Wilber (Bill) Boies focuses his practice on business dispute counseling and business litigation throughout the country.
Chambers USA (2006) says “Clients readily turn to Boies for ‘bet the ranch’ type cases and hail him as a ‘top-notch, well-seasoned litigator in the ERISA arena.’ He has built his reputation acting for financial institutions in weighty cases centered on securities and fraud issues.” The Legal 500 (2007) says “Clients seek out the ‘formidable’ Wilber Boies, who doubles up as a financial and securities litigator, for his extensive experience in stock-drop litigation.” Chambers USA (2008) says “Bill Boies ‘is a good strategic thinker – smart, tactical and pragmatic.'” Chambers USA (2009) says “Boies wins acclaim for his highly tuned and carefully considered approach to litigation…’the perfect courtroom strategist.'” Chambers USA (2010) says “Bill Boies is a highly prized litigator.” Chambers USA (2011) says “He has an excellent way with clients and is extremely polished in the courtroom.” Chambers USA (2014) says clients “admire Bill Boies’s substance, noting he is a ‘driving force’ in the practice.” Chambers USA (2015) says “Bill Boies is well regarded for his decades of experience in..class action litigation.” Chambers USA (2017) says “Clients describe Bill Boies as ‘very responsive…on top of everything we need…giving us good advice on the range of options.'”
Bill regularly represents benefit plan sponsors and fiduciaries in Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) class action litigation concerning pension plan administration, fiduciary duty, responsibility for asset losses, and changes in welfare benefits. Several of his health benefits class action victories resulted in court-approved savings to employers valued at more than $100 million. He has defeated several high-exposure class actions regarding company stock price declines in benefit plans, with claimed losses exceeding $1.5 billion. Bill has successfully defended several class actions claiming huge investment losses in 401(k) plans. He successfully defended the bank trustee of the country’s third-largest employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) company in a class action challenging the creation of the ESOP and voting at director elections. Bill’s experience includes Department of Labor investigations and defense against professional malpractice claims related to benefit plan advice.
Bill represented an investment fund plaintiff in Equity Funding Securities Litigation in Los Angeles; the defendant corporation in Food Fair Securities Litigation and related shareholder derivative actions in Philadelphia; and the outside directors in Carnation Securities Litigation in Los Angeles and in the related insurance coverage dispute and Securities and Exchange Commission investigation, which led to the SEC’s “Carnation rule” on corporate disclosure obligations. Bill has defended securities class actions attacking public company forward-looking statements and market timing in mutual funds.
Financial Institution Disputes
Bill has acted as special counsel for banks and thrifts, and represented financial institution owners in disputes with regulatory agencies about capitalization and safety and soundness problems, including bank seizures and subsequent litigation. He won a $155 million damages judgment against the United States in the savings and loan “goodwill” litigation in the US Court of Federal Claims and on appeal. Bill has represented plaintiffs and defendants in fraudulent conveyance and fraud lawsuits following failed leveraged buyouts, and defended banks and thrifts in substantial lender liability lawsuits. He represents banks and trust companies as defendants in class actions contesting trust fees, share voting and other administrative procedures.
Bill has extensive experience in the defense of class and multi-party lawsuits throughout the United States involving securities fraud, business failures, franchise systems, insurance and benefits plans, consumer fraud and antitrust claims. His recent consumer class action victories involve credit card transactions and a nationwide series of class actions about telephone services billing. He writes the chapter on “Complex and Multi-District Litigation” for the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education Class Actions Manual.
Trials and Appeals
Bill has tried and won jury and bench trials in state and federal courts across the country. He defended Chicago’s largest grocery retailer in the trial of a consumer price-fixing class action dismissed at the close of the plaintiffs’ evidence. He writes the chapter on “Trial of Federal Cases” for the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education Federal Civil Practice manual.
Bill has argued and won numerous appeals in the US Courts of Appeals for the Second, Third, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Eleventh and Federal Circuits, the Illinois Appellate Court and the Illinois Supreme Court. One notable appellate victory was the complete reversal of a $125 million district court ruling against a pension plan sponsor. Bill defeated the State of Illinois in constitutional litigation challenging a statue that directed a private foundation to “contribute” $125 million of its endowment to the state.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Bill has experience with a variety of ADR devices, including mediations, arbitrations and court enforcement of arbitration awards. He was appointed by the Court of Federal Claims as the plaintiffs’ ADR negotiator in efforts to settle some 125 cases filed by savings and loan plaintiffs against the United States challenging legislation that wiped out $10 billion in regulatory capital. He trained in the CPR Institute Mediation Training Program and has been a member of the CPR Panels of Distinguished Neutrals. Bill is a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Dispute Resolution Arbitrator.
Bill has served several terms on McDermott’s Management, Executive, and Compensation Committees, and a three-year term as head of the Firm’s Litigation Department of more than 400 lawyers across the United States.
Loffredo v. Daimler, A.G., et al., Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, 666 Fed. Appx. 370 — Affirmed dismissal of $200 million fraud and breach of fiduciary duty claims against the bank trustee of the Chrysler “top hat” plan by former senior executives who lost benefits during the Chrysler reorganization (certiorari petition denied, 138 S. Ct. 80)
Pfeil v State Street Bank, Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, 806 F.3d 377 – Affirmed summary judgement dismissal of ERISA breach of fiduciary duty claims for $875 million against independent trustee holding General Motors company stock in pension plans before GM bankruptcy (certiorari petition denied, 2016 136 S. Ct 2511)
In re BP Securities, Derivative and ERISA Litigation, MDL 4:10–cv–4214 (S.D. Texas) — Voluntary dismissal by plaintiffs’ class counsel of all claims against the corporate trustee of a major block of BP common stock held for BP retirement plans during the market decline after the Deepwater Horizon explosion
In re Delphi Corporation Securities, Derivative and ERISA Litigation, E.D. Michigan, 602 F. Supp. 2d 810 — Summary judgment dismissal of class action against pension plan trustee holding Delphi company stock during company decline into bankruptcy; a later decision awarded $2.5 million from Delphi MDL litigation settlement fund to pay the trustee’s litigation fees and expenses (2010 US Dist. LEXIS 7408)
Young v. General Motors Investment Management, Second Circuit Court of Appeals, 2009 US App LEXIS 9792 — Affirmed on the merits dismissal of all claims in parallel class actions challenging “single equity funds” in GM and Delphi pension plans, after district court dismissal on statute of limitations (550 F. Supp. 2d 416)
Hirt v. Equitable Life, Second Circuit Court of Appeals, 533 F.3d 102 — First decision in the Second Circuit that a cash balance pension plan did not violate ERISA’s age discrimination provision, also affirmed judgment for a plan sponsor after trial on benefit plan notices and delivery claims going back to 1988 (2008 US App. LEXIS 14540)
LaSalle Talman Bank v. United States, Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, 462 F.3d 1331 — Affirmed $155 million damages judgment against the United States in a savings and loan “goodwill” lawsuit; prior appeal affirmed liability judgment for the thrift owner against the United States, vacated smaller damages award and ordered a second trial on damages (317 F.3rd 1363)
Pyrka v. General Motors, et al., E.D. Michigan, 2006 US Dist. LEXIS 16782 — Dismissal of all class action claims against a directed trustee holding GM company stock in benefit plans during a stock price decline
Berger v. AXA Network, Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, 459 F3d 804 — Affirmed statute of limitations dismissal of all claims by a national class of insurance agents challenging benefit plan qualifications tests
Baker vs. Jewel Food Stores, 355 Ill. App. 3rd 62 — Affirmed judgment for grocer defendants at the close of plaintiffs’ trial evidence in consumer class action alleging conspiracy to fix Chicago area retail milk prices
Counsel for the National Legal Aid and Defenders Association, the Association of Pro Bono Counsel and leading legal aid organizations for appellate and Supreme Court amicus briefs supporting cy pres awards in class action settlements
Chicago Bar Foundation, past board member and chair of the cy pres awards program
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