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Alex B. Heller

Associate

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Alex B. Heller, an associate of the Firm, concentrates his practice in the areas of securities litigation and corporate governance. 

Alex received his law degree from the George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School in 2015 and his undergraduate degree from American University in 2008. While in law school, Alex served as an associate editor for the George Mason Law Review. Prior to joining the Firm, Alex was a partner at a plaintiffs' litigation firm, where he served as chair of the shareholder derivative litigation practice group. Alex is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Prior to his legal career, Alex practiced as a CPA for several years, advising businesses and auditing large corporations.

Memberships

  • Montgomery Bar Association
  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)
Experience

Current Cases

  • CASE CAPTION    In re The Boeing Company Aircraft Securities Litigation
    COURT United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
    CASE NUMBER 1:19-cv-02394
    JUDGE Honorable John J. Tharp Jr.
    PLAINTIFF

    Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi, City of Warwick Retirement System, William C. Houser, Bret E. Taggart, & Robert W. Kegley Sr.

    DEFENDANTS The Boeing Company, Dennis A. Muilenburg, and Gregory D. Smith
    CLASS PERIOD November 7, 2018 through December 16, 2019, inclusive

    This securities fraud class action arises out of Boeing’s alleged misstatements and concealment of the significant safety issues with its 737 MAX airliner, which caused two horrific plane crashes. In 2011, under pressure after its main competitor developed a fuel-efficient jet, Boeing announced its own fuel-efficient jet, the 737 MAX. In its rush to get the MAX to market, Boeing deliberately concealed safety risks with its updated airliner from regulators. On October 29, 2018, the 737 MAX being flown by Lion Air malfunctioned and crashed, killing 189 people. While Boeing repeatedly assured the public that the 737 MAX was safe to fly, internally, the Company was quietly overhauling the airliner’s systems in an attempt to reduce the risk of another fatal malfunction. Despite Boeing’s reassurances to the public, on March 10, 2019 another 737 MAX, this time operated by Ethiopian Airlines, experienced malfunctions before crashing and killing 157 people.

    Even as regulators and Congress investigated the crashes, throughout the Class Period, Boeing continued to convey to the public that the 737 MAX would return to operation while covering up the full extent of the airliner’s safety issues. In December 2019, Boeing finally announced it would suspend production of the 737 MAX, causing the dramatic decline of Boeing’s stock price and significant losses and damages to shareholders. Since the 737 MAX catastrophe, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has initiated a civil fraud investigation and the U.S. Department of Justice has initiated a criminal investigation into Boeing’s fraudulent conduct.

    In February 2020, a Consolidated Class Action Complaint was filed on behalf of a putative class of investors. The complaint alleges Boeing and its former executives—including former President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board Dennis Muilenburg and CFO Gregory Smith—violated Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act by making false and misleading statements regarding the fatal safety issues with its 737 MAX airliner. The complaint additionally alleges violations of Section 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act against Dennis Muilenburg and Gregory Smith as controlling persons liable for the false and misleading statements made by Boeing.

    On August 23, 2022, the Court issued an Opinion and Order denying and granting in part the Defendants’ motion to dismiss, finding Plaintiffs had sufficiently pled claims against Defendants Boeing and Mueilenburg. The case is now in fact discovery.

    Read Consolidated Class Action Complaint Here

    Read Opinion and Order Denying and Granting in Part Motion to Dismiss Here

  •   CASE CAPTION                       Delaware County Employees Retirement System, et al. v. Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation, et al.
      COURT  United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas
      CASE NUMBER 21-cv-02045
      JUDGE Honorable Lee H. Rosenthal
      PLAINTIFF Delaware County Employees Retirement System; Iron Workers District Council (Philadelphia & Vicinity) Retirement and Pension Plan
      DEFENDANTS Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation (“Cabot” or the “Company”), Dan O. Dinges, Scott C. Schroeder, and Phil L. Stalnaker
      CLASS PERIOD February 22, 2016 through June 12, 2020, inclusive

    This securities fraud class action case arises out of Defendants’ representations and omissions regarding Cabot’s legal compliance, polluting activities and risk.  During the Class Period, Cabot touted its compliance with applicable environmental laws and being a good steward of the environment. Unbeknownst to investors, Cabot’s environmental infractions were so extreme that after a lengthy grand jury investigation Pennsylvania charged Cabot with fifteen crimes, including nine felonies.

    Plaintiffs filed a 102-page complaint in April 2021 on behalf of a putative class of investors alleging that Cabot and its CEO Dan O. Dinges, CFO Scott C. Schroeder, and Senior Vice President Phil L. Stalnaker, violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act by making false and misleading statements and concealing material facts about the Company’s ongoing violations of environmental laws and polluting of Pennsylvania’s waters. As alleged, following revelations about Cabot’s legal compliance and subsequent criminal charges, Cabot’s stock price fell precipitously, causing significant losses and damages to the Company’s investors. Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on February 11, 2022.

    On August 10, 2022, the Court sustained Plaintiffs’ claims based on allegations that Cabot made false and misleading statements about its efforts to resolve and remediate environmental violations noticed by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection on Cabot’s wells, and affirmatively misled investors about the status of Cabot’s compliance with environmental laws and local regulatory authorities.

    Read Consolidated Complaint Here

    Read Amended Complaint Here

  •   CASE CAPTION                       Pontiac, City of General Employees Retirement System v. First Solar Incorporated, et al.
      COURT  United States District Court for the District of Arizona
      CASE NUMBER 2:22-cv-00036-MTL
      JUDGE Honorable Michael T. Liburdi
      PLAINTIFF

    Palm Harbor Special Fire Control & Rescue District Firefighters’ Pension Plan (“Palm Harbor”) and Greater Pennsylvania Carpenters’ Pension Fund (“Pennsylvania Carpenters”)

      DEFENDANTS First Solar, Inc. (“First Solar” or the “Company”), Mark Widmar, Alexander R. Bradley, and Georges Antoun
      CLASS PERIOD February 22, 2019 through February 20, 2020, inclusive

    This securities fraud class action arises out of First Solar’s alleged misrepresentations and omissions concerning its Series 6 solar power modules and its Project Development division. In late 2017, First Solar announced that it was transitioning to the Series 6 solar module as its flagship product and phasing out the Company’s existing Series 4 module. In connection with this transition, Defendants touted the significantly higher output (measured in watts per module) and lower cost (measured in cost per watt) of the Series 6 compared to the Series 4.  During the Class Period, Defendants repeatedly assured investors that the Series 6 was meeting the necessary milestones to achieve the targeted watts per module and cost per watt figures. Unbeknownst to the market, however, the Series 6 was plagued by manufacturing and performance defects that were negatively impacting both metrics. At the same time that they were concealing these issues with the Series 6, Defendants also failed to disclose that First Solar’s Project Development division had lost significant market share, that its project pipeline was rapidly dwindling, and that the Company was looking to divest this business. The truth concerning the state of affairs within the Company was eventually revealed to the public through disclosures on January 15, 2020 and February 20, 2020. Following these revelations, First Solar’s stock price fell precipitously.

    On June 23, 2022, Palm Harbor and Pennsylvania Carpenters filed an Amended Complaint on behalf of a putative class of investors alleging that First Solar and certain of its current executives violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act by making false and misleading statements and concealing material facts about the manufacturing and performance issues with the Company’s Series 6 modules and its struggling Project Development division. On August 22, 2022, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss. Plaintiffs will oppose that motion on October 21, 2022.

    Read Amended Class Action Complaint Here

  • CASE CAPTION            In re re Kraft Heinz Securities Litigation
    COURT United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
    CASE NUMBER 1:19-cv-01339
    JUDGE Honorable Robert M. Dow, Jr.
    PLAINTIFF Union Asset Management Holding AG, Sjunde Ap-Fonden, and Booker Enterprises Pty Ltd.
    DEFENDANTS The Kraft Heinz Company (“Kraft” or the “Company”), 3G Capital Partners, 3G Capital, Inc., 3G Global Food Holdings, L.P., 3G Global Food Holdings GP LP, 3G Capital Partners LP, 3G Capital Partners II LP, 3G Capital Partners Ltd., Bernardo Hees, Paulo Basilio, David Knopf, Alexandre Behring, George Zoghbi, and Rafael Oliveira
    CLASS PERIOD November 5, 2015 through August 7, 2019, inclusive

    This securities fraud class action case arises out Defendants’ misstatements regarding the Company’s financial position, including the carrying value of Kraft Heinz’s assets, the sustainability of the Company’s margins, and the success of recent cost-cutting strategies by Kraft Heinz.

    Kraft Heinz is one of the world’s largest food and beverage manufacturer and produces well-known brands including Kraft, Heinz, Oscar Mayer, Jell-O, Maxwell House, and Velveeta. The Company was formed as the result of the 2015 merger between Kraft Foods Group, Inc. and H.J. Heinz Holding Corporation. That merger was orchestrated by the private equity firm 3G Capital (“3G”) and Berkshire Hathaway with the intention of wringing out excess costs from the legacy companies. 3G is particularly well-known for its strategy of buying mature companies with relatively slower growth and then cutting costs using “zero-based budgeting,” in which the budget for every expenditure begins at $0 with increases being justified during every period.

    Plaintiffs allege that Kraft misrepresented the carrying value of its assets, sustainability of its margins, and the success of the Company’s cost-cutting strategy in the wake of the 2015 merger. During the time that Kraft was making these misrepresentations and artificially inflating its stock price, Kraft’s private equity sponsor, 3G Capital, sold $1.2 billion worth of Kraft stock.

    On February 21, 2019, Kraft announced that it was forced to take a goodwill charge of $15.4 billion to write-down the value of the Kraft and Oscar Mayer brands—one of the largest goodwill impairment charges taken by any company since the financial crisis. In connection with the charge, Kraft also announced that it would cut its dividend by 36% and incur a $12.6 billion loss for the fourth quarter of 2018. That loss was driven not only by Kraft’s write-down, but also by plunging margins and lower pricing throughout Kraft’s core business. In response, analysts immediately criticized the Company for concealing and “push[ing] forward” the “bad news” and characterized the Company’s industry-leading margins as a “façade.”

    Heightening investor concerns, Kraft also revealed that it received a subpoena from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in the same quarter it determined to take this write-down and was conducting an internal investigation relating to the Company’s side-agreements with vendors in its procurement division. Because of this subpoena and internal investigation, Kraft was also forced to take a separate $25 million charge relating to its accounting practices. Plaintiffs allege that because of the Company’s misrepresentations, the price of Kraft’s shares traded at artificially-inflated levels during the Class Period.

    On August 11, 2021, The Honorable Robert M. Dow, Jr. sustained Plaintiffs’ complaint. The case is now in discovery.  In March 2022, Plaintiffs moved for class certification.  

    Read Consolidated Amended Class Action Complaint Here

    Read Opinion and Order Denying Motion to Dismiss Here

    Read Motion for Class Certification Here

  • CASE CAPTION     In re Mylan N.V. Securities Litigation
    COURT United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
    CASE NUMBER 2:20-cv-00955-NR
    JUDGE Honorable J. Nicholas Ranjan
    PLAINTIFF Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi (“MPERS”)
    DEFENDANTS Mylan N.V. (“Mylan” or the “Company”), Heather Bresch, Rajiv Malik, Anthony Mauro, and Kenneth Parks
    CLASS PERIOD February 16, 2016 through May 7, 2019, inclusive

    This securities fraud class action stems from Defendants’ promotion of Mylan’s unique ability to manufacture quality drugs across a broad product line while concealing that the Company was experiencing widespread product quality issues at its manufacturing facilities, including at its flagship manufacturing plant in Morgantown, West Virginia.

    Mylan is one of the largest drug manufacturers in the world, selling several thousand different drug products.  During the Class Period, Mylan developed and manufactured many of these products at its Morgantown plant.  The Morgantown plant, as with all drug manufacturing facilities, received inspections by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”)  to ensure that its quality and safety testing was complete, consistent, accurate, and free from manipulation.  Mylan publicly acknowledged that complying with FDA regulations was critical to its business and profitability. 

    Yet, despite this acknowledgement, Mylan encountered significant regulatory issues at its manufacturing plants. These issues were largely unknown to the investing public.  In 2016, a surprise FDA inspection of Morgantown substantiated a former Mylan employee’s account that, under the direct leadership of President Rajiv Malik, Mylan employees had been manipulating drug test results to achieve passing quality control results, and deliberately corrupting testing data.  Following this investigation, Malik attended meetings with the FDA where officials told him they were “stunned” by Mylan’s “egregious” violations.   Just two years later, the FDA conducted another surprise investigation into the Morgantown facility. This investigation culminated in the FDA detailing thirteen significant deficiencies in Mylan’s operations and found that, among other violations, Mylan’s attempts to remedy its previous deficiencies identified during the FDA’s 2016 inspection were “inadequate,” and that Mylan exhibited poor quality control oversight, major lapses in equipment cleaning, and ineffective controls. 

    MPERS filed a 137-page complaint in November 2020 on behalf of a putative class of investors alleging that Mylan and its former executives violated Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act.  As alleged, during the Class Period,  Mylan’s CEO Heather Bresch and President Malik stressed Mylan’s ability to produce a significant volume of drugs across product lines while “meeting or exceeding” “stringent” quality standards and that this ability differentiated Mylan from competitors. Unbeknownst to investors, however, its manufacturing facilities, including at its flagship Morgantown facility, were rife with systemic, egregious, and long-standing deficiencies.  As multiple whistleblowers, Mylan employees, and the FDA told Mylan during the Class Period, the company’s quality failures were a by-product of management’s exclusive focus on production volume so as to increase Mylan’s bottom line.  These failures exposed Mylan to serious regulatory penalties, costly production disruptions, and expensive remediation. 

    At the end of the Class Period, Mylan finally admitted that its focus on generating massive volumes of drugs was unsustainable, and it had to halt production at Morgantown and dramatically reduce Mylan’s generics portfolio going forward. When the relevant truth was finally revealed to investors, Mylan’s stock price declined precipitously, materially damaging investors.      

    Defendants’ motion to dismiss is pending.

    Read Consolidated Class Action Complaint Here

  • CASE CAPTION  Charles Larry Crews, Jr., et al. v. Rivian Automotive Inc., et al.
    COURT United States District Court for the Central District of California Western Division
    CASE NUMBER 2:22-cv-0524
    JUDGE Honorable R. Gary Klausner
    PLAINTIFF Sjunde AP-Fonden, James Stephen Muhl
    DEFENDANTS Rivian Automotive, Inc. (“Rivian” or the “Company”), Robert J. Scaringe, Claire McDonough, Jeffrey R. Baker, Karen Boone, Sanford Schwartz, Rose Marcario, Peter Krawiec, Jay Flatley, Pamela Thomas-Graham, Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC, Goldman Sachs & Co., LLC, J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, Barclays Capital Inc., Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., Allen & Company LLC, BofA Securities, Inc., Mizuho Securities USA LLC, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Nomura Securities International, Inc., Piper Sandler & Co., RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc., Wedbush Securities Inc., Academy Securities, Inc., Blaylock Van, LLC, Cabrera Capital Markets LLC, C.L. King & Associates, Inc., Loop Capital Markets LLC, Samuel A. Ramirez & Co., Inc., Siebert Williams Shank & Co., LLC, and Tigress Financial Partners LLC.
    CLASS PERIOD November 10, 2021 through March 10, 2022, inclusive

    This securities fraud class action case arises out of Defendants’ representations and omissions made in connection with Rivian’s highly-anticipated initial public offering (“IPO”) on November 10, 2021. Specifically, the Company’s IPO offering documents failed to disclose material facts and risks to investors arising from the true cost of manufacturing the Company’s electric vehicles, the R1T and R1S, and the planned price increase that was necessary to ensure the Company’s long-term profitability. During the Class Period, Plaintiffs allege that certain defendants continued to mislead the market concerning the need for and timing of a price increase for the R1 vehicles. The truth concerning the state of affairs within the Company was gradually revealed to the public, first on March 1, 2022 through a significant price increase—and subsequent retraction on March 3, 2022—for existing and future preorders. And then on March 10, 2022, the full extent Rivian’s long-term financial prospects was disclosed in connection with its Fiscal Year 2022 guidance. As alleged, following these revelations, Rivian’s stock price fell precipitously, causing significant losses and damages to the Company’s investors.

    On July 22, 2022, Plaintiffs filed a Consolidated Class Action Complaint on behalf of a putative class of investors alleging that Rivian, and its CEO Robert J. Scaringe (“Scaringe”), CFO Claire McDonough (“McDonough”), and CAO Jeffrey R. Baker (“Baker”) violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act. Plaintiffs also allege violations of Section 11, Section 12(a)(2), and Section 15 of the Securities Act against Rivian, Scaringe, McDonough, Baker, Rivian Director Karen Boone, Rivian Director Sanford Schwartz, Rivian Director Rose Marcario, Rivian Director Peter Krawiec, Rivian Director Jay Flatley, Rivian Director Pamela Thomas-Graham, and the Rivian IPO Underwriters. On August 29, 2022, Defendants filed motions to dismiss.  Plaintiffs will oppose those motions in the coming month. 

    Read Consolidated Class Action Complaint Here

Publications

Corporate Death Penalty: Prosecutorial Discretion and the Indictment of SAC Capital” George Mason Law Review, 22 Geo. Mason L. Rev. 763 (2015), https://geomasonlrev.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/hellerv22-3.pdf.  

Co-Author, “Cybersecurity Disclosures in SEC Filings: When, How” Bloomberg BNA (March 13, 2015).