Philippe Z. Selendy is a founding partner of Selendy Gay Elsberg.
Heralded as “The Man Who Took on Wall Street” by the Financial Times, Philippe has recovered more than $35 billion for clients in the last decade alone. These successes include an unprecedented $25 billion settlement for U.S. taxpayers stemming from residential mortgage-backed securities suits brought against the world’s largest banks, a representation which earned Philippe The American Lawyer’s “Litigator of the Year” award and first-ever Grand Prize in Litigation.
Named one of the nation’s top 100 trial lawyers by Benchmark Litigation, an “exceptionally talented” securities litigator by Chambers & Partners and a “Trailblazer” (twice) by the National Law Journal, Philippe has over 25 years of experience in complex commercial litigation with particular expertise in securities, financial products, insurance, energy, and antitrust disputes. He is also routinely sought after to represent clients in domestic and international arbitrations and high-stakes public sector litigations.
Recognized as a “Securities MVP,” “Banking MVP” (Law360), and a “Leading Lawyer in Securities Plaintiff Litigation” (Legal 500), Philippe has secured landmark trial and appellate victories on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants.
- Federal Housing Finance Agency: As lead counsel for FHFA, Philippe helmed a seven-year litigation effort across its entire platform of residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) litigation, obtaining $25 billion in recoveries for U.S. taxpayers in suits against Bank of America, Barclays, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Countrywide, Deutsche Bank, First Horizon, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan, Merrill Lynch, Nomura, RBS, and UBS. The only two banks that elected to go to trial rather than settle lost on all claims in a further $830 million win for the U.S. after a one-month trial involving over 40 witnesses, including a dozen experts. The court’s 361-page decision shone a harsh spotlight on industry-standard practices in the period leading to the Great Recession. The court’s judgment that “the magnitude of falsity, conservatively estimated, was enormous,” was unanimously affirmed by the Second Circuit.
- National Public Finance Guarantee & MBIA: Philippe currently leads the representation of National Public Finance Guarantee and MBIA in a lawsuit to hold eight major Wall Street banks accountable for inequitable conduct that contributed to Puerto Rico’s economic collapse. The case’s plaintiffs are bond insurers that have received, and fully honored, over $1 billion in claims after the municipal debt underwritten by the banks-–without proper due diligence or disclosures-–became unsustainable for Puerto Rico and its agencies, leading to massive defaults.
- Cerberus Capital Management, L.P: Philippe currently represents private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management in a $1.1 billion breach of contract action against CIBC, one of Canada’s largest banks. The dispute centers on two complex structured finance transactions backed by credit default swaps, CDOs, and RMBS. Philippe argued a successful appeal in which the First Department agreed with Cerberus’s interpretation of the agreements and held that CIBC’s contrary interpretation was “unmoored” from the contracts.
- Fortis Advisors: Philippe represents the former stockholders of the robotic medical devices company, Auris Health, in a $2.3 billion earn-out suit against Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, Ethicon, in the Delaware Court of Chancery. The action centers around the acquirer's post-merger failures to achieve regulatory and net sales milestones.
- MBIA: As lead counsel for monoline insurer MBIA against Bank of America, Countrywide, and related entities in litigation regarding securitization insurance, Philippe obtained a series of rulings, including a summary judgment, that set the basic framework for RMBS litigation nationwide, ultimately allowing MBIA to survive as a going concern and to achieve a multi-billion dollar settlement, including the commutation of over $7 billion in swaps.
- U.S. Bank: Philippe argued and led a successful appeal to the Court of Appeals on behalf of U.S. Bank, as trustee of an RMBS trust, establishing that plaintiffs are entitled to correct fatal errors regarding procedural conditions precedent even after the expiration of statutes of limitations. Philippe currently represents the trust in its ABSHE RMBS contract action against DLJ in remand, seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.
- Crypto Assets: Philippe presently co-leads multiple class actions in this sector. He represents investors in class actions filed in April 2020 against major crypto-asset exchanges and digital token issuers based on claims of alleged violations of federal and state securities laws through the offering or sale of billions of dollars of unregistered securities. Philippe also represents a class of crypto investors asserting market manipulation, antitrust, and other claims involving the purported stablecoin, Tether.
- Kingate Global Fund and Kingate Euro Fund: Philippe represents Kingate in the defense of claims brought by Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. relating to DBSI’s alleged purchase of more than $1.6 billion of Kingate claims against the Madoff estate.
- Vote Solar: Philippe represents alternative energy provider Vote Solar in an ongoing matter before the State of Utah Public Service Commission to determine the value of solar energy.
- North Atlantic Refinery Limited: Philippe led a team in an international arbitration against BP regarding an exclusive supply agreement. He developed critical counterclaims and won core rulings on contract interpretation that transformed the nature of the action, leading to a highly favorable outcome for his clients.
- Other Environmental Litigations: Partnering with the NRDC, Philippe obtained a landmark trial victory in a precedent-setting methylmercury pollution case under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
Affiliations & Community Involvement
A supporter of advanced renewable energy technologies, Philippe serves on Vote Solar’s Leadership Council. He is a founding supporter of the independent Speyer Legacy School and a board member of IQ Squared. Philippe sits on the New York City Bar Association’s Securities Litigation Committee.