Brett M. Middleton

Of Counsel

Mr. Middleton has two decades of significant securities, corporate, and business litigation experience in which he has recouped billions of dollars in cash and shareholder value on behalf of institutional and individual shareholders.  For his professional achievements, Mr. Middleton has received multiple industry and national recognitions, including “Recommended Lawyer in M&A Related Shareholder Litigation” by Legal 500 USA Guide, a “San Diego Super Lawyer” by Super Lawyers, and one of the “Best of the Bar” by the San Diego Business Journal.

Prior to joining Johnson Fistel, Mr. Middleton worked for over fourteen years at the plaintiff class action law firm of Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP where he was instrumental in the prosecution of securities fraud class actions, shareholder derivative actions, and mergers and acquisitions actions on behalf of institutions and individuals.

Mr. Middleton has served in prior litigation as lead or co-lead counsel in a wide variety of high-profile securities fraud class actions, including: 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); Lumber Liquidators Securities Litigation (E.D. Va.) (obtained over $40 million in cash and common stock 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); Clarent Corp. Securities Litigation (N.D. Cal.) (after a four-week jury trial, obtained rare jury verdict in favor of plaintiffs and against the former CEO); 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); Accredo Health Securities Litigation (W.D. Tenn.) ($33 million for investors arising from accounting fraud claims); and Accredited Home Lenders Securities Litigation (S.D. Cal.) ($22 million recovered for investors for fraud claims relating to mortgage lending practices).

He also has extensive experience representing individual and institutional shareholders in derivative litigation seeking to improve corporate governance practices and enforce the fiduciary obligations of corporate boards and officers.  Among others, he prosecuted shareholder derivative actions on behalf of Activision, Apollo, News Corporation, and the Ryland Group.  Moreover, Mr. Middleton has contributed significantly to efforts to challenge the improper use of defensive measures and deal protections for management’s benefit in mergers and acquisitions, including deal 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.

Areas of Practice:  Mr. Middleton is involved in several of the firm’s litigation practice areas, focusing specifically on representing individuals, businesses, and institutions in shareholder and other complex litigation.  Specifically, a substantial portion of Mr. Middleton’s practice is focused on representing shareholders in securities fraud class action litigation, shareholder derivative litigation, and antitrust actions.  He also handles other class and direct litigation arising out of financial and consumer fraud.

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
  • North County Bar Association
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • UCLA Alumni Association, San Diego Network
  • University of San Diego School of Law Alumni Association

Education:  Mr. Middleton earned his Juris Doctor Degree from the University of San Diego School of Law on May 23, 1998.  He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles on June 18, 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History.