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Michael Donovan, Donovan Searles, LLC     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:

  • 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 addition, Mr. Donovan had had a substantial role in the prosecution of 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).
    In the area of consumer justice, Mr. Donovan has argued the following cases, among others:
  • 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 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.

    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 Searles of Donovan Searles, LLC 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)
 
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