James N. Benedict

James N. Benedict is a partner in the New York office of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, chairman of the firm’s Litigation & Arbitration Group and head of its Securities Litigation Practice Group. Prior to joining Milbank in 2004, Mr. Benedict was a partner at Clifford Chance (formerly Rogers & Wells) since 1982 where he served as head of the Global Litigation & Dispute Resolution Practice and, before that, as managing partner for the Americas Region.

Mr. Benedict focuses in complex commercial litigation, with emphasis on multiparty class and derivative suits in state and federal courts throughout the nation. In his more than 35 years of practice, Mr. Benedict has handled a wide variety of trial and appellate civil litigation involving securities, antitrust and other issues for some of the largest and best known corporations in America, including Citigroup, Inc., MasterCard International Incorporated, Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., Prudential Financial and The Coca-Cola Company.



Mr. Benedict has handled several hundred major class and shareholder derivative actions alleging violations of state and federal antitrust and securities laws including some of the largest class actions in the nation. For example, he has acted as the lead attorney defending clients in In re Initial Public Offering Securities Litigation (S.D.N.Y.), In re Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. Research Reports Securities Litigation (S.D.N.Y.), In re Enron Corporation Securities, Derivatives and ERISA Litigation (S.D. Tex.), In re Mutual Funds Investment Litigation (D. Md.), and In re VisaCheck/MasterMoney Antitrust Litigation (S.D.N.Y.).

In addition, Mr. Benedict has had more than 35 years of experience representing mutual fund investment advisers and their affiliates in litigation under the federal securities laws. During this period, he has successfully defended more than 100 excessive management fee suits and other actions mounted against some of the largest investment advisers in the nation, including AllianceBernstein, American Century, Capital Research, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Dreyfus, Federated, Fidelity, ING, Legg Mason, Merrill Lynch, Neuberger Berman, Prudential, and SunAmerica. These suits include Gartenberg v. Merrill Lynch Asset Management, Inc., which was the first case of its kind to be tried on the merits under the Investment Company Act of 1940 and remains the leading case in that area; and Krinsk v. Fund Asset Management Inc., the first case to be tried involving the propriety of a Rule 12b-1 distribution plan.

Most recently, Mr. Benedict successfully tried the Capital Research excessive fees action, which challenged the receipt by Capital Research and its affiliates of more than $15 billion in investment advisory, Rule 12b-1, and administrative fees paid by eight of the largest American Funds over the period 2003-2009. After a two week trial, the court rendered a 105 page opinion dismissing plaintiffs' complaint with prejudice. In re American Mutual Funds Fee Litigation, 2009 WL 5215755 (C.D. Cal. 2009). The district court's judgment was unanimously affirmed on appeal. 2011 WL 3701742 (9th Cir. 2011). This case was one of the largest (if not the largest) securities actions ever to go to trial, and was the first excessive fee case in the mutual fund industry to be tried to judgment in more than 20 years.

Mr. Benedict is currently handling numerous securities class actions and derivative suits resulting from the current credit crunch and previous mutual fund scandal. These cases involve a wide variety of products and issues, including subprime mortgages, auction rate securities, collateralized debt obligations, initial public offerings, prospectus disclosures and mutual fund management fees.

Good to know

Areas of Practice 1) Litigation
Law School Albany Law School-Union University (J.D.)
Education St. Lawrence University (B.A.)
Bar Member / Association New York State Bar Association
Most recent firm Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP
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