Brett M. Middleton is a partner in Johnson Fistel LLP’s San Diego office. He has over two decades of experience representing institutional and individual investors in securities fraud class action litigation, corporate governance derivative litigation, and merger-related class action litigation. Working with the firm’s shareholder clients, he strives to hold management of publicly traded companies accountable by achieving significant financial recoveries and meaningful corporate governance reforms.
Mr. Middleton has served as lead or co-lead counsel in a wide variety of high-profile class action cases that have achieved substantial recoveries for investors. Notable cases include: Lehman Brothers Securities Litigation (S.D.N.Y.) (recovered $615 million for investors from multiple defendants arising from the alleged accounting fraud that prolonged the historic bankruptcy), Williams Securities Litigation (N.D. Okla.) ($311 million combined settlement for alleged accounting fraud, which was the largest settlement at the time without a company restatement), Lumber Liquidators Securities Litigation (E.D. Va.) (obtained over $40 million for class members arising from alleged scheme to inflate margins by importing cheap and illegal flooring products as exposed by the CBS news show 60 Minutes), Accredo Health Securities Litigation (W.D. Tenn.) ($33 million for investors arising from accounting fraud claims), The Fresh Market (Morrison v. Berry) ($27.5 million recovered post-closing of merger), Accredited Home Lenders Securities Litigation (S.D. Cal.) ($22 million recovered for investors for fraud claims relating to mortgage lending practices), FTSI Securities Litigation (Glock v. FTS International, Inc.) ($10 million recovered for investors for alleged violations of Sections 11 and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933), and Clarent Corp. Securities Litigation (N.D. Cal.) (after a four-week jury trial, obtained rare jury verdict in favor of plaintiffs and against the company’s former CEO).
He also has extensive experience representing individual shareholders in derivative litigation where he helped to improve corporate governance practices and enforce the fiduciary obligations of corporate boards and officers. Among others, he successfully prosecuted and settled shareholder derivative actions on behalf of Applied Opto Electronics, Activision, Apollo, News Corporation, and the Ryland Group.
Moreover, Mr. Middleton has contributed significantly to successful mergers and acquisitions (“M&A”) transactional litigation efforts to challenge the improper use of defensive measures and deal protections for management’s benefit, including M&A transactional litigation actions involving Alberto-Culver and Unilever, Caremark and CVS, Emulex and Broadcom, Long Drugs and CVS, Medco and Express Scripts, Ticketmaster and Live Nation, and Yahoo! and Microsoft.
Before joining Johnson Fistel, Mr. Middleton was with Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP for 15 years, where he was instrumental in the prosecution of securities fraud class actions, shareholder derivative litigation, and M&A transactional actions.
For his professional achievements, Mr. Middleton has received multiple industry and national recognitions, including “San Diego Super Lawyer” by Super Lawyers, “Best of the Bar” by the San Diego Business Journal, and “Recommended Lawyer in M&A Related Shareholder Litigation” by Legal 500 USA Guide.
Professional Qualifications and Associations
Mr. Middleton was admitted to the State Bar of California on December 8, 1998 and is admitted in good standing with all courts in the State of California. He is also admitted in good standing with the United States District Courts for the Central, Northern, and Southern Districts of California.
Mr. Middleton is a member of the following professional associations:
- Association of Business Trial Lawyers
- California Lawyers Association, Litigation and Business Law
- San Diego County Bar Association
- UCLA Alumni Association, San Diego Network
- University of San Diego School of Law Alumni Association
On June 18, 1993, Mr. Middleton graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where he majored in History with an emphasis in Business Administration. He earned his Juris Doctor Degree from the University of San Diego School of Law on May 23, 1998.