In over two decades of practice at Sullivan & Cromwell and Kasowitz, Michael J. Bowe has successfully litigated virtually every type of high-stakes business and personal case, on both the plaintiff and defense side, and at both the trial and appellate level. He has also navigated to safety many companies and high net worth individuals facing serious law enforcement and regulatory jeopardy. And he has provided sage crisis management advice during these periods of substantial duress. He is the consummate “on your feet” courtroom lawyer, turning complex disputes into simple, compelling stories, and a game-changing strategic thinker who has employed novel solutions to problems other lawyers advised could not be effectively addressed. The press has described Michael as an atypical Wall Street lawyer who is blue-collar, “not white-shoe,” and “positively exudes an air of self-assurance.” Most important, Michael is a ferocious fighter for his clients. As one former adversary who became a client explained, “he cares as much about winning your case as you do, and sometimes it seems more.”
Because of his broad experience, Michael is invited frequently to speak on CNBC, Fox Business News, Bloomberg, and other media networks as well as in the press, and his work has been the subject of academic courses, books, magazine stories, and a Frontline documentary. Michael is a member of Fordham University’s President’s Council, a trustee in his parish of St. Joseph’s in Bronxville, N.Y., the Chairman of the Board of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School in the Bronx, and active in various charities, including the InnerCity Scholarship Fund and the FDNY Marine Corps Association.
Prior to joining Kasowitz, Michael clerked for the Honorable Lenore C. Nesbitt, United States District Judge for the Southern District of Florida.
Securities and Civil RICO
Michael has been handling securities fraud and civil RICO cases for over twenty years, first at Sullivan & Cromwell for seven years and then for over fifteen years at Kasowitz. This experience includes dozens of class action, regulatory, and law enforcement defenses; securities claims against financial institutions on behalf of defrauded individuals and institutions; and unprecedented civil RICO and other actions to stop short-selling attacks on public companies.
Michael’s ground-breaking defense of short-selling attacks has restored billions of dollars in market capitalization to his clients, frustrated class action lawsuits that accompany those attacks, put many of those engaged in such illegal conduct out of business, and instigated the investigation, indictment, and closure of others. His work stopping “bear raids” on insurer Fairfax Financial has been credited with saving the company from failure and quickly restoring $2 billion in investor value, and has been covered extensively in the financial press, on cable business networks, and in business schools and books about Wall Street.
He has also represented Eros International, a leading Bollywood film producer, in the dismissal, with prejudice, of all securities fraud claims asserted on behalf of a putative class of shareholders. Following a coordinated attack by short sellers, Eros International’s share price had declined over 75%, prompting a wave of putative securities class actions.
Other companies Michael has recently represented in the securities and civil RICO field include MBIA, Jefferies Group, Brookfield Asset Management, Lehman Brothers, AmTrust Financial, CGI Group, Banco Popular, Biovail Pharmaceuticals, and Amira Foods.
Complex Business Disputes
Michael has litigated, tried and arbitrated complex commercial matters involving billions of dollars, including disputes between members of various business organizations; disputes about mergers and acquisitions; disputes about the sale of products, assets, businesses, and financial instruments; and disputes about contract breaches and tortious and anti-competitive conduct.
- Harbinger Capital in various claims arising from its multi-billion dollar effort to construct a wireless communications network.
- Bank of New York in a credit card antitrust investigation involving Visa and Mastercard.
- Investment firm Klesch & Co. in a billion-dollar partnership dispute over a failed acquisition of Deutsche Telecom.
- Entrepreneur Robert Abrams and the Robert Abrams Family Trust in a shareholder dispute over a $360 million company sale.
- Chip maker Altera in obtaining two trial verdicts relating to a billion-dollar patent license dispute.
- Official Creditors Committee of Verestar in a $32 million recovery.
- Chemical company Celenese AG in obtaining complete defense judgments in a multi-million dollar environmental indemnity and contribution case arising from a chemical train derailment and a multi-million dollar wrongful industrial death claim.
- Biovail Pharmaceuticals and Ottowa Senator’s owner Eugene Melynk in the successful defense of a defamation claim filed by a former Bank of America analyst.
- Senior Deloitte executive in successfully obtaining a multi-million dollar recovery for wrongful termination.
- High-net worth individuals, families, and trusts in disputes over $100’s of millions in investment and business assets, including PGA golfer Nick Price, prominent New York trial lawyer Stanley Arkin, New York investment banker Denis Bovin, New York business and real estate investors Eric Hadar, Raymond Gindi, Phil Pilevsky, and Joseph Chehebar, and celebrity restaurateur and actor Robert De Niro.
Real Estate Disputes
Michael has handled real estate litigations involving the investment, development, construction, sale, and management of billions of dollars in real estate assets.
- Distressed investors in the world-famous Miami Savoy hotel in defense of a foreclosure action.
- Over $100 million recovered in damages, repairs, and other relief for luxury, residential, and commercial buildings in Manhattan and elsewhere, including the luxury Manhattan residences 515 Park Avenue and 325 Fifth Avenue.
- Private investors in recovering over $80 million in a dispute over the sale of an iconic Manhattan building.
- Real estate investor Eric Hadar and the Eric Hadar Family Trust in securing sole ownership of what his adversaries called “invaluable” Manhattan real estate development sites that were the “crown jewels” of this disputed partnership’s assets.
- Donald J. Trump in obtaining the largest ever attachment in New York City history against the owners of one of the last large scale real estate development sites in Manhattan.
- JDS Development Group in the acquisition of a landmark New York City building.
- WSG Development in disputes over control of distressed properties in Florida.
- Syracuse University in defeating claims for specific performance brought by an unsuccessful developer of the university’s student center.
Insurance Company Disputes
Michael has been instrumental in devising creative and successful strategies for insurance companies in their complex litigation and securities disputes.
- Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited, a Canadian insurance holding company, in a $6 billion New Jersey RICO action arising out of a short-selling attack on Fairfax and its operating subsidiaries by a group of hedge funds and their operatives in collusion with certain purportedly independent securities analysts.
- Other insurance companies Michael has represented include AIG, AmTrust Financial, MBIA and Nationwide, among others.
Michael has won several multi-million dollar malpractice recoveries against lawyers, accountants, and other professionals, and has also successfully defended an equal number of malpractice claims, including the recent successful defense of a high-profile suit by prominent female performer Rihanna against her former representatives.
Trust & Estate and Fiduciary Duty Litigation
Michael has handled many hotly disputed trust and estate matters for high-net worth individuals and families.
- Securing the reinstatement of trustees removed for purported misconduct.
- Recoveries from trustees engaged in self-dealing and conflicts of interest.
- Reinstatement of directors improperly ousted from the board of 1035 Fifth Avenue Corp.
- Successful Third Circuit appeal dismissing breach of fiduciary duty verdicts against certain officers and directors of the historic Lemington Home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Criminal and Regulatory Enforcement
Michael has successfully represented individuals and organizations in white collar criminal and regulatory inquiries by the U.S. Justice Department, securities regulators, and state prosecutors and regulators.
- New York State Assembly in the Moreland Commission investigation.
- A major public company in successfully averting enforcement action by the SEC and DOJ after a three-year investigation.
- The CEO of a public company in convincing New York prosecutors not to indict him for securities fraud.
- The former CEO of a New York investment firm in a prosecution by the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
Michael engages in substantial pro bono work for institutions and individuals.
- Victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
- The family of United States Marine Lance Corporal Gregory Buckley, Jr., and Marine Corps Major Jason Brezler.
These high-profile matters of national import have received substantial Congressional, press, and public attention.