Jonathan Watkins 

Partner – Charlotte, New York
T.+1 704 348 5129
227 West Trade Street
Charlotte , NC 28202 V-CARD
T.+1 212 504 6229
200 Liberty Street
New York , NY 10281

Jonathan Watkins represents public and private businesses and financial institutions in complex litigation and white-collar investigations. His practice covers securities, derivative, and other shareholder actions, M&A-related litigation, suits alleging breaches of fiduciary duties by corporate directors, disputes involving complex financial benchmarks and instruments, litigation arising out of commercial contracts and transactions, antitrust and other competition-related litigation, and government and internal investigations. Jonathan has represented clients at trial in federal and state courts across the country and before several federal and state appellate courts.

Jonathan’s white-collar practice focuses on representing financial institutions and other corporate clients in investigations by regulators, prosecutors, and enforcement agencies, including the Department of Justice and United States Attorneys’ offices, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Federal Reserve. He recently represented a financial institution in government inquiries into the alleged manipulation of an interest-rate benchmark.

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 Texas and New York 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.
  • Representing certain 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 Merrill Lynch’s independent directors in the Southern District of New York, New York Supreme Court, and Delaware Chancery Court in shareholder litigation over the Bank of America-Merrill Lynch merger.

Jonathan’s competition and intellectual property experience includes:

  • Representing a market-disrupting technology company in competition-related litigation with an incumbent competitor.
  • 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 regional healthcare provider in connection with inquiries by the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice.
  • Representing a producer of polymer-based membranes in a complex patent infringement and antitrust dispute, Daramic, LLC v. Entek International, LLC, No. 3:11-cv-676-FDW-DSC (W.D.N.C.).
  • Representing IBM in a multi-billion dollar breach-of-contract and copyright-infringement action over the Linux operating system, SCO Group Inc. v. International Business Machines Corp., No. 2:03-cv-00294 (D. Utah).
  • Representing the preeminent statistical-arbitrage hedge fund in an action against former employees and their new employer to protect trade secrets.
  • Representing LendingTree before the North Carolina Business Court and the North Carolina Supreme Court in a dispute over trade secrets and allegedly unfair business practices.

Jonathan represents clients in all types of high-stakes appeals. His experience includes:

  • Representing a group of financial institutions in both 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 prior to his joining Cadwalader.

Jonathan Watkins 


  • U.S. District Court, District of North Dakota
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of North Carolina
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of North Carolina
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of North Carolina
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit
  • North Carolina
  • New York
  • District of Columbia


  • Fordham University, School of Law
    J.D., magna cum laude
  • Lehigh University



June 27: SFIG Legal Counsel Forum 2018

Partners Scott Cammarn and Neil Weidner will be speaking at this event in New York City.

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