Don Hawthorne’s practice focuses on litigation involving complex financial instruments, credit crisis litigation, antitrust litigation and counseling, and international disputes. He frequently represents insurers, hedge funds, and private equity firms, and represents both plaintiffs and defendants.
Don was previously with Debevoise & Plimpton. Prior to that, Don was Director of the e-Commerce Strategy Group at KPMG Consulting, Inc. From 1992 until 2000 Don was an associate and then Counsel with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. Don has served as an Adjunct Associate Professor of Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where for many years he taught courses on the regulation of electronic media covering legal issues concerning broadcast and cable media, the Internet and telephony. From 1991 until 1992 he was a law clerk to the Honorable H. Lee Sarokin of the District of New Jersey. And from 1986 until 1988 he was an associate with Booz, Allen & Hamilton in New York.
- American Bar Association
- Association of the Bar of the City of New York
Complex Financial Instruments / Credit Crisis Litigation
- Lead counsel for monoline insurer Syncora Guarantee Inc. in its suit against Countrywide Home Loans for fraud and breach of contract arising from financial insurance provided for over $6 billion in residential mortgage-backed securities (“RMBS”). Obtained $375 million dollar settlement.
- Counsel to multiple monoline insurers and association of financial guaranty insurers on pending suits and potential claims related to RMBS and other securitized asset classes.
- Lead counsel for investment bank in successful defense of securities claims arising from its role as auction manager for auction rate securities (“ARS”). Obtained dismissal on the pleadings.
- Lead counsel for investment bank in defense of antitrust class action alleging conspiracy among auction managers for auction rate securities (“ARS”). Obtained dismissal on the pleadings.
- Lead counsel for private equity investor in successful defense of $108 million short swing profit derivative claim. Obtained dismissal on the pleadings.
- Lead counsel for private equity investor in successful defense of breach of fiduciary duty action challenging $4.5B acquisition and related appraisal proceeding in Delaware Chancery Court.
- Lead counsel for insurer in internal and SEC investigation of insurer’s sales of “finite insurance” policies.
- Lead counsel for mutual fund in internal investigation of allegations of “market timing.”
- Lead counsel for private equity investor in successful motion to dismiss Section 10(b) and controlling person securities class action claims against private equity investor and its appointed directors. Obtained dismissal on the pleadings.
Antitrust Litigation and Counseling
- Lead counsel for investment bank in defense of antitrust class action alleging conspiracy among auction managers for auction rate securities (“ARS”). Responsible for portion of joint defense brief addressing “Billing” preclusion that was basis for dismissal on the pleadings.
- Lead counsel for defendant manufacturer of copying machines in class action suit involving “Kodak” claims alleging tying and monopolization of parts and services after-markets. Obtained dismissal on the pleadings.
- Representation of major insurer in internal and New York Attorney General’s investigation of bid-rigging allegations relating to insurer’s brokerage compensation arrangements. Lead attorney coordinating response to related state regulatory investigations and private class action litigation.
- Lead antitrust counsel for Domtar in its $6 billion combination with Weyerhaeuser’s fine paper business. Merger of second and third largest competitors in homogenous products industry resulted in DOJ resolution within initial waiting period with no divestitures.
- Individual representation of US and Asian executives in DOJ criminal investigations of alleged international air freight and passenger cartels.
- Successful representations of parties in billion dollar mergers in commodity, differentiated product, software and distribution industries before the DOJ and FTC.
- Counseling founders of DVD standard on antitrust issues relating to standard-setting, including obtaining business review letter approving DVD patent pool licensing arrangements and drafting DVD patent licensing agreements.
International Disputes/Complex Contractual Litigation:
- Lead counsel for insurer in multi-jurisdictional coverage and collection dispute involving insolvency proceedings, contempt actions, corporate governance issues, and claims of sovereign immunity in federal court, Delaware Chancery Court, and off-shore jurisdictions. Obtained dismissal of all claims against insurer. Pursuing fee claims and sanctions against plaintiffs.
- Lead counsel for private equity investor seeking to hold parent Austrian bank liable for payment of arbitral award obtained against Russian subsidiary through litigation in US, European and off-shore jurisdictions.
- Representation of Japanese corporation in dispute with American joint venture partner over operations in China and India involving US, Japanese and Indian jurisdictions.
- Successful defense and settlement of multi-million dollar construction delay claim against architect of major convention center construction project.
- Successful resolution of litigation concerning business interruption coverage payments to principal World Trade Center retail leaseholder.
- Axinn Obtains Dismissal of Declaratory Judgment For Canadian Inventor
- Axinn Obtains Civil Contempt Order Over Foreign Lawyers and Litigation Funders
- Axinn Achieves Win for Canadian Inventor
- Axinn Obtains Dismissal of Monopolization and Attempted Monopolization Suit Against Rapid Aid, Ltd.
- Axinn Honored With Litigation Department of the Year
- Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider Assists Syncora Guarantee Inc. In $375 Million Settlement With Bank of America Corp.
- Donald Hawthorne Joins Axinn's Litigation Group
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Articles & Newsletters
- Arrest Warrant Issued for Litigation Financier, Foreign Lawyer in $180 Million Case v. Cigna, Reuters, March 21, 2017
- Corzine Tells Court PwC Audits Were Vital to Trust in MF Global, Financial Times, March 9, 2017
- Five Things to Look Out For in the US Bank Earnings, Financial Times, January 12, 2017
- Big Banks Lose Bid to Halt Crisis-Era Lawsuits, The New York Times, January 10, 2017
- Banking Litigation To Watch In 2017, Law360, January 2, 2017
- Third-Party Funders That Chased Liberian Judgment Face Sanctions By Federal Judge, Legal News Line, August 23, 2016
- Why Financial Crisis Cases Against Wall Street Execs Veered Off Target, Law360, July 15, 2016
- Faulty Troubleshooting Hurt Citi In CFTC Benchmark Probe, Law360, May 25, 2016
- New Federal Reserve Push to Limit Fallout From Bank Failures, Financial Times, May 3, 2016
- Trustee Claims on Legacy RMBS Are on the Clock, National Mortgage News, April 20, 2016
- Wells Fargo in $1.2bn Mortgage Settlement, Financial Times, February 3, 2016
- Ambac Bears Down on JPM RMBS Settlement, Debtwire, January 19, 2016
- BofA Scores Another Win for Second-Liens, October 7, 2015
- Coming CFPB Arbitration Rules Face Multiple Legal Fights, Law360, October 7, 2015
- Fierce Battle Ahead for CFPB Arbitration Plan, The American Banker, October 7, 2015
- Putback Settlements on Horizon, Asset-Backed Alert, August 21, 2015
- Citi, Paul Weiss Take Sting Out Of SEC's $180M Settlement, Law360, August 17, 2015
- Goldman to Pay $270 Million to Settle RMBS Suit; HSBC Must Face NCUA Claims, Judge Rules, Inside MBS & ABS, August 7, 2015
- Court Affirms Controversial RMBS Statutes Ruling, Debtwire, June 11, 2015
- Second-Lien Holders No Longer Second Class, Mortgage Servicing News, June 3, 2015
- Four Banks Plead Guilty To Foreign Exchange Collusion, UBS Pleads Guilty To Wire Fraud, Forbes, May 20, 2015
- Counsel’s Corner: Should the Statute of Limitations Apply for ‘Putback’ Claims on RMBS?, DSNews, May 8, 2015
- Nomura Bucks Wall St. Trend In Risky FHFA Trial Gambit, Law360, March 12, 2015
- 10th Circ. Revives $550M Barclays RMBS Suit, Law360, March 3, 2015
- NY Ruling Against Goldman Pokes Hole In Diligence Defense, May 8, 2013
- How the Belgacom Ruling Will Impact Attorney Privilege in EU, Law360, March 25, 2013
- Banking Cases to Watch in 2013, Law360, January 1, 2013
- The FTC's-N-Data Decision: Challenges To 'Unfair Competition' That Does Not Violate Antitrust Law, Andrews Antitrust Litigation Reporter, July 16, 2008
“Recent Trends In Federal Antitrust Class Action Cases,” Antitrust (Summer 2010).
“Rigorous Analysis of Economic Evidence in Class Certification of Antitrust Cases,” Antitrust (Fall 2009).
“Federal Circuit Decision Provides Guidance for Joint Licensing of Pooled Patents,” Patent Strategy & Management (September 2009).
Speaking Engagements & Seminars
Seminars & Classes
- Don has served as an Adjunct Associate Professor of Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where for many years he taught courses on the regulation of electronic media covering legal issues concerning broadcast and cable media, the Internet and telephony.
- JD – Yale Law School (1991)
- PhD – Balliol College, Oxford University (1998) Rhodes Scholarship
- BA, magna cum laude – Princeton University (1982) Phi Beta Kappa
- District of Columbia
- New York
- US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
- US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
- US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- US District Court Eastern District of New York
- US District Court Southern District of New York