MICHAEL D. DONOVAN, a founding member of the firm, is
admitted to practice before
the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Courts of Appeals for
the Second, Third, Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Circuits, the United States District
Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the United States District Courts
for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York as well as the state courts
of Pennsylvania and New York and the courts of Washington, D.C. He is a
graduate of Vermont Law School (J.D. cum laude 1984) and Syracuse
University (A.B. 1981). He was the Head Notes Editor and a staff
member of the Vermont Law Review from 1982 through 1984. While on
the Law Review, he authored Note, Zoning Variance Administration
in Vermont, 8 Vermont L. Rev. 370 (1984). Following graduation from law
school, Mr. Donovan was a trial attorney with the Securities and Exchange
Commission in Washington, D.C. where he prosecuted numerous securities
cases and enforcement matters, including injunctive and disciplinary
actions against public companies, broker/dealers and accounting firms.
Mr. Donovan has co-authored "Preserving Judicial Recourse for Consumers:
How to Combat Overreaching Arbitration Clauses," 10 Loyola Consumer L. Rev.
269 (1998); "The Overlooked Victims of the Thrift Crisis," Miami Review,
Feb. 13, 1990 and "Conspiracy of Silence: Why S&L Regulators Can’t Always be Trusted," Legal Times, Feb. 5, 1990.
Mr. Donovan has served as co-lead counsel in the
following securities class actions:
In addition, Mr. Donovan had had a substantial role in the
prosecution of the following cases, among others:
- Selis v. KTI, Incorporated , (D. N.J. 2003)(settled for $3.8 million)
- In re Worldport Securities Litigation , (D. Ga. 2002)(settled for $5.1 million)
- Phronesis Capital Partners v. Wilmar Corp. (N.J. Super. 1999)
(proposed merger case settled for corrective disclosures and terms)
- Lines v. Marble Financial Corp. , (D. Vt. 1991) (settled for $2
million together with substantial changes to the company’s loan loss reserve procedures)
- Jones v. Amdura Corp. , (D. Colo. 1991)(action against directors
settled for $4,962,500 and against company after bankruptcy for $1.2 million)
- In re Columbia Shareholders Litigation (De. Ch. 1991)(merger
case settled for $2 per share increase in amount paid to shareholders).
- Rosen v. Fidelity Investments , [Current] Fed. Sec. L. Rep. 98,949
(E.D. Pa. Nov. 28, 1995)(opinion certifying class of mutual fund
purchasers; case settled for increases to fund assets).
In the area of consumer justice, Mr. Donovan has argued the
following cases, among others:
- In re Corel Corporation Securities Litigation , (E.D. Pa. 2003)
(settlement for $7 million pending final court approval)
- Pallas v. McGinn, et al., (D. N.J. 2003) (stockholder derivative
suit on behalf of Lucent, Inc. with proposed settlement pending court approval)
- White v. Heartland High Yield Municipal Bond Fund ,
(E.D. Wisc. 2002)(partial settlement of $14 million against all
defendants other than defendant PriceWaterhouseCoopers).
- In re Sykes Enterprises Securities Litigation ,
(M.D. Fla. 2003)(settlement of $30 million approved in March 2003).
- In re Trustcorp Securities Litigation , (N.D. Ohio 1990)(settled for $5,600,000)
- Moskowitz v. Lopp , 128 F.R.D. 624 (E.D. Pa. 1989)
(opinion certifying class of stock and option purchasers in
fraud on the market and insider trading case)
- In re Hercules Corporation Securities Litigation ,
(D. Del. 1992)(settled for $17.25 million).
Mr. Donovan has appeared as faculty member and speaker at the
American Bar Association’s Class Action Forum, the Pennsylvania Bar Institute’s
Banking Law Update, the Practicing Law Institute’s Financial Services Litigation
Forum, the Consumer Credit Regulation Forum of the New Jersey Bar Association,
and the National Consumer Rights Litigation Conference sponsored by the
National Consumer Law Center.
- The United States Court of Appeals for he Third Circuit in Rossman v. Fleet Bank (R.I.), N.A., 280 F.3d 384 (3d Cir. 2002).
- The New Jersey Supreme court in Lemelledo v. Beneficial Management Corp. of America, 150 N.J. 255 (1997).
- The United States Supreme Court in Smiley v. Citibank (South Dakota), N.A., 116 S. Ct. 806 (argued Apr. 24, 1996)
- The New Jersey Supreme Court in Sherman v. Citibank (South Dakota), N.A., 668 A.2d 1036 (N.J. 1995) and Hunter v. Greenwood Trust Co., 668 A.2d 1067 (N.J. 1995)
- From the Pennsylvania Superior Court in In re Citibank Credit Card Litigation, 653 A.2d 39 (Pa. Super. 1995) and Gadon v. Chase Manhattan Bank, N.A., 653 A.2d 43 (Pa. Super. 1995).
Mr. Donovan is a member of the American Bar Association
(Litigation and Business Law Sections), the Pennsylvania Bar Association,
the New York Bar Association, and the District of Columbia Bar Association.
He is the Chair of the Consumer Law Subcommittee of the ABA Litigation
Section’s Class Actions and Derivative Suits Committee. He is also the
former Vice Chair of the National Association of Consumer Advocates and
an active member of Trial Lawyers for Public Justice.
DAVID A. SEARLES, partner, is admitted to practice before the United States
Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and
the Sixth Circuit and the United States District Courts for the Eastern
District of Pennsylvania, as well as the state courts of Pennsylvania.
He is a 1972 graduate of Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo, Michigan
(B.A. in English) and a 1975 graduate of the American University Law
College, Washington, D.C., where he served on law review. Following
graduation from law school, Mr. Searles was an attorney for Community
Legal Services of Philadelphia for over seventeen years, specializing in
consumer and bankruptcy law.
In 1990, he successfully argued the first consumer reorganization bankruptcy
case considered by the U.S. Supreme Court, Pennsylvania v. Davenport, 495
U.S. 552 (1990), and has served as lead counsel and presented argument in
numerous bankruptcy and consumer law cases before the United States Court
of Appeals for the Third Circuit, including Harris v. Green Tree Financial
Corporation, 183 F.3d 173 (3d Cir. 1999); In re Colon, 941 F.2d 242
(3d Cir. 1991); Smith v. Fidelity Consumer Discount Company, 898 F.2d
896 (3d. Cir. 1990); In re Szostek, 886 F. 2d 1405 (3d Cir. 1989);
Whittaker v. Philadelphia Electric Company, 882 F.2d 791 (3d Cir. 1989);
Watts v. Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, 876 F.2d 1090 (3d Cir. 1989);
Crossley v. Lieberman, 868 F. 2d 566 (3d Cir. 1989); Abele v. Mid-Penn
Consumer Discount Company, 77 B.R. 460 (E.D. Pa. 1987), aff’d 845 F.2d
1009 (3d. Cir. 1988); Washington v. Heckler, 756 F.2d 959 (3d. Cir. 1985).
From 1992 through 1997, Mr. Searles was associated with the Philadelphia
law firm of Drinker, Biddle & Reath, LLP, where his practice focused on
Chapter 11 bankruptcy and creditor's rights.
Mr. Searles is the Managing Editor of the Survey of State Class Action
Law (ABA Section on Litigation), 2003; Contributing Author of Pennsylvania
Consumer Law (Banks Baldwin Law Publishing Company), 2002; co-author of
Preserving Judicial Recourse for Consumers: How to Combat Overreaching
Arbitration Clauses, 10 Loyola Consumer L. Rev. 269 (1998) and author of
Tips In Handling Individual Bankruptcy Cases, Pennsylvania Bar Association
Quarterly, January 1997. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the
Consumer Bankruptcy Assistance Project, a non-profit organization providing
pro bono bankruptcy services to low-income Philadelphia residents, where
he received an award for outstanding volunteer service in 1997. He has
taught advanced bankruptcy law at Rutgers University School of Law - Camden,
business law at Widener University and bankruptcy law at Pierce Junior
College, Philadelphia. He is a past co-chairperson of the Education
Committee of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Conference.
Recent litigation decisions include:
- Colbert v. Dymacol, Inc., 305 F.3d 1256 (3d Cir. 2002) (appeal vacated and
dismissed, March 10, 2003) (en banc court vacated panel decision and held
Rule 68 offer to class representative not appropriate).
- Piper v. Portnoff Law Associates, Ltd., 262 F. Supp. 2d 520 (E.D. Pa. May
15, 2003); 216 F.R.D. 325 (E.D. Pa. July 8, 2003); 2003 WL 21771745 (E.D.
Pa. July 31, 2003) (court preliminarily enjoined sheriff sale for unpaid
water bill, certified class of consumers dunned by law firm and granted
summary judgment to class for defendants’ violations of debt collection laws).
- Samuel v. Equicredit Corp., C.A. No. 00-6196 (E.D. Pa. Sept. 11, 2002)
(settlement of class action on behalf of twelve thousand Pennsylvania
residential homeowners victimized by practices and policies of a sub-prime
home equity lender; class members received $2,500,000 payment, plus
substantial foreclosure relief).
- Braun v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 2003 WL 1847695 (Pa. Com. Pl. January
15, 2003) (court prohibited Wal-Mart from conducting ex parte interviews
with current and former employees who are class members).
- Saunders v. Berks Credit and Collections, Inc., 2002 WL 1497374 (E.D.
Pa. July 11, 2002) (approval of class action settlement against three
debt collector defendants under Fair Debt Collection Practices Act).
- Oslan v. Collection Bureau Hudson Valley, 206 F.R.D. 109 (E.D. Pa.
2002) (certifying FDCPA class action under Rules 23(b)(2) and (3)).
- Gary v. Goldman & Co., 180 F.Supp.2d 668 (E.D.Pa. 2002) (ruling that
dishonored check is "debt" under FDCPA).
- Greer v. Shapiro & Kreisman, 152 F. Supp.2d 679 (E.D. Pa. 2001)
(denial of motion to dismiss class action under FDCPA).
- Williams v. Empire Funding Corp., 183 F.R.D. 428 (E.D. Pa. 1998),
109 F.Supp.2d 352 (E.D. Pa. 2000) (class action against a predatory
lender who deprived consumers of their right to rescission under
the federal Truth-In-Lending Act through the use of a deceptive two-contract scheme).
- Fry v. Hayt, Hayt & Landau, 198 F.R.D. 461 (E.D. Pa. 2000)
($453,000 settlement of debt collection class action involving
over 55,000 class members who received deceptive dunning letters
from the defendant debt collector law firm).
- Newton v. United Companies Financial Corp., 24 F. Supp. 2d 444
(E.D. Pa. 1998) (plaintiffs prevailed in case against a sub-prime
home equity lender for violations of the Home Ownership and Equity
Protection Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, achieving
rescission of the mortgages and awards of money damages)