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Litigation 2011

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Firm
Award level
Innovation
Originality
Rationale
Impact
Total
Description
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & KatzStand-outMorrison versus National Australia Bank88925Defended the bank in a case that eliminated an entire class of securities class action litigation. Meticulous research and an unexpected argument resulted in the US Supreme Court overturning four decades of lower-court case law.
Mayer BrownStand-outLandmark decision on class actions and arbitration78823In AT&T Mobility versus Concepcion, successfully argued that states cannot refuse to enforce private agreements to arbitrate because they preclude customers from bringing class actions. The culmination of a long-term strategy that involved turning state law arguments into federal ones.
Cravath, Swaine & MooreStand-outChallenging subject matter jurisdiction in the Vivendi "F-cubed" securities litigation78722Pursuing litigation rather than a settlement in the first F-cubed case, the firm was at the forefront of redefining the law on the extraterritorial reach of the US Securities Exchange Act. It advised the UK government as amicus curiae in Morrison versus National Australia Bank, and the decision has saved Vivendi $9bn in potential damages.
Kirkland & EllisStand-outChallenge to BP Lubricants false marking patent case87722When a motion to dismiss the case against the firm's client was denied, lawyers saw that conflicting decisions across the country had set the conditions for a writ of mandamus. The unusual strategy was successful and allowed the Federal Circuit to clarify the law, resulting in a drop in the number of claims.
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & SullivanStand-outNew bankruptcy code for Dubai77822Worked with Latham & Watkins and Clifford Chance to draft a new insolvency regime for the emirate. Melded features of US Chapter 11 and UK bankruptcy administration, and led to an agreement to restructure Dubai World’s debt.
Jones DayHighly commendedNew remedies for a losing bidder in a mergers and acquisitions transaction77721When client Nacco lost a takeover contest for Applica, lawyers argued for the right to invoke a deal protection clause. The firm showed that a Delaware common law fraud remedy could be sought for misstatements in the winning bidder's federal securities filing.
Morrison & FoersterHighly commendedInjunction and settlement to stop teacher layoffs68721Used the California constitution's guarantee of equal educational opportunity. The landmark education rights decision has repercussions for schools across the US.
Paul HastingsHighly commendedDefence of UBS in a precedent-setting dismissal of investor class actions67821Inverting the normal approach in class action cases, the firm focused on the plaintiffs' damages rather than the merits of the case. The lawyers argued the plaintiffs had effectively already received a full refund of their auction-rate securities investments and could no longer seek damages.
Davis Polk & WardwellHighly commendedAntitrust clearance of $37bn Comcast-NBC Universal joint venture67720To address concerns that the vertical joint venture would affect online video distributors, the firm balanced the concerns of both the US Department of Justice and the regulator. Through a complex, 13-month process, lawyers educated the DoJ about the nuances of the online entertainment industry.
Gibson DunnHighly commendedFederal challenge to California’s ban on same-sex marriage57820In the Perry versus Schwarzenegger case, the firm made strategic decisions, including bringing on board lawyers from both sides of the political divide to remove partisan politics.
Sullivan & CromwellHighly commendedChallenge to MBIA Insurance’s restructuring plan to transfer $5bn in assets to a new company68620Played a crucial role in bringing together an unusual coalition of 11 of the world's largest financial institutions in a successful challenge in the New York Court of Appeals. Clients describe the lawyers' phenomenal strategy and consensus building as key in a case that has far-reaching implications for the insurance industry.
Latham & WatkinsHighly commendedDefending the constitutionality of Hasting College’s non-discrimination policy for student-funded groups57719Christian Legal Society versus Martinez was one of the closely watched cases decided by the Supreme Court in 2010. The precedent was against the college, but the Latham lawyers distilled a clear, concise
Orrick, Herrington & SutcliffeHighly commendedAcer, Nanya and Powerchip Semiconductors victory in a patent litigation67619Skilfully co-ordinating a group of respondents, the firm won a highly contested International Trade Commission case. Lawyers pursued a patent exhaustion strategy and dug deeper into the technical details than previous defendants to successfully challenge the claimant's expert.
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & KatzHighly commendedTesting the outer limits of the poison pill57719In the Air Products versus Airgas case, defended the most substantial challenge to the poison pill since 1985. The ruling said that the ultimate decision lies with a company's board of directors rather than shareholders.
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & FeldCommendedA model for state-owned enterprises outside the US to recover damages as a result of corruption56718The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act includes no private right of action for non-US companies that have been victimised by corrupt schemes. The firm is helping sovereign-owned commercial entities to seek access to the US courts to recover losses attributable to corrupt activities that originate in the US.
Davis Polk & WardwellCommendedResolution of Pfizer shareholder derivative litigation57618Shareholders brought lawsuits alleging misconduct, which led to a $2.3bn fine for the company. To resolve the dispute, the firm and Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft helped develop a settlement around the creation of a new regulatory and compliance committee of the board of directors, a first of its kind in the pharmaceutical industry.
DechertCommendedWin for Philip Morris in a suit brought by Missouri Hospitals57618Defence strategy against hospital claims that tobacco companies were liable for the unpaid treatment costs for hospital patients. Successfully showed that the hospitals had not lost money from smoking.
Gibson, Dunn & CrutcherCommendedChevron’s Lago Agrio litigation67518In Chevron’s environmental litigation in Ecuador, used a federal statute permitting court-ordered discovery in aid of foreign litigations to question the decision in the US on the basis of false evidence.
Proskauer RoseCommendedDefending challenge to ATP tennis tour’s “Brave New World” restructuring plan66618The antitrust portion of the case required lawyers to run a complex argument to establish what ATP's relevant market was, whether it had monopoly power and whether its actions were pro-competition.
Weil, Gotshal & MangesCommendedLegislative strategy for 9 / 11 compensation claims57618Helped Bovis Lend Lease, other contractors and the City of New York resolve thousands of claims made by emergency workers following the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001. The James Zadroga Act was signed into law in 2011.
White & CaseCommendedNorex Petroleum versus Access Industries66618Winning the dismissal of a multibillion-dollar Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act action filed against TNK-BP, Russia’s third-largest oil company.
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