Stephen M. Knaster

Of Counsel
Securities Litigation & Regulatory Enforcement

Stephen Knaster is of counsel in the San Francisco office, and is a member of the Securities Litigation Group. Mr. Knaster’s practice focuses on the defense of issuers, officers, directors, underwriters, accountants, venture capital investors and financial institutions throughout the United States and internationally in all areas of securities litigation, including shareholder class actions, derivative actions, merger & acquisition litigation, and regulatory matters including SEC enforcement proceedings.

Mr. Knaster also has substantial experience handling insurance recovery matters including the representation of corporate insureds in coverage actions.

Mr. Knaster’s extensive experience in defending and counseling clients in securities related and insurance coverage matters includes the following notable or recent representative engagements.

  • Successfully defended the CFO of large option market maker in regulatory enforcement trial resulting in a complete victory for client with dismissal of all charges by hearing panel.
  • Won dismissal of all claims against two large investment banks in securities class action alleging 1933 Act violations.
  • Won dismissal of all claims against a software manufacturer of Internet security products in federal securities class action alleging accounting misstatements.
  • Won dismissal of all claims against the directors and venture capital funds in state litigation arising from merger of large Internet media companies.
  • Won Tenth Circuit appeal affirming dismissal of all claims against the officers and directors in a federal securities class action alleging financial fraud in connection with a restatement.
  • Significantly contributed toward the successful defense of the CEO of computer manufacturer in federal securities class action jury trial. The Northern California jury found in favor of our client on all claims. Selected as a Top Ten Defense Verdict of 2002 by The National Law Journal.
  • Successfully opposed the class certification resulting in plaintiffs dismissing all claims against a large multi-level marketing company and its officers and directors in case alleging state law and federal securities claims.
  • Won summary judgment for a CD-ROM chip manufacturer and its officers and directors in a securities class action and successfully defended appeal.
  • Won dismissal of all claims against the CEO of software manufacturer in option holders class action arising out of merger and successfully defended appeal.
  • Successfully negotiated dismissals of investment banks for no-payment in several federal securities class actions.
  • Successfully defended the officers and directors of a software company in SEC investigation that led to no charges brought against clients.
  • Representing a large online travel service and gas & electric utility in multiple insurance coverage actions.

Before joining Orrick, Mr. Knaster was counsel at Clifford Chance, and senior counsel at Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison.

Stephen Knaster
  • Successfully defended the CFO of large option market maker in regulatory enforcement trial resulting in a complete victory for client with dismissal of all charges by hearing
  • Won dismissal of all claims against two large investment banks in securities class action alleging 1933 Act violations.
  • Won dismissal of all claims against a software manufacturer of Internet security products in federal securities class action alleging accounting misstatements.
  • Won dismissal of all claims against the directors and venture capital funds in state litigation arising from merger of large Internet media companies.
  • Won Tenth Circuit appeal affirming dismissal of all claims against the officers and directors in a federal securities class action alleging financial fraud in connection with a restatement.
  • Significantly contributed toward the successful defense of the CEO of computer manufacturer in federal securities class action jury trial. The Northern California jury found in favor of our client on all claims. Selected as a Top Ten Defense Verdict of 2002 by The National Law Journal.
  • Successfully opposed the class certification resulting in plaintiffs dismissing all claims against a large multi-level marketing company and its officers and directors in case alleging state law and federal securities claims.
  • Won summary judgment for a CD-ROM chip manufacturer and its officers and directors in a securities class action and successfully defended appeal.
  • Won dismissal of all claims against the CEO of software manufacturer in option holders class action arising out of merger and successfully defended appeal.
  • Successfully negotiated dismissals of investment banks for no-payment in several federal securities class actions.
  • Successfully defended the officers and directors of a software company in SEC investigation that led to no charges brought against clients.
  • Representing a large online travel service and gas & electric utility in multiple insurance coverage actions.
Select Publications
Admitted In
  • California
  • New York
  • District of Columbia
Court Admissions
United States Court of Appeals
  • Ninth Circuit
  • Tenth Circuit
United States District Court
  • Central District of California
  • Eastern District of New York
  • Northern District of California
  • Southern District of New York
  • Eastern District of California

Education
  • J.D., Moot Court Best Brief Award, University of California, Berkeley School of Law, 1989
  • Ph.D., Philosophy, State University of New York at Buffalo
  • B.A., magna cum laude, highest honors, Philosophy, State University of New York at Buffalo
Memberships
  • American Bar Association
  • Bar Association of San Francisco
  • State Bar of California
  • New York State Bar Association
  • District of Columbia Bar

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