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Justin M. Ellis

Justin Ellis’s practice focuses on complex civil litigation. He has tried multiple cases in federal and state trial courts and has argued appeals before the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, the Virginia Supreme Court, and the en banc Virginia Court of Appeals. He has litigated in every level of the judicial system from trial courts to the Supreme Court of the United States. And he has drafted and argued dispositive, discovery, evidentiary, and procedural motions before courts and arbitral bodies across the country. Mr. Ellis has particular experience in bankruptcy, distressed debt, and structured finance litigation, with clients including corporations, hedge funds and asset managers, indenture trustees, family offices, and high net worth individuals.

Lawdragon has twice named Mr. Ellis as one of the top 500 leading bankruptcy and restructuring lawyers in the United States. Legal 500 describes Mr. Ellis as having “an unsurpassed encyclopedic knowledge of the law and all of its intricacies.” He has also been named repeatedly as a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers and is on Benchmark Litigation’s “40 and Under Hot List.”

Prior to joining MoloLamken, Mr. Ellis was an associate in the New York office of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. He also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Frank H. Easterbrook, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and as a research assistant to the Honorable Richard A. Posner and Professor William Landes.

Representative Matters

  • Represents certificateholders of RMBS trusts in multiple trust instruction proceedings over the distributions of settlement payments and the handling of trust funds, including obtaining award for investor in dispute over distribution of the $8.5 billion Bank of America / Countrywide global settlement
  • Obtained over $1.4 billion in recoveries for indenture trustees and investors pursuing RMBS ”putback” suits against mortgage originators and securitization sponsors in state and federal courts
  • Obtained over $600 million in judgments for investment advisor against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and its state-owned oil company over defaulted debt
  • Obtained and successfully defended on appeal $30 million lost-profits judgment for developer of electric power plants in a damages trial in New York Supreme Court concerning theft of trade secrets
  • Represented international asset manager and direct lender, as well as an indenture trustee, in a trial over fraudulent-conveyance and tort claims and breaches of an intercreditor agreement in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, as well as parallel litigation in New York Supreme Court
  • Represents international asset manager and its agent in a major Chapter 15 bankruptcy proceeding for an international natural-resources company
  • Represents international asset manager and direct lender in defending multiple fraudulent-conveyance claims over its equity investments in parking-garage operator
  • Represents investors pursuing class-action antitrust claims against a major medical-device manufacturer, distributors, and group purchasing organizations before the trial court and in two appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • Represented investors seeking the appointment of an equity holders’ committee in major retail bankruptcy
  • Represented international construction conglomerate in dispute over the construction of a distressed renewable-energy project
  • Represented a global financial institution facing multiple regulatory investigations and civil litigation in connection with the LIBOR price-fixing scandal
  • Obtained at arbitration an order to refund client’s entire investment in a feature-length film project based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book Interpreter of Maladies
  • Represented a subsidiary of a global reinsurer pursuing tort and contract claims in New York Supreme Court involving a complex, multi-year billing-fraud scheme
  • Represented former Speaker of the New York Assembly in a federal public-corruption criminal jury trial
  • Represented executive of leading architecture firm in appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in criminal conviction for embezzlement of pension funds
  • Represented an investment advisor under indictment for obstruction of justice and perjury in the Southern District of New York
  • Represented diplomatic security agent under investigation by the Department of Justice regarding alleged misconduct abroad
  • Represented a CDO manager under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding alleged securities-law violations
  • Drafted successful amicus briefing at the certiorari and merits stages before the United States Supreme Court regarding the requirements for diversity jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act
  • Represented a foreign central bank in a successful petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court regarding the Article III prohibition on “rules of decision”
  • Represented a software company in a petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court and in follow-on proceedings regarding the recognition of foreign judgments
  • Obtained reversal of criminal contempt conviction through briefing and argument before the en banc Virginia Court of Appeals and the Virginia Supreme Court
  • Obtained reversal of summary judgment for a person under civil commitment through briefing and argument before the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • Represented a state prisoner in a Fourth Amendment excessive-force jury trial before the Southern District of New York
  • Defeated summary judgment and obtained successful settlement for pre-trial detainee subject to excessive force at Riker’s Island

Publications

Clerkships

  • Law clerk to the Honorable Frank H. Easterbrook, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Honors & Awards

500 Leading Bankruptcy and Restructuring Lawyers, Lawdragon, 2020, 2022

New York Rising Star, Super Lawyers, 2015-2021

40 and Under Hot List, Benchmark Litigation, 2019-2021

Education

The University of Chicago Law School, J.D.

Articles Editor, University of Chicago Law Review

The University of Chicago Committee on International Relations, A.M.

The University of Chicago, A.B.

Bar and Court Admissions

  • New York
  • Washington
  • United States Courts of Appeals for the 2nd and 7th Circuits
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of New York 
  • United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois

Professional Affiliations

Federal Bar Council Pro Bono Advisory Council

New York State Bar Association CPLR Committee

New York City Bar Securities Litigation Committee

Turnaround Management Association

American Bankruptcy Institute, Bankruptcy Litigation Committee

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