A partner in the Litigation Department, Yahonnes Cleary represents clients in complex commercial litigation in state and federal court, including product liability litigation, securities litigation, consumer class actions, and contractual disputes. He has substantial trial experience, including representing financial institutions, pharmaceutical companies, and other corporate and individual clients in high-stakes trials in federal and state court.
Significant representations include:
- AbbVie in multiple bellwether trials in federal and state court involving claims related to the company’s testosterone replacement therapy product;
- The owners of the Ashley Madison website in a consumer fraud class action arising out of a data breach of the company’s dating website;
- Bank of New York Mellon in various civil and regulatory matters related to the company’s foreign exchange services;
- Citigroup in a more than $600 million fraud case involving a rogue foreign currency trader;
- A major Japanese corporation as advisory counsel in connection with a product liability jury trial in state court, which resulted in a complete defense verdict;
- The New Jersey Governor in the dismissal of a lawsuit challenging an investigation into the state’s tax incentive programs;
- Paramount Pictures Corporation in a bench trial in federal court involving fraud and other claims related to a film financing, resulting in dismissal of all claims;
- Pfizer in the first two trials in national litigation involving claims related to the company’s antidepressant, resulting in complete defense verdicts;
- UBS in a lawsuit in New York state court asserting fraud and other claims related to the issuance of collateralized debt obligations comprised of residential mortgage backed securities; and
- An underwriter syndicate in a securities fraud action in New York state court arising out of an initial public offering.
Yahonnes also has represented financial institutions and other companies and organizations in connection with sensitive internal and regulatory investigations.
Yahonnes maintains an active pro bono practice, particularly on matters concerning criminal and racial justice. He recently filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of 190 state and local government officials in support of the challenge to the proposed citizenship question in the 2020 Census. He also has worked on matters with the Sentencing Project, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the American Bar Association, the Bronx Defenders, and Clemency Project 2014.
Yahonnes is an alumnus and member of the board of trustees of Prep for Prep, a leadership development program for minority students in New York City, and a member of the Yale Law School Fund Board.
Yahonnes was named to the “40 & Under Hot List – Northeast” and recognized as a “Future Star” in the 2019 edition of Benchmark Litigation.