Complex Commercial Disputes

We do not believe that the hallmark of ‎a successful litigation department devoted to solving our clients’ complex commercial disputes should be the amount of money our clients pay in settlement.  We are always prepared to take a case into the end zone and have proven that time and again by the lawsuits and arbitrations we have tried successfully to conclusion.  As we approach trial, you will not hear about previously undisclosed risks that require a settlement on the courthouse steps.

At the same time, we recognize that sophisticated parties can achieve a desired settlement well before a case reaches final resolution by a third party.  Here, our fearlessness, 130-year track record, and small staffing philosophy help our clients get to “yes” quickly and efficiently when a consensual resolution is appropriate.

Our job is simple even when the issues are tangled and convoluted:  you and your company have a complex commercial problem and we will help you find the solution.  Whether the problem involves a labyrinthine series of contracts and agreements, a joint venture ordeal, a heated shareholder battle, accusations of fraud, a run-in with your regulator, or any other company-threatening legal event, we will dive in with a small, industry-experienced team, wrap our heads around the problem, and develop and implement a strategy with you, all the while maintaining flexibility and keeping a sharp eye out for unintended consequences.

Here are some of our more recent successes:

Recent Successes

  • Sarissa Capital Domestic Fund LP v. Innoviva Inc.

    Successfully obtained specific performance in a proxy contest settlement agreement in Delaware Chancery Court on behalf of Sarissa Capital Management against pharmaceutical company Innoviva Inc. This first-of-its-kind post-trial opinion ordered pharmaceutical company Innoviva Inc. to add two nominees from Sarissa to the company’s board of directors after finding Innoviva entered into a binding oral agreement to settle the proxy contest, and then reneged on its earlier deal.

  • In re: Kenneth Cole Productions Shareholder Litigation

    Landmark victory in the New York Court of Appeals, which ruled that the business judgment standard of review, not entire fairness, applies to going-private transactions involving controlling shareholders. This case establishes important precedent for future corporate transactions, and provides a roadmap to corporate attorneys structuring going-private transactions involving controlling shareholders under New York law. 

  • In Re: Facebook, Inc. IPO Sec. & Derivative Litigation

    Willkie is co-counsel for Facebook, Inc. in multidistrict litigation involving more than 40 securities and derivative lawsuits filed against the company, its officers and directors, and the underwriters in connection with Facebook’s initial public offering.  Thus far, Willkie has obtained several critical victories for Facebook and its directors and officers, including dismissal of six shareholder derivative actions on threshold non-merits issues of justiciability before subject matter jurisdiction in important decisions for multi-party, multi-forum litigation.

  • In Re: General Electric Company Securities Litigation

    Obtained dismissals on behalf of all major U.S. and foreign underwriters in major securities litigation involving a $12 billion offering of GE stock.

  • Arista Records LLC, et al. v. Limewire LLC, et al.

    Retained after liability was decided, to try damages phase in which clients faced $75 trillion in damage claims.  After successful pre-trial and trial proceedings, including a blistering cross examination of plaintiffs’ lead witness that received significant press attention, obtained extremely favorable settlement of $105 million.

  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Bloomberg, L.P.

    Won dismissal of purported class action claims asserting that Bloomberg, L.P. had engaged in a pattern of discrimination against women who were pregnant and took maternity leave.  In a highly publicized ruling, the court found that the EEOC failed “to demonstrate that discrimination was Bloomberg’s standard operating procedure” because “J’accuse! is not enough in court.  Evidence is required.”

  • El Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad v. Alcatel-Lucent SA, et al.

    Won dismissal of a $200 million Florida RICO action against Alcatel-Lucent that grew out of a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation and settlement with the U.S. government, which was also handled by the firm’s litigation practice.

  • In Re: Insurance Brokerage Antitrust Litigation

    Successfully represented Marsh & McLennan, the world’s largest insurance broker, in multidistrict class action and individual policyholder litigation arising out of the New York Attorney General’s investigation of the insurance industry.

  • A.P.I., Inc. Asbestos Settlement Trust, et al. v. Zurich Insurance Company, et al.

    Prevailed on summary judgment after extensive discovery on agency, alter ego, and successor liability claims seeking to hold Zurich Insurance Company and U.S. and European affiliates liable for alleged obligations of an insolvent insurance company.

  • Zavala v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

    Obtained decertification of a nationwide Fair Labor Standards Act putative class action and dismissal of RICO and false imprisonment claims against Wal-Mart in federal trial court, as well as an affirmance in the U.S. Court of Appeals.

  • Gary K. Bielfeldt v. KPMG LLP

    Brought in shortly before trial to assist trial team in a tax advisory malpractice action, successfully reduced client’s exposure from over $300 million to $60 million.  Assumed lead defense role after $17 million verdict, first reducing judgment to under $10 million and then winning rare appellate reversal and dismissal of all claims against KPMG.

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