Plaintiffs' counsel had best be prepared when they enter the courtroom against 1,300-attorney Kirkland & Ellis -- they can be sure that the defense team will be. The Chicago-based firm's basic strategy is to round up the evidence, test it in mock proceedings and even to offer to present its opening statement to the other side's executives -- to demonstrate that the firm will aggressively try its case.
Leonard v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., No.1:05CV475 LTS-RHW (S.D. Miss. 2006). Trial counsel Daniel F. Attridge and Thomas A. Clare, with H. Mitchell 'Micky' Cowan of Watkins Ludlam Winter & Stennis in Jackson, Miss. The court ruled for the insurance company in the first claim by some 2,000 Mississippi policyholders challenging water-damage exclusions in their homeowner policies following Hurricane Katrina. The ruling left the insurers in some legal jeopardy, but substantially reduced the threat to insurers' long-held understanding that even though 'storm surge' was not expressly excluded in policies, it still could be considered excluded flood damage.
Jones v. NL Industries Inc., No. 4:03CV229 (N.D. Miss.). Lead counsel Michael D. Jones. The jury returned a unanimous verdict for the paint manufacturer against 14 children seeking $125 million for brain damage and other health problems they attributed to lead paint. The defense pointed to other sources of contamination, including lead found in soil samples near the children's homes, and to possible congenital problems.
Arlin Adams, Trustee (for Coram Healthcare Corp.) v. Price Waterhouse LLP, No. 97 L 14456 (Cook Co., Ill., Cir. Ct. 2006). Trial counsel Emily Nicklin and Sallie G. Smylie. In an accounting liability lawsuit, the trustee for the home health care provider sought $300 million in damages on the ground that auditors missed a major overstatement in the company's assets. The verdict came a few hours after closing arguments.
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