mitchell sockett headshot

Mitchell Sockett

Litigation Analyst - PointPrecedent, Inc.


Why do Gryphon's investment clients need Mitch?  


Companies routinely face uncertainty on their investments because of litigation and market reaction to that litigation. The market frequently overreacts or underreacts -- without understanding the true underlying risk and cost of that litigation. Moreover, acquiring companies might well view a target company's litigation risk -- especially mass tort litigation risk -- through the lens of a dispassionate observer rather than the eyes of a jury sitting in a courtroom, very capable of blaming the company for an alleged faulty product or device, and rendering a verdict that shocks the market and crushes the market cap of the company.


Complementing Gryphon's Enhanced Diligence & Intelligence team, Mitch’s 35 years of litigation expertise enables our clients to fully understand the true risk of litigation on their existing holdings or prospective investments. Mitch’s litigation analysis reinforces Gryphon’s own findings and enables our team to target additional expertise and provide key insights that add to the mosaic of information necessary to fill any gaps in the investment thesis. 


Mitch's areas of specialization include:

  • Mass Tort Litigation
  • Merger Arb Litigation
  • Litigation Funding
  • US and International Arbitration Claims
  • MBS-Related Litigation
  • Bankruptcy-Related Litigation



How does Mitch help Gryphon's clients? 

As a seasoned veteran in analyzing scenarios where litigation could significantly impact valuation, Mitch is Gryphon's go-to resource in providing the buy-side informed perspective our clients need. He may be engaged to evaluate the overall litigation risk surrounding a company, review and interpret key court filings, closely track and attend case hearings, and will debrief by phone or prepare and send written reports as catalysts unfold. 


Mitch's Bio: 


Mitch spent nearly 18 years as a senior litigation analyst at 20B+ global investment manager, King Street Capital Management. He (1) proactively identified investment opportunities when the market had mispriced companies entangled in litigation; and (2) internally advised partners, analysts and traders on litigation regarding existing and potential investments across the capital structure. Prior to his extensive time on the buy-side, he spent 18 years as a litigation attorney -- at Skadden Arps, Meagher & Flom, among other firms. He focused on hostile M&A, corporate, commercial, shareholder and tort litigation. His client base included Fortune 500 companies, Stena Corp., Goya Foods, the State of Israel and high-profile real estate and entertainment clients. 


He graduated with a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, and a J.D. from Cornell Law School. 



Mitch's analysis can be leveraged by:


  • Event-Driven & Special Situation Hedge Funds 
  • Long/Short Equity and Credit Fund Managers 
  • Activists 
  • Private Market investors assessing litigation risk pre-transaction 
  • Litigation Fund Entities 
  • Class-Action Law Firms 


Book an Appointment to Speak with us

Select Case Studies: 


Chemours Equity

In 2015 Chemours, a Dupont spinoff, faced 3500+ mass tort claims from Ohio and West Virginia residents alleging that the Teflon chemical PFOA, released by Dupont from its factories, had caused their various illnesses, including kidney and testicular cancer. Mitch believed the market had excessively penalized Chemours stock due to heightened fear of potential giant jury verdicts. The stock sank from $20 in 2015 to as low as $3 during 2016.


Analysis & Recommendation

Mitch analyzed all the dynamics of the mass tort litigation, including (1) the realistic likely cost to settle each of the six categories of claims on a mass basis; (2) the slow pace of the litigation and plaintiffs' inability to force enough multiple jury trials to pressure Dupont and Chemours into a painful settlement; and (3) Dupont's likely keen interest in ensuring that Chemours avoided a bankruptcy filing (so Dupont did not face a fraudulent transfer litigation similar to the Anadarko/Tronox fraudulent transfer litigation). Mitch believed that third factor would likely compel Dupont to substantially contribute to any mass settlement regardless of an indemnity agreement running from Chemours to Dupont for PFOA related costs.


Mitch projected a very low cost for Chemours to settle the claims on a mass basis (much lower than implied by its stock price) and predicted that Dupont would contribute substantially to help pay that mass settlement. By de-risking the litigation, Mitch enabled purchases of Chemours stock at favorable levels.



In February 2017 Chemours settled the 3500+ claims at the very low price of $670 million, and Dupont agreed to pay half of that amount. Chemours stock surged from the low 20s into the 30s on news of the settlement, eventually reaching $57 in 2017.



Akorn Equity

In 2018, the German drug company Fresenius terminated its agreement to buy US generic drug company Akorn. Given the seemingly well-established Delaware legal precedent setting an extremely high bar preventing buyers from breaking deal contracts the market generally expected the Delaware Chancery Court to eventually rule for Akorn and compel Fresenius to honor its purchase agreement. 


Analysis & Recommendation

Mitch directly observed and reported on the entire trial: the credibility of each side's fact and expert witnesses, the impact of key documents and emails, and, most importantly, the trial judge's response to that testimony and evidence. Mitch also concluded that the most powerful predictor of how the trial judge would likely rule was the judge's varied responses to the arguments by Fresenius' counsel and Akorn's counsel during the post-trial hearing. 



Mitch pushed for the profitable sale of an Akorn equity position during both the trial and the post-trial argument -- thereby avoiding the over-50% drop in Akorn stock when the trial judge later ruled against Akorn.