Described by CNBC as the "toughest lawyer on Wall Street" and by Bloomberg Financial News as an "uberlitigator," Marc E. Kasowitz is widely regarded as a preeminent trial lawyer. He has been profiled by The American Lawyer in an article entitled "Heavy Hitter" and in the cover story "Fast Rise to the Top." In 2013, Marc was designated a "Securities MVP" by Law360, which noted that he "has made a career out of beating big banks." Marc has also been recognized as one of the nation’s top litigators by publications including Chambers USA ("widely respected as an 'extremely talented litigator,'" praised by clients for "his 'tremendous trial experience,'"); Lawdragon 500 ("the cream of the crop"); Benchmark ("a unique, zealous, and exceptionally skilled advocate" "his guidance is extremely reliable and he is very client-focused and big picture-oriented"); The Legal 500 ("excellent across the board," "superbly talented lawyer," and "very much at the center" of the current spate of mortgage-backed securities litigation) and The Best Lawyers in America. Opponents cited by The American Lawyer have acknowledged Marc as a "powerhouse" and "the toughest of the tough guys," and a foreign publication recently referred to him as "one of the most prominent and feared lawyers in the United States."
Marc has an extensive background as national trial counsel in complex litigation in the areas of bank finance, leveraged-buyouts, fraudulent conveyance, RICO, corporate governance, trade secret misappropriation, antitrust, securities, mass tort, breach of contract and other commercial cases. He has also conducted numerous internal investigations on behalf of boards of directors, management and special committees regarding alleged corporate misfeasance, conflicts of interest, challenges to board authority, insider trading, accounting fraud, market timing, obstruction of justice, market manipulation, and other issues relating to director and officer fiduciary responsibilities and liabilities.
Marc is the firm’s founding and managing partner. Described by Law360 as a "decisive leader," he has been profiled as one of the country's most innovative managing partners. In January 2011, he was selected as The American Lawyer's "Litigator of the Week." In 2010, he and the firm were featured in a New York Law Journal cover story entitled "Kasowitz Holds Power Close as He Grows Firm, Lures Business."
- MBIA, one of the world’s largest monoline insurers, in litigation brought by 18 of the world’s largest banks seeking to overturn MBIA’s 2009 corporate restructuring which, with the approval of the New York Department of Insurance (now the Department of Financial Services), established a separate company for MBIA’s municipal bond insurance business. In March 2013, after a several-week trial, the New York Supreme Court ruled in favor of MBIA, upholding MBIA’s restructuring. Kasowitz thereafter obtained a settlement, which also covered put-back litigation, whereby the remaining banks agreed to drop their challenge to MBIA’s restructuring, and MBIA received $1.7 billion in cash and a $500 million line of credit for its municipal bond insurance business.
- Federal Housing Finance Agency (“FHFA”), as conservator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, in several actions in federal and state courts against numerous financial institutions and individuals. The lawsuits seek rescission or damages from the defendants for, among other things, defendants’ misrepresentations concerning pools of mortgage loans that underlie residential mortgage-backed securities issued and securitized by the defendants and sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
- Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities (“RMBS”) Trusts, on behalf and at the direction of the holders of certificates in these Trusts, in their actions for breach of contract against the mortgage originators and/or the sponsors of the securitizations (i.e., those entities who sold the mortgage loans to the Trusts). These “put-back” actions seek, among other things, specific performance of the originators’ or sponsors’ commitment to repurchase mortgage loans that breach the representations and warranties, which were made by the originators or sponsors as a guarantee of the quality of the mortgage loan being sold to the Trusts. Marc is currently litigating multiple put-back actions.
- Investment firm Caxton Associates, LP in connection with a New York state action in which the former CEO of a Caxton affiliate claimed a 10% equity stake in the company and an ongoing profits interest. Summary judgment dismissal of the action in its entirety was granted in Caxton’s favor by the New York State Supreme Court, Commercial Division, in 2012. The Court ruled that the evidence failed to reflect a “meeting of the minds” on the essential details of the CEO’s alleged interests, and that “the paper trail reveals nothing more than protracted, arm’s length business negotiations that ultimately failed.”
- Apollo Management L.P. and its portfolio company, Hexion Specialty Chemicals, in litigation arising from Hexion's proposed $15 billion merger with Huntsman Chemicals. Commenced and prosecuted an expedited proceeding in New York state court against Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank to compel specific performance of the banks' commitments to fund the acquisition, and successfully negotiated a settlement with Huntsman, bringing an end to one of the largest-ever battles over a leveraged buyout. Major media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, lauded the settlement negotiated by Kasowitz as a "sweet deal" for Apollo and Hexion.
- Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited, a Canadian insurance holding company, in a New Jersey action arising out of a short-selling attack on Fairfax and its operating subsidiaries by a group of hedge funds and their operatives in collusion with certain purportedly independent securities analysts. Fairfax and its principal property and casualty insurance subsidiary have asserted claims under New Jersey's RICO statute and New Jersey common law seeking $6 billion in damages for the harm they suffered as a result of the attack.
- Source Interlink Distribution, L.L.C. and Source Interlink Companies, Inc. ("Source") in their antitrust suit alleging that leading magazine publishers and their distributors conspired to force Source out of the wholesale single-issue magazine market. In February 2009, U.S. District Judge Paul A. Crotty granted a temporary restraining order to Source, ordering the defendant magazine publishers and their national distributors to resume supplying magazines to Source. Since then, Source dismissed its claims against two defendants and settled its claims against the remaining defendants. One commentator described Kasowitz’s role for Source: "Standing in the way of the publishers' alleged conspiracy, like Superman in front of a speeding locomotive, has been Kasowitz Benson."
- Private equity funds Apollo Management L.P., Centerbridge Capital Partners, L.P., Fortress Investment Group, TPG Capital and others in connection with disputes over acquisitions and acquisition financings in large leveraged buyout transactions. Marc has formulated litigation strategy for disputes with target companies regarding material adverse effect clauses, post-merger insolvency and specific performance, and in disputes with major banks regarding funding of debt financing commitments. The Home Depot Supply and Harrah's Entertainment buyout transactions in which Marc has been involved have funded and closed.
- Liggett Group Inc. as national counsel in smoking and health litigation since 1996. Marc and other Kasowitz attorneys conceived, negotiated and implemented the first-ever settlement in 1996 and 1997 of smoking and health litigation, settling health care cost recovery actions brought by states' attorneys general against Liggett. These Liggett settlements led to revolutionary changes in industry conduct, as well as extraordinary financial benefits for our client.
- Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as lead trial counsel in the five-week trial concerning the Port Authority's liability for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the first major terrorist attack on United States soil. The hundreds of plaintiffs in the action consisted of representatives of estates of individuals killed in the attack, injured individuals, and World Trade Center tenants (including several financial services firms) that allegedly incurred business interruption damages as a consequence of the attack. After trial, the New York Court of Appeals dismissed the action on the basis of a governmental immunity defense developed by the firm.
- Celanese Chemicals, Inc. as national counsel for mass product liability litigation concerning allegedly defective plumbing systems installed in six million homes nationwide. In addition to winning several trials on behalf of Celanese, Marc also negotiated and gained final approval for one of the largest product liability class action settlements in history, and successfully defended that settlement against constitutional law challenges in federal and state trial and appellate courts around the country.
Cornell Law School
Editor, Cornell Law Review
(B.A., cum laude, 1974)
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, 1979
U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, 1979
U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, 1991
U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, 1993
U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York, 1999
U.S. District Court, District of Colorado, 2001
U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit, 2009
U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, 2010
Associations / Memberships