Donald Hawthorne
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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.

Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association
  • Association of the Bar of the City of New York

Experience

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.   

Articles

Speaking Engagements

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.

Education

  • JD – Yale Law School (1991)
  • PhD – Balliol College, Oxford University (1998) Rhodes Scholarship
  • BA, magna cum laude – Princeton University (1982) Phi Beta Kappa

Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Massachusetts
  • 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