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ProfessionalsRobert Y. Sperling

Robert Y. Sperling
Partner

Tel: +1-212-373-3148
Fax: +1-212-492-0148
rsperling@paulweiss.com

+1-212-373-3148
New York

1285 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10019-6064
Fax: +1-212-492-0148

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A partner in the Litigation Department with more than 40 years of complex litigation experience, Bob is among the elite litigators nationally representing major Wall Street banks and Fortune 500 companies in their most sensitive and highest-stakes trials and other matters. He has won favorable outcomes in dozens of significant shareholder and antitrust class actions and major trial victories in several matters on behalf of the leading financial institutions, including a complete defense verdict in a rare antitrust multidistrict litigation in which he was lead trial counsel, and the reversal of class certification in a major commodities case. He has also advised clients on derivative shareholders actions and ERISA actions relating to securities claims.

Bob has been recognized as a leading litigator in Chambers USA for general commercial litigation in Illinois and has been ranked by The Legal 500 US for securities litigation. He has also been honored in Super Lawyers and Leading Lawyers Network. Bob is recognized in Benchmark Litigation as a “Litigation Star” and has previously been recognized as a “Local Litigation Star” and “National Practice Area Star” for Antitrust, General Commercial Litigation and Securities.

EXPERIENCE

Significant representations include:

  • Goldman Sachs
    • In MDL litigation of several nationwide class actions alleging that swaps dealers unlawfully conspired to block exchange trading and other competitive developments in multi-billion dollar derivatives market;
    • in defense of a proposed antitrust class action filed by the City of Philadelphia in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, alleging that a number of major banks conspired to artificially inflate the interest rates for a type of tax-free municipal bonds balled Variable Rate Demand Obligations (VRDOs);
    • in a securities fraud case relating to large bond offerings in Southeast Asia;
    • in a putative antitrust class action in which the bank and several others are alleged to have conspired with certain trading platforms to stifle competition in the stock loan market;
    • In a shareholder class action alleging violations of the Commodities Exchange Act for allegedly manipulating the U.S. Treasury market and injuring holders of short positions who were forced to cover at higher prices. Class certification was denied and the case was resolved pursuant to Rule 68 on an individual basis only;
    • as joint defense liaison counsel in a massive antitrust MDL of nearly 50 nationwide class actions related to the treasuries market;
    • In the dismissal, affirmed on appeal by the Seventh Circuit, of an action under the Commodity Exchange Act seeking damages for alleged market manipulation immediately preceding a Treasury announcement; and
    • in a qui tam action alleging violations of the Illinois False Claims Act and the Chicago False Claims Act related to public banking contracts and subprime lending activities.
  • Discover Financial Services
    • In the successful defense of long-running antitrust MDL alleging that credit card issuers conspired to adopt and maintain arbitration provisions with class action waivers in their cardholder agreements. Following a six-week bench trial and months of post-trial briefing, the Southern District of New York issued a 92-page judgment holding that plaintiffs “did not sustain their burden” of proving an antitrust violation under controlling law;
  • JPMorgan
    • as lead trial counsel in an action brought by a faction of convertible debenture holders seeking recovery under an anti-dilution clause in a trust agreement. JPMorgan prevailed on summary judgment and the ruling was affirmed on appeal by the Fifth Circuit;
    • in litigation related to the private placement of debt securities issued by Sons of Gwalia Ltd. alleging various New York common law claims, and in similar litigation alleging violations of the Georgia Blue Sky Statute, Georgia RICO statute, and Georgia common law claims; and
    • in a putative class action in the Northern District of Illinois related to JPMorgan’s investment advisory services.
  • Morgan Stanley
    • in a class action brought in connection with the 21st Century Telecom Group and RCN Corporation merger; and
    • in the dismissal, affirmed on appeal by the Seventh Circuit, of a putative class action seeking the recovery of postage and handling fees associated with tens of thousands of securities transactions from 1998 to the present.
  • Bank One Corporation in several consolidated shareholders’ class actions arising from the First Chicago NBD Corporation and Banc One Corporation merger alleging violations under Sections 11, 12(a)(2), and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933.
  • Chicago Parking Meters (CPM)
    • as trial counsel for its arbitration claim against the City of Chicago for breach of contract stemming from its 75-year, $1.15 billion parking meter Concession Agreement. After a multi-day evidentiary hearing, the AAA Panel ruled on CPM’s $13 million claim relating to excessive use of parking meters by Exempt Persons under the Concession Agreement, and the ruling remains confidential at this time;
    • as trial counsel with regard to the successful defense against a constitutional challenge by a group of Chicago voters seeking to void the $1.15 billion, 75-year parking meter privatization contract between the City of Chicago and CPM, a consortium led by Morgan Stanley;
    • in a class action claiming that its 75-year-long, $1.15B concession agreement to operate Chicago’s on-street parking meters violated the Sherman Act. The case was dismissed before the district court and is currently on appeal; and
    • As trial counsel to CPM and Morgan Stanley in winning to CPM and Morgan Stanley the dismissal of a putative 2.8 million-person class action that sought nearly a billion dollars in damages over the privatization of the City of Chicago’s parking meters. We defeated plaintiff’s claim that CPM, a consortium led by Morgan Stanley, conspired with William Blair & Company ― the city’s outside investment advisor ― to undervalue the city’s parking meter assets.
  • Chicago Loop Parking (CLP), a consortium led by Morgan Stanley, as trial counsel with regard to a constitutional challenge by a group of Chicago voters seeking to void a $563 million, 99-year parking-garage privatization contract between the City of Chicago and CLP. We successfully argued that the case should be dismissed because the taxpayers had no standing to challenge the deal.
  • Cisco Systems and 12 of its current and former board members and executives in connection with a securities fraud class action brought on behalf of Cisco Systems shareholders alleging securities fraud and insider trading.
  • Van Kampen Series Fund, Inc., a subsidiary of Morgan Stanley, in a class action brought against Van Kampen in connection with an internal examination and investigation of various practices performed by Morgan Stanley’s mutual fund business;
  • Global Financial Institution and its affiliates in regulatory investigations and follow-on class actions, accusing financial institutions and certain other parties of colluding to restrain competition in the multi-billion-dollar global market for interest rate swaps.
  • Underwriting Syndicates
    • in a federal securities class action in the Northern District of Illinois alleging that the registration statement and prospectus for October 2018 $575 million SPO by Conagra Brands contained misleading statements and financial disclosures concerning the sales practices of a Conagra acquiree. The case was dismissed at the district court, and dismissal was upheld on appeal before the Seventh Circuit;
    • in state and federal class actions claiming securities laws violations based on allegations that Rev Group’s offering materials, including its pre-IPO registration statement, for its 2017 IPO and SPO, misrepresented its financial stability, promises of growth, and operations results to plaintiffs and other investors;
    • in a putative securities class action stemming from alleged misrepresentations relating to Ignite Restaurant Group’s IPO;
    • in a putative securities class action filed in the aftermath of Accretive Health’s plan to issue a multi-year restatement; and
    • in a putative securities class action filed by shareholders of Party City, the world’s largest distributor of party supplies and costumes.
  • Household International
    • in a national class action alleging violations of ERISA in connection with the investment of corporate pension monies; and
    • independent directors in a national consolidated shareholders’ class action alleging violations under Section 10(b)(5) of the Securities Act of1934 and Section 11 of the Securities Act of 1933.
  • Cendant Corporation along with Henry Silverman, Cendant’s former CEO, and Samuel Katz, a former Cendant executive, in a Section 10(b)case stemming from Cendant’s purchase of Credentials Services International.

ACTIVITIES & ASSOCIATIONS

Bob is a member of the American Bar Association’s Antitrust Law and Litigation sections; the Illinois State Bar Association’s Antitrust Law, Civil Practice and Procedure; and the Chicago Bar Association. He served as a member of the board of trustees for the Museum of Science and Industry from December 2007–June 2013. In addition, he served as a member of the board of trustees of the University of Illinois from 2003–2009. While he was a trustee, he served as vice-chair of the Committee on Finance and chair of the Committee on Athletics. Bob was a lecturer at the Stanford Senior Executive Leadership Forum in Hong Kong in May 2012. He has frequently lectured on complex civil litigation before various bar association and business groups.

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