Michelle Ann Gitlitz
|New York, NY||v. +1.212.885.5068||f. +1.917.332.3723|
- Main Narrative
Michelle Gitlitz splits her practice between the areas of corporate litigation/white collar criminal defense and investigations, and counseling registered and unregistered investment companies and investment advisers. In her litigation practice, she represents corporate and individual clients in civil matters, including general business, contract, securities, banking and shareholder disputes before trial and appellate courts as well as in connection with regulatory investigations by government entities throughout the country. In her investment company and advisory practice, she represents investment companies and independent Boards of Directors/Trustees in regulatory and compliance matters as well as in Securities and Exchange Commission Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations inquiries, and enforcement actions.
Ms. Gitlitz also has knowledge and experience helping clients navigate the legal landscape for the use of blockchain technology (including smart contracts and digital currencies) and artificial intelligence. She has formed funds to invest in digital technologies and currencies (including Bitcoin) and can assist participants engaged in creating, obtaining, distributing, exchanging, accepting, or transmitting digital currencies (including initial coin offerings) with legal guidance. Ms. Gitlitz frequently speaks at conferences on blockchain technology, has participated in the MIT Legal Forum for Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain, and is a member of the Accord Project which develops technical standards for legal smart contracts.
Prior to joining Blank Rome, Ms. Gitlitz worked as an intern for Judge Joseph A. Greenaway, Jr., U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
Every quarter, Ms. Gitlitz co-authors a Fund and Investment Management Regulatory Update and Recent SEC Enforcement Actions overview for clients.
Representative Litigation Matters
- Representation of one of the country’s premier banking and financial services institutions to recover damages for repudiation of customer obligations under interest rate swap agreements.
- Representation of Fortune 500 Company and its Board in two putative class actions commenced in the Southern District of Indiana arising out of the merger. After motion practice, the parties entered into a global “disclosure only” settlement of all litigation with a small monetary payment to plaintiffs’ counsel. Obtained a similar result for a digital printing company and its directors in two putative class actions filed in Connecticut state court, and one filed in the District of Connecticut, following an announcement that the company would be acquired. The parties entered into a similar “disclosure only” settlement and the monetary payment negotiated with plaintiffs’ counsel was one of the smallest known in the settlement of recent class actions.
- Representation of Chinese manufacturer of nutritional supplements in connection with a formal order of investigation issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
- Representation of trucking company in connection with breach of an “evergreen” shipping contract.
- Resolved governmental investigations on behalf of video game publisher and distributor relating to securities fraud, stock options backdating, breaches of fiduciary duty and improper business practices.
- Representation of Special Committee of mining company in connection with a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation of possible violations of the securities laws by the company and its officers, directors and affiliates.
- Representation of the country's largest mortgage due diligence firm in connection with sub-prime mortgage investigations by the New York State Attorney General, Securities and Exchange Commission, and Connecticut Attorney General.
- Representation of audit committees, independent directors and special committees of boards of directors in conducting investigations relating to corporate securities and advertising disclosures, accounting issues, stock options backdating, and shareholder demand letters.
- Representation of individuals and corporations in accounting disputes.
Representative Investment Advisory Matters
- Counsel clients on registration, regulation, and governance of investment companies including open-end, closed-end, and business development companies as well as investment advisers.
- Create and organize private investment funds and hedge funds.
- Representation of independent trustees of mutual fund trusts in connection with allegations relating to violations of Section 15(c) of the Investment Company Act of 1940 for alleged failure to evaluate factors to be considered when approving or renewing investment advisory contracts on behalf of shareholders.
- Representation of the board of trustees and the investment adviser to a family of mutual funds in connection with the policies and practices with respect to investments by certain funds in IPOs of equity securities.
- Representation of the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer of an investment adviser to a mutual fund in connection with a suit brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission for (1) breach of fiduciary duty, (2) the violation of various investment restrictions and policies governing the fraud as set forth in the fund's registration statement, (3) fraudulent provision of inaccurate, inflated valuations for the private placement security, and (4) failure the adopt and implement policies and procedures reasonably designed to prevent violations of the federal securities laws.
- Representation of an investment adviser in connection with alleged violation of rules that trades must be allocated among clients in a fair and equitable manner.
- Representation of independent trustees of a family of mutual funds in connection with a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into whether payments to intermediaries by mutual funds were primarily intended for marketing or distribution within the meaning of Rule 12b-1.
- Representation of investment companies and investment advisers on compliance matters.