Brian W. Barnes

BRIAN W. BARNES has litigated high-stakes cases at all levels of the federal court system and has also argued numerous cases in state trial and appellate courts. He was the principal author of the briefs for the petitioners in Collins v Mnuchin, a multi-billion-dollar administrative law case challenging the nationalization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which is currently pending in the United States Supreme Court. In related litigation, Mr. Barnes deposed several of the current and former senior executives for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, including both companies’ former CEOs. Mr. Barnes also played a central role representing shareholders in disputes over the scope of the government’s discovery obligations in the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac litigation, successfully persuading the Court of Federal Claims to order the government to show plaintiffs’ counsel most of the documents the government attempted to withhold under the deliberative process and bank examination privileges.


Mr. Barnes also has extensive experience representing plaintiffs in suits filed under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”). He briefed and argued St. Luke’s Health Network v. Lancaster General Hospital, 967 F.3d 295 (3d Cir. 2020), in which the Third Circuit reversed dismissal of RICO claims filed as part of a putative class action against a hospital that allegedly defrauded a Pennsylvania program that subsidizes care for indigent patients. Mr. Barnes also helped pioneer the use of RICO to sue state-legalized marijuana businesses: he filed the first such case, successfully argued the case on appeal after it was dismissed, and later helped try the case to a jury on remand. See Safe Streets Alliance v. Hickenlooper, 859 F.3d 865 (10th Cir. 2017).


Mr. Barnes has also worked on a wide range of other matters. He has briefed and argued cases concerning state preemption of local gun regulations in the trial and intermediate appellate courts of Illinois and Pennsylvania. In litigation over the Department of Education’s Title IX regulations, Mr. Barnes represents intervenors who are defending the regulations. And he has an active practice advising institutional investors on the probable outcomes of market-moving litigation in both state and federal courts.


Mr. Barnes clerked for Justice Samuel Alito during the Supreme Court’s 2012 Term and was previously a law clerk to Judge Thomas Griffith of the D.C. Circuit. He is a graduate of Yale Law School, where he was an Articles Editor for the Yale Law Journal and a member of the Yale Supreme Court Clinic. Mr. Barnes received his B.A. from Yale College and is a member of the Colorado and District of Columbia bars.


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