Mr. Valukas focuses on major civil and white collar criminal defense litigation. As a civil litigator, he has extensive experience in the areas of mass tort and class actions. He has defended companies ranging from manufacturers to air carriers in consumer products litigation, product defect and consumer fraud class actions, food contamination, mass accident, and toxic exposure and environmental claims.
As a white-collar criminal defense attorney, Mr. Valukas has represented clients that have included lawyers, accountants, real estate developers, and corporate executives in high-profile matters. Many of these cases were either resolved before charges were brought or ended in verdicts of acquittal.
Mr. Valukas has worked on a wide variety of matters relating to government contracts and issues of fraud and compliance. He represents Fortune 500 companies and public entities with regard to conflicts of interest, ethics violations and internal corporate investigations, as well as in SEC investigations and civil securities fraud lawsuits.
Mr. Valukas also has broad and significant experience in the health care area. He has assisted many corporations in developing corporate compliance policies and conducted internal investigations for matters ranging from sale of products to embargoed countries to misrepresentations in new drug applications. He has successfully resolved many matters prior to the filing of charges, and has handled many qui tam actions regarding Medicare/Medicaid and PATH fraud allegations, as well as the resulting shareholders derivative suits.
Representative matters include:
- Led an internal investigation and produced an internal report to the board of directors for General Motors Company (GM) with regard to events leading up to certain recalls stemming from faulty ignition switches. In a 70-day period, a multidisciplinary team collected and searched in excess of 41 million documents and records and conducted more than 350 witness interviews. The firm team coordinated GM’s response to several federal agencies and Congress. Mr. Valukas subsequently testified before Senate and House committees on the report’s findings. He also represented GM in a related investigation by the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, culminating in the resolution of the matter through a deferred prosecution agreement.
- Served as Court-appointed Examiner in the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy matter, leading an exhaustive investigation into and producing a universally acclaimed 2,200 page report on the causes of the failure of the global financial services firm. In 2010, he was invited to testify before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services, regarding the findings in the Examiner’s Report, alongside US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Federal Reserve System Chairman Ben Bernanke and SEC Chairperson Mary Schapiro; in 2011, he testified before the US Senate Subcommittee on Securities, Insurance and Investment. The information and insights he shared at these hearings influenced enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act and new SEC and FASB rules, making sweeping changes to America’s financial regulatory environment. For his “central role in the credit crisis,” Directorship named Mr. Valukas one of the 100 “most influential people in the boardroom” in 2010 and The American Lawyer Magazine named him its “#1 Newsmaker of the Year.”
- Served as lead counsel for the “old” General Motors in a four-year long Securities Exchange Commission investigation focusing primarily on GM’s pension accounting. Investigation concluded with no allegations of fraud or intentional misconduct against the client.
- Served as lead trial counsel for American Airlines in defending and prosecuting $1 billion in claims arising out of the November 2001 aviation disaster known as In Re Belle Harbor Aviation Disaster - AA Flight #587. That litigation concluded with successful settlements in 2008.
- Represented the parent company of American Airlines and AMR Eagle on the liability side in suits arising from the 1994 crash of American Eagle Flight 4184, killing all 68 people on board. All cases settled after jury selection.
- Defended a major food manufacturer in wrongful death and class action cases stemming from an outbreak of listeria traced to the company’s meat products (including a criminal case that was settled by the company pleading to a misdemeanor and paying a fine).
- Defended a chemical company in toxic tort wrongful death cases alleging that plant emissions caused cancer in area children.
- Achieved dismissal of a qui tam False Claims Act case against Medline Industries in U.S. ex rel. Mason v. Medline Industries, Inc., a suit alleging that Medline made false pricing representations relating to products purchased by the US Veterans Administration and engaged in various activities constituting kickbacks to health care providers, resulting in their making false claims to Medicare and Medicaid.
- Won dismissal of a qui tam False Claims Act lawsuit against Biogen Idec, Inc., the manufacturer of Rituxan, a widely prescribed treatment for some forms of cancer. The complaint alleged that Biogen had illegally marketed Rituxan for off-label use in treating rheumatoid arthritis, prior to the FDA’s approval of the drug for that indication in 2006, causing false claims for reimbursement to be submitted by doctors to Medicare and Medicaid.
- Represented Honeywell International, Inc. in an arbitration and related litigation over the breach of a petrochemical supply agreement.
- Represented H&R Block, Inc. in a nearly decade-long nationwide class action over Refund Anticipation Loans, achieving a settlement favorable to the client, after a previous settlement arrived at with prior counsel was rejected by the US Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
- Represented former Sun-Times publisher F. David Radler in civil and criminal litigation growing out of accusations of fraud at Hollinger International, Inc.