Attorneys

Education

University of Iowa College of Law, J.D., 1977, With Distinction
 - Notes and Comments Editor, Iowa Law Review

University of Iowa, B.A., 1974, With Distinction, With Honors
 - Phi Beta Kappa 

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  • Minnesota Supreme Court
  • U.S. Supreme Court 
Photo of Frank  Taylor
Frank Taylor
Director; Shareholder
Overview
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Frank Taylor is head of the firm’s Financial Markets Group and has more than 35 years of experience in complex financial markets litigation, class actions, regulatory investigations, enforcement proceedings and market conduct examinations. Frank has defended clients in some of the financial services industry’s most significant cases. To date, he has served as lead trial counsel in more than 100 class actions and has tried more than 350 matters to verdict, judgment or award in 42 states before federal, state and arbitration forums. Frank focuses his practice in counseling and representation of firms in various financial markets; complex litigation and arbitration in the financial markets; alternative dispute resolution; class action defense; regulatory investigations, enforcement proceedings and market conduct examinations; antitrust; and complex business disputes.

Frank is widely respected among major financial, investment and insurance companies throughout the United States. He has solid experience representing firms and individuals in enforcement proceedings brought by regulatory, self-regulatory and various state bodies; judicial actions brought by state attorneys general; and legislative actions. His clients include insurance companies, fund managers, registered investment advisors, independent broker/dealers, futures commission merchants (FCMs), brokers and brokerage firms, credit associations, underwriters, investment firms, hedge funds, issuers of collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs), and manufacturers and issuers of financial instruments.

Consequently, he has been influential in a number of "firsts" in this area, including assisting in the creation of the first derivatives program and the first investment advisory program offered by a Wall Street firm. He later successfully defended both firms in the first class actions and enforcement proceedings related to these programs. Frank was also the lead in the first roll-up of limited partnership interests into a master limited partnership, and the first registration of the conversion of limited partnership interests into publicly traded common stock.

Regulatory Investigations
Frank has conducted numerous regulatory and internal investigations, and handled complex financial services litigation involving cases of first impression in arbitrability of disputes, short swing profit disputes under Section 16, breach of contract in purchasing company shares, hedge fund and direct investment issues, fraudulent misrepresentation, sales by unregistered individuals, suitability issues related to the sale of insurance products, breakdown or lack of compliance controls within a firm, theft by officers, insider trading, front-running, Ponzi schemes, ERISA and selling away of non-existent interests.

He has just concluded work in one of the largest municipal bond trading mark-up cases brought by FINRA. Frank also served a broker/dealer in an action brought by FINRA for alleged record-keeping violations by the broker/dealer. Although the fine is one of the largest levied by FINRA, the broker/dealer was able to maintain business continuity.

Frank worked with a broker/dealer to avoid litigation and regulatory scrutiny after the broker/dealer's president posted improper statements about a publicly traded competitor of the broker/dealer's parent, while selling short the competitor's common stock.

Securities Fraud
As lead trial counsel, Frank has defended registrants and underwriters in over 100 class actions involving direct investments, tenancy in common interests, pharmaceutical companies, technology companies, real estate, oil and gas, food and other ventures.  These are some of the types of cases in which Frank has served and is serving as lead counsel. 

The Keating case is one of the largest securities fraud cases to be taken to trial. Frank was lead trial and liaison counsel for the investment banker defendant in the civil litigation consolidated under multidistrict litigation rules in Arizona federal court. Frank also represented the investment banker defendants in state and federal regulatory investigations, as well as the investment banks’ officers, who were targeted in federal criminal investigations. Under Frank’s counsel, these cases were resolved during trial for less than .005% of claimed damages. Nearly 50 million pages of documents were produced, 127 parties named as defendants, and seven tracks of depositions were held. Frank secured the only summary judgment granted a defendant in the action. His client was “winning” five to one on a shadow jury when the client settled the matter for less than 0.00025% of alleged damages. 

Frank also served as lead trial counsel to a primary underwriter for interests offered by Petro-Lewis Corporation, one of the largest securities case brought to trial, and one of the largest Ponzi schemes in the United States. 

He served as lead counsel for a New York investment bank that raised some $2.2 billion in private and public limited partnerships, of which $4 million was returned to the investors. Total case cost for the resolution eighty actions brought in connection with this failure and the various regulatory inquiries was approximately 0.01% of damages. No regulatory sanctions were levied. 

Recently, Frank obtained the dismissal, with prejudice, of a putative class action in which the class representative alleged that a manufacturer of annuities violated the federal RICO statutes by overvaluing and overpricing its products through the use of "shadow insurance." The class plaintiff alleged that the manufacturer assigned to a captive insurance company risks posed by policies and contracts the manufacturer issued to its customers, allowing the manufacturer to overstate its financial strength. By using "shadow insurance," the manufacturer was supposedly able to use the customers' paid-in premiums for purposes other than to fund capital supporting the policies. On behalf of his client, Frank argued that the McCarran-Ferguson Act precluded the federal RICO claims because the federal claims impermissibly intruded upon state regulation of insurance. The matter pended in the United States District Court, Western District of Missouri. It is on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Frank is lead counsel to a manufacturer of equity indexed annuities in a putative class action originally brought in the United States District Court, Central District of California, alleging a RICO conspiracy managed by an insurance company in which customers were instructed to strip equity from their homes and use the proceeds to purchase equity indexed annuities. After hearing argument on Motions to Dismiss, the federal court dismissed the federal causes of action. The putative class plaintiff filed a putative class action alleging violations of California state law in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles. $935 million in total premiums had been paid in to the manufacturer, which issued $20 billion of face amounts of contracts. The nationwide class consisted of 68 thousand members. There were no opt outs. The matter was settled on a nationwide basis for $1.25 million. 

Frank was lead trial counsel in a RICO action brought in the United States District Court, Central District of California alleging that a manufacturer of annuity contracts violated federal RICO statutes through the sale of allegedly fraudulent contracts to suspect classes of customers, including the elderly. The sales processes were alleged to omit, among other things, high surrender fees and hidden charges. The matter was resolved for less than 0.00025 percent of possible out-of-pocket losses, including attorneys' fees. The putative class consisted of more than 100,000 absent members and involved in force policies of nearly $30 billion.

Frank recently concluded a "disclosure only" and payment of attorneys' fees of $210,000 settlement in a putative class action brought in the Circuit Court for the Second Judicial Circuit of the County of Minnehaha for the State of South Dakota involving the merger of two publicly traded bank holding companies.

Frank successfully resolved a shareholder dispute between the two shareholders of one of the nation's largest Angus purebred seed stock companies. The case pended in the United States District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania and the United States District Court, District of Wyoming. The matter involved claims of theft, accounting malfeasance and cattle rustling.

Another example is In re Patterson Securities Litigation brought in the United States District Court, District of Minnesota. The Court dismissed actions brought against Briggs client Patterson Companies, Inc., and certain of its officers and directors involving alleged violations of the Exchange Act, ERISA and Minnesota statutes. The original claim stemmed from a drop in the price of Patterson’s common stock that resulted in a $1.6-billion market loss. Frank was lead counsel for the Patterson defendants. 

Frank obtained a Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) dismissal of an action brought against a broker/dealer in the Eastern District of Michigan involving the sale of Ponzi scheme interests called the Ed May Deals. This is the largest Ponzi scheme in the Eastern District of Michigan. Although the SEC and FINRA made inquiry, no actions were brought. Frank and his team then defended over 200 arbitrations, with a total case cost of less than 0.01% of clawback damages.  

Frank served as lead trial counsel in In re Caribou Coffee Company, Inc. Securities Litigation  in Minnesota state court. He served as lead trial counsel for Pepsi Americas in some eleven actions arising out of the acquisition of that company by PepsiCo. 

Frank was directly involved in the resolution of a multi-state market conduct investigation involving the sale of annuities to suspect classes. Many of the annuities were alleged to contain draconian features, including, but not limited to, high surrender fees.

Frank defended a securities principal in connection with the investigation by the Securities Exchange Commission into markups that allegedly violated the "Markup Rules" of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board. The principal purchased for the house account municipal bonds from a broker-dealer that was required to sell the bonds by indenture during the market collapse of 2008 and resold the bonds to public customers at commissions greater than 4 percent. Despite the fact that the seller was not injured and the purchasers earned annual tax-advantaged returns in excess of 16 percent, the Commission's Staff alleged a violation of the markup rules. The matter was resolved.

Frank has written and spoken extensively on the Department of Labor Conflict of Interest/Fiduciary Duty Rule. He has addressed the Financial Services Industry and led a seminar sponsored by Briggs.

Frank represented the manufacturer of a beverage, which was alleged to have violated certain labeling laws in the state of Missouri. Plaintiff's counsel dismissed the action on its own motion.

Frank represented the developer of an integrated steel manufacturing plant in a dispute with the transporter of natural gas. Ultimately, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit adopted Frank's argument that the District Court did not have jurisdiction over the matter and dismissed the action.

Frank has been involved extensively in several matters involving the sale of TIC interests.

Frank obtained the dismissal on motion in both the United States District Court, District of Minnesota and the District Court in and for Carver County, State of Minnesota actions brought under federal securities law and state law involving the acquisition of Life Time Fitness Inc. Frank represented the private equity fund buyer.

Frank successfully represented several manufacturers of life insurance and annuity contracts before the State Attorney General in connection with the sale of contracts to suspect classes.

Frank is regularly called upon to advise companies with respect to insider trading matters, insider-trading policies and the disposition of surplus funds held as paid-in capital.

Frank is actively involved in agricultural matters, including the management of ranches and farms.

Insurance Products
Frank’s experience with major insurance companies dates back to the failures of Baldwin-United Corporation (where he represented an underwriter of Baldwin-United in regulatory investigations and class actions) and Executive Life Insurance Company (which manufactured and distributed annuities and life insurance products supported by debt instruments underwritten by Drexel Burnham), through the present.

Today, his practice involves representing well-recognized insurance product manufacturers in complex litigation and regulatory matters, and workouts involving sales of suitable products to the elderly, market timing, vanishing premiums and general suitability issues. As lead trial counsel, he settled an action involving some $21 billion variable annuities with over $1 billion of account value allegedly sold to suspect classes for less than 0.009% of the alleged damages. He has also worked closely with senior insurance executives who have testified before various legislative bodies, including the U.S. Congress. He is currently working on a matter in the California state court involving the sale of universal life policies through the alleged use of home equity to fund the acquisition. This action was dismissed three times by the federal court. 

Frank has defended several different manufacturers of insurance products in actions brought by the state Attorney General involving the alleged sale of products to suspect classes. 

He has worked with several insurance manufacturers in individual and multi-state investigations. 

Commodities Fraud
As lead counsel in one of the largest commodities fraud case brought by the CFTC, private litigants and the U.S. attorney general, Frank represented the largest wholesaler in the case and succeeded in having the actions dismissed with no charges brought.

Tax Fraud
In the largest tax fraud action brought in Minnesota, the former CEO of Katun Corporation was found guilty of intentionally omitting millions of dollars in income on his federal income tax returns. This case resulted in an ongoing investigation by the IRS, Criminal Investigations and the Minnesota Department of Revenue. Frank represented a potential target for which litigation and charges were avoided.

RICO 
Frank is well versed in RICO actions, since actions brought against insurance product manufacturers typically sound in RICO. Frank represented a Wall Street firm in the largest Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) brought against a client for misrepresentation, theft and fraud.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Frank has experience with a variety of alternative dispute resolution techniques including arbitration, mediation, early neutral evaluation and conciliation, as well as formal arbitrations and court enforcement of arbitration awards. Often clients are able to achieve fast, equitable resolutions to complex business disputes and Frank has advised clients regarding ADR use and feasibility, as well as represented them in ADR proceedings.

Complex Litigation
Frank has authored numerous articles related to the financial services industry and is a frequent lecturer for continuing legal education programs. He is a former adjunct professor for William Mitchell College of Law.

While in law school, Frank served as the notes and comments editor of the Iowa Law Review.

Honors & Awards

  • Litigation Star, Benchmark Litigation
  • Chambers USA
  • Minnesota Super Lawyers
  • Who's Who in America
  • Leading American Attorney 
  • Martindale-Hubbell, Preeminent Rating
  • North Star Lawyer, Minnesota State Bar Association

Experience

  • Investigation into inadequate record retention of email communications.
  • As lead counsel, managed opt-out litigation throughout the United States. 
  • As lead trial counsel, obtained a significant award in raiding case that Registered Representative magazine described as one of the largest and most wide ranging awards rendered in such a case.
  • Counsel to the CEO of an automobile dealership chain in connection with the CEO's acquisition of interests in the dealerships.
  • As lead trial counsel, obtained the dismissal, on Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) Motions, of putative securities class actions brought under the Exchange Act, ERISA and state law because of the precipitous drop in the price of a registrant's common stock.
  • Counsel for a promoter of one of the largest commodities fraud actions brought in the United States.
  • Defended founder of a company accused of mail and wire fraud for failure to pay Minnesota sales taxes. No charges were filed. The other targets plead guilty and were sentenced to the federal penitentiary.
  • Dismissal on Rule 12(b)(6) Motion of an action brought under Section of the Exchange Act for alleged improper short swing profits. Donoghue v. Patterson Cos., 990 F. Supp. 2d 421 (S.D.N.Y. 2013).
  • Global representation in connection with disaster planning for the Y2K potential crisis.
  • Lead counsel in the defense of an action brought by an employer who improperly used annuities to fund retirement plans in violation of Section 419 of the Tax Code and ERISA, allegedly based upon the advice of the manufacturer.
  • Lead counsel in the representation of an insurance company before the New York Department of Insurance.
  • Lead counsel in the revision of an insurance manufacturer's revision of its suitability systems to comply with newly published and adopted regulations.
  • Lead investigation into the alleged misconduct of senior leaders of a financial institution who were suspected of creating sham corporations to convert fees and commissions owed the insurance company for their own use.
  • Lead trial and liaison counsel for the Investment Banker Defendants in the largest securities case tried to a jury.
  • Lead trial and regulatory counsel to a broker/dealer whose registered representative functioned as an unlicensed investment advisor.
  • Lead trial counsel for a defendant in the last major antitrust action heard in the District Court of Minnesota.
  • Lead trial counsel in the defense of a class action brought in California state court by a 74-year-old blind man who mortgaged his home to purchase a deferred annuity.
  • Lead trial counsel in the defense of a putative class action brought in connection with the acquisition of a publicly traded company.
  • Lead trial counsel in the defense of an action brought by the Minnesota Attorney General alleging that the sale of deferred annuities to seniors and other suspect classes was deceptive, violated consumer protection statues and the sales were not suitable.
  • Lead trial counsel in the defense of class actions brought in connection with the alleged misrepresentation and omission of material facts in connection with the issuance of $700 million of oil and gas limited partnerships interests.
  • Lead trial counsel in the representation of a broker/dealer that underwrote the issuance of securities issued by Citi-Equity Group in connection with the development of low income housing.
  • Lead trial counsel in the representation of farmers and ranchers who were denied due process in the issuance of an order by a state agency denying them the exercise of their water rights to irrigate their crops and water their livestock.
  • Lead trial counsel in the successful defense and resolution of a class action comprised of 99,000 elderly customers who held $29 billion of fixed deferred annuities brought against the manufacturer and distributor of the annuities.
  • Lead trial counsel in the successful defense of a broker/dealer accused of failure to supervise a registered representative who took discretion of the account of an octogenarian suffering from dementia.
  • Lead trial counsel in the successful defense of a class action securities claim brought against a publicly traded company, its principals and its largest shareholder: an Indian pharmaceutical company.
  • Lead trial counsel in the successful defense of a class action, bankruptcy clawback and 250 arbitrations brought in Michigan arising out of a massive Ponzi scheme involving the Ed May Deals.
  • Lead trial counsel in the successful defense of a suitability claim brought by the minor children and incapacitated adults of a Native American Indian tribe against a global financial services organization.
  • Lead trial counsel in the successful defense of actions brought in various different jurisdictions by individuals who opted out of a class action. All of the actions were dismissed on Motion.
  • Lead trial counsel in the successful defense of 14 claims tried in arbitration involving the sale of bogus promissory notes and viaticals in a Ponzi scheme.
  • Lead trial counsel in the successful dismissal and settlement of an action brought in Mississippi federal and state court involving alleged forgery by the insurance company's agent to obtain insurance proceeds.
  • Lead trial counsel in the successful representation of a publicly traded company in 17 class actions brought in four jurisdictions.
  • Lead trial counsel that successfully prosecuted a RICO claim against a customer that "bounced" $48 million in checks to cover a margin call and then arranged a worthless financing scheme to "cover" the loss.
  • Lead trial counsel to the registrant in the first decision in the Eighth Circuit interpreting the scope of Section 16(b) short swing profit statutory scheme. Successfully defended the claim, obtaining summary judgment from the trial court after appeal.
  • Negotiation and drafting of agreements with third party broker-dealer to market, sell and settle securities and insurance products.
  • Resolution of problems associated with senior leader posting disparaging information about a publicly traded competitor on a message board, while taking short position through naked options in the competitors' publicly traded common stock.
  • Successful defense of a raiding claim.
  • Successful representation of the target of a multi-state market conduct examination.
  • Trial counsel in an action brought to quiet title in the name of the exploratory partner in a joint venture to explore and develop uranium reserves in Texas.
  • Special counsel to counties in connection with property valuation.
  • Counsel in connection with action brought to quiet title to uranium interests.
  • Trial counsel in condemnation and land use actions.

Professional Affiliations

Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, 1986-Present, Member, Compliance and Legal Division 

Financial Services Institute, Briggs Co-founding Outside Consel

Association of Life Insurance Counsel, Member

Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Member

Iowa State Bar Association, Member

Nebraska State Bar Association, Member

New York State Bar Association, Member

American Bar Association, Member

Association of Trial Lawyers of America, Member

New York State Trial Lawyers Association, Member 

Federal Bar Council, Member

Various state and federal courts

The Sanneh Foundation, Chair

Briggs Board of Directors, Member

Youth Soccer Team, Manager

North Star Lawyer

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