Class Action Victory in Litigation Regarding Labeling of Products
In March 2015, the firm secured a win on behalf of a Fortune 500 chocolate manufacturer in a putative consumer class action regarding the labeling of its dark chocolate and cocoa products. The plaintiffs alleged that our client’s products were “misbranded” in violation of California law and FDA regulations because the labels made false, misleading and unlawful statements regarding the products’ ingredients and characteristics. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that there was insufficient evidence to support this claim and dismissed the case.
Successful Dismissal of a Multi-Million Dollar False Claims Act Suit
In November 2014, the firm secured a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirming summary judgment for our client, a Fortune 500 medical device manufacturer, in a significant False Claims Act (“FCA”) suit. The relator filed a qui tam action accusing our client of fraudulently omitting discounts that had been extended to other commercial customers in its bids to sell ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging, and other medical equipment to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. After transferring venue to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and narrowing the case on a motion to dismiss, the firm prevailed on all claims at summary judgment. The relator appealed the decision to the Third Circuit, which held that “the District Court correctly concluded that [the relator] could show none of the required elements” of his FCA claim, and specifically, that “no reasonable juror could conclude that [our client] made knowingly false statements to the VA.”
Significant Victory in Case Involving Corporate and Economic Espionage
In September 2014, the firm won a significant victory for our client, a Fortune 500 provider of content and analytics for global capital, commodities, and commercial markets, in a nearly five year old litigation brought in federal court in New York by our opponent, a global publishing and information company. Our opponent alleged violations of the RICO Act, the Sherman Act, the Lanham Act, and myriad state law claims as a result of our client’s construction division’s alleged improper access to our opponent’s database for construction project information. In 2010, the Court dismissed our opponent’s RICO claims. In September 2014, the Court dismissed all but one of our opponent’s remaining claims, leaving only a limited version of its unfair competition claim. Then, in October 2014, our opponent agreed to drop the limited unfair competition claim that survived — giving our client a complete dismissal of all claims in the district court. In January 2016, the Second Circuit affirmed the district court’s summary judgment decision resulting in a complete victory for our client.
Dismissal of Lawsuit Against Energy Company
In June 2013, the firm secured the dismissal of allegations brought by a prominent hedge fund against our client, a Fortune 500 energy company. In the 1980’s our client leased an interest in a power plant to a banking and financial services corporation with an option to buy it back. In turn, the financial services corporation sold an interest to a hedge fund. After our client bought back the interest in 2012, the hedge fund sued, alleging flaws in the appraisal process that was used to determine the value of the interest. Our attorneys argued that the energy company’s agreement with the hedge fund barred it from seeking damages. In the end, the Supreme Court of the State of New York agreed with our arguments and dismissed the complaint against our client.
Dismissal of Antitrust Case in Municipal Bond Industry
In March 2013, a California state court dismissed a sprawling antitrust case that had been pending for over four years against five financial guaranty insurance companies and three credit ratings agencies. Our client was alleged to have entered into a conspiracy with the three rating agencies to manipulate municipal bond ratings to the detriment of the plaintiffs—over twenty California municipalities, counties and other governmental bodies. After hearing a full day of arguments, the judge ruled from the bench under the California Anti-SLAPP statute that the action implicated rights of free speech, but was brought without sufficient evidence. Then, in March of 2014, the court awarded attorneys’ fees of over $800,000 to the defendants, reputed to be the largest fee award ever granted under the California statute.
Firm attorneys Robert P. LoBue and Jonathan H. Hatch led the briefing and argument for the insurer defendants
Second Circuit Victory in Complex Financial Case
In 2013, the firm obtained a complete victory for an instrumentality of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York created in connection with the 2008 rescue of American International Group, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The firm had prevailed in the District Court on summary judgment before Judge Jed Rakoff, and an appeal was taken by some of the parties. The case involved the interpretation of two CDO indentures, which were the subject of interpleader actions brought by the successor indenture trustee. The trustee sought a determination as to the proper allocation of funds to Class A-1 and Class A-2 noteholders. The indentures contained apparent inconsistencies and gaps in their waterfall provisions, which created uncertainty for the trustee in making its distributions.
The firm successfully argued to Judge Rakoff, and on appeal to Judges Pooler, Parker and Livingston, that (i) the apparent inconsistency should be resolved for the benefit of the Class A-1 noteholders as a result of a "notwithstanding" clause found in the waterfall (citing Bank of N.Y. v. First Millennium, Inc., 607 F.3d 905 (2d Cir. 2010)), and (ii) a gap in the indenture provisions should be filled by the Court for the benefit of the Class A-1 holders as a matter of law and without discovery, based upon the clear intent found in the document to subordinate the more junior noteholders' interests (relying in substantial part upon the Restatement (Second) of Contracts).