Darren J. Check

Partner

EDUCATION
  • Franklin & Marshall College
    B.A. 1996
  • Temple University Beasley School of Law
    J.D. 2000
ADMISSIONS
  • Pennsylvania
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • United States Supreme Court
  • USDC, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • USDC, District of New Jersey
PDF

Darren J. Check, a Partner of the Firm, manages Kessler Topaz’s portfolio monitoring & claims filing service, SecuritiesTracker, and works closely with the Firm’s litigators and new matter development department. He consults with institutional investors from around the world with regard to implementing systems to best identify, analyze, and monetize claims they have in shareholder litigation. 

In addition, Darren assists Firm clients in evaluating opportunities to take an active role in shareholder litigation, arbitration, and other loss recovery methods. This includes U.S. based litigation and arbitration, as well as actions in an increasing number of jurisdictions around the globe. With an increasingly complex investment and legal landscape, Mr. Check has experience advising on traditional class actions, direct actions (opt-outs), non-U.S. opt-in actions, fiduciary actions, appraisal actions and arbitrations to name a few. Over the last twenty years Darren has become a trusted advisor to hedge funds, mutual fund managers, asset managers, insurance companies, sovereign wealth funds, central banks, and pension funds throughout North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East.

Darren regularly speaks on the subjects of shareholder litigation, corporate governance, investor activism, and recovery of investment losses at conferences around the world. He has also been actively involved in the precedent setting Shell and Fortis settlements in the Netherlands, the Olympus shareholder case in Japan, direct actions against Petrobras and Merck, and securities class actions against Bank of America, Lehman Brothers, Royal Bank of Scotland (U.K.), and Hewlett-Packard. Currently Mr. Check represents investors in numerous high profile actions in the United States, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Japan, and Australia.

Darren received his law degree from Temple University School of Law and is a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College. He is admitted to practice in numerous state and federal courts across the United States.

Experience
Ongoing Cases
  • In early 2018, Kessler Topaz filed the first of seven opt-out securities fraud actions in New Jersey federal court on behalf of U.S., European, and Middle Eastern institutional investors against Perrigo and its former chief executive and chief financial officers.  These actions stem from Perrigo’s efforts to mislead investors to stave off a hostile takeover bid by pharmaceutical rival Mylan NV in 2015.  The plaintiffs allege that Perrigo failed to disclose problems concerning the company’s $4.5 billion acquisition of Omega Pharma NV, an over-the-counter healthcare company based in Belgium, and misrepresented its ability to withstand pricing pressure from the influx of competing drugs in the generic drug markets.

    On July 30, 2019, Judge Madeline Cox Arleo of the U.S. District Court of New Jersey denied defendants’ motions to dismiss the actions.  Discovery is ongoing.   

Representative Outcomes
  • Obtained a $2.4 billion settlement in litigation against Bank of America (BoA) relating to its merger with Merrill Lynch & Co. (Merrill). Our clients, Dutch National pension fund PGGM and Swedish National pension fund AP4, alleged that BoA gave shareholders false and misleading information about Merrill’s financial condition and obligations prior to a key vote on the merger. 

    The settlement, which included an undertaking to improve corporate governance policies, was the 6th-largest ever in a securities class action and the largest so far to come out of the subprime meltdown and credit crisis.

  • We served as sole lead counsel on behalf of Dutch National Pension fund PGGM Vermogensbeheer B.V. and a putative class of Hewlett-Packard Company (HP) investors, in an action against HP alleging that HP and its officers and directors made false and misleading statements relating to the $11 billion acquisition and value of Autonomy Corporation plc. PGGM alleged, on behalf of the putative class, that the defendants knew or should have known that Autonomy was worth considerably less than the purchase price, and that HP shareholders were harmed by the fraud.  After several years of hard-fought litigation and settlement negotiations, HP agreed to settle the matter for $100 million in cash. The settlement was approved by the Court on November 13, 2015. In approving the settlement, the Court complimented the terms of the settlement and PGGM's and KTMC's efforts, stating that KTMC “did a great job” and calling the settlement "an excellent resolution of this case" and "a very good result for their class."

  • Represented the Alameda County Employees’ Retirement Association, former shareholders of Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc., (Lehman) in a case alleging that Lehman made false and misleading statements prior to its unprecedented bankruptcy filing in 2008. 

    The statements, which concerned Lehman’s net leverage, risk management and concentration of risks, were made ’in registration statements and prospectuses used to market numerous offerings leading up to the bankruptcy filing. Despite Lehman’s bankruptcy, we were able to negotiate a $616 million settlement funded by Lehman’s underwriters, auditor and officers and directors. 

  • Kessler Topaz represented several prominent U.S. and overseas mutual funds and pension funds as opt-out plaintiffs in securities fraud actions in Manhattan federal court against Petrobras, Brazil’s state-owned oil conglomerate.  These cases arose out of a decade-long bribery and kickback scheme that has been called the largest corruption scandal in Brazil’s history and resulted in dozens of criminal convictions. The plaintiff funds alleged that Petrobras concealed bribes to senior officers and government officials and improperly capitalized these bribes as assets on the company’s books in order to inflate the value of its oil refineries.

    The Honorable Jed S. Rakoff of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York appointed Kessler Topaz to serve as liaison counsel to the Court on behalf of the 27 opt-out plaintiffs in this sprawling litigation.  In October 2015, Judge Rakoff denied Petrobras’ motions to dismiss our clients’ complaints.  Following expedited discovery and with trial on the horizon, these actions were favorably resolved less than a year later as part of a confidential settlement.  

Speaking Engagements

Darren is a regular speaker at investor conferences around the world and has spoken at conference for NCPERS, Cii, International Corporate Governance Network, International Foundation, National Association of Public Pension Attorneys, and the National Association of State Treasurers.  In addition, Darren is a regular speaker and moderator at the Firm’s annual conferences, the Rights & Responsibilities of Institutional Investors in Amsterdam and the Evolving Fiduciary Obligations of Institutional Investors in Washington, D.C./Tempe, AZ.

Publication

“Getting Serious About ESG,” International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans Benefits Magazine (April 2013)

“Living in a Post-Morrison World:  How to Protect Your Assets Against Securities Fraud,” National Association of Public Pension Attorneys Working Group (June 2012)

“Filing Proofs of Claim:  Recovering Money Rightly Owed to Pensioners,”  International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans Benefits Magazine (February 2011)

Awards/Ranking

Benchmark Litigation Stars, 2020 

Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyer, 2019

Membership

Council of Institutional Investors – Market Advisory Committee
National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS)

Pennsylvania Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems – Advisory Committee Member

National Association of Public Pension Attorneys.

American Bar Association

National Association of Public Pension Attorneys.

Community Involvement

For over 10 years Darren has been very involved in the American Cancer Society’s Bike-A-Thon which takes place every year from Philadelphia to the Jersey Shore.  Darren has personally raised significant amounts of money for the event and for the past several years has captained Team KTMC which has been the top fundraising team for nearly a decade.