Brett M. Middleton Headshot

Brett M. Middleton


Mr. Middleton has over 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.  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 focuses specifically on representing shareholders in securities fraud class actions, shareholder derivative suits, and mergers and acquisitions (“M&A”) transactional litigation.

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, including M&A transactional litigation actions involving Arena Resources, 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.

Prior to joining Johnson Fistel, Mr. Middleton served for 14 years as an Associate and Senior Counsel 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 litigation, and M&A transactional actions.

Recognition:  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
  • 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 obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles on June 18, 1993.