Representation Of Individual Clients

Administrative Law — FTC — Regulatory

Individuals as well as corporations can become involved in federal or state administrative proceedings, as claimants or respondents. I have represented individual and corporate clients before federal and state administrative agencies, including the FTC, the federal Office of Thrift Supervision, the Florida Department of Banking, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Florida Department of Insurance, the Florida Attorney General's office and a California district attorney's office.

My lengthy tenure at the FTC has provided me with a broad background in administrative practice and procedure, including the investigatory and enforcement processes. The FTC is increasingly targeting individual defendants in its federal court investment fraud and other cases seeking injunctive relief, asset freezes and monetary restitution. While at the FTC I prosecuted such actions, and sought and obtained such relief.

I have also handled compulsory process enforcement and Freedom of Information Act litigation, which can be parts of the investigative stage leading up to the filing of suit by the FTC or other federal agencies. I have internal as well as external perspective on how government enforcement and regulatory agencies work.

Financial Fraud

Individuals can be the victims of financial fraud, and may assert fraud claims in their own lawsuits to recover money they have lost or as counterclaims in response to collection actions brought by the defrauding parties.

I have handled a wide variety of financial fraud matters. For years at the FTC, I investigated and prosecuted "boiler room" investment fraud cases, which sought injunctive relief against offending corporations and individuals as well as monetary restitution on behalf of investors. Orders issued in those cases included temporary restraining orders, preliminary injunctions, appointment of corporate receivers and personal and corporate asset freezes. One such case led to participation in corporate bankruptcy proceedings.

As a lawyer in private practice, I have handled fraud claims in many contexts, including:

  • Alleged fraud in the management of a federally chartered savings and loan;
  • Claims against banks for aiding and abetting securities frauds by supplying financing to investors and other services;
  • Claims against accounting firms for aiding and abetting securities frauds by supplying services in connection with securities offerings;
  • Director and officer liability issues in cases and investigations targeting corporate acts or omissions, and;
  • RICO (racketeering) claims asserted in the context of business disputes.

I have handled the fraud defenses and counterclaims of vocational school students being sued on federal private student loans that financed their coursework, as well as of a dentist sued by state and subsequently federal authorities on federally guaranteed student loans. Such litigation can sometimes involve surprisingly complex legal issues.

Deceptive And Unfair Trade Practices

These claims are most frequently brought by individuals in the consumer context. This practice area overlaps with the financial fraud practice area. State law claims for deceptive or unfair trade practices are often brought together with fraud claims but, unlike such claims, do not usually require proof of an intention to deceive. In any action where fraud is an issue, a claim for unfair or deceptive trade practices may also be asserted. Also, these types of claims are frequently advanced in consumer class actions.

A large part of my career has been spent investigating and litigating claims for unfair or deceptive trade practices, in private practice as well as for the United States government agency (the Federal Trade Commission) that enforces the primary federal law prohibiting such practices.

Please visit my website to review my several articles on this subject. Some of them have been cited as legal authority in a published state appellate court decision.

Consumer And Privacy

Consumer claims may be individual or lend themselves to class action treatment; I have dealt with them in both contexts. This practice area also overlaps substantially with the deceptive and unfair trade practices, financial fraud and contracts practice areas.

My background in this area derives from my prosecution of investment fraud matters and handling of claims under state laws prohibiting unfair and deceptive acts and practices in trade and commerce, followed by research and publishing on such laws. I also have experience, going back to my FTC tenure, with the federal credit regulation statutes enforced by the FTC, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, and the Truth in Lending Act.

I have also dealt with abusive debt collectors and threats to report negative information on the debtors to consumer credit reporting agencies.

Please visit my website to review my articles on consumer privacy in e-commerce, and federal and state laws that can be used to prevent and remedy invasions of privacy.

Contracts

Many of the legal principles in contract law litigation are the same for corporate and individual clients. This practice area overlaps to a significant degree with the consumer practice area. Individual consumers enter into purchase contracts, service contracts, educational contracts, loan and other financing contracts, real estate contracts, and a multitude of other types of contracts.

My litigation experience has spanned claims for breach, enforcement, and interpretation of a wide variety of commercial contracts. It has included, but is not limited to, contracts in the areas of health care, aircraft repair, purchase and sale agreements, building construction, employment, partnership agreements, entertainment royalties, telecommunications service and product supply, and environmental remediation. I have also handled issues of federal telecommunications law and preemption of state law claims by the federal ERISA law (Employee Retirement Income Security Act).

Intellectual Property — Copyrights And Trademarks

Individuals as well as corporations can have claims for violations of copyright and trademark.

I have handled claims for copyright violation asserted by an author against a national magazine for unconsented edits changing the substance of his article; for trademark and copyright violations asserted by a clothing manufacturer against a competitor (including claims for violation of Florida's little FTC Act); and for trademark violations asserted by a major insurer against a counterfeiter in the issuance of a performance bond. In that case, the court issued an ex parte counterfeiting seizure order and documents were seized in conjunction with the United States Marshals Service.

Call me at 301-657-4680 or email my Maryland law office.