PRACTICE AREAS


Lewis F. Murphy focuses his practice on complex multidistrict and cross-border, bet-the-company and commercial litigation. He has extensive experience in securities and fiduciary duty litigation, both class actions and derivative claims, proxy contests and corporate takeovers, SEC investigations, as well as class actions for insurance retail sales fraud.  

Mr. Murphy has represented numerous special litigation committees and conducted other internal investigations including FCPA investigations. He also advises on investigations by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation and Florida Attorney General into insurance sale practices. Mr. Murphy has significant experience with closely held corporation disputes, and handles both international hidden assets/probate proceedings and appellate cases.

Mr. Murphy has been consistently recognized for his work by a number of publications, including Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Best Lawyers and Legal 500 among others. Best Lawyers has recognized Mr. Murphy as the Miami region "Lawyer of the Year" in Insurance Law in 2018, in Litigation – Securities in 2017, in Insurance Law in 2012, and in Bet-The-Company Litigation in 2009.


REPRESENTATIVE MATTERS

Mr. Murphy’s litigation representations include:

Directors and Officers Liability, Securities Fraud Class Actions
 
  • Representing the CEO of a special purpose acquisition company and family trust in a shareholder action for fraud and conspiracy.
  • Representing the executive chairman of an environmental remediation company in a D&O liability adversary proceeding, winning motion to dismiss.
  • Representing high profile directors and officers of a bankrupt body armor company in a U.S. adversary proceeding in coordination with the defense of a Canadian shareholder securities fraud class action, winning motion to dismiss.
  • Representing former officers and directors of debtors in multiple adversary proceedings by trustees in bankruptcy involving (i) dairy products, (ii) offshore gambling cruises and (iii) cruise lines.
  • Conducting an internal investigation on behalf of a U.S. public company in response to whistleblower allegations at its Russia-based subsidiary concerning the FCPA, UK Bribery Act and local tax laws.
  • Representing underwriters in a securities class action arising out of a U.S. $50 million IPO for a social networking company before the federal district court and appellate court, approving dismissal with prejudice.
  • Representing the outside directors of a bankrupt outsourcing of professionals public company on breach of fiduciary duty claims (Maryland law) by the liquidating trustee, winning motion to dismiss.
  • Representing a bank holding company, its officers and directors for many years in all proxy contests, tender offers, securities fraud class actions, §13(d) actions and breach of fiduciary duty claims.
  • Advising a financial institution and its officers and directors in a series of related securities class actions, SEC investigations, bankruptcy proceedings and breach of fiduciary duty litigation arising out of a U.S. $75 million loss resulting from false and misleading financial statements for a government securities company engaged in repurchase transactions.
  • Representing numerous public companies and officers or directors in class actions for securities fraud in (i) initial public offerings, (ii) secondary public offerings, (iii) public disclosure filings and (iv) alleged insider trading.
  • Advising the special committee of the board of a medical products company investigating a shareholder demand arising out of a steep decline in stock price.
  • Advising the special litigation committee of a board of a public real estate developer investigating communities destroyed by hurricane.
  • Advising the special litigation committee of a board of a large private security company investigating level of compensation, benefits and interest in a potential merger by the founder and CEO of a company.
  • Counseling inside directors and officers in various matters including an investigation by a special litigation committee, a federal securities fraud class action and a related state derivative action arising out of the write-off of approximately U.S. $900 million and abandonment of a non-utility business.
  • Representing a medical corporation as nominal defendant in multiple derivative actions arising from a securities class action based on unrealized sales expectations, winning motion to dismiss.
  • Representing officers and 50% shareholders in multiple closely held corporate control disputes and derivative lawsuits for mismanagement or dissolution in several industries: (i) dairy, (ii) sugar cane, (iii) petroleum engineering and (iv) commercial real estate.
  • Representing investment advisors in actions by investors in both the Madoff and the Rothstein Ponzi schemes.
  • Representing officers of a super-regional bank in a Florida securities fraud claim by bank borrowers based on purchasing holding company stock before FDIC receivership, winning motion to dismiss.
  • Representing a jewelry supply company and its board of directors in a Delaware class action arising out of a reverse stock split.
  • Representing a company, its officers and directors in putative Delaware and Florida class actions to enjoin a U.S. $3.8 billion merger of commercial real estate holding companies.
Insurance Company Liability and Receiverships
 
  • Advising individuals and corporations on D&O and other insurance issues.
  • Representing a Florida homeowner insurance company in a Division of Administrative Hearings petition over terms of conditions for a withdrawal plan involving 1.2 million policies.
  • Advising a U.S. life insurance carrier in efforts to withdraw from the Latin American market due to changes in laws and fraud by a policyholder agent.
  • Representing a super-regional bank in a breach of fiduciary duty and fraud action by an insurance holding company for a failed Florida insurer over the value of unadmitted capital assets held by bank.
  • Multiple representations of the largest (unrelated) U.S.-based life insurance holding companies and their insurance subsidiaries in multiple joint RICO investigations by the Florida Department of Insurance and Florida Attorney General into insurance sales practices based on alleged churning, improper replacement and vanishing premiums.
  • Multiple representations of unrelated life insurance companies in investigations by the Florida Department of Insurance and parallel class actions by policyholders into insurance premiums based on race.
  • Representing a national life insurance company in an investigation by the Department of Insurance into retail sales practices in Florida and a class action for U.S. $400 million predicated on alleged fraud in the sale of limited partnerships.
  • Advising U.K.-based insurance companies in litigation with respect to the Latin American and Caribbean distribution system, regulatory and commercial issues.
  • Representing a New York law firm in claims for U.S. $300 million based on breach of fiduciary duty, attorney malpractice, breach of contract, federal securities fraud and RICO matters in parallel state and federal proceedings arising out of the receivership of an insurance company.
Cross-Border Litigation
 
  • Representation of Puerto Rico family charitable foundation and members in RICO action against former trustees’ counsel, directors, officers and commercial property managers for mail fraud, wire fraud, Civic Code breach of fiduciary duties and conspiracy.
  • Representation of members of Argentine and Bolivian family, and estate, in cross-border litigation over frozen bank accounts in Florida and Cayman Islands.
  • Representation of Argentine heir against other heir and controlled U.S. companies regarding real estate and intangible assets of father’s Argentine estate hidden under Netherland Antilles and Panamanian bearer share companies.
  • Representation of Panamanian bank in fraudulent mortgage action by judgment creditor. 
  • Representation of Central American new car distributor in recovering funds embezzled by former managing director and placed in personal U.S. accounts.
  • Representation of U.K. investors in property dispute over section corners.
  • Representation of U.S. business broker regarding failure to pay brokerage/finder’s fee in sale of U.K. tea company. 

HONORS & AWARDS

  • Recognized as 2018 Miami Lawyer of the Year for Insurance Law by Best Lawyers
  • Recognized by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business as a leading individual for commercial litigation since 2008
  • Recognized by his peers in Best Lawyers since 2005 in Bet-the-Company Litigation; Commercial Litigation; Securities Litigation; Insurance Law; Banking & Finance Litigation; Trusts & Estates Litigation
  • Recognized for multiple years in Florida’s Top LawyersTop Lawyers in South FloridaFlorida Trend’s Legal EliteLegal 500 and as a 'Super Lawyer' (Securities Litigation, Business Litigation, International)
  • Recognized as 2017 Miami Lawyer of the Year for Litigation – Securities by Best Lawyers
  • Recognized as 2012 Miami Lawyer of the Year for Insurance Law by Best Lawyers
  • Recognized as 2009 Miami Lawyer of the Year for Bet-The-Company litigation by Best Lawyers
  • Recipient of the John Edward Smith Child Advocacy Award 2013 (Lawyers for Children America)

SELECTED ACTIVITIES

Mr. Murphy currently serves as a pro bono attorney for at-risk juveniles with Lawyers for Children America, Inc., where he is also a board member. He was a vice chairman and member of the Appellate Court Rules Committee of The Florida Bar for 20 years. He also is president emeritus of the University of Florida Law Review Alumni Association. He served on the editorial advisory board for the Federal Regulation of Securities by Lawyers Cooperative Publishing.

ADMITTED TO PRACTICE

New York, 2015; District of Columbia, 2012; Florida, 1980

U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida; U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida; U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida; U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit; U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit


CLERKSHIPS

Clerk, Hon. Peter T. Fay, U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, 1980-1981

Clerk, Hon. Peter T. Fay, U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, 1981


EDUCATION

J.D., high honors, University of Florida Levin College of Law, 1980; Order of the Coif; Editor-in Chief, University of Florida Law Review

B.S., United States Naval Academy, 1972