Howard M. Cooper is a Founding Partner of Todd & Weld LLP. Mr. Cooper's experience includes over two decades of extensive trial practice in both state and federal courts, before administrative agencies and in arbitration in the areas of complex business litigation and criminal defense. Mr. Cooper regularly represents clients in major civil cases in the areas of real estate and partnership litigation, contract matters, franchise disputes, class action litigation, civil rights, and First Amendment law. On the criminal side, Mr. Cooper regularly handles major white collar criminal cases from the investigatory stage through trial and appeal. This includes the defense of organizations and individuals targeted for prosecution in federal and state court.
Mr. Cooper has successfully represented numerous individuals and companies in a wide variety of matters. This has included, for example, the successful defense of a large automotive distributor sued in a civil RICO and anti-trust class action by its New England franchised dealers. The dismissal of the case in the United States District Court of New Hampshire after several years of litigation was later affirmed by the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Lussier v. Subaru of New England, et al 393 F.3d 36 (2004).
Mr. Cooper successfully defended the purchaser and redeveloper of the Necco Candy Building in Cambridge against a $40 million claim brought by The Lyme Timber Company and others, a judgment which was upheld by the Massachusetts Appeals Court in DSF Investors LLC v. The Lyme Timber Company, et al 67 Mass. App. Ct. 1110, 854 N.E.2d 1267 (2006).
Mr. Cooper has also successfully defended an adoption agency sued over an international adoption in a case of first impression in Massachusetts in Forbes v. The Alliance for Children, Inc. (Suffolk Superior Court, 1999).
Examples of Mr. Cooper's successes on the criminal side include the successful defense of a professional basketball player in a complex sexual assault case, the defense of executives, businesses and an Indian Tribe in white collar criminal matters, and his achieving recognition by the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in United States v. Bradstreet 207 F.3d 76 (2000) of a previously unrecognized basis for a sentencing departure in a white collar criminal case of first impression.
Mr. Cooper's trial successes have included the widely reported case resulting in a $2.1 million jury verdict on behalf of Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Ernest Murphy against The Boston Herald. That decision has been hailed nationally as a landmark public figure defamation case important to the independence of the judiciary. The jury verdict in favor of the judge was upheld by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in Murphy v. Herald, et al. 449 Mass. 42, 865 N.E.2d 746 (2007). In its unanimous decision, the SJC commented that as a result of Mr. Cooper's cross-examination of the Herald reporter who wrote the stories about Judge Murphy, the reporter's credibility at trial was left “in tatters.”
Mr. Cooper successfully sued the Virgin Islands Commission on Judicial Disabilities to stop disciplinary proceedings against a sitting Territorial Judge based upon his bail and sentencing decisions. The case is reported at Hon. Leon A. Kendall v. Sen. Ronald E. Russell et. al., 49 V.I. 602 (2008), and was affirmed by the Third Circuit in 2009.
Mr. Cooper has handled other cases on behalf of Judges and public officials which have been widely reported on in the legal and other press including his procuring an on-air apology from WEEI talk show hosts Dennis and Callahan for making allegedly defamatory statements about members of a prominent North Shore family.
Mr. Cooper argued successfully in the Supreme Judicial Court in The Cadle Company v. Jan Schlichtmann 448 Mass. 242, 859 N.E.2d 858 (2007) establishing important precedent under the Massachusetts Anti-Slapp statute.
In the area of civil rights, Mr. Cooper successfully represented a Boston area Islamic group attempting to build a Mosque and Cultural Center in Roxbury. Mr. Cooper's representation of the Boston area Muslim community in that case has been widely described as courageous, and he received an award presented by Boston area Muslims thanking him for his commitment to civil rights and religious freedom.
Mr. Cooper currently represents South Middlesex Opportunity Council, an anti-poverty agency, in its civil rights case against the Town of Framingham and others in which the agency seeks to secure fair housing rights for the disabled in the community.
Mr. Cooper's practice also includes representation of companies and individuals who are the subject of investigations before licensure boards, and advising clients generally about their rights, obligations and potential liabilities before litigation arises.
In December 2009, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly named Mr. Cooper to its "Power List" as one of the most influential lawyers in the state.