Scott  Watnik

Scott Watnik

Partner

+1 646 375 7658
Emailswatnik@wilkauslander.com
Download vCard

Scott is a member of the Firm’s litigation department He has represented business owners, partnerships, financial institutions, hedge funds, governmental entities, insurers, manufacturers, investors, shareholders, and corporate board members and executives in securities, shareholder, breach of contract, employment  and business tort litigations in federal and state courts across the country. Scott has also represented individuals in connection with high-stakes trust and estates, and intellectual property disputes.  Scott’s client base is diverse, spanning the fields of manufacturing, retail, investing, and marketing. 

In addition, Scott has substantial experience representing financial and other institutions, as well as individuals, in connection with investigations conducted by the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the United States Senate, and state attorneys general, among others.   Scott’s cases have frequently involved unique and cutting edge areas of the law.  For instance, Scott  served as trial  and appellate counsel to one of the plaintiffs in Franklin et al v. Herman Miller, Inc. et al, (Del. Chancery, C.A. NO. 10477-CB) – the only case to date to go to trial involving Delaware General Corporate Law §§ 204 and 205.   Sections 204 and 205 of the Delaware General Corporate law establish a newly-enacted process by which a Delaware corporation can ratify defective corporate acts concerning stock issuances (among other things), and thus materially impact Delaware corporations and their investors.  Scott also served on the trial team in a securities fraud class action representing one of the world’s largest banking institutions in one of only a handful of such cases to ever go to trial following the passage of the PSLRA.  Additionally, Scott has extensive experience litigating proceedings under 28 U.S.C. § 1782, the federal statute involving discovery assistance to foreign and international tribunals. 

Most recently, Scott led a Wilk Auslander team of attorneys in successfully defending a c-suite executive in connection with claims for securities fraud under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Rule 10b-5. The Plaintiffs, a putative class of shareholders, sought damages in excess of $44 million in connection with these securities fraud claims. Scott spearheaded our client’s defense and achieved a rare “with prejudice” dismissal of these claims issued by the Southern District of New York.  See Kohlberg v. Long Point Capital et al., 2022 WL 976809 (S.D.N.Y. March 31, 2022).  In another recent matter, Scott was instrumental in prosecuting claims for breach of contract, which resulted in a grant of summary judgment in excess of $45 million in favor of our client, affirmed by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. See Cimontubo-Tubagens E Soldadura, LDA v. Petroleous De Venezuela, S.A.,   2021 WL 827133 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 4, 2021), aff’d 2022 WL 2155285 (2d Cir. June 15, 2022).

Beyond the courtroom, over the past several years Scott has regularly counseled executives in connection with employment contracts in the financial sector (among others). While working together with an interdisciplinary team of other attorneys at our firm, Scott has helped to successfully negotiate dozens of employment, non-compete and severance agreements involving executives at several of the nation’s leading hedge funds and investment firms.

Additionally, Scott co-chairs the Firm’s cybersecurity practice. In that capacity, Scott advises clients of the firm in connection with the laws, rules and regulations in this ever-changing and dynamic legal landscape. 

Scott has been selected to New York Super Lawyers for Business Litigation each year from 2016 - 2021.  Scott has been quoted in the media concerning his legal insight and active cases, including the New York Law Journal, the New York Times, Reuters, Bloomberg, the Delaware Business Insider, and the Times of Israel. A former tennis player with wins over players ranked among the top 200 in the world, Scott often credits his unique experience in the athletic arena for instilling within him the fierce advocacy, relentless discipline and work ethic that his clients have come to value.

Prior to joining Wilk Auslander, Scott spent a substantial part of his career at Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, where he was an associate in the firm’s litigation practice

Overview

Scott is a member of the Firm’s litigation department He has represented business owners, partnerships, financial institutions, hedge funds, governmental entities, insurers, manufacturers, investors, shareholders, and corporate board members and executives in securities, shareholder, breach of contract, employment  and business tort litigations in federal and state courts across the country. Scott has also represented individuals in connection with high-stakes trust and estates, and intellectual property disputes.  Scott’s client base is diverse, spanning the fields of manufacturing, retail, investing, and marketing. 

In addition, Scott has substantial experience representing financial and other institutions, as well as individuals, in connection with investigations conducted by the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the United States Senate, and state attorneys general, among others.   Scott’s cases have frequently involved unique and cutting edge areas of the law.  For instance, Scott  served as trial  and appellate counsel to one of the plaintiffs in Franklin et al v. Herman Miller, Inc. et al, (Del. Chancery, C.A. NO. 10477-CB) – the only case to date to go to trial involving Delaware General Corporate Law §§ 204 and 205.   Sections 204 and 205 of the Delaware General Corporate law establish a newly-enacted process by which a Delaware corporation can ratify defective corporate acts concerning stock issuances (among other things), and thus materially impact Delaware corporations and their investors.  Scott also served on the trial team in a securities fraud class action representing one of the world’s largest banking institutions in one of only a handful of such cases to ever go to trial following the passage of the PSLRA.  Additionally, Scott has extensive experience litigating proceedings under 28 U.S.C. § 1782, the federal statute involving discovery assistance to foreign and international tribunals. 

Most recently, Scott led a Wilk Auslander team of attorneys in successfully defending a c-suite executive in connection with claims for securities fraud under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Rule 10b-5. The Plaintiffs, a putative class of shareholders, sought damages in excess of $44 million in connection with these securities fraud claims. Scott spearheaded our client’s defense and achieved a rare “with prejudice” dismissal of these claims issued by the Southern District of New York.  See Kohlberg v. Long Point Capital et al., 2022 WL 976809 (S.D.N.Y. March 31, 2022).  In another recent matter, Scott was instrumental in prosecuting claims for breach of contract, which resulted in a grant of summary judgment in excess of $45 million in favor of our client, affirmed by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. See Cimontubo-Tubagens E Soldadura, LDA v. Petroleous De Venezuela, S.A.,   2021 WL 827133 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 4, 2021), aff’d 2022 WL 2155285 (2d Cir. June 15, 2022).

Beyond the courtroom, over the past several years Scott has regularly counseled executives in connection with employment contracts in the financial sector (among others). While working together with an interdisciplinary team of other attorneys at our firm, Scott has helped to successfully negotiate dozens of employment, non-compete and severance agreements involving executives at several of the nation’s leading hedge funds and investment firms.

Additionally, Scott co-chairs the Firm’s cybersecurity practice. In that capacity, Scott advises clients of the firm in connection with the laws, rules and regulations in this ever-changing and dynamic legal landscape. 

Scott has been selected to New York Super Lawyers for Business Litigation each year from 2016 - 2021.  Scott has been quoted in the media concerning his legal insight and active cases, including the New York Law Journal, the New York Times, Reuters, Bloomberg, the Delaware Business Insider, and the Times of Israel. A former tennis player with wins over players ranked among the top 200 in the world, Scott often credits his unique experience in the athletic arena for instilling within him the fierce advocacy, relentless discipline and work ethic that his clients have come to value.

Prior to joining Wilk Auslander, Scott spent a substantial part of his career at Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, where he was an associate in the firm’s litigation practice

Representative Matters

Antitrust

  • Representation of leading insurer and financial services institution in antitrust class action lawsuit asserting claims of price-fixing for municipal derivatives.  Obtained dismissal of all claims against client. 
  • Representation of leading IPO underwriter in putative class action alleging antitrust violations concerning fees charged by over 20 underwriting banks in connection with initial public offerings.

Contract

  • Representation of leading renewable energy company against breach contract claims asserting in excess of $90 million in damages for alleged breach of fuel purchase contract.  Obtained dismissal of all claims.
  • Representation of leading paper manufacturer against breach of contract claims arising from newsprint purchase contracts and in dozens of contractual negotiations.
  • Won $19 million verdict in six-week AAA arbitration on behalf of one of the nation’s leading credit card issuers in dispute over co-branding credit card contract with leading fitness club chains.

Employment

  • Defense of broker-dealer against breach of contract claims by former managing director, and prosecuted counterclaims against managing director for breach of restrictive covenants, non-compete and non-solicitation agreements.  Obtained dismissal of all claims asserted against client, affirmed by the First Department, and successfully settled all of the client’s counterclaims.

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

  • Conducted FCPA investigation on behalf of leading energy company in Latin America.

Civil RICO

  • Defense of leading accounting firm against civil RICO and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act claims.  Obtained dismissal of all such claims brought against the firm.

Intellectual Property

  • Representation of celebrity artist and photographer in intellectual property dispute, in which the client asserted Lanham Act and unfair competition claims against one of the world’s leading fashion and luggage companies. 

Judgment Enforcement

  • Representation of one of Latin America’s leading restaurant franchisees in federal action seeking to enforce a judgment in excess of $24 million.
  • Representation of business owner holding unpaid judgment in turnover proceeding brought pursuant to New York’s fraudulent conveyance statutes.  Identified and located judgment-debtor’s assets, and successfully prepared and argued summary judgment motion, resulting in a turn-over order for the full amount of judgment. 

Securities

  • Representation of one of the nation’s leading providers of consumer loans and credit cards, and several of its former officers and directors, in one of the nation’s largest federal securities class action trials to date, and one of only a handful to be tried since the enactment of the PSLRA.
  • Representation of one of the world’s leading banks in multi-billion dollar class action litigation filed as an adversary proceeding in connection with the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy regarding the bank’s alleged role as trustee of certain bonds sold to investors by various Lehman Brothers entities.

Trusts and Estates

  • Representation of a group of petitioners in New York Surrogate’s Court asserting inheritance rights in a building located in New York’s Greenwich Village, and seeking to block sale of building by third party.  Successfully obtained injunction prohibiting building sale.

Regulatory Investigations

  • Representation of one of the world’s leading banks in non-public investigations and proceedings involving the DOJ, OFAC, PSI, and various state Attorneys General.
  • Representation of one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in non-public SEC investigation.

Sarbanes-Oxley

  • Representation of leading bio-technology company in connection with Sarbanes-Oxley “whistleblower” claims brought against the company by a terminated employee. 

Shareholder

  • Defense of former directors of government-sponsored enterprise in two shareholder derivative class action lawsuits alleging breach of fiduciary duties.  Obtained dismissal of all claims in both actions.
  • Representation of a shareholder group in connection with breach of fiduciary duty claims asserted against former officers and directors of leading furniture retail company.

Alternate Contact

Sandra Lee
T +1 212 981 2300
Email

Service Areas
Education
  • Cornell Law School, Ithaca, NY, J.D., May 2003— Honors: Dean’s List
  • Columbia University, New York, NY, B.A., May 1999
Bar/Court Admissions
  • New York
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Affiliations
  • New York State Bar Association
  • New York American Inn of Court
  • Superlawyers NY METRO
    — Rising Star for business litigation, 2014
  • Cornell Law School Curia Society (Committee Member)
Publications
News