Connell Foley Teams Led by Peter Pizzi Win Dismissals of Two Securities Suits

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ROSELAND, N.J./October 21, 2008 -- Peter J. Pizzi, a partner with Connell Foley LLP of Roseland, New Jersey, recently won dismissals in two securities actions pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Optionable. In In Re Optionable Inc., a New York commodities trading firm and several of its present and former officers and directors, was sued in a purported securities class action. The company, Optionable Inc., operated an electronic platform for trading commodities, and encountered financial problems after one of its customers, the Bank of Montreal, announced large trading losses in the spring of 2007. Shortly thereafter, the bank severed its relationship with Optionable. The story received extensive news coverage, including articles in the Toronto-based newspaper, the Globe and Mail. A rash of class action lawsuits followed. Pizzi represented the former executive chair of Optionable in the actions, assisted by associates Christine Gannon and Susan Kwiatkowski.

On September 17, 2008, the Honorable Lewis Kaplan granted the defendants’ motions to dismiss, finding that the plaintiffs had not alleged sufficient facts which, if proven, would establish a violation of federal securities laws.  The opinion in In Re Optionable Inc., ___ F.Supp.2d ___, 2008 WL 4223662 (S.D.N.Y. September 17, 2008) gave plaintiffs until October 6, 2008 within which to file an amended complaint. Plaintiffs instead sought to obtain certain limited discovery before filing an amended pleading. On October 20, 2008, the Court denied plaintiffs’ request for that limited discovery, and entered a final order dismissing the entire action.

DuraVest. Pizzi’s second success story arose out of an international transaction by which the plaintiff hedge fund acquired a German-based biotech company. The hedge fund sued the principal selling shareholders, who were Spanish residents, the German investment banking firm which brokered the deal, as well as lawyers and accountants involved in the transaction. On October 7, 2008, the Honorable Jed Rakoff dismissed the entire action, finding a lack of personal jurisdiction in New York over the key participants and a lack of the requisite federal “subject matter” against those entities which could be sued in New York. Mr. Pizzi represented the selling shareholders who were named as defendants, assisted by partner Marc Haefner and associates Susan Kwiatkowski and Christopher Hemrick. The opinion in Duravest, Inc. v. Viscardi AG, ___ F.Supp.2d ___, 2008 WL 4500699 (S.D.N.Y. October 7, 2008) is available here.

Mr. Pizzi is chair of Connell Foley’s Securities Litigation practice group and devotes his practice primarily to business and employment litigation, securities litigation and SRO arbitration, and the protection of corporate intellectual property. The Supreme Court of New Jersey, Board of Trial Attorney Certification, has designated him a Certified Civil Trial Attorney, and recertified him in January 2006.

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