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Stephens, Molly

Molly Stephens

Partner

mollystephens@quinnemanuel.com
Direct Tel: +1 213-443-3635
Los Angeles
Tel: +1 213 443 3000 Fax: +1 213 443 3100

Molly Stephens specializes in complex commercial litigation, with an emphasis on investment contracts and funds, corporate governance and fiduciary duties, structured finance, and securities law.  Ms. Stephens also is chair of Quinn Emanuel’s esports practice group, which brings together attorneys worldwide who specialize in a number of areas relevant to esports, including intellectual property, traditional sports, media and entertainment, data privacy, consumer products, finance, corporate governance, and antitrust.  

Ms. Stephens has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of complex commercial cases, including cases involving breach of contract, particularly breach of earn-out provisions, reasonable best efforts clauses, contractual representations and warranties, and implied covenants of good faith and fair dealing; breach of fiduciary duties; corporate mismanagement and waste; dilution of minority shareholders; violations of securities registration requirements under the Securities Act of 1933 and state blue sky laws; fraud in the sale of public and private securities, including under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, state blue sky laws, and common law; insider trading; unsuitable investment advice; and fraudulent transfers.  Ms. Stephens has frequently been named a “Recommended Lawyer” in securities litigation by Legal 500 United States (2013-2015, 2017, 2018), and was named an up and coming securities litigator by Chambers USA (2013, 2014), which acknowledged “praise for her ‘powerful and impressive’ securities litigation practice” and noted that she is “phenomenally bright, a critical thinker and great listener.”

  • Allergan
  • Contango Capital Advisors
  • Federal Housing Finance Agency
  • Goldin Restructuring Fund
  • IBM
  • JMI Services
  • Landwin Management
  • Levine Leichtman Capital Partners
  • MassMutual
  • MBIA Insurance Corporation
  • Orchard First Source Asset Management
  • PIMCO
  • ResCap Liquidating Trust
  • SoftBank Vision Fund
  • United Guaranty Mortgage Indemnity
  • University of Oklahoma
  • Ms. Stephens is currently representing the University of Oklahoma in a dispute involving a “public-private partnership,” in which the University contracted with a private company to build, own, and operate a mixed-use housing facility on campus, funded by $250 million in bonds.  After the facility failed to achieve enough occupancy to satisfy the required bond payments, the debtor, bond trustee, and bondholders blamed the University.  The bond trustee undertook an aggressive media and lobbying campaign against the University, and the debtor sued the University for breach of contract, promissory estoppel, and unjust enrichment.  Ms. Stephens successfully defeated the media and lobbying campaign and filed counter-claims against the debtor for declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and breach of contract.  The lawsuit is pending.
  • Ms. Stephens represented SoftBank Vision Fund (Vision Fund) in cases brought by The We Company (WeWork) and Adam Neumann against Vision Fund and SoftBank Group Corp. (SBG) arising from SBG’s termination of a $3 billion tender offer to purchase shares of WeWork stock from existing stockholders.  WeWork and Neumann asserted claims for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.  Ms. Stephens obtained dismissal with prejudice of the breach of fiduciary duty claims on motions to dismiss.  The breach of contract claims were scheduled for trial before Vice Chancellor Laster in the Delaware Chancery Court, and the parties reached a settlement before trial.     
  • Ms. Stephens represented Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, a private equity fund with over $11.5 billion in assets under management, in defending against two lawsuits arising from a dividend recapitalization transaction involving a portfolio company.  The lender had taken over the portfolio company and instituted actions seeking recovery of at least $100 million alleging claims for an unlawful dividend, breach of fiduciary duty, and fraudulent transfer.  In addition to defending against the actions, Ms. Stephens filed a separate indemnification and advancement action against the portfolio company, along with cross-claims against the lender and its affiliates for breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, violations of the Uniform Commercial Code, unjust enrichment, and unfair business practices.  The cases settled in March 2020.
  • Ms. Stephens represented the ResCap Liquidating Trust, as successor to Residential Funding Company (RFC), in actions filed against mortgage lenders that sold RFC defective mortgage loans.  RFC securitized the defective mortgage loans, which resulted in lawsuits that forced RFC into bankruptcy.  The Trust sought recovery for RFC’s $9 billion in bankruptcy liabilities under indemnification and breach of contract theories.  Ms. Stephens was part of the team that helped the Trust reach settlements in excess of $1 billion and tried another case to a jury in Minnesota, which returned a verdict of $29 million in the Trust’s favor in one day.  Ms. Stephens also single-handedly strategized, briefed, and argued the motion for attorneys’ fees, obtaining an unprecedented $23.1 million fee award on top of the jury verdict.  
  • Ms. Stephens represented shareholders in a dispute involving the sale of a Spokeo, Inc., a private company that operates a people search website.  After the board unanimously approved a sale process, two out of four directors rejected all offers received by the board.  Ms. Stephens was successful in pleading direct claims by shareholders for breach of fiduciary duty based on the rejected sale offers, and the case settled in early 2017.  
  • Ms. Stephens represented MassMutual in 13 actions filed against banks and mortgage companies alleging misrepresentations in the sale of approximately $1.5 billion in residential mortgage-backed securities.  The actions involve securities originated and/or sold by Countrywide, Deutsche Bank, UBS, Credit Suisse, Bear Stearns, and JPMorgan Chase, among others.  Ms. Stephens won critical motions to dismiss, summary judgment motions, and Daubert motions, and all actions were settled.  
  • Ms. Stephens represented the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), as conservator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, in 16 actions against banks and mortgage companies alleging misrepresentations in the sale of residential mortgage-backed securities.  The actions involve securities originated and or sold by Bank of America, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Merrill Lynch, UBS, Barclays, and others.  FHFA recovered more than $25 billion in settlements.  
  • Ms. Stephens represented a former outside director of Peregrine Systems, Inc., a software company, in five different actions filed by shareholders in federal and state court seeking in excess of $2 billion for alleged securities fraud, insider trading, and breach of fiduciary duty.  Ms. Stephens won dismissal with prejudice of one action, dismissal with prejudice of certain securities fraud claims in another action, and summary judgment of all claims in yet another action.  The remaining claims and actions were settled.
  • Ms. Stephens won dismissal with prejudice of all claims asserted by investors in a real estate investment fund against the fund’s managers.  The claims included direct claims for violations of federal and California securities laws and derivative claims for breach of fiduciary duty.  The dismissal resulted in the settlement of two related actions brought by investors in other real estate investment funds asserting similar federal and California securities claims. 
  • Ms. Stephens defeated a motion for temporary restraining order filed by investors in a Madoff-feeder fund against the fund’s managers, which resulted in the investors staying all litigation against the fund’s managers.
  • Ms. Stephens won dismissal with prejudice of a breach of fiduciary duty claim asserted by an investor in a distressed opportunities fund against the fund’s managers, which resulted in a settlement of the remaining claim. 
  • Ms. Stephens represented the acquiring company in an arbitration with selling shareholders involving a dispute over the earn-out provision in a stock purchase agreement.  After the selling shareholders’ case was defeated in the first day of arbitration, the shareholders proposed a settlement that was approximately 5% of their demand to terminate the arbitration early.
  • University of Texas Law School
    (J.D., with honors, 2002) 
    • Texas Law Review
    • Order of the Coif

  • Stanford University
    (M.S., Engineering Economic Systems and Operations Research, 1998)
  • Stanford University
    (B.S., Industrial Engineering, 1997)
    • President, Stanford Debating Society
  • The State Bar of California
  • The State Bar of Texas
  • Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP:
    • Associate, 2002-2003
  • Named a Recommended Lawyer by Legal 500 United States in the areas of Securities Litigation – Plaintiff (2017, 2018), Financial Services – Litigation (2017), and Securities Litigation – Shareholder Investigations (2013-2015).
  • Ranked as “Up and Coming” in California Securities Litigation by Chambers USA (2013, 2014).
  • Named one of Super Lawyer’sSouthern California Rising Stars” (2012-2014).
  • Selected as one of The Recorder’s “Lawyers on the Fast Track” (2012).
  • Article, Diane Cafferata, Manisha Sheth & Molly Stephens, Preventing Harassment & Discrimination in Esports, The Esports Observer, Mar. 12, 2021.
  • Webinar, Diane Cafferata, Manisha Sheth, Molly Stephens & Amanda Stevens, Diversity and Inclusion in the Esports Industry, Esports Bar Association, Jan. 14, 2021. 
  • Video, Fiduciary Duties Owed by Directors, Officers, & Shareholders (2019), available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j24FTormXLk.
  • Article, Empowering Plaintiffs: Recent Trends That Make It Easier for Securities Plaintiffs to Maintain Lawsuits, Inside the Minds, New Developments in Securities Litigation (Aspatore 2016).
  • Article, After the Financial Crisis: The Impact of RMBS Cases on Securities Litigation, Inside the Minds, New Developments in Securities Litigation (Aspatore 2013).  
  • Note, Sales of In-Game Assets: An Illustration of the Continuing Failure of Intellectual Property Law to Protect Digital-Content Creators, 80 Tex. L. Rev. 1513 (2002).
  • Contributing Writer, Frederick Hillier & Gerald J. Lieberman, Introduction to Operations Research (7th ed. 2001).
  • Karl Schmedders & Molly Stephens, Time to Update Teaching Cases, OR/MS Today, Feb. 2001.
  • Contributing Writer, Frederick Hillier, et al., Introduction To Management Science: A Modeling and Case Studies Approach with Spreadsheets (2000).