Jonathan Pickhardt is Co-Chair of the firm’s Structured Finance Litigation Practice and has extensive experience representing clients in a wide range of commercial disputes involving securities or complex financial transactions. He has experience representing clients across a broad range of civil and regulatory disputes, with a deep expertise in advising corporate clients on litigation strategies related to complicated financial transactions and products, such as CLOs, CDOs, CMBS, RMBS, derivatives, trust preferred securities, municipal bonds and other types of securitizations. In the last five years, Mr. Pickhardt has obtained judgments in favor of his clients in each of his four trials. Mr. Pickhardt has also succeeded in obtaining two nine-figure recoveries for his clients, including a $100 million arbitral recovery for his client National Australia Bank in one of the largest FINRA awards ever issued.
Mr. Pickhardt was recognized as one of the 2017 “Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America” and was also named “Litigator of the Week” by the American Lawyer for his trial victory on behalf of Hildene Capital Management in enjoining a $3 billion asset sale transaction.
He is a magna cum laude graduate of New York University School of Law where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the New York University Law Review.
- AIG Financial Products
- Ambac Assurance Corporation
- Angelo, Gordon & Co.
- Canyon Partners
- Davidson Kempner
- Erste Abwicklungsanstadlt
- Hildene Capital Management
- National Australia Bank
- Morgan Stanley
- Owl Creek
- Seer Capital
- Syncora Guarantee Inc.
- Town of Oyster Bay
- Two Sigma
- Zions Bancorporation
- Zohar Funds
- Representing three “Zohar” CLO funds and current manager, Alvarez & Marsal Zohar Management, in multiple litigations against the funds’ creators and prior managers, Patriarch Partners and Lynn Tilton. Succeeded in obtaining trial judgment finding Patriarch in breach of obligations to turn over books and records. Took lead in six-day trial that is seeking determination that the Zohar Funds are rightful owners of certain portfolio companies entitled to replace current boards of directors. Separately filed suit seeking $1 billion in damages against Patriarch and Tilton for breach of contractual and fiduciary duties and RICO violations.
- Lead counsel in successful representation of National Australia Bank against Goldman Sachs & Co. in FINRA arbitration alleging fraud and unjust enrichment arising from the sale of collateralized debt obligations. Following a three-week hearing, the FINRA panel awarded National Australia Bank over $100 million, including the full $80 million it had invested in the Goldman CDOs at issue in the arbitration hearing along with interest over an eight-year period. This award constituted one of the largest amounts ever awarded by a FINRA panel and drew widespread press coverage, including a Wall Street Journal article under the banner “Goldman Punished.”
- Lead counsel in successful representation of RMBS investor, Sceptre LLC, in landmark case on question of first impression in New York regarding whether an RMBS indenture can be reformed nine years after execution to correct a scrivener’s error that reversed the priority of two classes of notes. Following a three-day bench trial, the New York federal court issued a ruling in favor of Sceptre, LLC on all claims and ordered the reformation of the RMBS indenture to instate the intended seniority of notes held by Sceptre LLC. This trial victory represented the first reported case of an indenture being reformed in a disputed proceeding in New York
- Lead counsel in successful representation of Hildene Capital Management and seven other plaintiffs in a suit that enjoined a $3 billion proposed asset sale between BankAtlantic Bancorp and BB&T. The transaction was enjoined following a full trial on the merits of Hildene’s claims that the transaction violated covenants in trust preferred securities which required any acquirer of substantially all of Bancorp’s assets to also assume the obligations under the trust preferred securities. Named “Litigator of the Week” by American Lawyer following judgment.
- Lead counsel in representation of South Tryon in suit against Triaxx Asset Management that successfully obtained judgment requiring that over $500 million in defaulted RMBS be sold from Triaxx Prime CDO 2006-1 Ltd. portfolio. Summary judgment was obtained requiring the sale of defaulted RMBS notwithstanding arguments that CDO manager possessed the discretion to delay sales until such time as recoveries could be maximized. Successfully argued appeal to the Second Circuit which agreed with district court in rejecting manager’s arguments.
- Lead counsel representing Canyon Partners in suit against underwriters for selling SunEdison securities pursuant to false and misleading offering materials in violation of the Securities Act.
- Lead counsel representing Syncora Guarantee Inc. in suit against UBS and Merrill Lynch seeking declaration that anticipated termination of swap agreements provided for under terms of an agreement with the City of Detroit would be a breach of Syncora’s consent rights.
- Lead counsel in successful representation of AIG Financial Products in obtaining outright dismissal of claims brought by joint ventures contending AIG-FP breached investment contracts by purportedly triggering “bankruptcy” event of default provisions, including successful argument in Delaware Supreme Court upholding dismissal.
- Lead counsel representing significant investor in RMBS alleging breach by Nationstar mortgage servicer in conducting bulk auctions of mortgage notes; successfully obtained temporary restraining order preventing scheduled note auctions.
- Lead counsel representing House of Europe Funding I and Erste Abwicklungsandstadt in suit seeking over $200 million in damages against Wells Fargo, as CDO trustee, and Collineo Asset Management, as collateral manager, for breaching investment concentration limits under CDO agreements.
- Lead counsel in representation of AIG Financial Products in suit seeking over $300 million in damages against Moore Capital for improper and mispriced sales of RMBS into the Triaxx CDO structures; claims successfully upheld against motion to dismiss before being resolved through settlement.
- Lead counsel representing the Town of Oyster Bay in suit brought by the Taubman real estate company seeking to enjoin the Town’s sale of surplus property for $32.5 million to a consortium of rival real estate developers; successfully defeated motion seeking a preliminary injunction preventing the intended sale.
- Lead counsel representing Syncora Guarantee Inc. in suit alleging fraud against Macquarie Bank in connection with the procurement of insurance on infrastructure bonds backed by toll road revenues; claims successfully upheld against motion to dismiss.
- Lead counsel representing Syncora Guarantee Inc. in suit against Jefferson County, Alabama and JPMorgan Chase alleging fraud in connection with the procurement of municipal bond insurance and seeking over $400 million in damages for past and future claims payments; claims successfully upheld against motion to dismiss.
- Lead counsel in successful representation of Hildene Capital Management in suit challenging the first ever involuntary bankruptcy filing of a CDO by senior bond holders.
- Lead counsel representing Hildene Capital Management and Preferred Term Securities XX in suit against Bank of New York Mellon and Bimini Capital Management for selling CDO assets in breach of indenture.
- Represented Heungkuk Life Insurance Company in suit against Goldman Sachs alleging fraud in connection with the marketing and sale of the Timberwolf CDO.
- Lead counsel in representation of BNP Paribas in suit against Bank of New York Mellon alleging breach of contract for misapplication of insurance proceeds received in connection with RMBS investments.
- Lead counsel in successful representation of Ambac in suit against Citigroup and Credit Suisse Alternative Capital alleging fraud, negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent conveyance and other claims related to credit default swaps referencing $2 billion of obligations issued by the Ridgeway II CDO structured by Citigroup and managed by Credit Suisse.
- Lead counsel in successful representation of Rabobank in suit against Merrill Lynch alleging fraud, negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent conveyance and other claims related to a $60 million funding swap procured by Merrill Lynch in connection with its Norma I CDO.
- Successfully represented Morgan Stanley, in its role as a CDS counterparty, against Barclays Bank plc, in its role as a controlling noteholder, in an interpleader action filed by U.S. Bank in connection with the disposition of nearly $300 million of cash distributions related to Tourmaline CDO I.
- Successfully represented AIG Financial Products Corp. in a suit against a large Washington public utility district asserting breach of an interest rate swap agreement related to the district’s issuance of municipal bonds.
- Lead counsel in successful representation of Accredited Home Lenders, Inc. in suit against Select Portfolio Servicing, Inc. alleging breach of contract under agreements to sell mortgage servicing rights in connection with seventeen RMBS securitizations.
- Lead counsel in successful representation of Rabobank in suit against JPMorgan Chase and Bear Stearns Asset Management alleging breach of contract and other claims relating to cashflow swaps entered into in connection with Tahoma II CDO and Tahoma III CDO.
- Lead counsel in successful representation of Rabobank in suit against Wells Fargo alleging breach of contract arising out of interest rate swap agreement in connection with Brookville CDO I.
- Successfully represented Paramax Capital Group in suit against UBS AG based upon fraud and breach of contract in connection with credit default swap on $1.3 billion tranche of TABS 2007-1 CDO.
- Lead counsel in representation of XL Capital Assurance in suit against Merrill Lynch based on claims that Merrill violated credit default swaps on over $3 billion in CDO obligations by entering into conflicting voting rights agreements.
- New York University School of Law
- (J.D., magna cum laude, 1998)
- New York University Law Review:
- Benjamin F. Butler Graduation Prize
- John J. Galgay Fellowship
- New York University Law Review:
- New College of the University of South Florida
(B.A., Political Science, 1995)
- Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz:
- Associate 1999-2007
- Associate 1999-2007
- Law Clerk to the Hon. Fortunato P. Benavides:
- United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, 1998-1999
- “CDO and RMBS Litigation,”
Practicing Law Institute, New Developments in Securitization 2010
- “Development in CDO Litigation”
The Review of Banking and Financial Services, April 2010
- “CDO and RMBS Litigation,”
Practicing Law Institute, New Developments in Securitization 2009
- “CDO and RMBS Litigation,”
Practicing Law Institute, New Developments in Securitization 2008