Diane A. Nygaard is a graduate of Drake University (Phi Beta Kappa) and Harvard Law School, where she was an officer of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. She is a member of the bars of Colorado, Kansas and Missouri.
From 1977 to 1986, she was in private practice, as an associate and partner at Lewis Rice & Fingersh in Kansas City. She represented Merrill Lynch, Dean Witter and many banks in securities litigation matters. She also was an adjunct professor of law at Washburn Law School, where she taught securities law, advanced civil procedure, corporate law, and legal research and writing.
Diane Nygaard had represented investors from many states and other countries in securities arbitrations against their financial advisors, stockbrokers, or money managers. These have included cases involving millions of dollars of losses due to churning, Ponzi schemes, improper investment of retirement plans, and other types of securities fraud. She has taken many cases to arbitration, and has won compensatory damages and punitive damages for her clients. The most recent such victory, in June 2010, was against E*TRADE for a group of investors who had been sold auction rate securities. The FINRA arbitration panel awarded them all their losses, attorneys’ fees and costs against E*TRADE. E*TRADE had sold all the investors auction rate securities by misrepresenting them as safe and liquid. Click here for the E*TRADE Arbitration Award.
She has also represented many investors, including pension plans, retirement plans, trusts, estates, and individuals in class actions arising from investment fraud by securities firms, publicly traded corporations in derivative cases, and insurance companies as to improper and misleading sales of life insurance and annuities.
In December 2010. a $200,000,000 settlement for the class of Kinder Morgan shareholders in a shareholder derivative class action case was approved by the court. The case, filed in 2007, resulted in the largest settlement of a shareholder derivative case. In 2007, Ms. Nygaard and Pam Tikellis of Chimicles and Tikellis were appointed as co-lead counsel to represent the shareholders.
She has served as lead counsel or co-lead counsel in several other class actions which have settled for amounts in excess of $50,000,000. These include cases certified as class actions against MetLife and Monumental Life Insurance companies arising from their racially-discriminatory pricing of life insurance policies. She was appointed to represent the class of Sprint and Aquila shareholders in ERISA-based cases arising from the disproportionate holding of company stock in the firms’ pension plans.
On January 5, 2011, Judge Eric Melgren of the U.S. District Court certified as a class action a pending ERISA and Age Discrimination case against Embarq on behalf of retirees whose life and health insurance benefits have been reduced or eliminated. Fulghum, et al. v. Embarq Corporation, et al., U.S. Dist. (D. Kan.), Case No. 07-CV-2602.
Ms. Nygaard is a member and former president of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association, chair of the Securities Law Section of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, a member of the Missouri Trial Lawyers Association, and the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. She served on the Board of Directors of the Kansas Association for Justice from 2000-2004. She is an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association, the New York Stock Exchange, the Chicago Board of Options Exchange, the National Futures Association, and the National Association of Securities Dealers (FINRA). She has served on the advisory committee to the Kansas Securities Commissioner and is a former member of the Kansas City Board of Trade.
She writes and speaks extensively on issues involving the investing public. She has spoken on securities issues for the Practicing Law Institute, The Insurance Regulatory Education Board, the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association and many bar associations, trust officers’ associations and securities industry associations. She has chaired many sections on securities law and complex litigation matters for continuing legal education programs. Her published works include “Class Actions against Insurance Companies,” Trial, October 1999, and “Making the Compliance Officer a Power Witness” Practicing Law Institute, New York, 1996. She has been selected for listing in The Best Lawyers in American since 1995 for class action litigation. She has been quoted in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Newsweek, and The Kansas City Star about investor rights and remedies.
For additional information, go to www.investorfraudsite.com.