Moore & Van Allen Law Firm, Attorneys
Practice Areas
  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, Lehigh University
  • J.D., Fordham University School of Law, magna cum laude; Order of the Coif; Fordham Law Review; Fordham Law School Prize
  • New York
  • District of Columbia
  • North Carolina
  • Southern District of New York
  • Eastern District of New York
  • All North Carolina Federal District Courts
  • District of North Dakota
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
100 North Tryon Street
Suite 4700
Charlotte, NC 28202-4003

Jonathan M. Watkins

News & Events

Jonathan Watkins represents public and private businesses and financial institutions in complex litigation and white-collar investigations. His practice covers securities, derivative, and other shareholder actions, M&A-related litigation, suits alleging breaches of fiduciary duties by corporate directors, disputes involving complex financial benchmarks and instruments, litigation arising out of commercial contracts and transactions, intellectual property and antitrust litigation, and government and internal investigations. Mr. Watkins has represented clients at trial in federal and state courts across the country and before several federal and state appellate courts.

Mr. Watkins’ white-collar practice focuses on representing financial institutions and other corporate clients in investigations by regulators, prosecutors, and enforcement agencies, including the Department of Justice and United States Attorneys’ offices, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Federal Reserve.

Before joining Moore & Van Allen, Mr. Watkins practiced with Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP in New York City.

Representative Matters:

Mr. Watkins’ securities, shareholder, and M&A-related litigation experience includes:

  • Representing The Fresh Market and its directors before the North Carolina Business Court and the Middle District of North Carolina in shareholder class actions targeting Apollo Global Management’s $1.36 billion acquisition of The Fresh Market.  The Business Court plaintiffs alleged breaches of fiduciary duty, and the federal plaintiffs alleged securities fraud.
  • Representing certain independent directors of Reynolds American before the North Carolina Business Court and the North Carolina Court of Appeals in shareholder class actions challenging Reynolds American’s $27.4 billion acquisition of Lorillard.
  • Representing Credit Suisse in connection with Section 10(b) claims arising from the collapse of Enron, including the $40 billion lead securities class action, Newby v. Enron Corp., Cons. Action No. H-01-3624, MDL No. 1446 (S.D. Tex.), and the several cases coordinated and consolidated therewith.
  • Representing Swisher Hygiene in connection with a Section 10(b) securities class action and related shareholder litigation in In re Swisher Hygiene, Inc. Securities and Derivative Litigation, No. 3:12-md-02384-GCM (W.D.N.C.).
  • Representing Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank in Texas and New York in litigation regarding the failed Hexion-Huntsman merger, including in Hexion Specialty Chemicals, Inc. v. Credit Suisse, Cayman Islands Branch, Index No.114552/08 (N.Y. Sup. Ct.), where Hexion sought specific performance of $15.4 billion of financing commitments, and at jury trial in Huntsman Corp. v. Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, No. 08-09-09258 (9th Dist. Tex.), where Huntsman sought $4.65 billion in compensatory tort damages.
  • Representing certain independent directors of Reynolds American in securities litigation challenging British American Tobacco’s $49.4 billion acquisition of Reynolds American.
  • Representing Swisher Hygiene and its directors before the North Carolina Business Court in shareholder litigation regarding the sale of Swisher’s assets to Ecolab.
  • Representing Merrill Lynch’s independent directors in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, New York Supreme Court, and Delaware Chancery Court in shareholder litigation regarding the Bank of America-Merrill Lynch merger.

Mr. Watkins represents clients in a variety of high-stakes state and federal appeals.  His experience includes:

  • Representing a group of financial institutions in both the Fourth Circuit and the North Carolina Court of Appeals against a class of borrowers alleging violations of the North Carolina Consumer Finance Act and other usury-related misconduct. The federal appeal presented a jurisdictional question involving the scope of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act’s complete preemption of state-law usury claims; the state appeal involved the scope of the Federal Arbitration Act’s preemption of state law after AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion.
  • Representing the City of Asheville against the State of North Carolina in Asheville’s constitutional challenge of the state’s attempted taking of Asheville’s water system.
  • Representing Monsanto before the Fourth Circuit in a contractual dispute presenting issues under North Carolina law. 
  • Representing a global petrochemical and specialty chemical company in complex commercial disputes before the Second and Seventh Circuits.
  • Representing a trust before the North Carolina Supreme Court in a constitutional challenge, under the due process and dormant commerce clauses of the United States Constitution, to North Carolina’s taxation of foreign trusts.
  • Representing amicus curiae Professor Erwin Chemerinsky before the United States Supreme Court in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, Nos. 07-21, 07-25 (U.S.), a case involving a challenge to Indiana’s voter identification law.
  • Representing amicus curiae Qualcomm in Quanta Computer, Inc. v. LG Electronics, Inc., No. 06-937 (U.S.), the leading patent exhaustion case, and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization v. Buffalo Technology (USA), Inc., No. 2007-1449 (Fed. Cir.), a patent infringement case involving the propriety of injunctive relief when technology standards are implicated.

In the area of intellectual property, Mr. Watkins’ experience includes:

  • Representing a producer of polymer-based membranes in a complex patent infringement and antitrust dispute, Daramic, LLC v. Entek International, LLC, No. 3:11-cv-676-FDW-DSC (W.D.N.C.).
  • Representing Qualcomm in several cases before tribunals in Delaware and California in wide-ranging, high-stakes patent licensing disputes with Nokia and Broadcom involving the 2G and 3G cellular wireless standards. Mr. Watkins served on trial teams in a matter before an international arbitration tribunal and in a matter before the United States District Court for the Central District of California.
  • Representing IBM in a multi-billion dollar breach of contract and copyright infringement action regarding the Linux operating system, SCO Group Inc. v. International Business Machines Corp., No. 2:03-cv-00294 (D. Utah).
  • Representing the preeminent statistical-arbitrage hedge fund in an action against former employees and their new employer to protect trade secrets.
  • Representing LendingTree before the North Carolina Business Court and the North Carolina Supreme Court in a trade-secret dispute.

Mr. Watkins’ experience also includes:

  • Defending an individual at trial in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan against a claim under the International Child Abduction Remedies Act and the Hague Convention.
  • Representing a telecommunications client in complex commercial disputes in the United States District Courts for the Southern District of New York and the Western District of North Carolina.


  • Mr. Watkins graduated magna cum laude from Fordham University School of Law, where he earned the Fordham Law School Prize, served as a Member of the Fordham Law Review, and was elected to the Order of the Coif.  He received his undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from Lehigh University.

Of Note

  • Mr. Watkins is a member of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Appellate Rules Committee.
  • Mr. Watkins serves on the Board of Directors of Justice Initiatives, Inc., a Charlotte-based non-profit entity that advocates on behalf of, supports, and seeks to improve North Carolina’s court system.  He co-chairs Justice Initiatives’ Advocacy and Public Policy Committee.
  • Selected for the North Carolina Rising Stars list, which is included in the North Carolina Super Lawyers magazine, for Business Litigation
  • Named to the Access to Justice Pro Bono Partners Pro Bono Honor Roll by Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, Legal Aid of North Carolina–Charlotte, and Council for Children’s Rights
  • Mr. Watkins provided pro bono representation to a class of homeless families with children in a constitutional dispute with New York City and New York State, for which he received the Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award from the Legal Aid Society.