Ronald S. Betman

Partner

Ron is a veteran trial lawyer with nearly three decades of experience representing Fortune 500 companies, privately held entities, and individuals in high stakes, complex litigation, and class action matters. Ron has a track record of achieving favorable outcomes in state and federal court, at both the trial and appellate levels, throughout the United States.  Ron has defended clients in the areas of securities, commodities, class action and derivative litigation, antitrust, fraud, product liability, bankruptcy, and commercial litigation of all kinds.

Ron has handled numerous regulatory investigations by the SEC, CFTC, and state attorneys general, and has been extensively published in this area. His expertise in this area allows him to partner with Ulmer’s clients in the financial services sector as well.

 

Education & Admissions

Education

  • University of Michigan

    (B.B.A., with high distinction, 1983)

  • University of Michigan Law School

    (J.D., cum laude, 1986) Michigan Law Review

Admissions

  • State of Illinois
  • State of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan

Experience

Reported Cases

Securities Litigation and Class Actions

  • In re Cisco Systems, Inc. Securities Litigation, Master File No. 01-20418 (N.D. Cal.) – Trial counsel on behalf of Cisco Systems, Inc. and various individuals in a shareholder class action alleging violations of Sections 10(b), 20(a), and 20(A)
    of the Exchange Act and seeking damages in excess of $6 billion dollars. The plaintiffs alleged misrepresentations and omissions relating to both company disclosures as well as accounting practices. The case was settled on favorable terms.
  • In re Bank One Shareholders Class Action, 00 C 880 (N.D. Ill.) – Trial counsel on behalf of Bank One Corporation, First USA Bank, N.A., and several of its officers and directors in a consolidated fraud-on-the-market securities class action with
    a 13-month class period. The case was settled on terms favorable to the client.
  • In re Old Bank One Securities Litigation, Case No. 00 C 2100 (N.D. Ill.) – Trial counsel on behalf of Bank One Corporation (now JPMorgan Chase) in a shareholder class action alleging violations of Sections 12 and 15 of the 1933 Act arising out of the 1998 merger between Banc One and First Chicago/NBD. The case was settled on favorable terms.
  • In re First Chicago Securities Litigation, Master File No. 00 C 767 (N.D. Ill.) – Trial counsel on behalf of Bank One Corporation (now JPMorgan Chase) in a shareholder class action alleging violations of Sections 11 and 15 of the 1933 Act relating to the 1998 merger between Banc One and First Chicago/NBD. The case was settled on terms favorable to the client.
  • Jaffe v. Household International, Inc., Lead Case No. 02-C-5893 (N.D. Ill.) – Trial counsel on behalf of outside directors of Household International, Inc. in a consolidated fraud-on-the-market securities class action. The outside directors were dismissed from the case with prejudice.
  • In re General Instrument Corporation Securities Litigation, Master File No. 96 CV-1129, Case No. 96 C 1644 (N.D. Ill.) – Trial counsel for General Instrument Corporation (now owned by Motorola) and its officers and directors in several class action fraud-on-the-market securities cases filed in connection with a secondary public offering of General Instrument shares during 1995. The case was settled on terms favorable to the client.
  • New England Health Care Employees Pension Fund, et al. v. Fruit of the Loom, Inc., et al., 1:98 CV 99-M (W.D. Ky.) – Trial counsel for Fruit of the Loom, Inc. and its officers and directors in a fraud-on-the-market securities class action pending in the federal district court in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The court certified a 14-month class period. A related derivative action was dismissed on a motion to dismiss. This case settled on terms favorable to the client.
  • Bernard Fidel, et al. v. William Farley and G. William Newton, 1:00 CV-48M (W.D. Ky.) – Trial counsel for defendant Newton in several securities fraud-on-the-market class actions pending in the federal district court
    of Bowling Green, Kentucky alleging a 13-month class period. The case settled on terms favorable to the client.
  • Hassinger v. JPMorgan Chase, Case No. 06 2931 (E.D. La.) – Lead trial counsel on behalf of JPMorgan Chase in an action brought by a faction of convertible debenture holders seeking recovery under an anti-dilution clause in a trust agreement. JPMorgan Chase prevailed on summary judgment. The ruling was affirmed by the Fifth Circuit on appeal.
  • Chaz Campton v. Ignite Restaurant Group, Inc., et al., 4:12-cv-02196 – Trial counsel representing underwriters Credit Suisse Securities USA LLC, Robert W. Baird & Co., Inc., Lazard Capital Markets LLC, and others in connection with a putative securities class action case stemming from alleged misrepresentations relating to the Company’s IPO. The parties reached an agreement to settle with no payment due from the underwriters.
  • Central Laborers’ Pension Fund v. SIRVA, Inc., et al., Case No. 04 C 7644 (N.D. Ill.) – Trial counsel on behalf of GoldmanSachs, CS First Boston, Deutsche Bank Securities, Citigroup Global Markets, J.P. Morgan Securities, Banc of America Securities, and Morgan Stanley, lead underwriters of two public offerings by SIRVA Inc., in a purported shareholder class action alleging violations of Sections 11 and 12 of the 1933 Act. Following the court’s ruling granting in part the underwriters’ motion to dismiss, the parties reached an agreement to settle the action with no payment due from the underwriters.
  • Ong v. Sears Roebuck and Company, et al., Case No. 1:03-CV-04142 (N.D. Ill.) – Trial counsel on behalf of various underwriting defendants, including Goldman Sachs, CS First Boston, and Merrill Lynch, in a consolidated purported class action alleging violations of Section 11 of the 1933 Act relating to various 2002 debt offerings. The parties reached an agreement to settle with no payment due from the underwriters.
  • Securities and Exchange Commission v. Johnson, 87 F.3d 484 (DC Cir. 1996) – Trial counsel in an administrative proceeding defending a branch manager on charges of failure to supervise a rogue broker in PaineWebber’s Beverly Hills, California office. After the administrative law judge imposed a six-month supervisory suspension, the District of Columbia Circuit, in a case of first impression and critical import in the securities industry, held that the SEC proceeding for enforcement of a penalty fell within the meaning of the federal general five-year statute of limitations, and thus the SEC’s action against Ms. Johnson was time-barred.
  • Security Bank v. Bear Stearns, 93 C 1479 (N.D. Ill. 1993) – Trial counsel in the defense of a multimillion dollar federal securities fraud action. Represented Bear Stearns in securities litigation involving the suitability of mortgage-backed securities purchased by the plaintiff-bank. The case was settled on terms favorable to the client.
  • Representation of clients before the Securities and Exchange Commission – Successful representation of numerous companies, hedge funds, and individuals before the Securities and Exchange Commission in private, formal investigations.
  • Appert v. Morgan Stanley, Case No. 08 CV 7130 (N.D. Ill.) – Trial counsel on behalf of Morgan Stanley in a putative class action seeking the recovery of postage and handling fees associated with tens of thousands of securities transactions. The First Amended Complaint was dismissed with prejudice on motion. The ruling was affirmed by the Seventh Circuit on appeal.
  • In re NextLevel Systems, Inc. Securities Litigation, Master File No. 97C 7362 (N.D. Ill.) – Trial counsel in a consolidated fraud-on-the-market case filed in 1997 alleging fraud over a four-month class period in connection with projections and business reports issued by NextLevel Systems, Inc. during 1997. Defendants included NextLevel Systems, Inc. and certain of its officers and directors. The case was settled on terms favorable to the client.
  • Fruchter, et al. v. CDW Corp., et al., Case No. 07 CH 1417 (Lake County, Ill.) – Trial counsel on behalf of Morgan Stanley & Co. with regard to alleged aiding and abetting a breach of fiduciary duty claim stemming from financial advisory services provided on behalf of CDW Corp in connection with a going private transaction with Madison Dearborn Partners. The case was dismissed as against Morgan Stanley.
  • CSI Investment Partners v. Cendant Corp., Case No. 00 C 1422 (S.D.N.Y.) – Trial counsel on behalf of Cendant Corporation, Henry Silverman, and Samuel Katz in a Section 10(b) case stemming from Cendant’s 1998 purchase of Credentials Services International, Inc. Plaintiffs prevailed on a single count on summary judgment and the order was affirmed on appeal.
  • Richard Worsek v. Citibank (S.D.) NA and American Airlines, 00 CH 14221 (Ill.) – Lead trial counsel on behalf of American Airlines in a purported consumer class action relating to CitibankAAdvantage Card solicitations. The case was dismissed with prejudice.
  • Lionsgate Entertainment v. Carl Icahn, et al., (S.D.N.Y.) – Trial counsel on behalf of Carl Icahn in connection with Icahn’s efforts to take control of Lionsgate and related to other litigation involving Icahn’s efforts to rescind a debt to equity swap between Lionsgate and one of its major shareholders. The parties reached a global resolution of all pending litigation.
  • Newman, et al. v. Miro Financial Enterprises L.P., et al., 14 L 4540 (Circuit Court, Cook County) – Lead trial counsel representing plaintiffs in an action to recover client funds from an investment firm and its partners after one of the partners gambled away the clients’ investment funds in Las Vegas. The case was settled on terms favorable to the clients.

Commodities Litigation

  • Premium Plus Partners, L.P. v. Peter J. Davis, et al., Case No 04 C 1851 (N.D. Ill.) – Trial counsel on behalf of Goldman, Sachs & Co. in a putative class action alleging violations of the Commodity Exchange Act for allegedly manipulating the U.S. Treasury market and injuring holders of short positions who were forced to cover at higher prices. Class certification was denied and the case was resolved pursuant to Rule 68 on an individual basis only.
  • Tomlinson, et al. v. Goldman, Sachs & Co., Case No. 09 C 1543 (N.D. Ill.) – Trial counsel on behalf of Goldman, Sachs & Co. in an action under the Commodity Exchange Act seeking damages for alleged market manipulation immediately preceding a Treasury announcement. Goldman prevailed in dismissing the case upon a motion to dismiss. The ruling was affirmed by the Seventh Circuit on appeal.
  • Indemnified Capital Investment, SA v. R. J. O’Brien and Associates, Inc.VMB Agrimarketing Services, Inc., et al., 12 F.3d 1406 (7th Cir. 1993) – Lead trial counsel for VMB Agrimarketing Services in defending against alleged fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and violations of the Commodities Exchange Act. Judge Marovich of the federal court in Chicago dismissed the complaint on a standing argument of first impression. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the suit.
  • CFTC v. Judd B. Hirschberg, (Ill.) – Trial counsel in a CFTC trial seeking to revoke floor broker registration of Hirschberg as a result of a criminal fraud conviction. After a lengthy trial, the administrative law judge revoked registration after finding insufficient evidence of mitigation or rehabilitation.
  • Representation of clients before the Commodities Futures Trading Commission – Successful representation of traders, trading firms, and FCMs before the Commodities Futures Trading Commission in private investigations.
  • Representation of floor brokers before self-regulatory organizations – Successful representation of floor traders and brokers before self-regulatory committees at the CME.

Commercial Litigation

  • In re Midway Airlines, 91 B 6449 (Bankr. N.D. Ill.) – Lead trial counsel for American Airlines in a three-week bench trial in bankruptcy court in Chicago arising out of the collapse of Midway Airlines. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court ruled in favor of American Airlines on all legal issues, and the case ultimately settled on terms favorable to the client.
  • In re World Access, Inc., 01 B 14633 (Bankr. N.D. Ill.) – Lead trial counsel on behalf of debtors’ estates in a three-week bench trial in support of substantive consolidation. Judge Sonderby of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Chicago ruled in the debtors’ favor on certain claims and against the debtors on other claims. The case was settled on favorable terms to the client.
  • Trustee v. ZC Specialty Insurance Company, Case No. 2:03-CV-00077 (Bankr. N.D. Tex.) – Lead trial counsel on behalf of ZC Specialty in a three-week bench trial before Judge Felsenthal in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas relating to allegations of de facto partnership with regard to a structured finance transaction in which ZC Specialty issued a $144 million surety bond. While the case was pending on appeal following an adverse bankruptcy court ruling, the case settled.
  • Ross et al. v. Bank of America et al., Nos. 04-civ-5723; 05-civ-7116 (S.D. N.Y. 2014) – Trial counsel for Discover Financial Services in the successful defense of long-running antitrust MDL alleging that credit card issuers conspired to adopt and maintain arbitration provisions with class action waivers in their cardholder agreements. On April 10, 2014, following a six-week bench trial and months of post-trial briefing, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a 92-page judgment holding that plaintiffs “did not sustain their burden” of proving an antitrust violation under controlling law. Based on the extensive trial record, the Court entered judgment for the issuers on plaintiffs’ antitrust claims for injunctive relief against the challenged arbitration provisions. The case is currently on appeal.
  • Chicago Parking Meters LLC v. City of Chicago, (2012) – Trial counsel on behalf of Chicago Parking Meters, LLC (CPM) with regard to its arbitration claim against the City of Chicago for breach of contract stemming from its 75-year, $1.15 billion parking meter Concession Agreement. After a multi-day evidentiary hearing, the AAA Panel ruled on CPM’s $13 million claim relating to excessive use of parking meters by exempt persons under the Concession Agreement, and the ruling remains confidential.
  • Chicago Professional Sports Limited Partnership (Chicago Bulls), 95 F.3d 593  (7th Cir. 1996) – Trial counsel in the prosecution of several antitrust cases filed by the Chicago Bulls and WGN-TV against the National Basketball Association for unreasonable restraint of trade in violation of the Sherman Act. This case involved the NBA’s attempt to restrict the Chicago Bulls from televising its games over WGN-TV because it was a superstation whose signal was transmitted outside the Chicago area. In two separate bench trials lasting several weeks before Judge Will of the federal court in Chicago, the court ruled that the NBA’s actions constituted an unreasonable restraint of trade and that any limit placed by the league on the Chicago Bulls’ ability to televise games over WGN was illegal. 874 F.Supp 844 (N.D. Ill. 1995) and 1995 WL 519753 (N.D. Ill. August 30, 1995). After these rulings were vacated by the Seventh Circuit in 1996, 95 F.3d 593 (7th Cir. 1996), the case ultimately settled in terms favorable to both the client and the league.
  • Chuck Quackenbush, Insurance Commissioner of the State of California in his Capacity as Trustee of the Mission Insurance Companies Trusts v. Borg Warner Corporation, et al., C 688487 (Sup. Ct. Cal.) – Trial counsel in the defense of Borg Warner Corporation and related individuals and entities in litigation in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles, arising out of the insolvency of the various Mission Insurance Companies. After the conclusion of a four-week bench trial in 1996, and before a ruling, the trial judge declared a mistrial. On the eve of a retrial, the case settled on terms favorable to the client.
  • Evans v. Suzuki Motors Company, General Motors Corporation, et al., 89-100779-NP (Mich.) – Trial counsel for both defendants in a product liability action arising out of a single vehicle accident in Flint, Michigan. After a two-week jury trial in the circuit court in Flint, Michigan, the jury returned a no-cause verdict in favor of the defendants.
  • Representation of former CEOs and CFOs in confidential mediation and arbitration proceedings involving allegations of fraud, misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of contract.
  • Representation of the Special Litigation Committee of a Board of Directors faced with claims brought derivatively.
  • Bunting v. William Blair, et al., (Circuit Court, Cook County) – Trial counsel on behalf of Morgan Stanley and Chicago Parking Meters, LLC (CPM) wherein we recently won dismissal of a putative 2.8 million-person class action that sought nearly a billion dollars in damages over the privatization of the City of Chicago’s parking meters. We defeated plaintiff’s claim that CPM, a consortium led by Morgan Stanley, conspired with William Blair & Company – the City’s outside investment advisor – to undervalue the City’s parking meter assets. The City leased its parking meters to CPM in a $1.15 billion, 75-year privatization contract. Plaintiff, who sought class status on behalf of all residents of the City, alleged that William Blair breached its fiduciary duty to the City and its residents by failing to properly value the parking meter assets, and that CPM colluded with William Blair in breaching that duty.
  • Patel v. American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Inc., 1990 WL 156318  (N.D. Ill., October 4, 1990) – Lead trial counsel for the defendant in a breach of contract claim relating to the failure of the Board to certify a physician. After a week-long bench trial, Judge Plunkett entered judgment for the defendant.
  • United States v. CVP I, et al., Case No. 08 CIV 7194 (SHS) (S.D. N.Y.) – Trial counsel on behalf of the owners/developers of a New York City apartment building in an action brought by the Department of Justice, which alleged violations of the Fair Housing Act. The case was settled on terms favorable to the client.
  • The University of Illinois v. Continental Casualty Company, 234 Ill. App. 3d 340  (4th Dist. 1992) – Lead trial counsel in prosecuting a breach of contract action against an insurer for denying coverage of insurance claims under a board of education liability insurance policy. The circuit court entered partial summary judgment in favor of the university. On appeal, the appellate court affirmed the majority of the circuit court’s opinion in favor of the university and remanded the remaining portion of the case to the circuit court. The case ultimately settled on terms favorable to the university.
  • Complete Care Services v. ZC Specialty Insurance Company, 00 CV 0041. (E.D. Penn.) – Lead trial counsel on behalf of the Centre Group in Pennsylvania federal court relating to claims of alter ego liability. The case was settled on terms favorable to the client.
  • Mann, et al. v. Bank One Corporation, Case No. 04 CH 10458 (Ill.) – Lead trial counsel on behalf of Bank One in an action brought by carriers seeking a declaration that there was no insurance coverage for three securities class action settlements. The case was settled on terms favorable to the client.
  • Billy Hughes v. ZC Specialty, et al., 8640 – Lead trial counsel defending seven personal injury negligence actions on behalf of the Centre Group with respect to both direct and vicarious liability theories. The actions were dismissed as to our client without any monetary payments.
  • Rubin v. Belmont Towers Limited Partnership, et al., 2015 CH 471 (Circuit Court, Cook County) – Lead trial counsel prosecuting derivative and direct claims against a general partner and partnership stemming from alleged breaches of fiduciary duty associated with improper distributions and the related failure to permit the inspection of books and records. The case settled on terms favorable to the client.
  • Steele v. Modagrafics, Inc., et al., 15-cv-11187 (N.D. Ill.) – Co-lead counsel on behalf of a former CFO in an employment-related suit with the former employer.
  • Berg v. New York Life Insurance Company, et al., 15-1410 (7th Circuit Court of Appeals) – Appellate counsel in the Seventh Circuit appeal for a former pit broker at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange seeking reversal of adverse district court summary judgment decision in a disability coverage dispute with New York Life.  The Seventh Circuit reversed and remanded the case to the district court. The case then settled on terms favorable to the client.
  • People of the State of Illinois v. Andre Mosley, 06 CR 14829 (Circuit Court, Cook County) – Pro bono representation of an indigent defendant in a first degree murder trial.
  • L.W., a minor, by her parent and next friend, Bridgett J., and Bridgett J. v. Illinois Department of Child and Family Services, et al., 13-cv-8463 (N.D. Ill.) – Pro bono representation of an indigent mother and child for wrongful seizure and detainment of the child in violation of their constitutional and statutory rights.

Publications & Presentations

Publications

  • “Trends in SEC Enforcement: What CPAs Need to Know,” The CPA Journal (March 2016)
  • “U.S. Eyes Class Action Waiver Ban for Financial Services Contracts,” Chicago Daily Law Bulletin (October 2015)
  • “7th Circuit Charts New Course on Offers of Judgment and Mootness,” Chicago Daily Law Bulletin (August 2015)
  • “Understanding and Navigating the Use of Pre-Wells Notice White Papers in Formal SEC Investigations,” The Banking Law Journal (May 2014)
  • “The (Too) Long Arm of The SEC: When a Foreign Employee of a U.S.-Based Multinational Financial Services Client is Threatened With A Subpoena,” Berkeley Business Law Journal, 2013 Vol. 10

Presentations

  • “Hot Button Issues in SEC Enforcement,” Panelist, Ulmer, Financial Services & Securities Litigation Hot Topics (November 2017)
  • “Special Deposition Techniques Program 2017,” Practising Law Institute (May 2017)
  • “SEC Enforcement Actions, Areas of Focus, Trends, and Strategies for Defense,” Speaker, New York State Society of CPAs SEC Conference (October 2016)
  • “Bytes & Bribes: A Discussion of Mitigating Business Risk,” Sponsored by Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg (February 2015)
  • “Hedge Funds and the Credit Crisis: A Review of Recent Enforcement Actions, Civil Suits and the Outlook for 2009,” Sponsored by Duff & Phelps (November 2008)

Involvement

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS

  • American Bar Association
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Chicago Lincoln Inn of Court
  • Seventh Circuit Bar Association

Honors

  • Leading Lawyers (Commercial Litigation, 2014-present)
  • Litigation Counsel of America (Fellow)