Gary P. Naftalis is co-chair of Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, and the firm’s extensive litigation practice. One of the nation’s leading trial lawyers and pre-eminent litigators, Gary represents corporations, as well as officers, directors and significant individuals, in all phases of complex high-stakes civil, criminal and regulatory matters. His work on behalf of these clients spans more than four decades and includes many sensitive and high-profile matters, including governmental and regulatory inquiries and related civil litigation involving allegations of insider trading, market manipulation, accounting irregularities, stock options backdating and other financial fraud. Throughout his career he has been one of the first calls for corporate leaders encountering legal problems.
Gary’s most notable work on behalf of clients includes his successful defense of Michael Eisner, the CEO of The Walt Disney Co., in the shareholder derivative lawsuit related to the hiring and termination of Michael Ovitz. After a 37-day trial in the Delaware Court of Chancery, Mr. Eisner and the other Disney directors prevailed on all counts. The National Law Journal chose the Disney decision as one of the top defense wins of that year. Gary also successfully secured dismissal for Kenneth Langone, former chair of the New York Stock Exchange Compensation Committee, of all charges brought against him by then-Attorney General Eliot Spitzer relating to the compensation of NYSE Chairman Richard Grasso.
In June 2017, The American Lawyer Daily named Gary Litigator of the Week for his success representing pro bono Congregation Jeshuat Israel, the congregation that has worshipped for the past 130 years at Touro Synagogue, the nation’s oldest synagogue, in a dispute with a New York City congregation. At issue was the ownership of the synagogue and valuable silver bells (rimonim) that adorn Torah scrolls and were made by colonial silversmith Myer Myers. The American Lawyer named the case one of the nation’s top pro bono accomplishments of 2016.
During his career, he has successfully represented numerous securities industry clients, including Salomon Brothers in the investigation of US Treasury auction bidding practices; Kidder, Peabody in the Wall Street insider trading probe, and Canary Capital Partners in the mutual fund inquiries.
Other notable matters include the representation of the city of New York in the inquiry by the New York County District Attorney relating to the fire at the Deutsche Bank building at the World Trade Center, in which no charges were brought against the city or any of its agencies or its officials, and the defense of Sirius XM Radio in a breach of contract action by Howard Stern seeking $330 million in damages, in which Gary secured summary judgment in favor of Sirius dismissing the case. More recently, Gary defended Rajat K. Gupta, the former managing director worldwide of McKinsey, in both a high-profile criminal insider trading trial and a parallel SEC enforcement action, where he obtained a precedent-setting decision challenging the attempt by the SEC to utilize an administrative process rather than go to court.
Last Updated September 2019