Haynes and Boone Wins Fifth Circuit Appeal in Case Against the SEC


DALLAS – Haynes and Boone, LLP won a significant victory in a stock options backdating case in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for client Douglas Bartek, the former chairman and CEO of Microtune, Inc. The Fifth Circuit ruled that all claims brought against Bartek by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) were properly dismissed.

"This is a complete win," said Ron Breaux, the Haynes and Boone partner who led the Bartek defense team. “The court rejected the SEC’s arguments on every point and ruled overwhelmingly in our client’s favor.”

Breaux said this is the first stock options backdating case in which the SEC’s claims were dismissed on statute of limitations grounds.

The SEC had sued Bartek and others in 2008, alleging that Microtune awarded backdated stock options to its employees without accounting for them properly. Haynes and Boone maintained that the SEC's complaint was based on conduct that allegedly occurred nearly ten years ago and was time barred by the statute of limitations, 28 U.S.C. § 2462. U.S. District Judge Jane J. Boyle agreed.

On appeal, the Fifth Circuit affirmed. The court rejected the SEC’s argument that the statute of limitations includes a discovery rule, which would have tolled the limitations period until the SEC discovered the conduct. The court also found that the statute barred all of the claims brought by the SEC, including claims seeking a permanent injunction and an officer and director bar.

The Bartek defense team includes Breaux, partners Lawrence A. Gaydos and Jeremy D. Kernodle and associates Emily W. Westridge and Ryan Paulsen.

The original case was SEC v. Microtune Inc., case number 08-cv-1105, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. At the Fifth Circuit, the case was number 11-10594 and styled Securities and Exchange Commission v. Douglas J. Bartek; Nancy A. Richardson.

Haynes and Boone, LLP is an international corporate law firm with offices in Texas, New York, California, Washington, D.C., Mexico City and Moscow, providing a full spectrum of legal services. With more than 525 attorneys, Haynes and Boone is ranked among the largest law firms in the nation by The National Law Journal and has been named a "Top Corporate Law Firm in America" (Corporate Board Member Magazine, 2001-2012).

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