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Hefter, Michael C.
Michael C. Hefter
Partner
P: +1.212.508.6185
F: +1.800.404.3970

Sabrina Harvey

212.508.6100 x6507

Michael Hefter is a trial partner in Bracewell's New York office and co-head of the firm’s securities litigation group. Michael has experience as lead litigation and trial counsel for numerous clients in complex business matters in federal and state courts throughout the United States. He has litigated both jury and non-jury trials in federal and state courts. In 2013, Michael was lead counsel in two cases tried to verdict before juries in New York. In the first trial in April 2013, Michael was lead trial counsel to Bureau Veritas, the global leader in inspection and testing services, against claims that BV fraudulently induced the sale of a U.S. subsidiary and breached the underlying purchase agreement. After a two week jury trial in New York Supreme Court, the jury returned a total defense verdict. In the second trial, Bracewell represented Rebecca Mairone, the former COO of Countrywide, in one of the most high profile cases brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York arising out of the mortgage financial crisis. Michael acted as co‐lead trial counsel before the Honorable Jed Rakoff in a case involving significant issues relating to the mortgage crisis. In December 2013, the First Department of the New York Supreme Court reversed the trial court, agreeing with Michael’s argument on a significant issue concerning the application of the Statute of Frauds in New York. As reported by the New York Law Journal, a unanimous Appellate Division, First Department panel ruled that part performance is not an exception to the statute of frauds for oral contracts that cannot be performed within a year, “rejecting a line of earlier First Department cases on the issue.”

Michael's principal areas of practice include litigation and arbitration in complex commercial disputes, including claims involving breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and other business disputes, securities litigation, RICO actions, construction litigation, structured finance disputes, post-acquisition disputes, corporate governance (including mergers and acquisition litigation), claims involving lender liability issues, class and derivative actions, claims involving LLC and limited partnership issues and structures, bankruptcy-related and other forms of general commercial and complex litigation. He has represented clients in numerous industries, including energy, insurance, healthcare, investment and commercial banking, private equity and hedge funds, venture capital, real estate, accounting, telecommunications, aerospace and defense, chemicals, and computer software.

Representative Matters

Currently lead counsel to funds managed by a N.Y.-based private equity firm in federal court in California against the former officers and directors of a publicly traded company for breach of fiduciary duty and other wrongdoing relating to defendants’ raiding of the company. Has prevailed on numerous pre-answer motions by defendants seeking to dismiss the case, resulting in lengthy written opinions in favor of our clients. Also leads the defense of the private equity funds in retaliatory claims filed in California state court. Recently secured a major victory where the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the District Court’s rulings on defendants’ pre-answer motions.

Recently acted as lead litigation counsel for debtor KIT digital in litigation in the United States Bankruptcy Court or the Southern District of New York. Successfully argued a significant issue of first impression in the district, which paved the way for a successful reorganization of the debtor. Has acted as lead trial counsel in two bench trials before bankruptcy courts since 2012.

Currently represents a private equity fund in defending claims by former creditors of a portfolio company based on all allegations that the court should pierce the corporate veil between the private equity firm and the portfolio company. Recently secured a major reversal of the trial court’s discovery rulings in the New York Appellate Division, First Department.

Recently represented a large private equity fund defending class action allegations pending in federal court in Delaware and in the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit that the fund should be held liable for portfolio company's alleged failure to provide warnings under the federal WARN Act and related state laws.

Recently represented a publicly traded company and its directors in multi‐state class action shareholder litigation in Delaware and New York challenging a tender offer and merger under state and federal law. We were successful in defeating a motion for preliminary injunction in New York, and successfully resolved the main litigation in Delaware.

Acted as lead trial counsel on behalf of major institutional investors against claims of a debtor in bankruptcy seeking to nullify a pre-payment provision in a trust indenture governing the debtor's senior secured bonds.

Currently represents a hedge fund in litigation arising from the financing of a failed collateralized loan obligation transaction involving credit card receivables. The case is currently pending in New York.

Recently obtained a summary judgment in lieu of complaint in favor of a seller, a private equity sponsored portfolio company, seeking to enforce a guarantee of the purchase price in connection with an acquisition. Successfully argued the appeal in New York’s appellate court.

Acted as lead trial counsel on behalf of an international telecommunications company based in Hong Kong against a construction firm for the defective construction of a submarine fiber optic cable system.

Acted as lead counsel to a major commercial bank defending allegations that the bank improperly interfered with the distribution of "funds" through a loan "waterfall", and for lender liability arising from the failure of the borrower resulting from the credit crisis.

Acted as lead counsel in defending class action allegations filed in California and Delaware concerning the acquisition of a major U.S. computer manufacturer.

Publications and Speeches

“Delaware Court Holds Interested Directors Liable for ‘Fairer Price’ in Going Private Transaction,” Transaction Advisors, September 2015.

“Scope of Section 220 Discovery After Wal-Mart,” New York Law Journal, July 13, 2015.

Education

J.D., with honors, Emory University School of Law, 1991
B.A., University of Michigan, 1988

Bar Admissions

New York

Court Admissions

U.S. District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York

Affiliations

American Bar Association
Federal Bar Council

Noteworthy

Named by the editors of The National Law Journal one of the "40 under 40" lawyers in the United States, 2002
Thomson Reuters, Super Lawyers – Metro New York, 2007, 2009, 2010