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Run It Back! One Last Look at the 2021 Litigators of the Week

Another year is in the books here at The Litigation Daily and 2021 was another stellar year for our Litigators of the Week. This year the Litigation Daily spread the LOTW love out to at least 39 different law firms and universities, by our count.

But there were repeat players aplenty. Cooley; Debevoise & Plimpton; Hogan Lovells; Motley Rice; Wilmer Cutler Picker Hale and Dorr and Winston & Strawn all nabbed Friday bragging rights twice. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd brought home an impressive three LOTW titles during the year. Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan topped that with four. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher took the top spot a whopping five times. 

But once again the uber-competitive litigators over at Kirkland & Ellis dominated our Friday headlines by bringing home Litigator of the Week honors nine times, topping even the eight LOTW honors the firm won in 2020. 

Here’s one last honor roll call to all our 2021 winners, and a wish for good luck to the rest of you in 2022!

This Kirkland & Ellis Trio Won’t Let Charter Communications Misconduct-Happy Litigation Opponent Off the Hook

A Kirkland team led by Judson Brown, Thomas Weir and Paul Weeks stuck it to Optymyze, a company that provided the cloud-based platform that Charter used to calculate commission-based compensation for thousands of its employees and vendors.

Goodwin’s Cannabis Practice Helps Free Man Serving Life Sentence for Marijuana Conviction

Brett Schuman, the co-chair of cannabis practice at Goodwin Procter, says that “those of us making money in the state-legal cannabis industry have a special obligation to help those serving time for the same or similar conduct that we are all profiting off now.”

The Debevoise Partner Who Inked Major White Collar Settlements for 2 Name Brands on Back-to-Back Days 

Helen Cantwell of Debevoise & Plimpton closed deals wrapping up federal investigations into Capital One and Toyota without any criminal charges against her clients.

The Beveridge & Diamond Team that Made Sure Newark Didn’t Face the Same Safe Drinking Water Act Woes as Flint

A Beveridge & Diamond team led by Bina Reddy, Eric Klein, and Roy Prather fended off two preliminary injunction efforts by the Natural Resources Defense Council before favorably settling the case for the New Jersey city.

How Robbins Geller Landed a $1.2B Settlement in the Valeant Pharmaceuticals Securities Case

Jim Barz and Darren Robbins of Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd got sign-off on the ninth-largest PSLRA settlement ever.

Gibson Dunn and Alston & Bird Team to Fend Off an Import Ban on Fitness Trackers

After an all-remote bench trial, Gibson Dunn’s Josh Krevitt and Stuart Rosenberg, working for Fitbit, and Alston & Bird’s Scott Stevens, representing Garmin, scored a ruling at the U.S. International Trade Commission finding the companies didn’t infringe a rival’s patent.

The Quinn Emanuel Trio Who Fended Off Citi’s Attempt to Claw Back Half a Billion in Mistakenly Wired Funds

Adam Abensohn, Benjamin Finestone and Robert Loigman grabbed headlines in the case spinning out of a nearly billion-dollar blunder that rocked the finance world.

This Debevoise Duo Fended Off a $650M Arbitration Claim For the Republic of Iraq

Catherine Amirfar and Ina Popova of Debevoise & Plimpton secured a complete defense win in a bilateral investment treaty arbitration brought by Agility Public Warehousing Company.

The Irell Trial Team That Landed a Whopping $2.175B Patent Verdict Against Intel in Waco

After a six-day trial, it took jurors less than four hours of deliberations to side with the Irell team led by Morgan Chu, Ben Hattenbach and Alan Heinrich and their client, VLSI Technology LLC.

The Potential $3B Copyright Headache that Weil Gotshal Erased for Getty Images

Benjamin Marks, who heads the intellectual property & media practice at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, convinced the Second Circuit to uphold his summary judgment win for Getty Images in a case where the company was facing potential statutory damages of $3 billion.

Eli Lilly Turns to Kirkland’s O’Quinn to Block New Dispute Resolution Procedure Over Drug Discount Program

A federal judge in Indianapolis granted John O’Quinn’s motion for a preliminary injunction finding that the government’s messaging about the new program to resolve disputes over the 340B drug pricing program were “ambiguous, confusing, duplicitous, and misleading.”

After COVID Forced a Trade Secrets Mistrial, This Hogan Lovells Duo Scored a $152M Verdict on Second-Go

A nine-figure jury verdict win is impressive under any circumstances. But everything that led up to the East Texas verdict Maria Boyce and Cristina Rodriguez of Hogan Lovells scored for client ResMan makes it all the more impressive.

The Gibson Dunn Lawyer in D.C. Who Argued to Close a Loophole in California Lemon Law During the Capitol Riots

Tom Dupree of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher went to his office in downtown Washington, D.C., on January 6 to handle a remote argument before the California Court of Appeal.

This Kirkland/Harvard Law Team Vindicated a Fired Cop Who Intervened When a Colleague Used Excessive Force

Neil Eggleston and Sarahi Constantine Padilla of Kirkland & Ellis and Ronald Sullivan Jr. and Intisar Rabb, both professors at Harvard Law School, took on the case of former Buffalo police officer Cariol Horne, who was fired less than one year shy of receiving her 20-year pension.

A Complete Non-Infringement Scorecard For Intel and Wilmer in Round 2 with VLSI

Wilmer’s William “Bill” Lee, Mary “Mindy” Sooter and Joseph Mueller convinced a Waco, Texas jury that Intel didn’t infringe two microprocessor patents. The win comes a month-and-a-half after Intel was hit with a $2.175 billion damages verdict in the same courtroom.

This Kirkland Duo Landed a Complete Defense Sweep in an East Texas Competitor Patent Trial

In a patent showdown between rivals in the network security space, jurors sided with Kirkland’s Adam Alper and Mike De Vries by finding that their client APCON didn’t infringe and that all asserted claims were invalid.

The White & Case Duo Who Beat Back Cigna’s Bid for a $1.85B Breakup Fee in Ill-Fated Anthem Merger

Glenn Kurtz, the global head of commercial litigation at White & Case, and partner Claudine Columbres got a two paragraph ruling from the Delaware Supreme Court that brought an end to four years of high stakes litigation between the two health insurance giants.

A Kirkland Partner’s 12-Year Quest to Get Fair Treatment for Maryland’s HBCUs Yields a Half-Billion Settlement

“When all is said and done, I think this will be the case that my kids and grandkids will look back at as being the crowning achievement of my career,” says Kirkland’s Mike Jones.

The Hogan Lovells Team That Scored the Largest Wrongful Conviction Verdict Ever for 2 N.C. Men

Des Hogan, Liz Lockwood and David Maxwell of Hogan Lovells led a team that won a $75 million verdict for Henry McCollum and Leon Brown, brothers who were wrongfully convicted, sentenced to death, and spent 31 years in prison for a crime they didn’t commit.

The Paul Weiss Associate Who Challenged the FAA Decision to Ax Peak-Hour Discount Flight Slots From Newark

Aimee Brown convinced the D.C. Circuit that the FAA’s decision to retire desirable takeoff slots at Newark International Airport that formerly belonged to Southwest Airlines violated the Administrative Procedures Act, a win for her client Spirit Airlines.

The Kirkland & Ellis Team that Won the Second Bellwether Trial Over 3M’s Combat Earplugs

After 3M was hit with a $7.1 million verdict in the first bellwether trial in the combat earplug multidistrict litigation, which has more than 230,000 plaintiffs, Kirkland’s Hariklia “Carrie” Karis, Sierra Elizabeth and Mark Nomellini won a complete defense verdict in the second.

Gibson Dunn Protects Its $3B Trial Win for HP Against Oracle on Appeal

Appellate courts can be places that multibillion-dollar damages awards go to die. Not this time, thanks to the work of HP’s team at Gibson Dunn: Theodore Boutrous, Samuel Liversidge and Rod Stone.

The Winston & Strawn Partner Who Took the Fight to Get NCAA Athletes Compensated from the Trial Court to the High Court

Winston & Strawn co-chair Jeffrey Kessler represented college football players and men’s and women’s basketball players who scored a major, unanimous victory at the U.S. Supreme Court in an antitrust case against the NCAA.

The Morrison & Foerster Duo Who Went on the Offensive for a Client Targeted in a Short and Distort Attack

Scott Llewellyn and Michael Birnbaum of Morrison & Foerster unmasked the short-seller behind an attack article posted on financial website Seeking Alpha targeting their client Farmland Partners Inc. They also recovered a multiple of the profits the short-seller made when the price of FPI stock dropped 39% on the day of publication.

The Davis Wright Tremaine Duo Who Made a Joke of Roy Moore’s $95M Suit Against Sacha Baron Cohen

DWT’s Elizabeth McNamara and Rachel Strom successfully argued that a release the former Alabama chief justice signed prior to his appearance on the satirical Showtime program “Who is America?” barred precisely the claims he was bringing.

The Plaintiffs’ Team Behind the Revamped $26B Proposed Opioid Settlement

The lawyers representing municipalities across the country played a central role in getting the proposed deal with Johnson & Johnson and three opioid drug distributors back on track. “With this settlement and the injunctive relief terms, we have the potential to improve public safety for the country,” says Motley Rice’s Joe Rice.

This Durie Tangri Trio Scored a $177.8M Verdict for the Maker of a Novel Skin Cancer Treatment

A federal jury in Oakland sided with Daralyn Durie, Eugene Novikov, Kira Davis and their client, Berkeley, California-based Plexxikon, finding that Novartis willfully infringed patents for the first FDA-approved targeted therapy for metastatic melanoma.

The Skadden and Nelson Mullins Team that Landed a Win for J&J in the First In-Person Talc Trial of the Pandemic

Jurors in St. Clair County, Illinois gave the company and its legal team led by Allison Brown of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Michael Brown of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough a complete defense win even though the judge overseeing the trial held the company and a key witness in contempt.

The Gibson Dunn Duo Who Scored an Extraordinary SCOTUS Win for New York Landlords

Randy Mastro and Akiva Shapiro built on their prior U.S. Supreme Court win for the Diocese of Brooklyn striking down New York’s capacity restrictions on religious services to secure another pandemic-related writ of injunction from the court for landlords challenging the state’s eviction moratorium.

Quinn Emanuel Clears the Decks for Norwegian Cruise Line to Ask for COVID Vaccination Docs in Florida

A team led by Derek Shaffer, Olga Vieira and John O’Sullivan convinced a federal judge in Miami to grant an injunction blocking a Florida law barring the cruise line from requiring passengers to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination.

This Covington Trial Team Protected AbbVie’s $8B Per Year Cancer Treatment From a Generic Challenge

Following a seven-day remote bench trial last year, Christopher Sipes, Erica Andersen and Brianne Bharkhda of Covington & Burling got a ruling from a federal judge in Delaware finding the four patents covering cancer treatment Imbruvica were valid and infringed.

The Kirkland Trial Team That Fought Off a Former Abbott Laboratories Employee’s Racial Discrimination Claims

Jim Hurst, Christa Cottrell and Rebecca Fitzpatrick made the case that a former regional sales manager at Abbott Molecular was let go as a part of a reduction in force rather than as a result of any race discrimination or retaliation.

The Dechert Partner Who Revived the Case of an Asylum Seeker Whose Immigrant Story Echoes His Own

Sozi Tulante secured a precedent-setting victory for B.C., an asylum-seeker from Cameroon, in an immigration appeal centering on B.C.’s primary language, Pidgin English, and the need for an interpreter.

Apple Turns to Gibson Dunn and Paul Weiss to Fend Off Fortnite Maker’s Antitrust Challenge

Rich Doren and Veronica Moyé of Gibson Dunn and Karen Dunn of Paul Weiss led Apple’s trial team against Epic Games in the hotly contested antitrust challenge to its App Store business model.

Motley Rice and Robbins Geller Land an $809M Securities Settlement From Twitter

Dan Drosman and Tor Gronborg of Robbins Geller and Lance Oliver of Motley Rice secured a nine-digit settlement from Twitter in a case accusing two former executives of making misleading statements about user metrics.

Susman Godfrey Fends Off Long-Pending $3.89B Suit from Puerto Rico’s Electric Utility for Vitol

In a case that was originally filed in Puerto Rico in 2009, Alex Kaplan, Neal Manne and Weston O’Black of Susman Godfrey got a ruling knocking out claims brought on behalf of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority and awarding $28.4 million plus interest on Vitol’s counterclaim.

The Greenberg Traurig Lawyer Who Freed Britney

Mathew Rosengart, who has been dubbed ‘Rosengod’ by certain fans of Britney Spears, got a ruling suspending and removing the pop icon’s father as conservator of her estate, a position that had given him an outsized role in her life and finances for a decade-plus.

T-Mobile Turns to Wilmer to Put the Kibosh on Cox Communications’ Wireless Launch with a Rival

After a five-day in-person bench trial in August, Delaware Vice Chancellor Morgan Zurn in October found Cox “promised that if it wanted to go to the wireless services dance, it would go with Sprint” which since merged with T-Mobile. LOTW honors went to Wilmer’s Hallie Levin, Peter Neiman and John Butts.

Cooley and Mayer Brown Team to Win Oculus Rift Ownership Dispute for Palmer Luckey and Facebook

A team led by Michael Rhodes at Cooley and Lauren Goldman at Mayer Brown fought off a $400 million claim at trial in an ownership dispute brought by a Hawaii partnership that hired Luckey to build a prototype of a head-mounted 3D camera around the same time he was developing the first version of the popular Rift virtual reality gaming headset.

Sheppard Mullin Lands a $100M-Plus Patent Infringement Award Against the Federal Government

Brad Graveline and Laura Burson of Sheppard Mullin won more than $100 million in damages at trial for their client SecurityPoint in a patent dispute with the federal government over the company’s patented method for providing trays at security checkpoints.

A Huge Win for Drug Company Defendants in California Opioid Trial

The tentative decision from a judge in Orange County, California, was the first major win for drug companies facing trials across the country targeting their roles in the opioid crisis. A Kirkland & Ellis team led by Donna Welch represented Allergan at trial. John Hueston of Hueston Hennigan led the team representing Endo. Janssen was represented by an O’Melveny & Myers team led by Michael Yoder. Teva was represented by a Morgan, Lewis & Bockius team led by Collie James IV. The judge finalized the decision on Dec. 14.

Kirkland Litigators Bet on Client Huntsman and Themselves to Land $665M Arbitration Award on Contingency

Kirkland partners Gene Assaf, Mike Williams and Peter Farrell led a team that brought home a $200 million contingency fee after accusing Rockwood and executives of orchestrating a “massive fraud” in the $1.1 billion sale of its pigments businesses to Huntsman.

Defending a ‘Blockbuster’ Antipsychotic Drug Patent During a Three-Week Zoom Trial

Barbara Mullin of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler fended off a generic drug maker’s patent challenge to Janssen’s antipsychotic drug Invega Sustenna which has more than $1.5 billion in annual sales. The win means nearly 10 more years of patent protection for the drug.

Cooley, Kaplan Hecker and Paul Weiss Hold White Nationalists Accountable for Charlottesville Violence

After four years of litigation and a four-week trial, a federal jury returned a verdict of more than $26 million for plaintiffs in the case against the organizers of the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally. Roberta Kaplan of Kaplan Hecker & Fink, Karen Dunn of Paul Weiss, and Alan Levine of Cooley represent clients who were there and injured during the racially-motivated violence of that weekend.

Quinn Emanuel Appellate Team Gets Busted-Deal Trial Win to Stand Up in Precedential Delaware Opinion

Kathleen Sullivan, Rollo Baker and William Adams persuaded the Delaware Supreme Court to uphold a trial court decision allowing client Mirae Asset to walk away from a $5.8 billion deal to buy luxury hotels based on the seller’s breach of an “ordinary course” covenant.

Dan Webb Wins a Jury Conviction as the Special Prosecutor in the Jussie Smollet Case

The Winston & Strawn co-executive chairman and the firm have put in nearly 15,000 hours into the case involving Smollett, who was convicted last week by a Chicago jury on five of six charges tied to staging a hate-crime assault and lying to investigators about it.

Reprinted with permission from the December 23, 2021 edition of The American Lawyer Litigation Daily. Further reproduction without permission is prohibited.