Devin Donohue is a seasoned litigator focusing his practice on litigating and arbitrating commercial, trade secret, securities, and employment cases in federal and state court and before various arbitration tribunals (FINRA, JAMS and AAA-ICDR).
Significantly experienced in the financial services sector, Devin has served as lead trial counsel defending several financial institutions, brokerage firms and financial advisers in more than 100 court matters and arbitrations, including defending numerous customer and employment claims and handling securities litigation and regulatory enforcement matters involving several different types of complicated investment products, strategies, and sales practices resulting in claims of statutory and common law securities fraud and unsuitability. He has also served as lead counsel defending brokerage firms and advisers before FINRA and the SEC in regulatory investigations and enforcement matters.
Devin represents companies and individuals in commercial and trade secret litigation matters in both court and arbitration, including the prosecution and defense of matters filed under the federal Defense of Trade Secrets Act or the various states’ uniform trade secrets acts. He has successfully litigated high-profile trade secret matters in California and other jurisdictions in various industries including financial services, retail, entertainment/sports, insurance brokerage and many others.
In the business and commercial litigation area of his practice, Devin regularly defends companies in international arbitrations including one of the largest banks in the world in an arbitration involving an eight-figure investment filed by a well-known bank in South America. Devin also serves on the AAA-International Centre for Dispute Resolution arbitrator panel. His employment litigation experience includes defending companies in California and around the country against statutory(federal and state) and common law employment claims.
Viewed by his clients as a trusted partner, Devin draws upon his experience as a former business owner to bring a unique perspective and understanding of the issues his clients face to each representation, allowing him to provide the most effective and efficient advocacy to meet their goals and objectives.
Select examples of Devin’s prior firm experience includes:
- Secured a full acquittal for a wealth management company and its Chief Compliance Officer in a civil contempt proceeding in California centering on alleged violation of a preliminary injunction order. After seven days of hearings in a Zoom bench trial that involved multiple motions and witness examinations, the court granted a motion for acquittal/judgment.
- Obtained, as lead trial counsel, a complete defense victory on behalf of a brokerage firm in a FINRA investor matter brought by a well-known Hollywood producer against one of the highest producing group of advisers at the firm. The matter involved numerous investments in an alternative investment portfolio and allegations of unsuitability, fraud and churning, and claimed damages in excess of $3 million. The matter concluded after 23 hearing sessions and several days of cross-examination of the claimant.
- Secured, as lead trial counsel, the largest FINRA arbitration award to date on behalf of a brokerage firm against two financial advisers who owed $6.6 million on promissory note obligations. The award included decisions in the client’s favor on numerous counterclaims asserted by the advisers claiming damages in excess of $10 million related to alleged contractual and compliance issues, and the advisers paid the full $6.6 million award plus interest within months of the award’s issuance.
- Obtained, as lead trial counsel, a seven-figure arbitration award on behalf of a brokerage firm in a FINRA matter. The arbitrator awarded the brokerage firm the full principal balance owed, plus interest and attorneys’ fees, and found in the client’s favor on the adviser’s purported $2.5 million counterclaim alleging breach of contract and misrepresentation. The 11-page award detailed the panel’s findings based upon the key evidence presented at the hearing.
- Served as lead trial counsel in the prosecution of several successful injunction trials on behalf of financial institutions against former employees for violation of employment agreements and misappropriation of trade secrets, including prosecuting a matter on behalf of a major Wall Street firm in the Central District of California and obtaining an injunction against a former employee who was improperly soliciting customers in connection with a multimillion-dollar book of business.
- Served as lead trial counsel on behalf of financial institutions in the successful defense of several temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction hearings, and follow-on monetary damages actions, on behalf of financial institutions including securing a favorable settlement in an eight-figure matter between two major financial services companies based in California.
- Served as lead trial counsel in a securities matter on behalf of a brokerage firm against the wife of a Forbes 400 billionaire litigated in Los Angeles Superior Court, FINRA Dispute Resolution, the Southern District of New York, the Central District of California, and secured a favorable decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on various securities class action issues.
- Served as lead counsel on behalf of financial services clients, securing “No Further Action” letters from securities regulators after responding to complex regulatory inquiry letters involving disclosure and supervision issues.
- Served as lead investigator for a major financial institution client in connection with California-based investigations of various allegations of misconduct of employees and independent contractors.
- Served as lead trial counsel for financial institution clients, securing the successful resolution of allegations that regulatory filings purportedly defamed former employees (U5 litigation).
- Served as defense trial counsel in a civil consumer fraud matter filed by a state Attorney General.
- Secured a favorable jury verdict for the plaintiff, after a three-week trial in Los Angeles Superior Court, in a fraud and elder abuse case. The jury awarded both compensatory and punitive damages.
- Secured a favorable settlement as lead counsel for a major Wall Street clearing firm in a Los Angeles Superior Court matter after filing a motion for summary judgment based upon immunity and lack of evidence under the Union Bank case.
- Obtained summary judgment in the Central District of California for a copyright and trademark holder against an alleged co-holder of intellectual property rights, and obtained a permanent injunction requiring return of all copyrighted materials and prohibiting any the defendant’s use of the intellectual property. Successfully handled the appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
- Obtained, as lead counsel, the voluntary dismissal of a financial adviser during the mediation of a seven-figure matter filed by an investor alleging misrepresentations related to investment advice provided to the investor.
- Secured summary judgment for a financial institution client in Alameda County Superior Court based upon a Commercial Code defense that presented an issue of first impression.
- Secured summary judgment on forum non conveniens grounds for an Asian shipping company facing a multimillion-dollar property loss claim in the Northern District of California.
- University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, J.D., Editor, McGeorge’s Transnational Lawyer
- University of California at Santa Barbara, B.A.
- Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association
- Member, Association of Business Trial Lawyers
- Member, Securities Industry and Finance Markets Association, Compliance and Legal Division
- Member, Beverly Hills Bar Association