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Litigator of the Week Runners-Up and Shout Outs

A Kirkland team led by partners Stefan Atkinson and Byron Pacheco is recognized as the runner-up for The American Lawyer Litigation Daily's "Litigators of the Week" contest for its work on behalf of client Lee Enterprises.

First up are David Boies and Sigrid McCawley of Boies Schiller Flexner who rerpresent Virginia Giuffre, a victim in the Jeffrey Epstein/Ghislaine Maxwell sex-trafficking ring. This week they filed court papers indicating Giuffre had reached a settlement in her civil suit against Prince Andrew that would include a “substantial donation” by the prince to Giuffre’s charity for victims’ rights. “Prince Andrew has never intended to malign Ms. Giuffre’s character, and he accepts that she has suffered both as an established victim of abuse and as a result of unfair public attacks,” said a joint statement announcing the settlement. Boies and McCawley were previously tapped for Litigator of the Week honors when Maxwell’s deposition in a separate case brought by Giuffre was unsealed in 2020.

Runners-up honors also go to a Ballard Spahr trial team led by David Axelrod with major contributions from Jay Ward Brown, Tom Sullivan and Jacquelyn Schell who defended The New York Times in a high-profile defamation lawsuit brought by former Alaska Governor and Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. A Manhattan federal jury this week found the paper and its former opinions editor James Bennet were not liable for defamation after a 2017 editorial falsely linked Palin’s political action committee to a mass shooting. The verdict came a day after Senior U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, who was overseeing the case, said he would rule the former Alaska governor failed to show evidence the newspaper’s editors acted with “actual malice.” (Post-verdict, some jurors reported to Rakoff that they’d received push notifications of his ruling on their phones. But the judge said the jurors assured him the news had not impacted their verdict.) The Ballard Spahr trial team also included Leslie Minora, Gianni DiMezza and Celeste Phillips.

A transatlantic Cooley team led by Henry Stewart and Laurence Harris in London and Mike Klisch and Bob Cahill in the U.S. get runner-up honors for knocking out claims against healthcare tech client IQVIA in a long-running dispute with Swiss pharmaceutical company Cardiorentis. The drug company hired IQVIA to help conduct a global clinical trial for its primary product, a heart failure treatment, and claimed IQVIA made mistakes in the trial that led to the enrollment of a high number of ineligible patients. After an eight-week trial in the High Court of Justice in London, partially conducted over Zoom because of international travel restrictions, Justice Christopher Butcher last week found Cardiorentis hadn’t shown the eligibility issues were IQVIA’s fault, tossed the pharma company’s damages case, and awarded IQVIA €4.5 million in unpaid fees from the trials. The Cooley team in London also included associates Joanne Elieli, David Young, Andrew Love, Oliver McGlashan, Ben Sharrock, Alicia Johnson-Cole, Julia Maskell, Monica Mylordou. In the U.S., special counsel Josh Siegel and associates Natalie Pike and Brandon McLaughlin provided additional support.

Also getting a runner-up nod this week is a team from Kirkland & Ellis led by Stefan Atkinson and Byron Pacheco. Vice Chancellor Lori Will of the Delaware Court of Chancery this week sided with Kirkland’s client, newspaper chain Lee Enterprises, in a lawsuit brought by an affiliate of hedge fund Alden Global Capital claiming that Lee’s board violated its bylaws and breached its fiduciary duties by rejecting board nominees during Alden’s hostile takeover bid for Lee. After a one-day trial on the paper record earlier this month, Will found this week that Lee’s advance notice bylaws were clear and Alden’s “own delay” prevented it from complying with them rather than any action by the board. Michael Pittenger and Christopher Kelly from Potter Anderson & Corroon were local counsel for the Lee defendants.

Shout out to Mayer Brown team led by Bronwyn Pollock, along with partner Archis Parasharami, senior associate Mitchell Hendy and counsel Matt Sostrin, along with partner Christopher Houpt and associate Ilana Cohen. U.S. District Judge John Koeltl in Manhattan entered final judgment last week for their client, insurer Generali, knocking out litigation related to denied travel policy claims brought in the wake of government restrictions related to COVID-19.

Shout out to Margret Caruso and Michael LaFond of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan. They got a ruling this week from the Georgia Supreme Court upholding lower court wins for Google. The Georgia high court found auctioning a trademarked name for a top spot on its search results page doesn’t amount to theft under state law. The ruling turns back a lawsuit brought by Edible IP LLC tied to Google’s sale of keyword advertisements around the phrase “Edible Arrangements.”

Shout out to a team at Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox led by J.C. Rozendaal, director and chair of the firm’s trial and appellate group. The Federal Circuit last week upheld an invalidity win for client Teva Pharmaceuticals concerning patents covering methods for nasally administering the overdose drug Naloxone. The Federal Circuit agreed with U.S. District Judge Brian Martinotti in New Jersey who previously found the patents obvious due to references in the prior art. The Sterne Kessler team also included directors Paul Ainsworth, Michael Joffre, Adam LaRock, William Milliken and Chandrika Vira.

Reprinted with permission from the February 18, 2022 edition of The American Lawyer Litigation Daily. Further reproduction without permission is prohibitted.