David Spears

Partner at Spears & Imes LLP

David Spears

David Spears

Partner at Spears & Imes LLP

Biography

David Spears, a founding partner of Spears & Imes LLP, concentrates in complex civil, criminal, and regulatory litigation. In all three areas, he has had extensive trial and appellate experience and achieved notable successes.

Mr. Spears spent the early years of his career working in government, including at the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C., focusing on antitrust matters; as a Trial Attorney and Deputy Chief Trial Attorney in the Enforcement Division of the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C.; and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. During his years at the SEC and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Spears tried a large number of cases involving a wide variety of charges.

In his more than two decades in private practice, Mr. Spears has tried many criminal and civil cases in federal and state courts and before the SEC, FINRA, and arbitration panels. Mr. Spears has also argued many cases in the U.S. Courts of Appeals and New York State appellate courts.

Civil Matters

Mr. Spears has represented clients in large civil cases involving complex factual and legal issues. Many of those cases have involved hundreds of millions, or billions, of dollars in claimed damages.

Notable matters include:

* In July 2014, Mr. Spears represented a hedge fund and its principals as defendants in a securities fraud case in a jury trial in the U.S. District Court in Portland, Maine. The jury returned a verdict for the firm’s clients on all claims against them.
* Mr. Spears represented a financial compliance firm as plaintiff in a copyright infringement case against a licensee in the Southern District of New York. In August 2014, the Court issued a lengthy ruling entering a default judgment against defendants for destruction of emails. Regulatory Fundamentals Grp. LLC v. Governance Risk Mgmt. Compliance, LLC, 13 Civ. 2493 (KBF), 2014 WL 3844796 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 5, 2014). That ruling is the most significant judicial decision to date on the subject of spoliation of evidence by a party.
* Mr. Spears has represented many defendants in cases involving residential mortgage-backed securities. He represented Angelo Mozilo of Countrywide Financial in lawsuits in the Southern District of New York alleging fraud in the sale of RMBS. Those cases were thrown out on motions to dismiss. Together with partner Charlita Mays, Mr. Spears represented a large international bank as a defendant in RMBS cases brought by the FHFA involving billions of dollars in claimed damages. Mr. Spears and partner Christopher Dysard represented a large international bank as a defendant in a case brought by a monoline insurer of RMBS involving billions of dollars in claimed damages. Mr. Spears and Mr. Dysard also represented a large international bank as a defendant in a case brought by the Federal Home Loan Bank in state court in Georgia.
* Mr. Spears represented a large German bank as plaintiff in a lawsuit in the Southern District of New York against the portfolio manager for a CDO, alleging that the bank lost all of its large investment in the CDO as a result of the portfolio manager’s gross negligence and willful misconduct in managing the CDO’s investment portfolio. After the District Court dismissed the bank’s case, Mr. Spears appealed the dismissal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and argued the appeal. In August 2012, the Second Circuit reversed the dismissal and reinstated the bank’s case. Bayerische Landesbank v. Aladdin Capital Management LLC, 692 F.3d 42 (2d Cir. 2012). The Second Circuit’s decision addressed important issues of diversity jurisdiction, standing, and contract and tort law as they apply to complex financial products.
* Mr. Spears, together with partner Christopher Dysard, represented a group of financial institutions, including Allstate, Bank Leumi, Bayerische Landesbank, International Finance Corporation, Société Générale, and Travelers, in a six-week jury trial in the Southern District of New York against a major investment bank to recover large losses related to the sale of asset-backed securities. The jury returned a verdict for the firm’s clients resulting in a judgment of $144 million, which was one of the largest jury awards in the U.S. that year. The defendant appealed that judgment, and Mr. Spears argued the appeal before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed the trial judgment. 646 F. Supp. 2d 385 (S.D.N.Y. 2009), aff’d, 386 F. App’x 5 (2d Cir. 2010).
* Mr. Spears represented a large international bank in a proceeding in the Southern District of New York under 28 U.S.C. § 1782 to obtain evidence from another large bank for use in separate litigations in London and Reykjavik, Iceland relating to the collapse of a major Icelandic bank.
* Mr. Spears represented Google as a defendant in an intellectual property case brought against it in the Southern District of New York. The case was dismissed by the Court.
* Mr. Spears represented the owner of a Spanish website devoted to international sports coverage as a defendant in a civil forfeiture action brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York for copyright infringement of materials of major league sports organizations in the United States. The U.S. Attorney’s Office dropped its forfeiture claim.
* Mr. Spears and partner Charlita Mays represented the sovereign wealth fund of the Sultanate of Oman in a civil litigation arising out of that fund’s involvement in an effort to acquire a Fortune 100 Company.
* Mr. Spears and partner Charlita Mays represented a major monoline insurer of asset-backed securities in multiple litigations commenced by the insurer seeking to recoup over $1 billion in potential insurance losses. As a result of the firm’s efforts, the insurer suffered no loss.
* Mr. Spears, together with partners Linda Imes and Charlita Mays, represented Columbia University in a qui tam proceeding commenced against it in the Southern District of New York relating to Medicaid charges by a University hospital.
* Mr. Spears represented Genentech in a products liability case in New York State Court relating to the patented drug Xolair. The firm succeeded in having the case dismissed.
* Mr. Spears represented a public company as a defendant in a class action securities fraud case in a jury trial in the Southern District of New York. The jury returned a verdict for the firm’s client on all claims against it.

Criminal Matters

Mr. Spears specializes in criminal cases involving sophisticated business and financial dealings and complex legal issues. Mr. Spears was named by Chambers & Partners as a “Leading Individual” in White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations. Chambers noted that Mr. Spears “enjoys an excellent reputation in the market for his strong white-collar expertise” and reported praise from sources that he is “tenacious with an amazing success rate” and has the “ability to anticipate problems and come up with solutions for his clients.”

Mr. Spears has represented defendants in criminal cases in federal courts around the United States and in New York State court, and he has obtained dismissals and acquittals for many clients.

Notable matters include:

* Mr. Spears represented the lead defendant in a case in the Southern District of New York in which 19 KPMG accountants and lawyers were charged with federal tax crimes based on their involvement with tax shelters that the government alleged to be fraudulent. In a groundbreaking ruling, the District Court threw out the indictment because the government had forced KPMG to terminate the payment of legal fees for the defendants. Mr. Spears argued the motion that resulted in the order of dismissal. United States v. Stein, 495 F. Supp. 2d 330 (S.D.N.Y. 2007); United States v. Stein, 541 F.3d 130 (2d Cir. 2008).
* In a criminal jury trial in Houston, Mr. Spears a

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Co-Founder at The Women's Refugee Commission

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Executive Director at The Women's Refugee Commission

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Associate Vice President & Executive Director of the Innovation & New Venture Office at Northwestern University

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Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education at Northwestern University

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Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs at Northwestern University

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Associate Provost for Budget, Facilities & Analysis at Northwestern University

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Dean of Undergraduate Admissions at Northwestern University

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Assistant Provost, Diversity & Inclusion at Northwestern University

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Senior Director of Institutional Research at Northwestern University

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Director, Searle Center for Teaching Excellence at Northwestern University

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David Spears
Partner at Spears & Imes LLP
Education
JD
Class of 1977

Columbia Law School is a professional graduate school of Columbia University, a member of the Ivy League. Columbia is regarded as one of the most prestigious law schools in the nation and has always been ranked in the top five by U.S. News and World Report.Founded in 1858, Columbia has produced a large number of distinguished alumni including two Presidents of the United States (Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt); nine Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States;numerous U.S. Cabinet members and Presidential advisers; U.S. Senators, Representatives, and Governors; and more members of the Forbes 400 than any other law school.

BA
Class of 1974

Northwestern University is a private institution founded in 1851 to serve the Northwest Territory, an area that now includes the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and parts of Minnesota. In 1853 the founders purchased a 379-acre tract of land on the shore of Lake Michigan 12 miles north of Chicago. They established a campus and developed the land near it, naming the surrounding town Evanston in honor of one of the University's founders, John Evans. After completing its first building, its first building in 1855, Northwestern began classes that fall with two faculty members and 10 students. Northwestern has three campuses and a total of 12 Schools and Colleges (one of which is located in South Florida. Two campuses are located on Lake Michigan, a 240-acre campus in Evanston, the first suburb north of Chicago, and a 25-acre campus in Chicago. One campus is located in Doha, Qatar. Northwestern University combines innovative teaching and pioneering research in a highly collaborative environment that transcends traditional academic boundaries. It provides students and faculty exceptional opportunities for intellectual, personal and professional growth in a setting enhanced by the richness of Chicago.

Career History
Partner
Current
Trial Attorney & Deputy Chief Trial Attorney in the Enforcement Division
Prior

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is an agency of the United States federal government. It holds primary responsibility for enforcing the federal securities laws and regulating the securities industry, the nation's stock and options exchanges, and other electronic securities markets in the United States. In addition to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 that created it, the SEC enforces the Securities Act of 1933, the Trust Indenture Act of 1939, the Investment Company Act of 1940, the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, the Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002, and other statutes. The SEC was created by Section 4 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

Assistant United States Attorney, Criminal Division
Prior

The United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York represents the United States and its agencies in civil and criminal litigation before the United States District Court and in proceedings before the United States Bankruptcy Court, as well as on appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The Office is led by United States Attorney Preet Bharara and is comprised of a Criminal Division, Civil Division, and White Plains Division that is part of the Criminal Division. The Office has more than 220 Assistant United States Attorneys who are supported by our Administrative and support staff.

Non-Profit Donations & Grants

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$1,000 +
2013

Northwestern University is a private institution founded in 1851 to serve the Northwest Territory, an area that now includes the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and parts of Minnesota. In 1853 the founders purchased a 379-acre tract of land on the shore of Lake Michigan 12 miles north of Chicago. They established a campus and developed the land near it, naming the surrounding town Evanston in honor of one of the University's founders, John Evans. After completing its first building, its first building in 1855, Northwestern began classes that fall with two faculty members and 10 students. Northwestern has three campuses and a total of 12 Schools and Colleges (one of which is located in South Florida. Two campuses are located on Lake Michigan, a 240-acre campus in Evanston, the first suburb north of Chicago, and a 25-acre campus in Chicago. One campus is located in Doha, Qatar. Northwestern University combines innovative teaching and pioneering research in a highly collaborative environment that transcends traditional academic boundaries. It provides students and faculty exceptional opportunities for intellectual, personal and professional growth in a setting enhanced by the richness of Chicago.

$1,000 +
2012

Northwestern University is a private institution founded in 1851 to serve the Northwest Territory, an area that now includes the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and parts of Minnesota. In 1853 the founders purchased a 379-acre tract of land on the shore of Lake Michigan 12 miles north of Chicago. They established a campus and developed the land near it, naming the surrounding town Evanston in honor of one of the University's founders, John Evans. After completing its first building, its first building in 1855, Northwestern began classes that fall with two faculty members and 10 students. Northwestern has three campuses and a total of 12 Schools and Colleges (one of which is located in South Florida. Two campuses are located on Lake Michigan, a 240-acre campus in Evanston, the first suburb north of Chicago, and a 25-acre campus in Chicago. One campus is located in Doha, Qatar. Northwestern University combines innovative teaching and pioneering research in a highly collaborative environment that transcends traditional academic boundaries. It provides students and faculty exceptional opportunities for intellectual, personal and professional growth in a setting enhanced by the richness of Chicago.

$1,000 +
2011

Northwestern University is a private institution founded in 1851 to serve the Northwest Territory, an area that now includes the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and parts of Minnesota. In 1853 the founders purchased a 379-acre tract of land on the shore of Lake Michigan 12 miles north of Chicago. They established a campus and developed the land near it, naming the surrounding town Evanston in honor of one of the University's founders, John Evans. After completing its first building, its first building in 1855, Northwestern began classes that fall with two faculty members and 10 students. Northwestern has three campuses and a total of 12 Schools and Colleges (one of which is located in South Florida. Two campuses are located on Lake Michigan, a 240-acre campus in Evanston, the first suburb north of Chicago, and a 25-acre campus in Chicago. One campus is located in Doha, Qatar. Northwestern University combines innovative teaching and pioneering research in a highly collaborative environment that transcends traditional academic boundaries. It provides students and faculty exceptional opportunities for intellectual, personal and professional growth in a setting enhanced by the richness of Chicago.

Political Donations
$500
2014

Representative from New York's 18th Congressional District

$1,000
2010

Senator from New York

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