 (E.D.N.C.): Cohen Milstein is Interim Co-Lead Class Counsel in this environmental toxic tort class action filed against E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company and The Chemours Company. Plaintiffs 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.
- Plumbers & Pipefitters National Pension Fund v. Davis (S.D.N.Y.): Cohen Milstein is Lead Counsel in this high-profile, putative securities class action involving Performance Sports Group’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. On April 14, 2020, the Court largely denied Defendants’ motion to dismiss, moving the case to active discovery.
- In re GreenSky Securities Litigation (S.D.N.Y): Cohen Milstein is Co-Lead Counsel, representing Northeast Carpenters Annuity Fund and the El Paso Firemen & Policemen’s Pension Fund, in this securities class action involving fintech company GreenSky’s failure to disclose in its Initial Public Offering documents significant facts about the Company’s decision to pivot away from its most profitable line of business. In the months following the IPO, Defendants explained these facts to the market, and GreenSky’s stock plummeted, causing significant harm to investors. In June 2020, the Court certified the class of investors.
- In re EQT Corporation Securities Litigation (W.D. Pa.): Cohen Milstein is Co-Lead Counsel in this securities class action, in which Plaintiffs allege that EQT misrepresented the “substantial synergies” that were expected to arise from a planned merger with rival natural gas producer Rice Energy due to “the contiguous and complementary nature of Rice’s asset base with EQT’s.”
For his legal achievements, Mr. Bunch has received numerous industry recognitions, including being named to Benchmark Litigation’s 2019 “40 & Under Hot List,” and Law360’s “Rising Stars – Securities” (2017), recognizing outstanding lawyers under the age of 40. Mr. Bunch has also been annually recognized by Super Lawyers for Securities Litigation (2014-2020).
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. Mr. Bunch has twice been appointed, in 2016 and again in 2020, by Governors of Virginia 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.