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Margaret E. Mazzeo

Partner

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Margaret E. Mazzeo, a partner of the Firm, concentrates her practice in the area of securities fraud litigation. Since joining the firm, Margaret has represented shareholders in several securities fraud class actions and direct actions, through all aspects of pre-trial proceedings, including complaint drafting, litigating motions to dismiss and for summary judgment, conducting document, deposition and expert discovery, and appeal. Margaret was a member of the trial team that recently won a jury verdict in favor of investors in the In re Longtop Financial Technologies Ltd. Securities Litigation, No. 11-cv-3658 (S.D.N.Y.) action.

Experience

Ongoing Cases

  • CASE CAPTION In re Celgene Corporation Securities Litigation
    COURT United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
    CASE NUMBER 2:18-cv-04772-JMV-JBC
    JUDGE Honorable John Michael Vazquez and Honorable James B. Clark, III
    PLAINTIFF AMF Pensionsförsäkring AB (“AMF”)
    DEFENDANTS Celgene Corporation (“Celgene”), Scott A. Smith, Terrie Curran, and Philippe Martin
    CLASS PERIOD April 27, 2017 through April 27, 2018, inclusive

    This securities fraud case involves Celgene’s misrepresentations and omissions about two billion dollar drugs, Otezla and Ozanimod, that Celgene touted as products that would make up for the anticipated revenue drop following the patent expiration of Celgene’s most profitable drug, Revlimid.

    Celgene launched Otezla, a drug treating psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, in 2014. Celgene primed the market that Otezla sales were poised to sky-rocket, representing that Otezla net product sales would reach $1.5 billion to $2 billion by 2017. Throughout 2015 and 2016, Defendants represented that Celgene was on-track to meet the 2017 sales projection. As early as mid-2016, however, Defendants received explicit internal warnings that the 2017 projection was unattainable, but continued to reaffirm the 2017 target to investors. By October 2017, however, Celgene announced that the Company had slashed the 2017 guidance by more than $250 million and lowered the 2020 Inflammatory & Immunology (“I&I”) guidance by over $1 billion. Celgene’s stock price plummeted on the news.

    Ozanimod, a drug treating multiple sclerosis, is another product in Celgene’s I&I pipeline, and was initially developed by a different company, Receptos. In July 2015, Celgene purchased Receptos for $7.2 billion and projected annual Ozanimod sales of up to $6 billion despite the fact that Ozanimod was not yet approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”).

    Celgene told investors that it would file a New Drug Application (“NDA”) for Ozanimod with the FDA in 2017. Unbeknownst to investors, however, Celgene discovered a metabolite named CC112273 (the “Metabolite”) through Phase I testing that Celgene started in October 2016, which triggered the need for extensive testing that was required before the FDA would approve the drug. Despite the need for this additional Metabolite testing that would extend beyond 2017, Defendants continued to represent that Celgene was on track to submit the NDA before the end of 2017 and concealed all information about the Metabolite.  In December 2017, without obtaining the required Metabolite study results, Celgene submitted the Ozanimod NDA to the FDA. Two months later, the FDA rejected the NDA by issuing a rare “refuse to file,” indicating that the FDA “identifie[d] clear and obvious deficiencies” in the NDA.  When the relevant truth was revealed concerning Ozanimod, Celgene’s stock price fell precipitously, damaging investors.   

    On February 27, 2019, AMF filed a 207-page Second Amended Consolidated Class Action Complaint against Celgene and its executives under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act. On December 19, 2019, U.S. District Judge John Michael Vasquez issued a 49-page opinion sustaining AMF’s claims as to (1) Celgene’s and Curran’s misstatements regarding Otezla being on track to meet Celgene’s 2017 sales projections, and (2) Celgene’s, Martin’s, and Smith’s misstatements about the state of Ozanimod’s testing and prospects for regulatory approval.

    On November 29, 2020, Judge Vasquez certified a class of “All persons and entities who purchased the common stock of Celgene Corp. between April 27, 2017 through and April 27, 2018, and were damaged thereby” and appointed Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check as Class Counsel. Discovery is ongoing.

  • CASE CAPTION          Sjunde AP-Fonden v. The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. et al.
    COURT United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
    CASE NUMBER 1:18-cv-12084-VSB
    JUDGE Honorable Vernon S. Broderick
    PLAINTIFF Sjunde AP-Fonden (“AP7”)
    DEFENDANTS The Goldman Sachs Group (“Goldman Sachs” or the “Company”), Lloyd C. Blankfein, Gary D. Cohn, and Harvey M. Schwartz
    CLASS PERIOD February 28, 2014 to December 20, 2018, inclusive

    This securities fraud class action case arises out of Goldman Sachs’ role in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (“1MDB”) money laundering scandal, one of the largest financial frauds in recent memory.

    In 2012 and 2013, Goldman served as the underwriter for 1MDB, the Malaysia state investment fund masterminded by financier Jho Low, in connection with three state-guaranteed bond offerings that raised over $6.5 billion. Goldman netted $600 million in fees for the three bond offerings—over 100 times the customary fee for comparable deals.

    In concert with Goldman, Low and other conspirators including government officials from Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates ran an expansive bribery ring, siphoning $4.5 billion from the bond deals that Goldman peddled as investments for Malaysian state energy projects. In actuality, the deals were shell transactions used to facilitate the historic money laundering scheme. Nearly $700 million of the diverted funds ended up in the private bank account of Najib Razak, Malaysia’s now-disgraced prime minister who was convicted for abuse of power in 2020. Other funds were funneled to Low and his associates and were used to buy luxury real estate in New York and Paris, super yachts, and even help finance the 2013 film “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

    AP7 filed a 200-page complaint in October 2019 on behalf of a putative class of investors alleging that Goldman and its former executives, including former CEO Lloyd Blankfein and former President Gary Cohn, violated Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act by making false and misleading statements about Goldman’s role in the 1MDB fraud. As alleged, when media reports began to surface about the collapse of 1MDB, Goldman denied any involvement in the criminal scheme. Simultaneously, Goldman misrepresented its risk controls and continued to falsely tout the robustness of its compliance measures. Following a series of revelations about investigations into allegations of money laundering and corruption at 1MDB, Goldman’s stock price fell precipitously, causing significant losses and damages to the Company’s investors.

    In October 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Goldman’s Malaysia subsidiary had pled guilty to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) which criminalizes the payment of bribes to foreign officials, and that Goldman had agreed to pay $2.9 billion pursuant to a deferred prosecution agreement. This amount includes the largest ever penalty under the FCPA.

    On June 28, 2021, The Honorable Vernon S. Broderick of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York sustained Plaintiffs’ complaint in a 44-page published opinion. The case is now in discovery.

Representative Outcomes

  • Kessler Topaz represented Lead Plaintiff Sjunde-AP Fonden, one of Sweden’s largest pension funds, in this long-running securities fraud class action before The Honorable Katharine S. Hayden of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. The $130 million recovery is the first settlement of a federal securities case arising out of the industrywide generic drug price-fixing scandal which first came to light when Congress launched an investigation into the historic increases in generic drug prices. The price-fixing conspiracy, led by Allergan and several other drug makers, is believed to be the largest domestic pharmaceutical cartel in U.S. history. Shareholders alleged that notwithstanding Allergan’s prominent role in this illicit scheme, the company repeatedly misrepresented to investors that it was not engaged in anticompetitive conduct—even as Allergan became ensnared in an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and 46 state attorneys general.

    For four years, a team of Kessler Topaz litigators prosecuted these claims from the initial investigation and drafting of the complaint through full fact discovery and class certification proceedings. On August 6, 2019, Judge Hayden issued a 31-page opinion denying defendants’ motions to dismiss the complaint, sustaining investors’ claims in full, and firmly establishing a shareholder-plaintiff’s ability to pursue securities fraud claims based on the concealment of an underlying antitrust conspiracy. The parties’ settlement was approved by the Court on November 22, 2021, marking a historic recovery for investors and sending a strong message to drug makers engaged in anticompetitive conduct.

  • As co-lead counsel representing the Maine Public Employees’ Retirement System, secured a $500 million settlement for a class of plaintiffs that purchased mortgage-backed securities (MBS) issued by Countrywide Financial Corporation (Countrywide).

    Plaintiffs alleged that Countrywide and various of its subsidiaries, officers and investment banks made false and misleading statements in more than 450 prospectus supplements relating to the issuance of subprime and Alt-A MBS—in particular, the quality of the underlying loans. When information about the loans became public, the plaintiffs’ investments declined in value. The ensuing six-year litigation raised several issues of first impression in the Ninth Circuit.

Publications

Matthew L. Mustokoff and Margaret E. Mazzeo, “Proving Securities Fraud Damages at Trial,” 46 Rev. of Securities & Commodities Regulation, 145-54 (2013)

Matthew L. Mustokoff and Margaret Mazzeo, “The Maintenance Theory of Inflation in Fraud-on-the-Market Cases,” 40 Securities Regulation Law Journal (2012)