Jonathan Watkins represents public and private businesses, financial institutions, boards, special committees, investors and individuals in complex litigation. His practice covers antitrust and other competition-related litigation; disputes involving complex financial benchmarks and instruments; securities, derivative and other shareholder actions; M&A-related litigation; corporate governance matters; and suits alleging breaches of fiduciary duties by corporate directors. Jonathan has represented clients at trial in federal and state courts across the country and before several federal and state appellate courts.
Many of Jonathan’s matters involve government investigations. He represents clients in inquiries by regulators, prosecutors and enforcement agencies, including the Department of Justice and United States Attorneys’ offices, state attorneys general, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve.
Jonathan graduated magna cum laude from Fordham University School of Law, where he earned the Fordham Law School Prize, served as a Member of the Fordham Law Review, and was elected to the Order of the Coif. He received his undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from Lehigh University. Jonathan began his career with Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP.
Jonathan’s securities, shareholder, and M&A-related litigation experience includes:
- Defending Credit Suisse from Section 10(b) claims arising from the collapse of Enron, including the $40 billion lead securities class action, Newby v. Enron Corp., Cons. Action No. H-01-3624, MDL No. 1446 (S.D. Tex.), and the several coordinated and consolidated cases.
- Representing Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank in litigation over the failed Hexion-Huntsman merger, including in Hexion Specialty Chemicals, Inc. v. Credit Suisse, Cayman Islands Branch, Index No.114552/08 (N.Y. Sup. Ct.), where Hexion sought specific performance of $15.4 billion of financing commitments, and at jury trial in Huntsman Corp. v. Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, No. 08-09-09258 (9th Dist. Tex.), where Huntsman sought $4.65 billion in compensatory tort damages.
- Representing The Fresh Market and its directors in several shareholder class actions targeting Apollo Global Management’s $1.36 billion acquisition of The Fresh Market.
- Defending independent directors of Reynolds American before the North Carolina Business Court and the North Carolina Court of Appeals in shareholder class actions challenging Reynolds American’s $27.4 billion acquisition of Lorillard.
- Representing a special litigation committee in derivative litigation targeting a proposed merger of financial institutions.
- Representing Merrill Lynch’s independent directors in the Southern District of New York, New York Supreme Court, and Delaware Court of Chancery in shareholder litigation over the Bank of America-Merrill Lynch merger.
- Representing a special committee of the board of Reynolds American in Reynolds American’s acquisition by British American Tobacco.
Jonathan’s antitrust and competition experience includes:
- Representing a market-disrupting technology company in nationwide competition-related litigation against incumbent oligopolists.
- Defending a major financial institution against allegations that it manipulated an interest-rate benchmark.
- Defending a major financial institution against allegations that it manipulated the pricing of corporate bonds.
- Representing Qualcomm before tribunals in Delaware and California in high-stakes patent-licensing and competition-related disputes with Nokia and Broadcom involving the 2G and 3G cellular wireless standards.
- Representing a major healthcare provider in inquiries by the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice.
- Representing a producer of polymer-based membranes in complex antitrust and patent-infringement litigation.
- Representing LendingTree before the North Carolina Business Court and the North Carolina Supreme Court in a dispute over allegedly unfair competition.
Jonathan represents clients in all types of high-stakes appeals. His experience includes:
- Representing a group of financial institutions in the Fourth Circuit and the North Carolina Court of Appeals against a class of borrowers alleging violations of the North Carolina Consumer Finance Act and other usury-related misconduct. The federal appeal presented a jurisdictional question involving the scope of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act’s complete preemption of state-law usury claims; the state appeal involved the scope of the Federal Arbitration Act’s preemption of state law after AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion.
- Representing the City of Asheville against the State of North Carolina in Asheville’s constitutional challenge of the state’s attempted taking of Asheville’s water system.
- Representing Monsanto before the Fourth Circuit in a contractual dispute presenting issues of North Carolina law.
- Representing a global petrochemical and specialty chemical company in complex commercial disputes before the Second and Seventh Circuits.
- Representing a trust before the North Carolina Supreme Court in a constitutional challenge, under the due process and dormant commerce clauses of the United States Constitution, to North Carolina’s taxation of foreign trusts.
- Representing amicus curiae Professor Erwin Chemerinsky before the United States Supreme Court in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, Nos. 07-21, 07-25 (U.S.), a case involving a challenge to Indiana’s voter identification law.
- Representing amicus curiae Qualcomm in Quanta Computer, Inc. v. LG Electronics, Inc., No. 06-937 (U.S.), the leading patent exhaustion case, and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization v. Buffalo Technology (USA), Inc., No. 2007-1449 (Fed. Cir.), a patent infringement case involving the propriety of injunctive relief when technology standards are implicated.
*Several of the above representations were handled by Jonathan before he joined Cadwalader.