John Kairis is of counsel at Grant & Eisenhofer, where he represents institutional investors in class action litigation, individual “opt-out” securities litigation, and derivative, corporate governance, and appraisal litigation in the Delaware Chancery Court and other courts throughout the country. He has been a leader of G&E teams that have achieved some of the largest recoveries in securities class action history, and played major roles in the Tyco, Parmalat, Marsh & McLennan, Hollinger International and Dollar General securities class actions, and opt-out actions in AOL Time Warner and Telxon Corporation.
Among his Delaware Chancery Court litigation experience is a landmark case against HealthSouth, involving a books and records trial under Section 220 of the Delaware General Corporations Law, to obtain certain documents that the corporation refused to produce, which led to a settlement implementing corporate governance improvements, such as HealthSouth’s agreement to replace its conflicted directors with independent directors approved by a committee which included the institutional investor plaintiff; and a settlement of litigation against Oracle Corporation, Larry Ellison and the other members of Oracle’s board, whereby plaintiffs alleged that Ellison’s control over Oracle and Pillar Data Systems led to an unfair process resulting in Oracle’s agreement to pay a grossly excessive and unfair price for Pillar in the form of a novel “earn out.” The settlement provided a monetary benefit of approximately $440 million resulting from a required reduction in the purchase price for Pillar. More recently, Mr. Kairis represented the class of shareholders of Starz against cable mogul John Malone and other Starz directors alleging their breaches of fiduciary duty in negotiating and approving the sale of Starz to Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. for an unfair price. That case resolved with a $92.5 million cash payment to the shareholder class.
Mr. Kairis has also been instrumental in prosecuting consumer class actions involving unfair competition and false marketing claims against various companies for misrepresentations relating to cosmetics and against both Johnson & Johnson and Bausch & Lomb for misrepresentations relating to contact lenses and solutions. He has represented the lead plaintiffs and the class in a securities fraud suit against Merck & Co. and certain of its officers and directors relating to the defendants’ alleged suppression of test results of Merck’s cholesterol medication Vytorin.
Mr. Kairis has also represented petitioners in several appraisal actions and currently represents the lead plaintiffs in various breach of fiduciary duty cases pending in the Delaware Chancery Court.
Mr. Kairis has authored articles including “Shareholder Proposals For Reimbursement Of Expenses Incurred In Proxy Contests: Recent Guidance From The Delaware Supreme Court,” PLI, What All Business Lawyers Must Know About Delaware Law Developments 2009 (New York, NY May 21, 2009) (co-authored with Stuart Grant); “Challenging Misrepresentations in Mergers: You May Have More Time Than You Think,” Andrews Litigation Reporter, Vol. 12, Issue 3, June 14, 2006; “Disgorgement Of Compensation Paid To Directors During The Time They Were Grossly Negligent: An Available But Seldom Used Remedy,” Delaware Law Review, Vol. 13, #1, 2011; and was the principle writer of an amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court on behalf of various public pension funds in the Merck case involving the standard for finding that a plaintiff is on “inquiry notice” of potential claims such that the limitations period for pleading securities fraud has commenced.
Mr. Kairis has served on the boards of several nonprofit organizations, including the West-End Neighborhood House, Inc., the Cornerstone West Development Corporation, and the board of the Westover Hills Civic Association. He has also served on the Delaware Corporation Law Committee, where he evaluated proposals to amend the Delaware General Corporation Law.
Mr. Kairis is a 1984 graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a 1987 graduate of the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, where he was Articles Editor of the Ohio State Law Journal and recipient of the American Jurisprudence and John E. Fallon Memorial Awards for scholastic excellence. He is a member of the Delaware and American Bar Associations and the Delaware Trial Lawyers Association.
United States Supreme Court