Ross A. Albert is a partner in the Corporate and Commercial Litigation Practice. Mr. Albert represents parties caught up in investigative and regulatory inquiries conducted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Georgia Securities Commissioner, other federal and state law enforcement authorities and self-regulatory organizations. He also heads up internal investigations of alleged corporate and business misconduct. In addition, he has experience extending over several decades handling securities litigation, commercial litigation, corporate litigation, insurance and reinsurance litigation, class actions and other complex cases before federal and state courts, administrative agencies and arbitration panels.
In November 2014, Mr. Albert was named an “MVP” attorney by Law360, a leading legal industry publication, which described him and the other honorees as “elite attorneys” with “success in high-stakes litigation and record-breaking deals.” Mr. Albert was one of only six attorneys honored nationwide in his practice area. Mr. Albert also served as lead counsel in attaining total victory at trial in a high-profile insider trading case that attracted international attention, SEC v. Schvacho, 991 F. Supp. 2d 1284 (N.D. Ga. 2014).
Before coming to MMM in 2001, Mr. Albert served for eight years in various positions with the SEC at its Washington, D.C. headquarters, including: Senior Special Counsel, Division of Enforcement; Legal Counsel to Commissioner Norman S. Johnson; and Special Counsel, Appellate Group, Office of the General Counsel. From 1994 to 1999, he concurrently served as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia where he assisted with trials and was lead appellate counsel for the largest securities fraud prosecution in the history of Georgia. Mr. Albert has argued before six U.S. Courts of Appeals (including the Eleventh Circuit), the Supreme Court of Georgia, the Court of Appeals of Georgia, the Virginia Supreme Court and the Maryland Court of Appeals (the highest state court in Maryland). He has filed briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court, nearly all federal appellate courts, many state appellate courts, and numerous state and federal trial courts. From 1988 to 1993, Mr. Albert was an associate in the Securities Litigation and Enforcement Group at the law firm of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering (now WilmerHale) in Washington, D.C. From 1986 to 1988, Mr. Albert served as Law Clerk to the Honorable Alexander Harvey, II, Chief Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.
Mr. Albert has authored chapters for several books dealing with current securities law topics, including: “Defending SEC Investigations and Enforcement Actions,” The Practice of Corporate Law: Leading Lawyers on Best Practices for Representing Public and Private Companies (Aspatore Books 2006); “Practical Considerations for Representing Directors and Officers in Securities Litigation,” Representing Officers and Directors Charged with Corporate Malfeasance: Leading Lawyers on Analyzing Compliance Programs, Evaluating Risk and Working Through Corporate Governance Issues (Thompson Reuters/Aspatore Books 2015); “The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Approach to Cross-Border Transactions” Common Issues in Securities Law: Leading Lawyers on Managing Client Expectations, Evaluating Securities Investigations, and Identifying Key Issues in U.S. Securities Law (Aspatore Books 2008) (co-authored with Heath D. Linsky, a corporate partner at MMM).
Mr. Albert frequently serves as a commentator concerning current SEC, securities, corporate governance and business/financial crime issues for local, national and international news organizations, including The Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, Reuters, The National Law Journal, Canadian Press, CNN, CNNfn, CNBC, MSNBC, CTV (Canada’s largest private broadcast network), CBS MarketWatch, BBC News Radio, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, WSB-TV - Channel 2 (Atlanta), WAGA-TV - FOX 5 (Atlanta), Georgia Public Television, International Herald Tribune, The Guardian (U.K.), The Globe and Mail (Toronto), The Financial Express (India), Irish Examiner, Business Times of Singapore, and RWE Australian Business News.
- Lead counsel in attaining total victory at trial in high-profile SEC insider trading case that attracted national and international attention; judge issued a comprehensive 44-page opinion finding for MMM’s client on all contested issues and which criticized the SEC’s “overreaching, self-serving interpretation” of the evidence, among other things, SEC v. Schvacho, 991 F. Supp. 2d 1284 (N.D. Ga. 2014).
- Represented real estate developer and affiliates charged with securities fraud in SEC investigation and enforcement action filed in federal court; case settled on terms satisfactory to clients without any cash payment.
- Represented oil and natural gas company, its officers and directors and affiliated entities in federal court cases in Georgia and Nebraska alleging claims for securities fraud and breach of fiduciary duty; cases resolved on terms satisfactory to clients.
- Represented technology company in connection with claims asserted by founder and former Chief Executive Officer seeking to hold up sale of company; case resolved on terms satisfactory to client.
- Represented major investment bank in litigation brought by a bankruptcy trustee seeking over $30 million in damages for the bank’s purported breaches of fiduciary duties and complicity with former management in completing an acquisition that allegedly caused the debtor to file for bankruptcy. All claims against bank thrown out on a motion to dismiss without any discovery; case continued on against other defendants.
- Represented public technology company and its officers and directors in case alleging securities fraud arising from purportedly backdated stock options. Summary judgment granted to all defendants on all counts and affirmed on appeal, Rosenberg v. Gould, Civil Action No. 1:06-CV-1894 (N.D. Ga. Mar. 31, 2008), aff’d, 554 F.3d 962 (11th Cir. 2009).
- Represented large public company and related entities that was granted summary judgment on all claims arising from an alleged breach of a right of first refusal to purchase land. Decision was affirmed by Georgia Court of Appeals and Georgia Supreme Court. CS-Lakeview at Gwinnett, Inc. v. Simon Property Group, Inc., 283 Ga. 426, 659 S.E.2d 359 (2008), affirming 283 Ga. App. 686, 642 S.E.2d 393 (2007).
- Represented large public company that won summary judgment in the Delaware Court of Chancery on a claim brought by the company’s former Chief Financial Officer who alleged that the company had wrongfully refused to permit him to exercise stock options then worth approximately $35 million. Knight v. Caremark RX, Inc., 2007 WL 143099 (Del. Ch. Jan. 12, 2007).
- Drafted briefs for appeal involving question of whether novel financial instruments (fractional interests in viatical settlements) were “securities” or “investment contracts” within the meaning of the federal securities laws. SEC v. Life Partners, Inc., 87 F.3d 536 (D.C. Cir.), statement on denial of reh’g, 102 F.3d 587 (D.C. Cir. 1996).
- Assisted with related complex telemarketing/penny stock fraud prosecutions involving 12 defendants, including four-week and six-day jury trials; lead counsel for appeals, including oral argument. United States v. Lincoln, 163 F.3d 1358 (11th Cir. 1998) (Table), cert. denied, 526 U.S. 1058 (1999); United States v. Word, 129 F.3d 1209 (11th Cir. 1997); see also United States v. Strevel, 85 F.3d 501 (11th Cir. 1996) (appeal in related case).
- Drafted successful brief for appeals of criminal convictions for securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy arising from a gold mining scheme. United States v. Brooks, 62 F.3d 1425, 1995 WL 451090 (9th Cir. 1995).
- Drafted brief and successfully argued appeal involving challenge to the misappropriation theory of insider trading. SEC v. Grossman, 101 F.3d 109, 1996 WL 137630 (2d Cir. 1996) (Table, Text in WESTLAW).
- Drafted brief and successfully argued case of first impression, a jurisdictional challenge to the SEC’s ability to regulate intrastate securities fraud. SEC v. Midwest Investments, Inc., 85 F.3d 630, 1996 WL 229783 (6th Cir.), cert. denied, 520 U.S. 1165 (1997).
- Over four-year period, assisted with defense of corporation and its officers and directors in securities fraud class action alleging damages exceeding $100 million. Cohen v. Apache Corp., 1993 WL 126560 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 21, 1993); Cohen v. Apache Corp., 1991 WL 1017 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 2, 1991).
- As part of what was reportedly the largest civil case ever filed in North Carolina, assisted with representation of defendants (officers and directors of an insurance company) accused of securities fraud and RICO violations in connection with sale of $160 million of bonds. E.g., First Fin. Sav. Bank, Inc. v. Am. Bankers Ins. Co. of Fla., Inc., 699 F.Supp. 1167 (E.D.N.C. 1988), aff’d sub nom., Am. Bankers Ins. Co. of Fla., Inc. v. First Union Nat. Bank of NC, 900 F.2d 249 (4th Cir. 1990).
Honors and Affiliations
Selected as an “MVP” attorney by Law360 in November 2014, one of six attorneys honored nationwide in category
Awarded an “AV” peer review rating, Martindale-Hubbell’s highest rating for legal ability and ethical standards
Named to Marquis Who’s Who in America, Marquis Who’s Who in American Law, Marquis Who’s Who in the World, 1993-present
Association of SEC Alumni
UC-Berkeley Alumni Club of Georgia (President – 2008 & 2012; Vice President/President-Elect – 2007, 2011 & 2015, Board Member 2006 – present)
Harvard Club of Georgia (Schools Committee)
American Bar Association
Atlanta Bar Association
Comment, Restitutionary Recovery for Rescuers of Human Life, 74 Cal. L. Rev. 85 (1986), excerpted in Charles L. Knapp, Nathan M. Crystal & Harry G. Prince, Problems in Contract Law 299 (6th ed. 2007)
“Déjà Vu All Over Again”: The Securities and Exchange Commission Once More Attempts to Regulate the Accounting Profession Through Rule 102(e) of Its Rules of Practice, 1999 Utah L. Rev. 553 (with Norman S. Johnson)
Trouble for the Investor’s Lawsuit: How Endangered is It?, Bus. L. Today, July/Aug. 1995, at 41 (with Paul Gonson)