Mr. Kasner represents a diverse group of private and public companies and their directors and officers in their most crucial litigation matters. In Chambers USA, he has been ranked repeatedly in the top tier for nationwide securities litigation and is one of only three lawyers listed as a “star individual” for New York securities litigation, where he is known for his “masterly trial skills” and described as “a forceful adversary.”
Mr. Kasner was named a 2018 “Distinguished Leader” by the New York Law Journal — which also named Skadden its 2018 Litigation Department of the Year — and a 2018 “Litigation Trailblazer” by the National Law Journal. His work also has been profiled in The American Lawyer, which named Skadden a finalist in its 2018 Litigation Department of the Year contest, and in Law360, which profiled him as a 2017 “Securities MVP.”
Under Mr. Kasner’s leadership, Skadden’s 80-attorney securities litigation practice has been recognized seven consecutive times as a member of the “Fearsome Five” — the five elite law firm litigation practices — and named as a “powerhouse” in securities and finance litigation by BTI Consulting. Mr. Kasner has received the Business Trial Lawyer Award for Excellence from Chambers and also has repeatedly been named a leading securities litigation lawyer by The Best Lawyers in America, Law360, Lawdragon and The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers.
Mr. Kasner’s victories in securities cases include a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision in the first case in which the court addressed the provisions of the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act of 1998 (Merrill Lynch v. Dabit). He also obtained a grant of certiorari from the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of UBS Financial Services Incorporated of Puerto Rico and UBS Trust Company of Puerto Rico. UBS sought certiorari to resolve a circuit court split over the standard of review for appeals of dismissals pursuant to Rule 23.1 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Mr. Kasner also has successfully represented clients in numerous appeals before various appellate courts throughout the United States. For example, he represented Merrill Lynch in one of Law360’s “Securities Cases of the Decade,” Lentell v. Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc., in which the Second Circuit adopted a standard for pleading noncausation that has been cited hundreds of times. In addition, Mr. Kasner represented Vivint Solar, Inc., several of its officers and directors, and The Blackstone Group in securing a significant Second Circuit decision in a case of first impression that created a circuit split on the standard for determining the disclosure of interim financial data in a prospectus. He also recently represented the underwriting syndicate of Petrobras’ multibillion-dollar global bond offerings by successfully arguing issues related to the application of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Morrison v. National Australia Bank to class certification proceedings under federal Rule 23. This was the first time a circuit court applied Morrison at the class certification stage. The case settled favorably while a writ of certiorari regarding class certification was pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.
In addition, Mr. Kasner is responsible for a number of other precedent-setting appellate securities cases. He won for Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. the first class action appeal arising from the auction rate securities market collapse, despite an SEC brief calling for the decision’s reversal — a move that could have exposed a wide range of financial institutions to liability. The decision has been cited in more than 300 cases since its issue date. He also successfully defended Bank of America and Merrill Lynch against two double-derivative actions, securing a decision at both the district and circuit court levels that set new standards for such claims. Mr. Kasner also has advised or is currently advising Abercrombie & Fitch, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, BlackBerry Limited, The Coca-Cola Company, Computer Sciences Corporation, El Pollo Loco, News Corporation (now known as 21st Century Fox), Pfizer Inc. and Sprint Nextel Corporation, among others. He recently secured the dismissal of a federal securities fraud class action on behalf of individual officers and former directors of Republic Airways arising out of the company’s 2016 restructuring, and is currently representing these officers and directors in another litigation in federal court.
Over the course of his career, Mr. Kasner also has advised numerous financial services clients in class action and other litigation, including Ally Financial Inc., Bank of America, Barclays plc, BNP Paribas, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Citigroup Inc., Deutsche Bank AG, Fidelity Investments, Goldman Sachs & Co., HSBC, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, The Royal Bank of Scotland plc, Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc. and UBS, among others.
Mr. Kasner also represents numerous Latin American clients in the defense of a wide range of litigation and regulatory issues, including securities and complex commercial claims. In addition to advising the Petrobras underwriter syndicate, which included Banco Bradesco BBI S.A., Itaú BBA USA Securities, Inc. and Banco do Brazil S.A., Mr. Kasner’s portfolio of Latin American clients includes representing Cemex S.A.B. de C.V., BRF S.A., Gerdau S.A., Quiñenco S.A. and Tech Pack S.A., among others. Recently, on behalf of Embraer S.A., he secured the dismissal with prejudice of a federal securities fraud class action that resulted in the clarification of company disclosure standards in connection with an ongoing investigation. He represented Avianca Holdings S.A. in securing the withdrawal of a New York state action brought by its second-largest shareholder in an attempt to block, among other things, a contemplated strategic partnership between Avianca, Colombia’s largest airline, and United Airlines. Mr. Kasner currently is representing Brazilian bank Banco Itaú International in the defense of Florida RICO litigation in the Southern District of Florida brought by the Meridian Trust Company involving the Brazilian oil exploration company OGX Petróleo e Gás Participações S.A.
In February 2017, Mr. Kasner received the Judge Joseph M. Proskauer Award from the UJA-Federation of New York, given to distinguished individuals who have shown a deep commitment to philanthropy and whose conduct and service exemplifies the highest ideals of the law. In 2014, he received the Judge Simon G. Rifkind Award presented by the Jewish Theological Seminary in recognition for his demonstrated commitment to the letter of the law and for distinguished public service. Additionally, in 2010, he received the 40th Anniversary George A. Katz Torch of Learning Award from the American Friends of The Hebrew University Lawyers’ Division, Greater New York Region.