Mary Eaton is a partner in Willkie’s Litigation Department. Mary specializes in complex commercial litigation, with a focus on shareholder litigation (including securities class actions and shareholder derivative claims) and other complex business disputes. Mary regularly represents public and private companies, registered investment companies, registered investment advisors, private equity companies, officers, directors, and executives in a wide variety of commercial disputes in federal and state courts across the country. Mary also regularly counsels clients on litigation avoidance and corporate governance matters.
Shareholder Derivative Litigation
Mary’s shareholder derivative experience includes:
- Representing the independent directors of Citigroup, Inc. in “demand refused” and “demand excused” cases involving:
- sale of mortgage-backed securities
- alleged manipulation of LIBOR
- marketing and sale of CDOs
- mortgage servicing practices
- executive compensation.
- Representing the independent trustees of the John Hancock closed-end funds in shareholder derivative action concerning the redemption of auction rate preferred securities.
- Representing the Reserve Fund in numerous individual, derivative and class action securities cases arising out of decline of the fund’s net asset value.
- Representing the independent directors of Merck & Co. in shareholder litigation arising out of the withdrawal of a pharmaceutical product.
- Representing Level 3 Communications in a shareholder derivative action alleging corporate mismanagement.
Securities Class Actions
Mary’s securities class action experience includes:
- Representing Tower Group International Ltd. in a securities class action challenging the fairness of a merger transaction.
- Representing the Reserve Fund in class action securities cases arising out of decline of the fund’s net asset value.
- Representing the underwriters in a securities class action alleging securities fraud in connection with the Warner Chilcott initial public offering.
- Representing Converium Holding AG in securities class action involving alleged misrepresentations concerning the adequacy of the company’s loss reserves.
- Representing the underwriters in a private placement of securities of a waste management company.
- Submitting amicus briefs to the United States Supreme Court on various issues arising under the federal securities laws, including mutual fund advisory fees under the Investment Company Act of 1940 and statute of limitations issues under the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934.
Complex Commercial Disputes
Mary’s complex commercial litigation experience includes:
- Representing Warburg Pincus in various disputes involving its dealings with prospective or former portfolio companies.
- Representing Lime Wire LLC in a multibillion-dollar damages jury trial involving copyright infringement.
- Representing the seller of a multi-million dollar work of art in a jury trial alleging breach of contract by the buyer.
- Representing a former executive in a jury trial seeking claw back of deferred compensation.
- Representing members of a Delaware LLC in a corporate control contest.
Mary served as law clerk to Justice Bertha Wilson of the Supreme Court of Canada.
Mary is a member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, the New York County Lawyers Association, the Federal Bar Council and the National Association of Women Lawyers, and serves on the board of directors (Secretary) of the Children’s Law Center of New York.