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Melanie Walker

Melanie E. Walker

Partner
Chair, Corporate and Securities Litigation Practice
About

Melanie Walker is a versatile litigator with an emphasis on securities litigation, accountant’s liability, and business and shareholder disputes involving complex economic and accounting issues. She also has experience representing clients in bankruptcy-related litigation and advising clients on how to avoid litigation before it is filed. Melanie prides herself on her litigation instincts and ability to tell her client’s story in a compelling and genuine way. She has handled matters in federal and state trial and appellate courts across the country and in private arbitration.

In addition to her litigation practice, Melanie represents accounting firms and their partners and employees in investigations brought by the SEC and Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB). These litigation and regulatory matters have involved a number of accounting issues, including accounting for derivative and hedging instruments, long-term contracts, non-GAAP measures, and revenue recognition. Melanie also has worked with, and successfully challenged, expert witnesses on various technical subjects in addition to accounting, including valuation principles, economic and statutory damages, the operation of the securities markets, and loss causation.

Bar admissionsCaliforniaIllinois
CourtsUnited States District Court for the Central District of CaliforniaUnited States District Court for the Central District of IllinoisUnited States District Court for the Northern District of CaliforniaUnited States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (including the Trial Bar)United States District Court for the Eastern District of MichiganUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of WisconsinUnited States Court of Appeals for the Second CircuitUnited States Court of Appeals for the Third CircuitUnited States Court of Appeals for the Sixth CircuitUnited States Court of Appeals for the Seventh CircuitUnited States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh CircuitUnited States District Court for the District of Colorado

EXPERIENCE

Melanie’s recent experience includes the following:

  • Lead trial counsel for T-Mobile subsidiary MetroPCS in a federal preemption challenge to resolutions adopted by the California Public Utilities Commission brought in the Northern District of California. Following a bench trial involving highly technical accounting and telecommunications law issues, the judge held the resolutions were preempted as applied to MetroPCS and issued a permanent injunction blocking their enforcement.
  • Lead counsel for GigCapital3, Inc., its officers and directors, and related entities in a class action brought under the federal securities laws in the US District Court for Colorado related to its merger with Lightning eMotors, a manufacturer of electric vehicles for commercial fleets. Also representing these defendants in related shareholder derivative actions in Delaware and Colorado.
  • Lead counsel for Atlas Lithium Corp., a mineral exploration and mining company, and its officers in a class action brought under the federal securities laws in the Central District of California.
  • Representing SPAC sponsors, officers, and directors in multiple lawsuits filed in the Delaware Court of Chancery, including Laidlaw v. GigAcquistions 2, LLC et al. and Delman v. GigAcquisitions3, LLC et al. Plaintiffs’ theory in these cases is largely based on an article by a Stanford law professor criticizing common attributes of SPACs. The court’s rulings on our motions to dismiss garnered substantial attention given their potentially wide-reaching implications for the SPAC industry.
  • Lead counsel for Black Girls CODE, a California public benefit corporation that provides technical education to girls of color, in two actions in the Superior Court of California and an action in the Northern District of California brought by the organization’s founder and former CEO. These high-profile raised important corporate governance issues. Melanie convinced the plaintiff to voluntarily dismiss the federal action and the state court actions settled thereafter.
  • Lead counsel for a structured debt and equity fund in a confidential arbitration proceeding related to an earnout adjustment.
  • Lead counsel to the audit committee of a public company charged with conducting an expedited, cross-border internal investigation related to revenue accounting. Following the internal investigation, no action was taken by the SEC or other regulators.
  • Lead counsel for a foreign company in a purchase price adjustment dispute following the sale of certain subsidiaries to a US private investment firm.
  • Obtained a US$62 million arbitration award on behalf of an asset owned by a private infrastructure equity investment fund in an action against the City of Chicago.
Education
  • J.D., University of Chicago Law School
    with honors

  • B.A., Reed College
    Phi Beta Kappa

Awards

  • Named to the Daily Journal's 2024 Leading Commercial Litigators list
  • The Legal 500 United States
    • Recommended, M&A Litigation: Defense (2023)
    • Recommended, Securities Litigation – Defense (2023)

Seminars

Prior Experience

  • Clerkship, Milton I. Shadur, US District Court, North District of Illinois, 2000 - 2001

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