James R. Carroll is head of Skadden’s Boston office. Mr. Carroll has broad experience — including jury trial experience — in securities class action defense, consumer products and insurance, as well as a broad array of complex civil litigations. Many of his engagements have been in the financial services and pharmaceutical industries.

Bio

Mr. Carroll secured important wins for the pharmaceutical industry in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. In May 2016, the First Circuit affirmed the dismissal with prejudice of purported securities fraud class action cases against a major Boston pharmaceutical company. In doing so, the court emphasized that the plaintiff’s use of so-called “confidential witnesses” — even when there are many of them — is no substitute for specific factual allegations of fraud. In another frequently cited First Circuit win for a pharmaceutical company in 2008, the court emphasized that drug companies have no obligation to immediately publicly disclose even very negative adverse events of a drug and that securities laws permit — indeed, require — that issuers reasonably investigate important developments prior to public disclosure. Mr. Carroll, on behalf of a German-based global pharmaceutical and chemical company, also won denial of a preliminary injunction motion seeking to enjoin a shareholder vote on whether to approve the company’s proposed $7 billion acquisition of a Massachusetts-based life science company. He is currently representing the former CEO of a pharmaceutical company in a pending federal court action where the SEC alleges that former senior officers of that company conspired to withhold negative information from the market.

Mr. Carroll is handling a number of purported class actions for major national life insurers and is defending a variety of purported class and individual actions in the life, disability and casualty insurance contexts. He won an appeal for one of the nation’s largest mutual fund complexes that reversed a lower court’s refusal to dismiss three putative class actions involving allegations of improper mutual fund “market timing” activities. Mr. Carroll also represented investment advisers in regulatory inquiries and civil litigations in connection with the Bernard Madoff scandal. He also is defending one of the nation’s leading providers of variable annuities in class actions filed in multiple jurisdictions. Mr. Carroll regularly represents special committees and corporations in connection with derivative actions.

Mr. Carroll also is defending multiple ERISA class action cases, particularly in the financial services industry. In this regard he obtained a rare voluntary dismissal of a class action, pending in the Southern District of New York, against ERISA fiduciaries alleged to have ignored prudent risk concentration/diversification guidelines. He is currently defending several ERISA class actions alleging that plan participants paid excessive fees on a variety of investment options, including proprietary funds. In 2017, he tried an ERISA class action to conclusion in the District of Massachusetts.

Mr. Carroll’s practice also includes representing corporations and individuals in matters before the SEC, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office and the Massachusetts Securities Division. His current engagements include matters before each of those regulators. In particular, he is defending civil enforcement actions and regulatory inquiries relating to allegations of misleading disclosure and claims that for-profit educational institutions violated state consumer protection laws.

Mr. Carroll has utilized the Private Securities Litig­ation Reform Act to obtain a rare denial of a class certification motion in a purported 10b-5 securities fraud class action. He also argued the first Rule 23 (f) class certification appeal accepted by the First Circuit. His engagements also include the defense of qui tam actions brought across the country and representations of financial institutions in “security breach” actions arising out of the criminal activity of computer hackers.

Mr. Carroll often litigates a variety of covenant-not-to-compete and “employee raiding” cases on behalf of several Massachusetts high-technology firms. He also has experience trying cases before arbitration panels of FINRA and AAA. In addition, he has tried so-called “whistleblower” cases to an administrative law judge pursuant to Sarbanes-Oxley.

Mr. Carroll has been a guest lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management on matters relating to insider trading and the federal securities laws. He is a former member of Skadden’s Policy Committee, the firm’s governing body. Mr. Carroll repeatedly has been selected for inclusion in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business and The Best Lawyers in America. He also was named as one of the 500 Leading Lawyers in America by Lawdragon. Mr. Carroll was named one of the 2013 “BTI Client Service All-Stars” by The BTI Consulting Group for providing outstanding client service. “All-Stars” are nominated unprompted in interviews with corporate counsel at Fortune 1000 and other large organizations.

In addition to courts in Massachusetts, he is admitted to practice in the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals including the Federal, First, Second, Third, Fifth, Seventh and Ninth Circuits and numerous federal district courts across the country. Mr. Carroll’s practice is not limited to New England; he regularly litigates in courts throughout the United States.

Credentials

Education

  • J.D., Harvard Law School, 1989
  • B.A., Niagara University, 1986 (summa cum laude; Presidential Scholar)

Admissions

  • Massachusetts
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Federal, First, Second, Third, Fifth, Seventh and Ninth Circuits

Experience

  • Visiting Lecturer, Law Department, University College, Cork (Fall 1989)
  • Teaching Fellow, Harvard University Program of Instruction for Lawyers (Winter 1988/Summer 1989)
  • Co-Chair, ALI-CLE Conference on Life Insurance Litigation (2012)

James R. Carroll