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Litigator of the Week Runners-Up and Shout Outs

A Kirkland team representing Motorola and a pair of Kirkland teams working on behalf of client Charter Communications earned a shout outs as part of The American Lawyer Litigation Daily's Litigator of the Week contest.

Our first runners-up this week are the team at Proskauer Rose representing the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico. U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain, who has been overseeing Puerto Rico’s restructuring case for the past four-plus years, confirmed the plan of adjustment this week in the first territorial debt restructuring in the history of the U.S. The move comes after an eight-day confirmation hearing on the plan in November, a December 20 complaint from the board and its lawyers at Proskauer claiming that early retirement programs for public employees passed by the Puerto Rican government would violate the federal law governing the restructuring, and a settlement in that litigation filed with the court on December 27 paving the way for Swain’s sign off on the plan. (It was some holiday season at Proskauer!) The board’s legal team was led by Martin Bienenstock, Brian Rosen and Tim Mungovan, and included partners Ann Ashton, Ehud Barak, Guy Brenner, Scott Cooper, Margaret Dale, Chantel Febus, Ralph Ferrara, Michael Firestein, Mark Harris, Colin Kass, Jeffrey Levitan, Michael Mervis, Kevin Perra, Paul Possinger, Seetha Ramachandran, Lary Alan Rappaport, Jonathan Richman, John Roberts, Marc Eric Rosenthal, Dietrich Snell, Matthew Triggs, Ana Vermal and Hadassa Waxman, as well as senior counsel Julia Alonzo and Laura Stafford.

Another runner-up spot goes to a joint team from Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius representing Oracle in its 11-year-long copyright infringement dispute with software support services company Rimini Street. Following a seven-day, in-person bench trial in September, U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks of the District of Nevada this week hit Rimini with $630,000 in sanctions finding the company ran afoul of an injunction barring it from infringing Oracle’s copyrighted software. The ruling puts Oracle in a strong position headed into a jury trial on damages scheduled to push off this fall. Oracle’s team was led by Bill Isaacson and Jessica Phillips at Paul Weiss and Ben Smith and Sharon Smith at Morgan Lewis and includes Morgan Lewis litigation partners Zack Hill and Corey Houmand, of counsel Lindsey Shinn and associates Jacob Minne, Jenna Stokes and Nina Dutta; and Paul Weiss associates Gabriel Schlabach, Marco Minichiello, Erica Spevack and Kirsten Dedrickson.

A separate Paul Weiss team led by partner Eric Stone and counsel Jennifer Gordon gets a runner-up spot for winning summary judgment last week for Genentech in patent litigation brought by Baxalta Inc. targeting Genentech’s hemophilia treatment Hemlibra. Federal Circuit Judge Timothy Dyk sitting by designation in the District of Delaware found the patent Baxalta was asserting invalid for lack of enablement. The Paul Weiss team representing Genentech included Ken Gallo, Nick Groombridge and Catherine Nyarady, counsel Josephine Young, and associates Dave Cole, Naz Wehrli, Ariella Barel and Adrian Rabin. Steven Balick and Andrew Mayo of Ashby & Geddes were local counsel for Genentech.

Shout out to a team at Covington & Burling that scored a major insurance coverage victory for Merck in New Jersey state court on summary judgment. New Jersey Superior Court Judge Thomas Walsh last week sided with Merck and against a group of insurers who claimed that war exclusions in property policies bar coverage for Merck’s losses from the NotPetya cyber incident in 2017 – a case involving more than $1.4 billion in losses. The Covington team representing Merck was led by Anna Engh and includes Mark Herman, Mark Mosier, Dustin Cho, Michael Lechliter, Timothy Greszler and Alexis Dyschkant.

Shout out to a team at Davis Wright Tremaine team representing the City of Miami, Oklahoma, a town that experiences periodic flooding which it claims comes from the operation of the Pensacola Project, a dam licensed by Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The D.C. Circuit this week revived the town’s effort to get FERC to force the state agency that operates the dam to compensate affected landowners. The Davis Wright Tremaine team on the matter was led by appellate and regulatory lawyer David Gossett, and included FERC experts Craig Gannett, Barbara Jost, Walker Stanovsky and Shannon O’Neil.

Shout out to Sean O’Shea, the chair of the trial practice group at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. The Second Circuit this week revived federal racketeering claims that his client, restructuring expert Jay Alix, brought against McKinsey & Co. alleging the consulting firm concealed conflicts of interest in its corporate bankruptcy work.

Shout out to Allyson Ho of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. The Texas Supreme Court trimmed what had been a $124 million jury verdict against her client International Paper down to less than $1.8 million in a unanimous opinion last week. Thomas Phillips of Baker Botts,  the former chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court, was co-counsel for International Paper.

Shout out to Jason Wilcox, Hannah Bedard and John O’Quinn of Kirkland & Ellis. This week the Federal Circuit upheld the firm’s summary judgment win in the Northern District of Ohio for client Motorola finding the company’s two-way radios don’t infringe a patent owned by competitor Hytera Communications.

Shout outs also go out to a pair of Kirkland teams working for Charter Communications. Judson Brown, Dan Donovan and Sara Shaw Tatum last week won a motion to compel arbitration in the District of Connecticut in a proposed class action alleging Charter breached its consumer contracts and engaged in deceptive marketing about the price of its cable service. That followed an earlier summary judgment win in the Southern District of New York where Compass Productions accused Charter of backing out of a promise to carry The Jewish Channel on its cable system. Brown and partner Devin Anderson represented Charter in that matter.

Shout out to Suhana Han, Bill Monahan and Judd Littleton of Sullivan & Cromwell who helped Volkswagen fend off class certification in a case where consumers who purchased so-called pre-production vehicles were seeking more than $115 million, plus punitive damages and attorney fees. U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady of the Eastern District of Virginia denied class certification to three separate subclasses last week, leaving only claims from eight individual purchasers pending.

This article originally appeared in the January 21, 2022 edition of The American Lawyer Litigation Daily. Further reproduction without permission is prohibited.