In the News The AmLaw Litigation Daily

Litigator of the Week Runners-Up and Shout Outs

A Kirkland team led by attorneys Jeff Zeiger, Jonathan Adair and Mike Foradas earned a shout out in The American Lawyer Litigation Daily’s "Litigator of the Week" contest after a victory for The Dow Chemical Company.

A trial team from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan lands the first runner-up spot this week for scoring a double whammy in the latest patent battle over DNA sequencing patents. A Delaware federal jury awarded Quinn client Complete Genomics $333 million in damages last week, while also invalidating two patents asserted by competitor Illumina. Jurors further found Illumina’s infringement was willful, opening the door for U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika to potentially enhance damages by up to three times depending on her read of Illumina’s conduct. The Quinn team included partners David Bilsker, Andrew Bramhall, David Perlson and Anne Toker, and associates Margaret Shyr and Andrew Naravage.

Also landing runners-up honors this week are Matthew Ingber of Mayer Brown and Michael Martinez of Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel who secured a trial win against the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last week. After a weeklong trial, a Manhattan jury on Friday sided with their client, James Im, a former senior bond trader at Nomura Inc. who took the stand and admitted to lying to customers about the prices of commercial mortgage-backed securities. The jury found Im, who also testified that clients knew not to take traders at face value, hadn’t committed securities fraud.

Debra Wong Yang, Avi Weitzman, Douglas Fuchs and Reed Brodsky of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher get a runners-up spot this week for their work defending Dr. Sepehr “Sep” Sarshar, the founder of Auspex Pharmaceuticals, from insider trading charges. Sarshar settled with the SEC for just $56,222 last week after earlier his defense team secured a rare written declination from federal prosecutors agreeing to dismiss criminal charges upon entry of the civil settlement. The Gibson Dunn team on the matter also included Karin Portlock, Zach Lloyd, Samuel Eckman, Gregory Boden, Madeleine McKenna, Trevor Gopnik, Liesel Schapira, Alisha Siqueira and Amanda LeSavage.

Also getting runners-up honors this week is a team from Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe led by partner Will Stute and David Fuad, and including associates Francesca Morency and Justin Washington. A state court jury in Eugene, Oregon, last week sided with Orrick’s client, the NCAA, in a lawsuit brought by former University of Oregon offensive lineman Doug Brenner, who was seeking more than $100 million in damages claiming the NCAA had failed to properly regulate football workouts that led to him developing exertional rhabdomyolysis. Jurors found the NCAA was negligent, but its negligence wasn’t a cause of Brenner’s injuries. A school spokesperson told The Oregonian that UO reached a $500,000 settlement with Brenner prior to the verdict.

Shout out to a Winston & Strawn team led by partner Paula Hinton and appellate and critical motions associate Lauren Gailey. The Fifth Circuit this week upheld a summary judgment win for their client, Occidental Petroleum, in a case where former Ecuadorian employees sought a $256 million portion of a settlement the company reached with Ecuador post-arbitration after the government seized its assets there. The court held that under Ecuadoran law Occidental’s former employees could only share in the profits lawfully reported in the company’s 2006 income taxes, which did not include the later arbitration award. Gailey argued the appeal for Occidental. Former Winston partners Eric Bloom and John Strasburger and associate Chanslor Gallenstein also contributed to the effort.

Shout out to lawyers for The Dow Chemical Company, Shell Oil Company and Occidental Chemical Corporation who got a ruling from a Paris court this week finding an $802 million judgment issued against them by a Nicaraguan court in 2006 was unenforceable. The Paris court found the companies properly exercised their right under a special law allowing them to defend themselves in the U.S. rather than Nicaragua from claims stemming from alleged injuries to workers on banana plantations exposed to a pesticide. Dow was represented by Jeff Zeiger, Jonathan Adair and Mike Foradas of Kirkland & Ellis; Mike Brem and George DiazArrastia of Schirrmeister Diaz-Arrastia Brem; and Jacques-Alexandre Genet and Emmanuel Kaspereit of Archipel. Shell was represented by David Ogden and Karin Dryhurst of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr and Erwan Poisson of Allen & Overy. Occidental was represented by the company’s senior corporate counsel Deborah Malveaux and Christophe Seraglini of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

Shout out to a team from Wilmer that scored a major victory for Apple in the Western District of Wisconsin in two cases brought by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, or WARF. U.S. District Judge William Conley this week ruled WARF cannot pursue infringement claims against various iPad and iPhone models under the doctrine of equivalents in a pair of cases involving its microprocessor patent. The Wilmer team on the matter includes Bill Lee, Lauren Fletcher and Andrew Danford.

Shout out to a team from Munger, Tolles & Olson for helping secure a ruling clearing the path for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to return Bruce’s Beach, a historically Black-owned resort in Manhattan Beach condemned in the 1920s, to their clients, the heirs of the Bruce family. L.A. County Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff entered judgment this week denying a state constitutional challenge claiming the transfer amounted to an illegal “gift” from the state. Munger partner E. Martin Estrada led the team representing the Bruce family, which included John Schwab, Michael Soloff, Wesley Burrell and Mica Moore.