Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check

Pennsylvania

Review

Dispute resolution

Based in the Philadelphia suburb of Radnor, Pennsylvania for almost 30 years, powerhouse plaintiff shop Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check has scored nationwide wins in the securities sphere and has even entrenched itself overseas. Peers refer to the firm as “solid, young and continuing to improve,” with one peer elaborating. “They’re taking cases so much deeper than they used to – some of their cases are settling about a month away from trial, whereas they used to settle right away. And I would trust them to try these cases if they had to.” One peer, in the defense capacity, notes, “I actually see Kessler Topaz filing fewer cases, which is a good thing, because too many plaintiff firms are well known by us as ‘volume shops,’ just bringing junk cases that make you almost embarrassed for them. Kessler Topaz is not one of these, and in fact the firm has distinguished itself by its selectiveness. They don’t always win but the cases they bring don’t make you roll your eyes either.” Another peer elaborates upon a key advantage of the firm. “Kessler Topaz has a lot of penetration in the European market, they spent a lot of money on that and it’s paid off. They realized that there was a space in Europe where they did not know there was a class-action market at all, and so they built a monitoring practice with them. This has grown to the point where they’re representing institutional investors in the US as well.” Stuart Berman is particularly noted for his non-US litigation practice, as is Darren Check.
     A peer observes, “I’m seeing Kessler Topaz as lead or co-lead on certain cases that I wouldn’t have expected to see them on before, they’re more present now.” In one recent example, Kessler Topaz is co-lead counsel in a derivative and class action case on behalf of Tesla and its minority stockholders challenging Tesla’s 2016 acquisition of SolarCity Corporation, which plaintiffs allege was essentially a bailout of the financially struggling SolarCity (founded and run by Elon Musk’s cousins) at shareholders’ expense. In another example, the firm was appointed lead plaintiff counsel in the case concerning the involvement of several Goldman Sachs executives in the massive 1MBD fund fraud scandal in Malaysia, which eventually led to the removal and ultimate prosecution of that country’s prime minister. The firm, and particularly partners Andrew Zivitz and Matthew Mustokoff, lead this action, which has been consolidated in the Southern District of New York. Zivitz has emerged as one of the firm’s most active and visible partners. A prominent New York defense attorney confirms, “I witnessed Andrew in the ‘London Whale’ case and was very impressed. He is a great lawyer and also just a really good guy.” Mustokoff meanwhile has also kept busy with a matter involving Allergan, concerning alleged price fixing of generic drugs. In yet another example, in October 2019, the firm was also granted co-lead plaintiff counsel status representing institutional investors against Brazilian private equity entity 3G concerning the “over-ambitious and spectacularly over-leveraged” merger of food industry giants Kraft and Heinz, in which the complaint alleges the overstating of the potential of this integration. “As you may have seen, that merger’s not going very well,” pipes a peer, “but it seems like 3G made out VERY well despite this, while the investors most certainly did not.” Lee Rudy is another frequent mention in the community. “Lee mostly does Delaware corporate governance litigation, and he very good with that.” Rudy led a March 2016 argument New York’s Court of Appeals challenging the going private “freeze out” of stockholders of Kenneth Cole Productions by its namesake majority stockholder Kenneth Cole. More recently, in December 2017 he scored for investors in a $290 million settlement with Valeant Pharmaceuticals and Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square fund concerning insider trading claims. “I view Lee as a real standout,” ventures a peer. “A few years back he was lead trial counsel on that monster Southern Peru case, which was a $2 billion verdict. If I had the kind of attorney fees he must have pulled in with that, frankly I’m not sure I would ever return to work again! But Lee has just kept at it and is dedicated to doing great work.” The profile of Sharan Nirmul is on the rise on the strength of his lead role in cases against Snap concerning allegations of misinformation on its IPO as well as a pending action against GE.