Owen Pell's areas of practice include complex commercial litigation, securities litigation, litigation involving foreign sovereigns and their state-owned entities, and litigation involving issues of public international law. Mr. Pell also has extensive experience representing financial institutions and companies in connection with investigations by the SEC, the DOJ and state banking regulators, and litigation that may arise from those investigations. He has conducted internal investigations with regard to the FCPA, fraud, lender liability, and historical reparation issues.
Mr. Pell represented Deutsche Bank and UBS in class action, securities and bankruptcy litigation relating to the collapse of Enron. He also has represented corporations and sovereigns with regard to transnational claims, including successfully representing TNK-BP, the third-largest oil company in Russia, in a RICO action that tested the territorial limits of the RICO statute. That case recently was dismissed by the Second Circuit in the first decision to apply the Supreme Court's decision in Morrison v. Nat'l Australia Bank
to limit the extraterritorial reach of the US RICO statute.
Mr. Pell has handled important cases in the area of corporate social responsibility, including by representing Citigroup in class actions relating to the bank's activities in South Africa during the former apartheid regime, and JP Morgan Chase in class actions relating to a predecessor bank's alleged connections to African slavery in the United States. Mr. Pell also represented The Chase Manhattan Bank and Crédit Commercial de France in class actions arising from the activities of the banks in France during World War II, and participated in the successful negotiations between the United States and France to resolve those cases. More recently, he successfully represented Poland and the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations in World War II-related cases. Mr. Pell also recently completed a case for the Republic of Peru that resulted in an agreement by Yale University to return to Peru artifacts from Machu Picchu.
Mr. Pell was invited to lecture at the SEC on "The Exploding Fiduciary: Can Integrated Financial Institutions Really Manage Fiduciary Risk." The presentation explored the expansion of financial institution exposure to liability based on the complex array of competing roles and duties inherent in their businesses, and the shift in the identity of investors in today's public markets. Mr. Pell also gave a TED talk on "Diplomacy 2.0" discussing how multinational companies and NGO are changing and how international legal norms are formed.
Mr. Pell formulated a proposal for creating a title-clearing and dispute resolution entity to address claims relating to works of art looted from individuals during the Holocaust. The proposal received attention because it would not require a treaty for implementation. Hearings were held in the European Parliament, and in 2003 the European Parliament adopted 487-10 a resolution supporting further study of Mr. Pell's proposal. More recently, Mr. Pell was invited to be the only private lawyer on the US delegation to the June 2009 Prague Conference on Holocaust Era Assets, which culminated in the signing of the Terezin Declaration by 46 nations.
Mr. Pell has published on the subject of Holocaust-looted art, including in the DePaul Journal of Art and Entertainment Law
and the papers of the Permanent Court of International Arbitration. Mr. Pell also was invited to present a public lecture to the New York State Court of Appeals relating to Holocaust-looted art claims.
Recent representations include:
- Successfully represented TNK-BP, the third-largest oil company in Russia, in a US$1.5 billion RICO action in the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals. See Norex, Inc. v. Access Indus., Inc., 2010 WL 4968691 (2d Cir. 2010).
- Representation of the Cato Institute in the filing of two Amicus Curiae briefs in the United States Supreme Court in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Shell, an important case in which the Supreme Court is weighing the scope and interpretation of the Alien Tort Statute (under which companies have been sued for aiding and abetting violations of international law). 2012 WL 392541 (U.S.) (Appellate Brief).
- Successfully represented The Lebanese Company for the Development and Reconstruction of Beirut Central District SAL in which a US District Court Judge for the District of Delaware refused to enjoin a Paris based ICC arbitration brought against our client, holding that the US Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) does not authorize a US court to enjoin a foreign arbitration. URS Corp. v. The Lebanese Company for the Development and Reconstruction of Beirut Central District SAL, 512 F.Supp.2d 199 (D. Del. 2007).
- Successfully defended JP Morgan Chase against class action claims premised on the bank's historical connection to predecessor banks allegedly connected to African slavery in the United States prior to 1865. In re African-American Slave Descendants Litig., 471 F. 3d 754 (7th Cir. 2006).
- Successfully represented Deutsche Bank in various actions arising from the collapse of Enron Corp. including a securities class action lawsuit. In re Enron Corp. Sec. Litig., 310 F. Supp. 2d 819 (S.D. Tex. 2004) and 529 F. Supp. 2d 644 (S.D. Tex. 2006).
- Successfully represented the Republic of Poland and its Ministry of State Treasury in a class action seeking return of and damages for property expropriated from the plaintiffs in Poland after World War II. Garb v. Republic of Poland, 440 F. 3d 579 (2d Cir. 2006).
- Successfully represented the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (an arm of the French Government) in a class action seeking damages for property expropriated from the plaintiffs in France during World War II. Freund v. France, 592 F. Supp. 2d 540 (S.D.N.Y. 2008).
Bars and Courts
New York State Bar
US Supreme Court
US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
US District Court for the Southern District of New York
US District Court for the Eastern District of New York
Hon. PhD (Doctor of Laws), State University of New York at Binghamton, 2011
JD, University of Virginia School of Law, Member of the Virginia Journal of International Law, 1983
BA, State University of New York at Binghamton, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1980
Awards and Recognition
2003 and 2014 Burton Awards for Excellence in Legal Writing
"Banking Litigation" in Business & Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts, 3rd Ed. (R. Haig ed.) (West 2012)
"Historical Reparation Claims: The Defense Perspective" in Holocaust Restitution: Perspectives on the Litigation and Its Legacy (M. Bazyler and R.P. Alford eds.) (NYU 2006)
"Issues to Consider in Drafting a Class Action Settlement Agreement" in Managing Complex Litigation 2008: Legal Strategies and Best Practices in "High-Stakes" Cases (P.L.I. No. 14204)(2008)
"Increasing Role of State Courts in Complex Litigation and Streamlining Multi-Jurisdictional Cases through Procedural Methods" in Bet the Company Litigation 2009: Best Practices for Complex Cases (P.L.I. No. 18259)(2009)
"Procedural Innovations to Streamline Complex Cases" in Bet the Company Litigation 2010: Best Practices for Complex Cases (P.L.I. No. 23276)(2010)