Litigation

Experience

  • Commercial

    • Kaestner Family Trust in winning a unanimous Supreme Court victory in North Carolina Department of Revenue v. Kimberley Rice Kaestner 1992 Family Trust, involving an attempt by North Carolina to tax a nonresident trust based solely on the fact that a beneficiary of the trust, who had not yet received any distributions, lived in the State.
    • Prudential Financial, John Hancock Life Insurance Company, AXA Equitable, Guardian Life, Massachusetts Mutual and Teachers in the successful dismissal with prejudice of a qui tam complaint, brought under the New York False Claims Act, seeking over $14.5 billion in damages for alleged failures to escheat life insurance benefits to the state. The dismissal followed successful representations of each firm in a years-long investigation by the New York Attorney General (NYAG) into the escheatment practices of the life insurance industry, at the conclusion of which NYAG declined to pursue the claims itself.
    • Ambac Assurance Corporation, a Wisconsin domiciled insurance company, in a holistic restructuring transaction that involved three exchange offers of existing debt securities and other payment obligations for approximately $2.2 billion of newly-issued debt securities, as well as a new-money financing collateralized by the future proceeds of certain litigation claims against RMBS originators.
    • Allergan in a successful dismissal, in the District of Massachusetts, of a qui tam complaint brought under the False Claims Act relating to the marketing of the pharmaceutical drug Namenda. The dismissal was unusual in that it was based on unethical conduct by relators’ counsel revealed during discovery and was granted after an initial motion to dismiss had been denied. In its dismissal, the Court, addressing a novel legal issue, admonished relators’ counsel for obtaining medical information from physicians by engaging in “an elaborate scheme of deceptive conduct,” and distinguished that conduct from acceptable investigatory techniques.
    • American Airlines in litigation arising out of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, resulting in a recent trial victory establishing that World Trade Center Properties could not recover from American any of the nearly $5 billion it was seeking beyond already received insurance recoveries. Previous related wins have included dismissals of environmental litigation arising out of the attacks and multiple successful partial summary judgment and Daubert motions.
    • Bristol-Myers Squibb in defending against a $3.4 billion contract and tort claim by generic drug manufacturer Apotex, winning a unanimous jury verdict of no liability.
    • JPMorgan Chase in a series of class actions challenging the use by mortgage servicers of the Mortgage Electronic Recording System (MERS), in multiple mortgage-related False Claims Act cases, and in civil actions by state attorneys general relating to mortgage-foreclosure practices.
    • The Federal Reserve Bank of New York in obtaining dismissal of claims for over $40 billion against the Bank by the largest shareholder of AIG challenging the terms of a rescue loan the Bank provided to AIG during the 2008 financial crisis.
    • The Special Committee of the Board of Directors of Dell in the $24.9 billion sale of Dell to an investor group including Michael Dell and Silver Lake.
    • Kenneth D. Lewis, former Chairman and CEO of Bank of America Corp., in shareholder, derivative and other litigation that arose out of Bank of America’s acquisition of Merrill Lynch during the 2008 financial crisis.
    • Syncora Guarantee, a monoline insurer, in its suit against Countrywide Home Loans for fraud and breach of contract arising from financial insurance related to residential mortgage-backed securities, culminating in a settlement payment of $375 million to Syncora.
    • Clayton, Dubilier & Rice in obtaining dismissal of a $600 million challenge to its leveraged buyout of Culligan.
    • Notz, Stucki et Cie, its directors, and related entities, in litigation related to substantial investments with Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, in obtaining dismissal of investor class action litigation purporting to assert claims for fraud and breach of common law duties relating to one of the firm's managed funds, and in adversary proceedings brought by the Trustee of the BLMIS estate in the bankruptcy proceeding.
    • St. Paul Travelers and coordinating outside counsel for several major insurers in negotiations surrounding the proposed legislation establishing a $140 billion national asbestos trust.
    • A professional services firm in defending against malpractice and fraud claims relating to a tax shelter transaction.
    • A vitamin manufacturer in one of the largest price fixing litigations ever, and Columbian Chemicals Company (a subsidiary of Phelps Dodge) in a series of actions relating to alleged price fixing of carbon black.
    • Westfield in defending against contract and fiduciary duty claims seeking damages in excess of $3 billion relating to past and future acquisitions of shopping malls.
    • Learning Annex in obtaining a $23 million judgment after a jury trial of quasi-contract claims in the Southern District of New York.
  • White Collar/Regulatory

    • ACE, Alliance Capital Management, Amvescap, Forest Labs, Global Crossing, Merck, Teleglobe, MedQuist, Tommy Hilfiger and Westar Energy in domestic and international investigations and parallel proceedings by Federal and State regulatory and prosecutorial offices, including the SEC, various United States Attorney’s Offices and the New York Attorney General, and related civil litigations and class actions, concerning market timing in mutual funds; insurance sales and brokerage issues; alleged tax, accounting, and securities fraud; claims of obstruction of justice; foreign commercial activities; and allegedly improper business practices.
    • Siemens’ Audit Committee in a worldwide investigation into possible corrupt payments to government officials leading to an early settlement with the U.S. and German authorities.
    • JPMorgan Chase & Co. in federal and state investigations of mortgage servicing, foreclosure and origination related issues, including relating to the $25 billion settlement with DOJ, State Attorneys General and other federal authorities, and in SEC and other regulatory investigations relating to the issuance of RMBS securities.
    • A Fortune 100 company in civil and criminal investigations regarding possible FCPA violations, resulting in both the DOJ and SEC closing their investigations without bringing any charges or seeking any penalties.
    • The Carlyle Group in a New Mexico qui tam action brought against numerous private equity firms under that State's false claims statute.
    • A Special Committee of the Board of Directors of Merck, charged with conducting an internal investigation of the Company’s conduct in the development and marketing of Vioxx.
    • Forest Laboratories and Forest Pharmaceuticals in the settlement of civil and criminal investigations led by the United States Department of Justice and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, and related civil qui tam litigation, regarding marketing, promotional and other activities for its products Celexa, Lexapro and Levothroid.
    • The National Football League to review and assess the evidence collected by NFL investigators relating to the alleged participation in a pay-for-performance/bounty program and to defend the Commissioner’s disciplinary decisions in an arbitration proceeding.
    • Internal investigations and FCPA compliance advice to a major multinational U.S. research-based pharmaceutical manufacturer. We also conducted internal investigations for the Audit Committee and senior management into a number of accounting reserves issues.
  • Intellectual Property

    • Disney, NBC Universal, CBS Broadcasting and other broadcasters in copyright litigation challenging Aereo’s sale of access to mini-antennas as a mechanism for instantly streaming broadcast television programs over the Internet.
    • Yves Saint Laurent in defeating a motion for a preliminary injunction by Christian Louboutin over YSL’s red-soled shoes, and subsequently obtaining dismissal of all claims by the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
    • Kate Spade in winning a verdict at trial defeating Saturdays Surf NYC’s trademark infringement challenge against the name of Kate Spade’s new global lifestyle brand, Kate Spade Saturday.
    • Major book publishers in a landmark copyright litigation over Google's plan to scan full-text books and make them available via the Internet.
    • The National Football League in a suit that protected its rights in the design of the NFL’s famous Vince Lombardi Trophy, awarded annually to the winner of the Super Bowl game, and in litigation over the ownership of retired player’s publicity rights.
    • SONY BMG Music Entertainment in nationwide litigation and government investigations arising out of the use of content protection software on music CDs.
    • The Brooklyn Nets, in the first-ever arbitration of the fair market value to a regional sports network of the media rights to a professional sports team.
    • Bayer in false advertising challenges against Merial, Sergeant’s, Summit, Elanco and Farnam over advertising for their competing flea and tick control products for pets.
    • Syracuse University in a defamation action brought in New York state court by former ball boys for the University’s basketball team.
  • International Dispute Resolution

    • NLMK in its successful defence in the English High Court against an application to enforce a Russian arbitral award that had been set aside by the Russian courts.
    • The Republic of Korea in ICSID arbitration filed by IPICI and Hanocal.
    • Occidental Petroleum Company and Occidental Exploration and Production Company (“Occidental”) in an ICSID arbitration, winning one of the largest ever BIT awards, $1.1 billion ($1.4 billion including interest). The filing of the claim was made two days after Ecuador terminated all of Occidental’s exploration and production rights and seized all of its assets in the country. Ecuador and Occidental have arranged for payment of this award.
    • The Attorney-General of St. Kitts and Nevis in the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (St. Kitts and Nevis) and Court of Appeal in constitutional proceedings brought against the Government by Members of Parliament seeking to carry a motion of no confidence in the Government.
    • ExxonMobil and Murphy Oil in a NAFTA claim against the Government of Canada arising from requirements imposed by the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
    • EM Limited in obtaining payment in full of an $849 million judgment against the Republic of Argentina arising from Argentina’s default on its sovereign debt, recognized as the 2016 Global Dispute of the Year by The American Lawyer.
    • Ust-Kamenogorsk Hydropower Plant, a subsidiary of Samruk Energy, as advocates to the appellant in the UK Supreme Court on a landmark arbitration appeal to determine whether the English Court has jurisdiction to grant an anti-suit injunction in circumstances where no arbitration is intended or in prospect.
    • Two investment funds in a series of disputes relating to an investment in a restructured Brazilian consumer products business. The representation includes an ICC arbitration seated in São Paulo, a Section 1782 discovery proceeding in New York and coordination of litigation proceedings in Brazil and elsewhere.
    • British Caribbean Bank Ltd, in successfully defending anti-arbitration injunction proceedings brought by the Government of Belize to avoid arbitration under a BIT in the courts of Belize and the Caribbean Court of Justice (before which Debevoise is believed to have been the first non-Caribbean firm to argue a case).
    • Vincent Tchenguiz, in judicial review proceedings brought in respect of search warrants issued against Mr. Tchenguiz and Vincos Ltd, a company which provides advice to the Tchenguiz Family Trust and which is chaired by Mr. Tchenguiz, relating to a Serious Fraud Office investigation into the collapse of Kaupthing Hf., an Icelandic bank.
    • Occidental Petroleum Corporation in winning over $130 million in damages in a BIT arbitration resulting from Ecuador’s failure to refund VAT payments to Occidental.
    • A leading business figure in international law claims arising out of his candidacy for President of the Republic of Georgia, and, following his death, his family in worldwide litigation over attempts to strip his multi-billion-dollar estate, including proceedings in England and the US and lengthy trials in Gibraltar.
    • A major oil company in multiple arbitration hearings claiming that the Ecuadorian government’s conduct has undermined the value of the company’s Ecuadorian investments in violation of applicable investor protection treatise.
    • Central European Media Enterprises (CME) in an arbitration against the Czech Republic brought under The Netherlands-Czech BIT and the UNCITRAL Rules, asserting claims that the Czech Media Council’s actions had deprived CME of its interest in the most successful commercial television station in Eastern Europe. The Tribunal issued an award of over $350 million, which the Czech Republic satisfied.
    • Property developer Paddy McKillen in the UK Court of Appeal against the Barclay brothers concerning the £1 billion Mayfair Group of hotels.