- Yale University (B.A.)
- Columbia University School of Law (J.D.)
- Columbia University Graduate School of Business (M.B.A.)
- New York State Bar
- Connecticut State Bar
- United States District Courts for the Southern, Eastern and Western Districts of New York
- United States Court of Appeals for the First, Second, and D.C. Circuits
David E. Kovel
David E. Kovel is a managing partner based in our New York office focusing on commodities, antitrust, whistleblower, securities and corporate governance matters.Recently, Mr. Kovel represented a whistleblower client who was awarded nearly $200 million by the whistleblower program of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”). This landmark CFTC whistleblower award is the largest, publicly-announced single whistleblower award arising under the Dodd-Frank and IRS whistleblower programs.
Additionally, Mr. Kovel has been recognized as an expert on antitrust and commodities litigation and is a frequent commentator on these matters. He has an active appellate practice having argued significant commodities, antitrust and whistleblower matters before various appeals courts. Mr. Kovel also has an active pro bono practice. His work is more fully described below.
Mr. Kovel is admitted to the New York State Bar, the Connecticut State Bar, the United States District Courts for the Southern, Eastern, and Western Districts of New York, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, Second Circuit, D.C. Circuit. He has been a member of the New York City Bar Association Committee on Futures and Derivatives Regulation, and is a former member of the New York City Bar Association Antitrust Committee. He graduated from Yale University (B.A.), Columbia University School of Law (J.D.) and Columbia University Graduate School of Business (M.B.A.).
Mr. Kovel traded commodities for several years before attending business and law school. Prior to joining KM, Mr. Kovel practiced at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP. He is fluent in Spanish and at one time played professional soccer in Nicaragua.
- Wacker v. JP Morgan Chase & Co., No. 16-2482 (2d Circuit) (achieved reversal under antitrust pleading standards and on behalf of traders of silver futures, alleged victims of market manipulation)
- Doe v. United States Securities and Exchange Commission, No. 17-4161 (2d Circuit) (Appeal of a whistleblower award under the Dodd Frank whistleblowers provisions of the Securities Exchange Act)
- Anonymous, et ano. v. Moody's Corporation, et al., No. 103997/2012 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Cty. and First Dept.) (responded to Moody’s appeal in seminal tax case under the New York False Claims Act)
- In re Libor-Based Financial Instruments Antitrust Litigation including Gelboim v. Credit Suisse Group AG, No. 17-1989 (2d Circuit) (involved in various appeals on pleading standards, jurisdiction, class certification and other matters stemming from this complex class action)
- In re North Sea Brent Crude Oil Futures Litig., No. 13-md-02475-ALC (2d Circuit) (engaged in appeal on first impression issues related to extraterritoriality under the Commodity Exchange Act)
- United States of America Ex Rel. Lawton v. Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, et al., No. 16-1382 (1st Circuit) (argued appeal of whistleblower alleging violations of federal and state False Claims Acts for off-labeling marketing)
- Anastasio v. Total Gas & Power North America, No. 17-1199 (2d Circuit) (argued appeal on behalf of natural gas futures traders alleging market manipulation)
- In re Credit Default Swaps Auctions Litigation, No. 21-cv-00606 (D.N.M.). Co-lead counsel in a class action brought by the firm and the Office of the Attorney General for the State of New Mexico alleging antitrust violations and market manipulation in the credit default swaps market. The case is ongoing.
- Shak v. JPMorgan Chase & Co., No. 15-cv-992 (S.D.N.Y.) (and related cases). Representation of exchange-based investors alleging monopolization and manipulation of the silver futures market in violation of federal antitrust and commodity exchange laws. The parties successfully reached a private settlement. We obtained a favorable appeal decision at the Second Circuit Court of Appeals under antitrust laws. The case preceded a related Department of Justice criminal investigation into JPMorgan that remains ongoing.
- In re Libor-Based Financial Instruments Antitrust Litigation, No. 11-md-02262-NRB; FTC Capital GMBH et al. v. Credit Suisse Group AG et al., No. 11-cv-02613-NRB (S.D.N.Y.) (Buchwald, J.). Court appointed co-liaison counsel for all class actions in the multi-district litigation and co-lead counsel for exchange-based class alleging the fixing of prices of a benchmark interest rate. This litigation has already resulted in partial settlements totaling approximately $187 million, which collectively represent the largest historical class-wide recovery for a “futures only” settlement under the Commodity Exchange Act.
- Dennis v. The Andersons, Inc. et al., No. 20-cv-04090 (N.D. of Ill.) Representation of a putative class of exchange-based investors alleging monopolization and manipulation of Chicago Board of Trade soft red winter wheat futures contracts in violation of federal antitrust and commodity exchange laws.
- In re Deutsche Bank Spoofing Litigation, No. 20-cv-03638 (N.D. of Ill.) Counsel on behalf of a putative class of investors alleging manipulation through “spoofing” of U.S. Treasury futures traded on the Chicago Board of Trade and Eurodollar futures traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
- In re Bank of Nova Scotia Spoofing Litigation, No. 20-cv-11059 (D.N.J.). Court appointed to the Executive Committee and class counsel, alleging that defendants manipulated precious metals futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange and the Commodity Exchange, Inc.
- Selected by the Court as co-lead counsel in In re JPMorgan Treasury Futures Spoofing Litigation, No. 20-cv-03515 (S.D.N.Y.), alleging that defendants manipulated U.S. Treasury futures for more than a decade and that this conduct contributed to the bank’s recent $920 million settlement with the DOJ, CFTC, and SEC. The case has a putative settlement of $15.7 million.
- In re Cattle Antitrust Litigation, No. 19-cv-1222 (D. Minn. 2019). Court appointed Executive committee member and class counsel, representing cattle producers and cattle futures traders. The suit alleges that the “Big 4” meatpacking firms conspired to suppress prices for fed cattle and manipulated live cattle futures traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
- In re North Sea Brent Crude Oil Futures Litig., No. 13-md-02475-ALC (S.D.N.Y.). Sole lead counsel on behalf of a proposed class of Brent crude oil futures traders alleging benchmark manipulation.
- In re Reformulated Gasoline (RFG) Antitrust and Patent Litigation and Related Actions, No. 05-cv-01671 (C.D. Cal) (2005). Co-lead counsel in an antitrust class action pertaining to Unocal’s alleged manipulation of the standard-setting process for low-emissions reformulated gasoline in California, which plaintiffs claim caused inflated retail prices. Obtained a $48 million settlement for indirect purchasers.
- In re BP Propane Indirect Purchaser Antitrust Litigation, No. 06-cv-3541 (N.D.Ill. 2010). Co-lead counsel for propane purchaser class. Secured a $15 million settlement.
- In re Potash Antitrust Litigation, No. 08-cv-06910 (N.D.Ill. 2008). In leadership group which secured a $13 million settlement for a class of potash purchasers.
- CFTC v. Shak, No. 14-cv-01632-EGS (D.D.C.). Represented defendant in case brought by the CFTC under the Commodity Exchange Act’s newest provisions for violations of an administrative order in the gold futures market.
- Supreme Auto Transport LLC v. Arcelor Mittal et al., No. 08-cv-05468 (N.D. Ill. 2008). In the leadership group on behalf of a proposed class of steel purchaser alleging price fixing.
- In re Commodity Exchange, Inc., Gold Futures and Options Trading Litigation, No. 14-md-02548 (S.D.N.Y.). Counsel for plaintiff on behalf of gold purchasers in a market manipulation case. The case has resulted in settlements of $152 million.
- In re Exide Technologies, No. 13-11482 (KJC) (Bankr. D. Del.). Expert for bankrupt debtor, a purchaser of metals, opining on the dynamics of plaintiffs’ side representation in antitrust and commodities market cases.
Other Antitrust Cases
- In re Ductile Iron Pipe Fittings Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 2347 (D. NJ. 2012). Co-lead counsel on behalf of a proposed class of purchasers of iron pipe fittings for water projects. Class representatives include Wayne County, Michigan. Case pending.
- Microsoft antitrust cases: Lead counsel to various classes of indirect purchasers in connection with antitrust proceedings against Microsoft. The litigations resulted in settlement totaling nearly a billion dollars for consumers in the states of New York, Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Minnesota (where the litigation proceeded to trial).
- The City of New York v. GlaxoSmithKline PLC and SmithKline Beecham Corporation, No. 04-cv-2134-JP (D.Pa. 2004). Represented City of New York in pharmaceutical drug monopolization case. Private settlement.
- In re Pfizer Inc. Shareholder Derivative Litigation, No. 09-cv-7822 (S.D.N.Y.). Counsel for lead plaintiff in a shareholder derivative action. Obtained a $75 million award and groundbreaking changes to the Board of Director’s oversight of regulatory matters
Public Whistleblower Cases
- Anonymous, et ano. v. Moody's Corporation, et al., No. 103997/2012 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Cty. and First Dept.)
- The State of New York Ex Rel. Vinod Khurana et al v. Spherion Corp., No. 15-cv-06605-JFK-AJP (S.D.N.Y.)
- United States of America Ex Rel. Lawton v. Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, et al. (D. Mass.)
- Doe v. United States Securities and Exchange Commission, No. 17-416 (D.C. Circuit)
Confidential Whistleblower Cases Ongoing and Resolved
- Procurement fraud.
- Medical Device/Pharmaceutical fraud.
- Mr. Kovel also has an active pro bono practice, having represented, among others, clients in need of housing referred through the office of pro se litigation in the Southern District of New York, whistleblowers various governmental settings, clients in foreclosure matters, and a Latino soccer association in its efforts organize and obtain a fair proportion of field time from a municipality.
Mr. Kovel is a frequent commentator on commodities, finance and whistleblower matters, including in Bloomberg (television and print), New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Financial Times, and Forbes. Representative comments include the following articles:
- Market fixing inquiry gathers pace
- Brent Crude Traders Claim Proof BFOE Boys Rigged Market
- Haunted by Inflation, He Snapped Up Silver at $2, Made a Fortune and Lost It
- Regulators Try to Beat Clock in Rate Probe
- The Coming New Age Of Whistleblower Lawsuits
- Proposed IRS Whistleblower Rules Could Undermine FATCA, Critics Argue
- How ex-JP Morgan silver trader’s guilty plea could boost manipulation claim against bank