Stacey M. Kaplan

Partner

EDUCATION
  • University of Notre Dame
    B.B.A.
  • University of California at Los Angeles School of Law
    J.D.
ADMISSIONS
  • United States Supreme Court
  • USCA, Ninth Circuit
  • USDC, Northern District of California
  • USDC, Central District of California
  • California
  • USDC, Eastern District of Michigan
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Stacey M. Kaplan, a partner in the Firm’s San Francisco office, concentrates her practice in the area of complex securities litigation. 

Stacey has represented individual and institutional investors in a variety of securities class actions in which the Firm has served as Lead or Co-Lead Counsel, and has contributed to the recovery of hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of defrauded investors.  

Experience
Ongoing Cases
  • The win keeps this case on track for a February 18, 2020 jury trial.

    Since December 2014, Kessler Topaz has served as co-lead counsel on behalf of two institutional Lead Plaintiffs and a Class of investors who acquired SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., common stock in the period from August 29, 2013 through August 12, 2014 (the “Class Period”).  Lead Plaintiffs claim that SeaWorld and its former executives (“Defendants”) issued materially false and misleading statements during the Class Period about the impact of Blackfish, an highly publicized documentary film released in 2013, on SeaWorld’s business, in violation of Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act of 1934 and SEC Rule 10b-5. Defendants repeatedly told the market over the roughly 11-month Class Period that the film and related public outrage were not affecting SeaWorld’s attendance or business at all—representations that Lead Plaintiffs maintain were false and misleading.  When the underlying truth of Blackfish’s impact on the business finally came to light in August 2014, SeaWorld’s stock price lost approximately 33% of its value in one day, injuring Class members.  In November 2017, Judge Michael M. Anello of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California certified the Class, appointed Lead Plaintiffs as Class Representatives, and appointed Kessler Topaz as co-Class Counsel.  The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Defendants’ petition to appeal that order in mid-2018.  And in April 2019, after the close of fact and expert discovery, Defendants moved for summary judgment on all claims.

    Summary judgment represented Defendants’ last and best opportunity to avoid a jury trial on the Class’s claims through a dispositive motion.  But, after full briefing and an October 2019 oral argument, the Court held, in a 98-page Order dated November 6, 2019, that Lead Plaintiffs had successfully shown that genuine issues of material fact precluded summary judgment on all elements of their claims, and the claims should go to a jury.  The Court set a trial date of February 18, 2020.  Kessler Topaz, along with co-lead counsel, will prosecute the case on behalf of Lead Plaintiffs and the Class.    

Representative Outcomes
  • We served as sole lead counsel on behalf of Dutch National Pension fund PGGM Vermogensbeheer B.V. and a putative class of Hewlett-Packard Company (HP) investors, in an action against HP alleging that HP and its officers and directors made false and misleading statements relating to the $11 billion acquisition and value of Autonomy Corporation plc. PGGM alleged, on behalf of the putative class, that the defendants knew or should have known that Autonomy was worth considerably less than the purchase price, and that HP shareholders were harmed by the fraud.  After several years of hard-fought litigation and settlement negotiations, HP agreed to settle the matter for $100 million in cash. The settlement was approved by the Court on November 13, 2015. In approving the settlement, the Court complimented the terms of the settlement and PGGM's and KTMC's efforts, stating that KTMC “did a great job” and calling the settlement "an excellent resolution of this case" and "a very good result for their class."

  • Kessler Topaz represented the Iowa Public Employees Retirement System as Co-Lead Counsel in a certified class action challenging a brazen insider trading scheme by Valeant Pharmaceuticals to tip Bill Ackman’s hedge fund Pershing Square Capital (“Pershing”) that it intended to launch a hostile takeover attempt to buy rival pharma company Allergan. The case was brought on behalf of Allergan investors who sold stock while Pershing was buying on the basis of this inside information. After three years, Kessler Topaz settled the case just weeks before trial (set for January 2018) for $250 million. At the final approval hearing, U.S. District Judge David O. Carter commented as follows about the litigation and the efforts of plaintiffs’ counsel: “Let me just humbly say, it’s been quite a walk. It has been an extraordinary unique case and extraordinarily well litigated.”

Publication

How a Dissent Produced a Majority Rationale, American Association for Justice, Business Torts Program Annual Conference (2013)

Awards/Ranking

Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyer, 2019

Judicial Extern for the Honorable Terry J. Hatter, Jr., United States District Court, Central District of California

Community Involvement

Stacey served on a team of attorneys representing the Unitarian Universalist Association, General Synod of the United Church of Christ, Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis, Progressive Jewish Alliance, California Council of Churches, and other religious organizations, as amici curiae, challenging the validity of Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage.  More recently, Stacey represented the California Council of Churches, California Faith for Equality, Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry California, Northern California Nevada Conference, United Church of Christ, Southern California Conference, United Church of Christ, Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis, and California Network of Metropolitan Community Churches, as amici curiae, arguing to the United States Supreme Court that civil marriage is a civil right that cannot be withheld from same-sex couples.