Ben Suter joined Keesal, Young & Logan in 1982 and has been a shareholder in its San Francisco office since 1987. As an active litigator, Ben focuses on complex litigation, including the defense of financial services firms and their employees in securities matters, trust matters, employment matters and regulatory matters. Ben also represents attorneys, senior executives, mortgage bankers, health care professionals and real estate professionals in a variety of cases involving claims of negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, unfair business practices, false claims act violations, fraud and market manipulation. Ben has defended over 60 class actions, “mass” actions, and private attorney general actions involving claims under various federal and state securities laws and consumer protection laws during the 34 years that he has been with Keesal, Young & Logan. Ben has handled numerous “product” cases for securities clients over the past three decades (i.e., cases predicated on a single security that failed to perform as designed, such as municipal bond arbitrage hedge funds, short-term high yield bond funds, and the like). Ben’s most recent jury trial was a complex municipal bond class action in federal court involving class members from 24 states. Ben has also tried or arbitrated to conclusion approximately 100 cases in California, New York, Hawaii, Arizona, Minnesota, and Oregon. Those cases included jury trials and bench trials in federal and state courts, and arbitrations before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”), the National Association of Securities Dealers (“NASD”), the Pacific Stock Exchange (“PSE”), the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”), and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”). Ben represents securities clients in a variety of regulatory matters brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), by State Securities Regulators and by FINRA’s Department of Enforcement, many of which involve cutting edge legal issues affecting the securities industry. Ben has obtained a reversal and vindication for a client before FINRA’s National Adjudicatory Council (“NAC”). Ben has also handled cases in Alaska, Florida, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, Texas, Guam, and Saipan, and has successfully argued appellate cases at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, at the California Court of Appeal, and at the Hawaii Supreme Court.
Published cases handled by Ben include the following: Cromeans v. Morgan Keegan & Co., Inc., 69 F. Supp. 3d 934 (W.D. Mo. 2014); Vivendi S.A. v. T-Mobile USA, Inc., 586 F.3d 689 (9th Cir. 2009), aff’d, 2008 WL 2345283 (W.D. Wash. 2008); Lippitt v. Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., 340 F.3d 1033 (9th Cir. 2003); Herman v. Salomon Smith Barney, Inc., 266 F. Supp. 2d 1208 (S.D. Cal. 2003); Jordan v. California Dep’t of Motor Vehicles, 100 Cal. App. 4th 431 (2002); Myers v. Merrill Lynch & Co., 249 F.3d 1087 (9th Cir. 2001); In re McKesson HBOC, Inc. Securities Litigation, 126 F. Supp. 2d 1248 (N.D. Cal. 2000); Lagatree v. Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps, 74 Cal. App. 4th 1105 (1999); Shearson Lehman Bros., Inc. v. Greenberg, 1993 WL 144856, 1995 Fed. Sec. L. Rep. (CCH) ¶ 97,409 (C.D. Cal. 1993), aff’d, 60 F.3d 834 (9th Cir. 1995); Glavor v. Shearson Lehman Hutton, Inc., 879 F. Supp. 1028 (N.D. Cal. 1994), aff’d, 89 F.3d 845 (9th Cir. 1996); Franklin v. Kaypro Corp., 884 F.2d 1222 (9th Cir. 1989); Levine v. Diamanthuset, Inc., 722 F. Supp. 579 (N.D. Cal. 1989); Hamilton v. Shearson-Lehman American Express, Inc., 813 F.2d 1532 (9th Cir. 1987); Takiguchi v. Podorean, 1987 WL 256442, 1987 Fed. Sec. L. Rep. (CCH) ¶ 93,319 (Haw. 1987); Unioil, Inc. v. E.F. Hutton & Co., 809 F.2d 548 (9th Cir. 1986); Shearson Loeb Rhoades, Inc. v. Quinard; Wager Bay, N.V. v. Shearson/American Express, Inc., 751 F.2d 1102, 40 Fed. R. Serv. 2d 1426 (9th Cir. 1985); Flexivan Leasing, Inc. v. M/V C.C. San Francisco, 628 F. Supp. 1077 (C.D. Cal. 1985); Geller & Nasser, 1985 Fed. Sec. L. Rep. (CCH) ¶ 92,227 (C.D. Cal. 1985).
In 2013, Ben participated in California Lawyer’s Roundtable Series on class actions that addressed the continued evolution of class action jurisprudence in the wake of recent U.S. Supreme Court and federal appellate court decisions. The discussion was published in the July 2013 edition of California Lawyer. (View Roundtable Article.) Ben has served as a panelist and/or speaker on presentations to FINRA and to the IBC Mutual Fund Compliance Conference, and has made numerous legal and compliance presentations to Wall Street management and employees. He is a member of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (“SIFMA”) Legal & Compliance section and has served as an arbitrator for the National Futures Association (“NFA”). Ben is a biographee in Who’s Who in the World (23rd edition), Who’s Who in America (54th-56th editions), and Who’s Who in American Law (4th-14th editions). He was selected by his peers for a dozen consecutive years as being among the top five percent of all Northern California attorneys, as recognized by Thomson Reuters’s Super Lawyers Magazine.
As a dual citizen of the United States and Switzerland, Ben grew up in California and in Europe. After attending schools in France, Switzerland, and Austria, Ben attended the University of California, Santa Barbara where he obtained his B.A. in philosophy in 1978. He graduated from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 1982, after serving as Articles Editor for the Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly. Ben is a member of the State Bars of California (1982), Arizona (1983), and Hawaii (1984). He is also admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court (1987), as well as the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (1982) and the Eighth Circuit (2013), and all of the United States District Courts in California, Arizona, and Hawaii. Ben has held a California Real Estate Broker license since 1986.