Scott J. WatnikWilk Auslander LLP
Business Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Scott is a member of the Firm’s litigation department He has represented business owners, partnerships, financial institutions, hedge funds, governmental entities, insurers, manufacturers, investors, shareholders, and corporate board members and executives in securities, shareholder, breach of contract, employment and business tort litigations in federal and state courts across the country. Scott has also represented individuals in connection with high-stakes trust and estates, and intellectual property disputes. Scott’s client base is diverse, spanning the fields of manufacturing, retail, investing, and marketing.
In addition, Scott has substantial experience representing financial and other institutions, as well as individuals, in connection with investigations conducted by the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the United States Senate, and state attorneys general, among others. Scott’s cases have frequently involved unique and cutting edge areas of the law. For instance, Scott served as trial and appellate counsel to one of the plaintiffs in Franklin et al v. Herman Miller, Inc. et al, (Del. Chancery, C.A. NO. 10477-CB) – the only case to date to go to trial involving Delaware General Corporate Law §§ 204 and 205. Sections 204 and 205 of the Delaware General Corporate law establish a newly-enacted process by which a Delaware corporation can ratify defective corporate acts concerning stock issuances (among other things), and thus materially impact Delaware corporations and their investors. Scott also served on the trial team in a securities fraud class action representing one of the world’s largest banking institutions in one of only a handful of such cases to ever go to trial following the passage of the PSLRA. Additionally, Scott has extensive experience litigating proceedings under 28 U.S.C. § 1782, the federal statute involving discovery assistance to foreign and international tribunals.
Most recently, Scott led a Wilk Auslander team of attorneys in successfully defending a c-suite executive in connection with claims for securities fraud under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Rule 10b-5. The Plaintiffs, a putative class of shareholders, sought damages in excess of $44 million in connection with these securities fraud claims. Scott spearheaded our client’s defense and achieved a rare “with prejudice” dismissal of these claims issued by the Southern District of New York. See Kohlberg v. Long Point Capital et al., 2022 WL 976809 (S.D.N.Y. March 31, 2022). In another recent matter, Scott was instrumental in prosecuting claims for breach of contract, which resulted in a grant of summary judgment in excess of $45 million in favor of our client, affirmed by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. See Cimontubo-Tubagens E Soldadura, LDA v. Petroleous De Venezuela, S.A., 2021 WL 827133 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 4, 2021), aff’d 2022 WL 2155285 (2d Cir. June 15, 2022).
Beyond the courtroom, over the past several years Scott has regularly counseled executives in connection with employment contracts in the financial sector (among others). While working together with an interdisciplinary team of other attorneys at our firm, Scott has helped to successfully negotiate dozens of employment, non-compete and severance agreements involving executives at several of the nation’s leading hedge funds and investment firms.
Additionally, Scott co-chairs the Firm’s cybersecurity practice. In that capacity, Scott advises clients of the firm in connection with the laws, rules and regulations in this ever-changing and dynamic legal landscape.
Scott has been selected to New York Super Lawyers for Business Litigation each year from 2016 – 2021. Scott has been quoted in the media concerning his legal insight and active cases, including the New York Law Journal, the New York Times, Reuters, Bloomberg, the Delaware Business Insider, and the Times of Israel. A former tennis player with wins over players ranked among the top 200 in the world, Scott often credits his unique experience in the athletic arena for instilling within him the fierce advocacy, relentless discipline and work ethic that his clients have come to value.
Prior to joining Wilk Auslander, Scott spent a substantial part of his career at Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, where he was an associate in the firm’s litigation practice.