Kathleen Herkenhoff joined as “of counsel” to The Weiser Law Firm in January 2010, opening the firm’s San Diego office. Ms. Herkenhoff has been exclusively litigating securities actions for 22 years, starting her career in 1993 at the SEC, where she investigated and prosecuted complex securities fraud and insider trading actions. In 1997, Ms. Herkenhoff joined Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP in Los Angeles. Ms. Herkenhoff later moved to the firm’s San Diego office, where she served as a Partner from 2002 to 2009 (the firm later became known as Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP). During her 12 years at Coughlin Stoia, Ms. Herkenhoffpracticed in all areas of securities class and derivative litigation, working tirelessly to achieve more than $1 billion in settlement recoveries for victimized shareholders. Many of these settlements also include sweeping corporate governance improvements negotiated by Ms. Herkenhoff. A sample of these notable settlements includes:
- $618 million in opt-out litigation against AOL Time Warner, Inc.
- $122 million in class action against Mattel, Inc.
- $100 million in class action against Honeywell International, Inc.
- $30+ million in derivative stock option backdating cases
In addition to the above, nearly $1 billion in high profile settlements, while at Coughlin Stoia, Ms. Herkenhoff successfully litigated scores of other securities class actions, including serving as one of the first counsel at the firm to handle the litigation of the consolidated securities class action ultimately known as In re HealthSouth Corp. Sec. Litig., which action ultimately settled (in stages) after years of litigation for a combined recovery of approximately $671 million. Since 2010, Ms. Herkenhoffhas continued her considerable securities litigation practice by joining The Weiser Law Firm’s extensive M&A and derivative practice groups. Notable cases, including key appellate victories, include:
- In re SciClone Pharms., Inc. S’holder Derivative Litig., Lead Case No. CIV 499030 (Cal. Super. Ct., San Mateo Cnty., Dec. 13, 2011). Ms. Herkenhoff played a central role in drafting and obtaining cutting edge corporate governance reforms at SciClone based on conduct the plaintiffs alleged violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977. These corporate governance measures were praised by the Honorable Marie S. Weiner as “the most detailed and extensive corporate governance changes I’ve seen in a derivative settlement.”
- In re Velti PLC Securities Litig., Master File No. 3:13-cv 03889-WHO (N.D. Cal. Feb. 3, 2015). Ms. Herkenhoff successfully argued on behalf of the firm’s client in securing the Lead Plaintiff position in this action, and engaged in discovery in the action leading toward the entry of a $9.5 million partial settlement.
- In re Diamond Foods, Inc. S’holder Derivative Litig., Lead Case No. CGC-11-515895 (Cal. Super. Ct., San Francisco Cnty Aug.19, 2013). Ms. Herkenhoff appeared for the firm in this significant shareholder derivative litigation, coordinated and negotiated certain discovery undertaken in the action, and drafted novel corporate governance measures in connection with the settlement of this action (which settlement also resulted in more than $10 million in financial consideration being secured for Diamond Foods, Inc.’s benefit).
- Rosenbloom v. Pyott, 765 F.3d 1137 (9th Cir. 2014). Ms. Herkenhoff was involved in key aspects of the litigation of the firm’s shareholder derivative litigation against various Allergan, Inc. insiders for the alleged illegal marketing of “Botox”. In the district court, plaintiffs were initially dismissed following defendants’ motions to dismiss, but on September 2, 2014, the Ninth Circuit issued a significant reversal in plaintiffs’ favor. A three-judge Ninth Circuit panel unanimously concluded that the district court abused its discretion in dismissing the action for purported failure to show that a pre-lawsuit “demand” should be excused. Ms. Herkenhoff and the firm worked extensively on the pleadings and briefs before the district court and development of the factual record. In assessing the record from the district court, Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote that plaintiffs presented “a battery of particularized factual allegations that strongly support an inference at this stage of the litigation that the Board knew of and did nothing about illegal activity.”
- Dennis v. Hart, et al., 724 F.3d 1249 (9th Cir. 2013). Ms. Herkenhoff successfully argued before the Ninth Circuit that the defendants’ removal of this shareholder derivative action from federal to state court was improper. In the Dennis opinion, the Ninth Circuit rejected defendants’ arguments that, among other things, the doctrine of complete preemption conferred federal jurisdiction in the action in view of the inclusion of allegations that defendants’ conduct violated the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Dennis is a significant victory for shareholders seeking more than one forum in which to pursue claims for conduct stemming from Dodd-Frank (or other federal laws), and has
application beyond the area of shareholder class and derivative litigation.
- In re Art Tech. Grp, Inc. S’holders Litig., Consol. Case No. 5955-CC (Del. Ch.). Ms. Herkenhoff took one of the key depositions in this action, which depositions played a role in the plaintiffs successes in this action, which included securing an initial preliminary injunction against defendants’ pursuing a $1 billion merger transaction in view of defendants’ alleged failure to disclose material information concerning certain conflicts of interest suffered by the target company’s financial advisor.
Ms. Herkenhoff earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from the University of California (Berkeley) in 1989. She earned her J.D. degree from Pepperdine University School of Law in 1993, where she was on the Dean’s Honor List and received American Jurisprudence Awards in both Constitutional Law and Agency-Partnership.Ms. Herkenhoff is licensed to practice law in California and is admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, the United States District Court for the Western District of California, the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.