Martha S. Sullivan
Martha S. Sullivan is a member of both Squire Patton Boggs’ litigation and financial services practice groups. She co-leads the firm’s global Financial Services Litigation Practice, which includes litigators and dispute resolution lawyers in the US, the UK, and countries throughout Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America.
Martha represents financial institutions and nontraditional lenders, and her practice focuses on financial services and banking litigation, disputes relating to complex financial instruments and other commercial contract disputes, claims arising out of Ponzi schemes and other alleged frauds, consumer protection and lender liability claims, director and officer liability defense, and trade secret/noncompetition litigation.
Martha has considerable experience in multidistrict litigation and class action defense, including defense of regional, national and global banks in consumer finance class actions, commercial and contract disputes, business torts, and regulatory actions. She has significant litigation experience in protection and enforcement of creditors’ rights including commercial foreclosure, loan workouts and arbitration.
Martha has litigated commercial and consumer actions in state and federal courts throughout the US, and in arbitration, mediation and other alternative dispute resolution proceedings. She is experienced in conflict of laws and other complex jurisdictional issues, as well as the intersection of US state and federal discovery requirements and the laws of other countries.
She is listed as an Ohio Super Lawyer, a distinction honoring the top five percent of lawyers in the state.
- Panel counsel to international financial services company and its US banking subsidiary for US consumer class actions and other complex litigation.
- Lead counsel to global bank in its cross-border class actions and various state court proceedings involving breach of contract, fraud and unfair business practices claims relating to complex loan products.
- Representing a national bank in the defense of a consumer class actions pending in the Southern and Central Districts of California alleging TCPA violations.
- Counseling various financial services companies regarding regulatory and litigation issues under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
- Representing various state and national banks in major multidistrict litigation transferred by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio and serving as court-appointed Liaison Counsel for all bank defendants in the cases.
- Representing a national bank in the defense of a consumer class action pending in the Northern District of California relating to automotive lending and consumer protective issues.
- Representing a national bank in the defense of a class action relating to residential mortgages and loan modifications under the HAMP program.
- Representing various groups of banks in the defense of four putative class actions pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio relating to an investment scheme and claims against depository and drawee banks.
- Representing directors and officers in D&O liability litigation and counseling insurers and insureds relating to D&O litigation by regulators including FDIC investigations and claims.
- Representing real estate investment management companies relating to management, workouts and litigation of distressed real estate assets and investments.
- Representing various investment advisors and financial planning companies in litigation and FINRA arbitrations relating to suitability and negligence claims, employment issues and other litigated claims.
- Representing a national financial services company in the defense of a consumer class action pending in Illinois relating to alleged TILA violations.
- Representing various institutions and consumers with respect to US-based and international check and bank-fraud issues and “phishing” scams.
- Representing an industry organization with regard to recent residential and commercial mortgage foreclosure issues including litigation in Ohio and at the national level.
- Representing various institutions in pre-litigation phases and litigation relating to significant commercial and consumer lending relationships and workouts.
- Representing insurance companies in litigation and class actions relating to life insurance, critical illness insurance, property and casualty insurance, and a variety of other products.
- Representing banks, investment firms and insurance companies in investment fraud litigation, Ponzi-scheme litigation and state and federal receiverships.
- Representing various institutions in 360/365 and other interest rate calculation class action litigation.
- Representing various institutions in bankruptcy proceedings relating to borrowers, debtors and creditors of bank customers, and the institutions themselves.
- Counseling regarding litigation issues and liabilities relating to assets acquired from an institution under FDIC receivership.
- Counseling various institutions relating to litigation issues involving FDIC, OCC and OTS oversight.
- Representing national broker-dealers in litigation and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitrations.
- Representing a variety of financial services companies and manufacturers in trade secret and noncompetition litigation.
Martha serves on Squire Sanders Technology Focus Group and is a member of its Diversity Committee. Martha chairs the “Women in Law” initiative in the Cleveland office, focusing on professional and business development issues and opportunities of interest to female lawyers. She also serves as Squire Sanders Cleveland Litigation Associate Training Coordinator and is a member of the Cleveland office’s Hiring Committee.
Within the legal and business communities, Martha is a frequent lecturer on litigation issues and trends in the financial services sector, complex litigation, electronic discovery and associate retention issues including:
- Panelist discussing anticipated litigation and director and officer liability impacts of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Financial Reform or Regulatory Overkill: A Frank Discussion About Dodd–Frank”) sponsored by Chartis (April 2011)
- Speaker at “Dodd-Frank and Other Legal Developments That Financial Service Compliance and Legal Professionals Should Know,” sponsored by the Banking and Finance section of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (December 2010)
- Speaker at “Business Development Strategies” event sponsored by Women’s Section of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (September 2010)
- Keynote speaker at a National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA)/LexisNexis Litigation Leadership Summit, presenting innovative programs employed at Squire Sanders and other leading legal practices that are producing effective, efficient and litigation-ready associates, enhancing job satisfaction among lawyers and increasing retention of younger lawyers (2006)
- Various presentations to the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association’s Banking and Financial Services section on litigation trends in financial services (2002 – present)
- Panelist at the Women in the Law/YWCA Leadership Series, speaking on “Negotiating Your Leadership Future.”
In 2010 Martha was appointed by The Honorable Kathleen McDonald O’Malley to The Ohio Advisory Group of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. She has also served as adjunct professor in the appellate advocacy program at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law.
Martha serves as a member of the board of trustees of the Fund for the Future of Shaker Heights, which develops and maintains programs to encourage desegregation of residential neighborhoods through a variety of programs including low-interest loans to homebuyers whose home purchases constitute a desegregating purchase. She is the vice president of the Fund’s board, the co-chair of the Fund’s Program Committee and a member of the Loan Committee.
Prior to joining Squire Sanders, Martha was a judicial clerk to The Honorable Burt W. Griffin and the Honorable Richard J. McMonagle, both of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas.