Michael V. Rella

Michael V. Rella

mrella@mmlawus.com
C: (914) 525-1916
1185 Avenue of the Americas, 21st Floor
New York, NY 10036
T: (212) 880-3973
F: (212) 880-3998

Michael V. Rella’s primary practice areas include complex commercial disputes and securities-related litigation. He also handles investigations and enforcement proceedings by the SEC, FINRA, the DOJ, and other enforcement agencies. He has deep experience in complicated regulatory matters and trading-related issues.

Mr. Rella’s commercial experience includes representing advisors in disputes arising from their transitions to independent RIA firms. He recently represented a team transitioning from a “wirehouse” that was sued for a TRO in federal court. The “wirehouse” alleged that the advisors violated confidentiality and non-solicitation provisions in their employment contracts. After a full-day TRO hearing, following expedited briefing and comprehensive document and deposition discovery, we successfully defeated the TRO, allowing the advisors to continue servicing their clients in their new business.

Mr. Rella has also successfully negotiated TROs and settlements in similar matters stemming from advisor departures. In a recent matter, he successfully negotiated on behalf of three advisors to limit the scope of a TRO that was obtained ex parte. The obligations imposed on the advisors in the modified TRO were substantively identical to their obligations under their employment contracts, which allowed the advisors to continue their business growth.

In addition to representing advisors and broker-dealers, Mr. Rella has represented Fortune 500 companies, hedge funds, financial institutions, market makers, securities exchanges, and corporations and their executives. He has a keen understanding of his clients’ businesses and the issues they face.

Mr. Rella’s experience includes numerous trials – including bench trials and jury trials in both federal and state courts – in which he obtained favorable outcomes for his clients. He has also argued motions and appeals or submitted briefs in the United States Supreme Court, four federal Circuit Courts, and federal district courts and state courts throughout the country. In addition to his caseload, Mr. Rella devotes his time to writing and speaking engagements on current matters of interest. He has been recognized as a New York Rising Star by Super Lawyers for his achievements.

Practice Areas

Representative Engagements

    Commercial Litgation

  • Defending advisory board members in an action by a former biotechnology company alleging breach of fiduciary duties.
  • Represented a global investment management firm in a fraud and breach of contract action with a former business associate. After a two and one-half week jury trial, obtained the dismissal of all claims totaling $100 million, and obtained all requested affirmative relief totaling $4 million, including damages and attorneys' fees.
  • Represented a hedge fund in numerous actions in state and federal courts stemming from radio station owners’ default on financing agreements. Successfully obtained the appointment of a temporary receiver to protect the client’s collateral, and obtained the dismissal of all of the owners’ affirmative claims in each action.
  • Represented a limited liability company and its members in a dispute seeking a declaratory judgment and damages in connection with a former member's breach of fiduciary duties and breach of contract. Obtained a successful outcome for the clients.
  • Represented an affiliate of a Fortune 500 international insurance and financial services company in a breach of contract and fraud action with a former business consultant. Obtained a favorable settlement.
  • Represented a private equity real estate firm in an action for breach of a $100 million contract to acquire a portfolio of outlet shopping centers. Obtained a favorable settlement.
  • Represented a privately-owned hedge fund sponsor in a breach of contract action against an information technology company. Successfully obtained summary judgment on liability within four months of commencing the action, and obtained all requested relief after a bench trial on damages.
  • Represented one of the top ten national travel management companies in a dispute seeking specific performance and damages for breach of contract. Successfully opposed defendants’ motion to dismiss and obtained a favorable settlement.
  • Securities Litigation and Enforcement

  • Defended one of the world’s largest independent market makers in a putative class action alleging federal and state securities law clams and common law violations. Successfully moved to dismiss 29 of plaintiffs’ 30 claims, followed by a successful motion for summary judgment dismissing plaintiffs’ remaining claim.
  • Defending the former CFO of a government-sponsored enterprise in numerous putative class actions alleging violations of the Exchange Act. Successfully moved to dismiss two of the actions in their entirety with prejudice (one was affirmed on appeal; the other was reversed on grounds not argued by our client), and plaintiffs' motion for class certification was denied in a third matter, leading to a favorable settlement.
  • Represented a Fortune 500 company and its executives in a putative class action alleging violations of the Exchange Act. Successfully moved to dismiss the action in its entirety with prejudice.
  • Represented a Fortune 500 company in an internal investigation concerning whether an employee's alleged conduct exposed the company to violations of the Exchange Act.
  • Represented a Fortune 500 energy and construction company in an SEC inquiry that was concluded after three and one-half years with no recommendation of enforcement action against the company or its management.
  • Represented leading options market makers and securities exchanges challenging the SEC’s approval of a controversial capital raising plan.
  • Representing an investment bank in an SEC investigation concerning securities-related transactions.

Professional Affiliations

  • Securities Litigation Committee, New York City Bar Association
  • New York Bar Association

Publications

Seminars and Presentations

In the News

Education

  • JD, magna cum laude, Brooklyn Law School, 2004
  • BA, Fordham University, 2001

Admissions

  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • 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
  • U.S. Supreme Court