Gustavo F. Bruckner heads Pomerantz’s Corporate Governance practice area, which enforces shareholder rights and prosecutes litigation challenging corporate actions that harm shareholders. Under Gustavo’s leadership, the Corporate Governance group has achieved numerous noteworthy litigation successes. He has been quoted frequently by Bloomberg, Law360, The New York Times, and Reuters, and was honored in 2016, 2017, and 2018 by Super Lawyers® as a “Top-Rated Securities Litigation Attorney,” and in 2019 for Class Actions and Mass Torts, a recognition bestowed on no more than 5% of eligible attorneys in the New York Metro area. Gustavo regularly appears in state and federal courts across the nation.
In September 2017, Gustavo’s Corporate Governance team achieved a settlement in New Jersey Superior Court that provided non-pecuniary benefits for a non-opt out class, in Pomerantz’s litigation against Ocean Shore Holding Co. In approving the settlement, Judge Julio Mendez, of Cape May County Chancery Division, became the first New Jersey state court judge to formally adopt the Third Circuit’s nine-part Girsh factors, Girsh v. Jepson, 521 F.2d 153 (3d Cir. 1975). Never before has there been a published New Jersey state court opinion setting out the factors a court must consider in evaluating whether a class action settlement should be determined to be fair and adequate.
Gustavo successfully argued Strougo v. Hollander, C.A. No. 9770-CB (Del. Ch. 2015), obtaining a landmark ruling in Delaware that bylaws adopted after shareholders are cashed out do not apply to shareholders affected by the transaction. In the process, Gustavo and the Corporate Governance team beat back a fee-shifting bylaw and were able to obtain a 25% price increase for members of the class cashed out in the “going private” transaction. Shortly thereafter, the Delaware Legislature adopted legislation to ban fee-shifting bylaws.
In Stein v. DeBoer (Or. Cir. Ct. 2017), Gustavo and the Corporate Governance group achieved a settlement that provides significant corporate governance therapeutics on behalf of shareholders of Lithia Motors, Inc. The company’s board had approved, without meaningful review, the Transition Agreement between the company and Sidney DeBoer, its founder, controlling shareholder, CEO, and Chairman, who was stepping down as CEO. DeBoer and his son, the current CEO, negotiated virtually all the material terms of the Agreement, by which the company agreed to pay the senior DeBoer $1,060,000 and a $42,000 car allowance annually for the rest of his life, plus other benefits, in addition to the $200,000 per year that he would receive for continuing to serve as Chairman.
In Miller v. Bolduc, No. SUCV 2015-00807 (Mass. Sup. Ct. 2015), Gustavo and the Corporate Governance group, by initiating litigation, caused Implant Sciences to hold its first shareholder annual meeting in 5 years and to place an important compensation grant up for a shareholder vote.
In Strougo v. North State Bancorp, No. 15 CVS 14696 (N.C. Super. Ct. 2015), Gustavo and the Corporate Governance team caused the North State Bancorp merger agreement to be amended to provide a “majority of the minority” provision for common shareholders in connection with the shareholder vote on the merger. As a result of the action, common shareholders had the ability to stop the merger if they did not wish it to go forward.
In Hallandale Beach Police Officers and Firefighters’ Personnel Retirement Fund vs. Lululemon athletica, Inc., C.A. No. 8522-VCP (Del. Ch. 2014), in an issue of first impression in Delaware, Gustavo successfully argued for the production of the company chairman’s Rule 10b5-1 stock trading plan. The court found that a stock trading plan established by the company's chairman, pursuant to which a broker, rather than the chairman himself, would liquidate a portion of the chairman's stock in the company, did not preclude potential liability for insider trading.
Gustavo was Co-Lead Counsel in In re Great Wolf Resorts, Inc. Shareholders Litigation, C.A. No. 7328-VCN (Del. Ch. 2012), obtaining the elimination of stand-still provisions that allowed third parties to bid for Great Wolf Resorts, Inc., resulting in the emergence of a third-party bidder and approximately $94 million (57%) in additional merger consideration for Great Wolf shareholders.
Gustavo received his law degree in 1992 from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where he served as an editor of the Moot Court Board and on the Student Council. Upon graduation, he received the award for outstanding student service.
After graduating law school, Gustavo served as Chief-of-Staff to a New York City legislator.
Gustavo is a Mentor and Coach to the NYU Stern School of Business, Berkley Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, New Venture Competition. He was a University Scholar at NYU where he obtained a B.S. in Marketing and International Business in 1988 and an MBA in Finance and International Business in 1989.
Gustavo is a Trustee and the Treasurer of the Beit Rabban Day School, and an arbitrator in the Civil Court of the City of New York.
Gustavo is licensed to practice in New York and New Jersey and is admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, United States Court of Appeals for the Second and Seventh Circuits, and the United States Supreme Court.