David Russell is the consummate securities litigator and business advocate. Over the course of his 40+ year career David has steered businesses through a wide range of litigation matters in state and federal court and in arbitration settings. His trial skills, industry knowledge, and extensive experience with securities and business litigation provide the ideal combination for clients to achieve the outcomes they are looking for.
Recently recognized by The Best Lawyers in America® as the singular Atlanta “Lawyer of the Year” for 2019 for Bet-the-Company Litigation, and similarly recognized as Atlanta "Lawyer of the Year" for 2016 for Securities Litigation, David is deeply focused on representing major securities firms, public and private companies, and their agents in jury trials, arbitrations, and regulatory enforcement proceedings. These cases include class actions, shareholder derivative claims, FINRA arbitrations, and retail customer suits involving a wide range of securities-related issues. David also represents securities firms in claims arising out of broker terminations, including libel, tortious interference, covenants not to compete, confidentiality agreements, and trade secrets. He is also engaged to defend securities-related federal criminal actions including money, property, and honest services wire fraud claims.
David is passionate about trial advocacy and ensuring that his clients’ rights are fully vindicated. His deep knowledge of the securities industry and its practices and laws enables David to intimately understand his clients’ positioning, rights, and options. At the same time, his comprehensive approach and extensive courtroom experience makes David exceptionally well-armed to advocate on behalf of his clients.
Represented its financial institution client in winning a dismissal of a $4 million fraud claim filed in federal district court in Georgia involving the sale of a flexible premium life insurance policy, which dismissal was affirmed by the Eleventh Circuit. Then won a related, subsequent suit in the New York Supreme Court.
Served as lead counsel on behalf of a national broker/dealer client in a series of FINRA arbitrations arising out the departure of multiple employees following the client's sale of its wealth division. The firm filed individual arbitrations to recover amounts owed by the former employees and defended against their various employment-related counterclaims. The firm was successful in recovering over $16 million for the client and defeating more than $17 million in claims against the client.
After two weeks of evidentiary hearings before a FINRA securities arbitration panel in New York City in March and May of 2018, the firm secured a complete victory for the broker-dealer client, which had been accused of various wrongdoing concerning a customer's account. The customer had claimed over $14,000,000 in damages and recovered nothing. The panel found that the claims were "false" and recommended that the supervisor's industry records be expunged of any reference to the customer's claims. The case was complicated because it involved over six years of trading and because of the absence of any testimony from the broker, who, tragically, passed away just a few weeks before the hearings began.
Won a major victory on behalf of a securities broker-dealer in a customer case that was decided by a three-arbitrator FINRA panel. The case involved allegedly improper withdrawals from a trust account, which was depleted by the trustee for his own use. The customers sought $19 million in damages. After a week-long evidentiary hearing, the Panel rejected all of the customers’ claims, awarded our client $500,000 in attorney fees, and ruled that the individual brokers’ regulatory records should be “expunged” of all references to the “false” claims.
Currently serves as lead counsel in responding to a deficiency letter issued by the Atlanta office of the Securities Exchange Commission.
Author, A Man You Could Call a Man, a 2019 novel available on Amazon.com
Panelist, discussion before the Georgia Arbitration Forum on how to improve the reality and perception of arbitration as a fair, efficient, and economical alternative to litigation. (September, 2016)
Presenter, Annual Arbitration Institute in Atlanta on the topic of “Arbitration vs. Litigation—How Litigators Deal with the Differences.” (August, 2016)
Author, Unbroken Poem, a novel (2014), available in hardback and on Amazon.com
Author, "Russell's Better Brief Writing Guide," 7 Ga. Bar J. 42 (2002)
Panelist, Eleventh Annual Corporate and Business Organization Litigation seminar on the topic of "Managing the Big Picture -- Multiple Problems, Claims and Proceedings with In-House Counsel Under Fire"
Arbitrating Securities Class Actions - Panelist "Arbitrating Securities Class Actions (ABA Section of Litigation Annual Conference, May, 2009), in which a number of nationally prominent securities and arbitration practitioners discussed the viability of securities class arbitrations; recent awards and court rulings related to securities class arbitrations; the practicalities of administering a class arbitration; and recent changes in the rules governing securities arbitrations before FINRA.
“Blaming the Victim” for Acting Irresponsibly: The Power of Affirmative Defenses in Securities Arbitrations