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.
Representative securities and shareholder litigation matters include the following:
- In re Am. Realty Capital Props. Sec. Litig: On eve of trial, reached global settlement with auditor client contributing less than 5 percent to total settlement fund
- Tellabs Sec. Litig: Represented client in proceedings before the District Court, Seventh Circuit, and US Supreme Court. After multiple key victories, case settled at loss to plaintiffs’ firm
- Represented telecommunications technology company in federal securities action and won motion to dismiss with prejudice. Plaintiffs did not appeal
- Represented a former CEO in a three-week jury trial in the Eastern District of Michigan for alleged violations of the federal securities laws. Case settled while on appeal to the 6th Circuit
- Represented an energy efficiency company in federal securities and shareholder derivative litigation. Securities case settled shortly after motion to dismiss was filed. Won motion to dismiss derivative case
- Won summary judgment in federal securities litigation related to the merger of two of the country’s largest meat producers. Judgment was affirmed on appeal to the Third Circuit
- Successfully defended a settlement of securities litigation claims related to Enron on appeal to the Fifth Circuit
Representative accountants’ liability litigation and regulatory matters include the following:
- Represent accounting firms and individuals in confidential PCAOB enforcement proceedings
- Represented an accounting firm in case alleging tortious interference with employment. Reached confidential settlement minutes before jury selection was set to begin
- Represented an accounting firm in case alleging professional negligence. Reached confidential settlement on eve of trial and shortly after obtaining key evidentiary rulings
- Represented an accounting firm in an SEC investigation related to a multinational holding company. No action was taken by the SEC against the client
- Represented an accounting firm in an SEC investigation into insider trading related to a merger. No action was taken by the SEC against the client
- Represented an accounting firm in securities litigation in the Eastern District of Michigan. The case settled on favorable terms after the defendants’ motions to dismiss were filed
- Represented an accounting firm in three cases arising out of the same events: a professional negligence claim in Illinois state court, a putative class action in the Central District of Illinois and a putative class action in Wisconsin state court. Won motions to dismiss all three cases
- Represented an accounting firm in a professional negligence claim brought by a bankruptcy trustee and obtained a complete victory after a jury trial.
Other representative matters include the following:
- Chicago Loop Parking, LLC v. City of Chicago: Obtained a US$62 million arbitration award on behalf of an asset owned by a private infrastructure equity investment fund
- Represented a former CEO in action alleging breaches of fiduciary duty and seeking a nine-figure damages award. Arbitration resulted a in complete victory in the CEO’s favor
- Emerald Capital Advisors Corp. v. Karma Automotive LLC, et al.: After prevailing on essential contract interpretation issue, crafted business strategy that resulted in confidential agreement to terminate the litigation and buy-out plaintiff minority shareholder
- Matrix, Inc. v. American Nat’l Bank and Trust Co. of Chicago: Argued and won Seventh Circuit appeal of dismissal of civil RICO action arising out of bankruptcy proceedings
- Obtained dismissal of civil RICO action against a global financial institution and successfully defended dismissal on appeal to the Seventh Circuit.
- Selected by restructuring counsel to handle briefing in support of a vigorously contested plan of reorganization in a bankruptcy related to one of the largest leveraged buyouts in history. The bankruptcy court approved the plan
- Represented a pharmaceutical company in a civil RICO case that raised complex standing and federal pre-emption issues. Plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the action after defendant’s motion to dismiss was filed
- Represented an investment bank in an internal investigation, SEC investigation, and litigation related to one of the bank’s clients. No action was taken by any party against the client
J.D., University of Chicago Law School
- B.A., Reed College
Phi Beta Kappa
- Clerkship, Milton I. Shadur, US District Court, North District of Illinois, 2000 - 2001
My latest insights
PCAOB sets aggressive agenda for 2023: what to expect as agency enforcement expands
10 January 2023 .8 minute read
PCAOB reports unfettered access to inspect and investigate audit firms in Mainland China...
19 December 2022 .7 minute read