Geoffrey H. Coll

Partner

New York
T +1 212.589.4627  |  F +1 212.589.4201

A securities litigator, Geoff Coll represents clients in Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and New York attorney general (NYAG) enforcement actions, as well as shareholder class and derivative actions and hostile takeover litigation. He has built a strong practice representing organizations and individuals during high-stakes internal investigations and complex commercial disputes. His experience as a diplomat in France and Mumbai provides insight into the needs and concerns of international clients. Geoff's hands-on approach and in-depth understanding of the issues at stake in these complex matters have resulted in long and trusting relationships with clients.

Select Experience

  • Represented the independent board members of a prominent mutual fund group in a securities class action filed in New York and won dismissal of all claims, including section 10(b) fraud and section 20 control person liability claims, and Delaware state law derivative claims for breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Represented a for-profit education company in connection with a NYAG investigation alleging consumer fraud concerning the way graduate job placements were counted and disclosed. Successfully negotiated a multimillion-dollar settlement that helped set the standard for the industry.
  • Defended a business process outsourcing company and its executives in a securities class action, derivative suit and parallel SEC investigation arising out of allegations the company backdated stock options. Reached a settlement in both actions on favorable terms within six months after a lead plaintiff was appointed in the securities class action. 
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Experience

  • Represented the independent board members of a prominent mutual fund group in a securities class action filed in New York and won dismissal of all claims, including section 10(b) fraud and section 20 control person liability claims, and Delaware state law derivative claims for breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Represented a for-profit education company in connection with a NYAG investigation alleging consumer fraud concerning the way graduate job placements were counted and disclosed. Successfully negotiated a multimillion-dollar settlement that helped set the standard for the industry.
  • Defended a business process outsourcing company and its executives in a securities class action, derivative suit and parallel SEC investigation arising out of allegations the company backdated stock options. Reached a settlement in both actions on favorable terms within six months after a lead plaintiff was appointed in the securities class action. 
  • Fought unfounded accounting fraud charges against a former senior vice president of a Fortune 500 telecommunications company in an SEC enforcement action in the District of New Jersey. Won summary judgment dismissing all fraud charges – an unprecedented pretrial victory against the government.
  • Represented a hedge fund in an SEC enforcement action in the Southern District of New York alleging insider trading. Successfully negotiated a favorable settlement after deposing the SEC's expert and gaining admissions that his damages calculations were flawed.
  • Represented the former CEO and COO of a Fortune 500 multinational construction firm in defense of a shareholder class action in the Southern District of New York. Successfully negotiated a settlement with the plaintiffs and the company's directors and officers liability insurer that cost the executives nothing.
  • Represented two principles of a broker-dealer in SEC and NYAG enforcement actions alleging late-trading and market timing of mutual funds. Negotiated a settlement that dropped the most serious of the charges.
  • Represented French and Swiss insurers in investigations by the NYAG and SEC related to alleged securities fraud in the sale of insurance products, including finite risk insurance. Helped clearly explain the complex financial products to the regulators and all potential charges of alleged wrongdoing were never pursued.
  • Represented employees of a global oil and gas company in investigations by the DOJ, SEC and UK Financial Services Administration related to alleged securities fraud arising from under-reporting of oil and natural gas reserves. Prepared and defended dozens of cooperating witnesses in the investigation. The case resulted in the first major joint Department of Justice, SEC and U.K. Financial Services Authority settlement.  

Recognitions

  • The Legal 500 United States (2016)
    • Recommended in Dispute Resolution: Securities litigation – defense

Memberships

  • American Bar Association
  • New York State Bar Association

Pro Bono

  • Founding member of the board of directors of an India-based non-governmental organization (NGO) focused on human rights and women's rights issues.
  • Represented an Afghan NGO supporting community development efforts in responding to an investigation by the Department of Defense's special inspector general for Afghan reconstruction.

Services

Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
  • District of Columbia
  • New Jersey
  • New York

Education

  • J.D., Columbia University School of Law, 1988, Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, Charles Evans Hughes Fellow
  • B.A., English, Oberlin College, 1982, with honors

Languages

  • French