McDermott, John V.

Sources say John McDermott is a "practical and creative" lawyer with a "very sharp mind for litigation." He has a thriving securities practice and handles all types of commercial litigation for clients. - Chambers USA, 2017

John McDermott advises boards of directors and is a commercial trial attorney. He has served as independent counsel to the board of directors of one of the world’s largest engineering firms. He currently advises the board of a 45 billion dollar public pension fund and one of the country’s largest mortgage banks. He recently counseled the board of directors of another large engineering company on their fiduciary duties. He routinely represents directors of boards in litigation filed against them by shareholders. On the commercial litigation front, John has successfully handled trials for clients in many industries, including the securities, health care, software, and public pension areas, among others. John and his team have extensive experience effectively and successfully trying cases. In January 2017, following a two week securities fraud trial, John received a complete defense verdict for his brokerage and investment banking client. He also has successfully resolved complex commercial disputes short of trial, most recently in his representation of a major satellite imagery public company and a large privately-held oil and gas company.

John has enjoyed significant success disposing of class action and derivative claims against his clients. He and his team recently obtained dismissal with prejudice at the motion to dismiss stage of all derivative claims against an oil and gas company. John and his team have enjoyed particular success defending companies and their officers and directors in inquiries by the Securities and Exchange Commission and other regulators. His clients have included public and private companies, in house counsel, chief compliance officers, and directors and officers. John also conducts internal investigations and represents companies, officers and directors in such investigations. He specializes in corporate governance and serves as independent fiduciary counsel to the board of directors of a $45 billion public pension fund.

John has been repeatedly recognized by Chambers USA, Best Lawyers in America, Law Week Colorado, 5280 Magazine, and Colorado Super LawyersBest Lawyers in America recognized John as its "Denver Lawyer of the Year" in Litigation—Banking and Finance in 2017. Law Week Colorado recognized John as one of its Top Litigators for 2017 and as its "People’s Choice—Colorado’s Best Commercial Litigator" for 2016.

John previously served on the firm’s Executive Committee. He formerly chaired Brownstein’s Litigation Department and served as the firm’s General Counsel.

Previous Experience

Sources say John McDermott is a "practical and creative" lawyer with a "very sharp mind for litigation." He has a thriving securities practice and handles all types of commercial litigation for clients. - Chambers USA, 2017

Representative Matters
  • In a two week trial, successfully defended a major brokerage and investment bank against securities fraud claims asserted by purchasers of millions of dollars of municipal bonds. The plaintiffs alleged under the Colorado Securities Act that defendants made material misrepresentations and omissions in connection with the sale of the bonds, and that our client could not show that it exercised appropriate due diligence according to the standard of care. The judge rejected the plaintiffs’ claims and concluded that our client satisfied the standard of care for a municipal underwriter of securities and that the alleged misrepresentation most strongly contested at trial was not material.

  • Defended satellite imagery public company in million dollar breach of contract dispute with former consultant. Resolved on highly favorable terms to client.

  • Successfully defended clients in Securities Exchange Act Section 16(b) short swing profits case. All Claims dismissed by US District Court judge on motion to dismiss.

  • Successfully represented former in house counsel in SEC inquirty.

  • Conducted internal investigation for public company of alleged wrongdoing reported in whistleblower complaint.

  • On behalf of large, privately-held oil and gas company, obtained dismissal with prejudice at motion to dismiss stage of all claims in shareholder derivative action. On appeal.

  • Successfully represented investment bank in an inquiry by the SEC resulting in termination letter declining to recommend matter for enforcement.

  • Successfully represented a former officer of a large financial institution in an inquiry by the United States Securities & Exchange Commission; negotiated for client one of the first cooperation agreements in Denver Region of SEC.

  • Successfully represented mutual fund against all claims brought by former senior sales executive in FINRA arbitration; following hearing obtained decision for client on all claims.

  • Successfully defended one of the country's largest ambulatory health care companies in litigation against physician group.

  • Successfully defended mining company in inquiry by Securities and Exchange Commission.

  • Defending one of the country's largest telecommunications companies in multiple derivative cases.

  • Successfully represented large oil and gas exploration company in dispute with another energy company over rights under a midstream contract.

  • Successfully defended 40 billion dollar pension fund against claims by Colorado State Treasurer for alleged breach of fiduciary duty and other claims. Trial court dismissed all claims on motion before trial. Successfully argued case before Colorado Court of Appeals, which affirmed trial court ruling.

  • Successfully defended computer software client at trial obtaining defense verdict on all claims and obtaining verdict for client on counterclaims.

  • Defended investment bank in a FINRA enforcement action.

  • Advises trustees of public pension fund on fiduciary duties.

  • Served as independent counsel to board of directors advising on fiduciary duties and related issues.

  • Successfully defended Cayman Islands hedge fund entities in federal securities class action litigation.

  • Successfully defended a financial institution in multi-million dollar lender liability litigation.

  • Advised the audit committee of a public company on internal investigation matters regarding alleged misconduct by the company's chief executive officer and other senior executives.

  • Successfully advised and defended independent directors and company in mergers and acquisition litigation.

  • Advised and defended the Board of Directors of one of the country's largest public utility companies in parallel proceedings involving a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation and shareholder litigation.

  • Defended an investment bank in a multi-district class action litigation involving allegations of bid rigging in the municipal bond industry.

  • Represented a large coal company as the seller against a buyer for breaching a coal supply contract.

  • Defended a Fortune 500 public company in a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation relating to the merger between two major breweries.

  • Defend a financial services company in a Department of Justice criminal investigation.

  • Successfully defended a public construction company and its directors in a class action litigation challenging a going-private transaction.

  • Defended a regional bank in multiple cases alleging that it participated with one of its customers in large feedlot ponzi scheme fraud.

  • Conducted an internal investigation of one of the nation's largest insurance brokerages regarding alleged bid rigging and price fixing.

  • Defended investment bank in a securities fraud case where purchasers of municipal securities alleged that the investment bank engaged in fraud in the underwriting and sale of securities.

  • Defended a hedge fund manager and its principals against investors in a Bernie Madoff-related dispute.

  • Defended a securities firm from charges brought by state regulators alleging fraud in the sale of auction rate securities.

  • Defended a financial services company and its employee in a case brought by a competitor alleging the company and the employee stole trade secrets when the employee left employment with the competitor

  • Defend registered investment advisors in multiple jurisdictions in investigation into alleged pay-to-play activities involving government officials, government pension plans, placement agents and private equity funds.

  • Defended a hedge fund manager in parallel proceedings alleging securities fraud brought by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and shareholders.

  • Defended a public company charged with securities fraud by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and in a class action brought by shareholders.

  • Defended the CFO of a public company airline against insider trading allegations made by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

  • Defended a broker-dealer against multiple cases brought by clients alleging market manipulation of securities.

  • Defended the chairman of the audit committee for one of the world's largest agri-business companies facing an SEC investigation alleging accounting fraud.

  • Defended CEO of large public computer company against allegations of insider trading by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

  • Defended an attorney in a case alleging securities fraud brought by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

News & Events

Member, Denver Dumb Friends League board of directors

Member, Denver Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America executive board 

Publications & Presentations
  • J.D., 1981, University of Michigan Law School
  • M.S., 1980, University of Michigan
  • B.S., 1978, South Dakota State University
  • Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Arbitrator 
  • Colorado, 1982
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado

Law Week Colorado, Barrister's Best "Best Overall Litigator," 2017; People's Choice "Best Commercial Litigator," 2016

5280 Top Lawyers, Commercial Litigation, 2015-2017

Best Lawyers in America, 2010-2017

Denver Litigation - Banking and Finance Lawyer of the Year, Best Lawyers, 2017

Chambers USA, 2007-2017

Colorado Super Lawyers, 2010-2016