Module Eight Bios

Legislative Update

Fred Nesbitt, PhD, FPPTA Media Consultant
Florida Public Pension Trustees Association

Frederick H. Nesbitt is the former Executive Director and Legislative Counsel for the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS) retiring in 2006.  Now living in Florida, Fred works as the media consultant for the FPPTA. Prior to joining NCPERS, Mr. Nesbitt served for12 years as Director of Governmental Affairs and Political Action for the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF).  Previously, he served for nine years as Special Assistant to the President of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC).

He has been a lobbyist on Capitol Hill for over 25 years, lobbying on pensions, taxes and employee benefits for both federal employees, and state and local government employees.

Mr. Nesbitt comes from an academic background; he was a professor of political science and labor relations at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and St. Francis College (PA).  He earned his bachelor’s degree at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and his master’s and doctorate from West Virginia University. He is the co-editor of Labor and American Politics.

Dwight Mattingly
FPPTA Education Committee

For the first 14 years of his working career after finishing college in South Florida, Dwight taught middle and high school history for14 years in private church schools.  He also supplemented his income and family by doing construction work in the summers and at times on weekends.  In 1996 after a back injury, Dwight took a job with Palm Beach County public transit, Palm Tran, as a Bus Operator after a friend told him that there was an excellent pension benefit with the job.  Soon after being hired he became involved in the labor union and in 1999 was elected as Financial Secretary/Treasurer for a 3 year period.  During that time he became involved in understanding and attending all of the Board of Trustee meetings of the Pension Board.  After 3 years he was elected to the position of President/Business Agent of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1577.  As President/Business Agent, he also became a Trustee of the Plan.  After assuming this position, he successfully completed the CPPT with the FPPTA.  He was  subsequently elected Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Palm Tran/ATU 1577 Pension Plan and has held that position for the past 7 years.  Dwight also serves a Vice Chairman of the Florida Amalgamated Transit Union State Legislative Conference Board and during the past 3 Florida Legislative sessions has spent most of the sessions in Tallahassee lobbying to protect worker’s rights and protecting public pension plans in the state.  He was asked to testify before several Committees and Senate Caucuses regarding public pension defined benefit plans.  He has worked closely with many other groups in this effort. This year, during the 2012 Annual FPPTA Convention, Dwight was elected as a Director of the Board of Directors for the FPPTA.  He also serves on the FPPTA Education and By Laws Committees.


Securities Litigation

Maya Saxena
Saxena White P.A.

Maya Saxena, co-founder of Saxena White P.A., has been practicing exclusively in the securities litigation field for over 20 years, representing institutional investors in shareholder actions involving breaches of fiduciary duty and violations of the federal securities laws. Prior to forming Saxena White, Ms. Saxena served as the Managing Partner of the Florida office of one of the nation’s largest securities litigation firms, successfully directing numerous high profile securities cases. Ms. Saxena gained valuable trial experience before entering private practice while employed as an Assistant Attorney General in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. During her time as an Assistant Attorney General, Ms. Saxena represented the State of Florida in civil cases at the appellate and trial level and prepared amicus curiae briefs in support of state policies at issue in state and federal courts. In addition, Ms. Saxena represented the Florida Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies in civil forfeiture trials.

Ms. Saxena has been instrumental in recovering nearly a billion dollars on behalf of investors. Recently, Ms. Saxena played a key role in obtaining a $320 million settlement against Wells Fargo & Company. The settlement includes a $240 million cash payment from Defendants’ insurers-representing the largest insurance-funded monetary component of any shareholder derivative settlement by over $100 million.   Ms. Saxena also led the litigation team that settled against Wilmington Trust for $210 million, one of the largest settlements in 2018. Other prominent settlements include: Rayonier, Inc. ($73 million settlement), SIRVA, Inc. ($53.3 million settlement), Aracruz Celulose ($37.5 million settlement), Brixmor Property Group ($28 million settlement), and Sunbeam (settled with Arthur Andersen LLP for $110 million-one of the largest settlements ever with an accounting firm-and a $15 million personal contribution from former CEO Al Dunlap).

Ms. Saxena is a frequent speaker at educational forums involving public pension funds and advises public and multi-employer pension funds on how to address fraud-related investment losses. She is an active member of the National Association of Public Pension Attorneys (“NAPPA”) and co-chairs its Securities Litigation Committee. As part of her professional endeavors, Ms. Saxena writes numerous articles on protecting shareholder rights, and works closely with other NAPPA members to author, update, and publish a white paper on post-Morrison International Securities Litigation.

Ms. Saxena has been recognized in the South Florida Business Journal’s “Best of the Bar” as one of the top lawyers in South Florida, and has been selected to the Florida Super Lawyers list for ten consecutive years in a row. Ms. Saxena was also selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® four years in a row, as well as one of Florida’s “Legal Elite” by Florida Trend magazine. Recently, Ms. Saxena was named a “500 Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyer” by Lawdragon.

Ms. Saxena graduated from Syracuse University summa cum laude in 1993 with a dual degree in policy studies and economics, and graduated from Pepperdine University School of Law in 1996.


Hannah Ross
Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP

Hannah is involved in a variety of the firm’s litigation practice areas, focusing in particular on securities fraud, shareholder rights and other complex commercial matters. She has two decades of experience as a civil and criminal litigator, and represents the firm’s institutional investor clients as counsel in a number of major pending actions.

A key member and leader of trial teams that have recovered billions of dollars for investors, Hannah is widely recognized by industry observers for her professional achievements. Euromoney/Legal Media Group named her one of the top female litigators in the country (1 of 9 finalists for its “Best in Litigation” category). Named a “Litigation Star,” a “Top U.S. Woman Litigator” and one of the “Top 250 Women in Litigation” in the nation by Benchmark Litigation, she has earned praise as one of the elite in the field. She has been recognized by The National Law Journal as a member of the “Elite Women of the Plaintiffs’ Bar” list for two consecutive years and as a “Litigation & Plaintiffs’ Lawyer Trailblazer,” and honored as a “Titan of the Plaintiffs Bar” by legal newswire Law360. She has been named to an exclusive group of notable practitioners by Legal 500 US for her achievements, and to the list of the “500 Leading Lawyers in America” and the list of “500 Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyers” compiled by leading industry publication Lawdragon.

In addition to her direct litigation responsibilities, she is one of the senior partners at the firm responsible for client development and client relations. A significant part of her practice is dedicated to initial case evaluation and counseling the firm’s institutional investor clients on potential claims. Hannah is also one of the partners who oversees the firm’s Global Securities and Litigation Monitoring Team, which monitors global equities traded in non-U.S. jurisdictions on prospective and pending international securities matters.  In that capacity, she advises the firm’s institutional investor clients on their options to recover losses incurred on securities purchased in non-U.S. markets. Hannah is the Chair of the firm’s Diversity Committee and Co-Chair of the firm’s Forum for Institutional Investors and Women’s Forum. She serves on the Corporate Leadership Committee of the New York Women’s Foundation and on the Council of Institutional Investors’ Market Advisory Council.

Hannah was a senior member of the team that prosecuted In re Bank of America Securities Litigation, which resulted in a landmark settlement shortly before trial of $2.425 billion, one of the largest securities recoveries ever obtained, and by far the largest recovery achieved in a litigation arising from the financial crisis.  Most recently, she was the lead partner in the securities class action arising from the failure of major mid-Atlantic bank Wilmington Trust, which settled for $210 million.  Hannah was also a senior member of the trial team that prosecuted the litigation arising from the collapse of former leading brokerage MF Global, which recovered $234.3 million on behalf of investors. In addition, she led the prosecution against Washington Mutual and certain of its former officers and directors for alleged fraudulent conduct in the thrift’s home lending operations, an action which settled for $216.75 million and represents one of the largest settlements achieved in a case related to the fallout of the subprime crisis and the largest recovery ever achieved in a securities class action in the Western District of Washington. Hannah was also a key member of the team prosecuting In re The Mills Corporation Securities Litigation, which settled for $202.75 million, the largest recovery ever achieved in a securities class action in Virginia and the second largest recovery ever in the Fourth Circuit.

She has been a member of the trial teams in numerous other major securities litigations resulting in recoveries for investors in excess of $2 billion.  These include securities class actions against Nortel Networks, New Century Financial Corporation, and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac”), as well as In re Altisource Portfolio Solutions S.A. Securities Litigation, In re DFC Global Corp. Securities Litigation, In re Tronox Securities Litigation, In re Delphi Corporation Securities Litigation, In re Affiliated Computer Services, Inc. Derivative LitigationIn re OM Group, Inc. Securities Litigation, and In re BioScrip, Inc. Securities Litigation.

Hannah has also served as an adjunct faculty member in the trial advocacy program at the Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University. Before joining BLB&G, Hannah was a prosecutor in the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office as well as an Assistant District Attorney in the Middlesex County (Massachusetts) District Attorney’s Office.

FPPTA Legal Panel

Ken Harrison
Sugarman & Susskind, PA

Ken Harrison holds a Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Miami, School of Law, a Master of Science Degree in Management from Biscayne College (St. Thomas University) and a Bachelor of Business Degree accounting major from the University of Miami.  He is a founding member of the Florida Pension Trustees Association (FPPTA), currently serving as Director Emeritus and is a Certified Public Pension Trustee.  In 1991 Mr. Harrison completed a 27-year law enforcement career, when he retired from the City of Miami (Florida) Police Department as Assistant Chief.  For 16 years during his career in law enforcement he served as a trustee for Miami’s Police and Fire Pension Funds.  Additionally, for 10 of his years in law enforcement, Mr. Harrison was active in police labor organizations at the local, state and national levels.  Mr. Harrison completed over 30 years of military service in 2002 when he retired from the United States Coast Guard Reserve as Captain (Colonel).  Ken remains active in community and professional organizations; serving as vice-president of the University of Miami School of Law Alumni Association, Chairperson of the Miami Area Coast Guard Retiree Council, and member of various Dade County Bar Association committees.  He has published articles addressing the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) in the publication of the Labor and Employment Section for the Florida Bar Association.  Mr. Harrison has been with the Coral Gables law firm of Sugarman & Susskind since 1997.


Ronald J. Cohen
Rice Pugatch Robinson Storfer & Cohen PLLC

Ron maintains a wide-ranging labor and employment and employee benefit practice handling all types of matters dealing with the employee-employer relationship. Ron joined the firm in 2014 as chair of the Labor & Employment Practice. He has s been practicing law in the areas of public pension, labor law and local government law since 1977. He is a former Assistant City Attorney for the City of Miami, where he served as counsel to the City’s Retirement Systems. While employed as an Assistant City Attorney, Mr. Cohen gained experience in not only pension and labor law, but in municipal law, including public records and open meetings laws. He then practiced at a major South Florida firm, litigating all types of business disputes, including disputes involving contract formation and interpretation, securities law violations, and fiduciary duties and responsibilities. Prior to joining this firm, Ron successfully ran his own firm handing pension, and labor and employment matters. Ron has successfully handled all matters of labor disputes, including wage and hour matters, employment discrimination, and unfair labor practices, non-compete agreements, and litigation of contract disputes. Ron has handled numerous arbitrations, administrative cases, jury and non-jury trials, class actions and appeals, in both federal and state court.

Ron has a special expertise in handling government pension matters, and has represented public pension plans for close to 40 years. He has successfully prosecuted and defended cases for Boards of Trustees, involving all types of disputes.

Ron is the long time General Counsel for the FPPTA, a not-for –profit organization renowned nationwide for the education it provides to public pension trustees. Ron is devoted to the services the organization provides, and gives much of his time to fiduciary education.


Mark W. Floyd
Mierzwa & Floyd, P.A.

Mark W. Floyd is a shareholder with Mierzwa & Floyd, P.A., representing public employee and ERISA benefit funds including pension, health and welfare, and retiree insurance funds. Prior to joining Mierzwa & Floyd, Mark was an associate at Previant, Goldberg, Uelmen, Gratz, Miller & Brueggeman, S.C., in Milwaukee, WI, where Mark also represented employee benefit funds and labor organizations.

Mark graduated from Texas A&M University in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communications.  Mark received his Juris Doctor from the College of William and Mary’s Marshall-Wythe School of Law where he was a member of the school’s Moot Court team.  Mark was admitted to The Florida Bar on September 23, 2003, and is a member in good standing.  He is also admitted to The Wisconsin Bar and the United States District Courts for the Southern and Middle Districts of Florida and the Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin.  He is a member of the AFL-CIO Lawyers’ Coordinating Committee, The Florida Bar’s Labor and Employment Law Section, the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, and the Florida Public Pension Trustees Association.