On August 4, 2023, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced awards totaling more than $104 million to seven whistleblowers in connection with a successful SEC enforcement action. The SEC’s Press Release can be found (here), and the Order can be found (here).
Kelly Curtis is an associate in the firm’s Litigation Department. She has experience in a variety of commercial litigation matters, advancing client interests in such areas as product liability, trade secret misappropriation, false advertising, sports, environmental remediation, and contract disputes. Kelly has prepared witnesses for trial and depositions, assisted in preparing cross examinations at trial, taken expert and fact witness depositions, written dispositive and appellate motions, and argued trial motions in federal court.
Kelly was part of the trial team representing Monsanto Company in Stephens v. Monsanto, a product liability action relating to the company’s weedkiller, Roundup, and its alleged link to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After a five-month trial, the California jury returned a complete defense verdict on all claims.
Additionally, she was part of the trial team that secured a unanimous defense verdict for Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), defeating a breach of contract claim in which a purported agent sought tens of millions of dollars in claimed commissions relating to retransmission royalties. Subsequently, the team successfully defended against the appeal of the jury verdict to the Ninth Circuit.
Kelly maintains an active pro bono practice, with an emphasis on immigration issues. Most recently, she successfully represented a client from Turkey who sought asylum in the U.S. based on his membership in the LGBT+ community.
While earning her J.D. from the UCLA School of Law, she worked for the Alliance for Children’s Rights, representing caregivers in foster care, guardianship, and adoption benefits matters. Prior to law school, Kelly earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, with a focus on International Relations.
It is illegal under the Securities Exchange Act to make false or misleading statements to the investing public about material facts. At the same time, corporations and their officers must be able to make statements about the company’s future plans, projections, and aspirations without fear of opening themselves up to claims of securities law liability should the company’s achievements fall short of its ambitions. The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, therefore, has carved out a “safe harbor” for certain forward-looking statements, including forward-looking statements accompanied by meaningful cautionary language, and forward-looking statements made by someone who does not know the statement to be false or misleading.