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 one of the preeminent trial lawyers in the country. He has been profiled by The American Lawyer in an article entitled "Heavy Hitter" and in the cover story "Fast Rise to the Top." Marc has been recognized by Benchmark Litigation as one of the country's top 100 trial lawyers. He has been honored as a "Litigation Trailblazer" by the National Law Journal and 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 has referred to him as "one of the most prominent and feared lawyers in the United States."
Marc regularly serves as national trial counsel in complex litigation in the areas of bank finance, fraudulent conveyance, RICO, corporate governance, antitrust, securities, mass tort, product liability, environmental, breach of contract, and other commercial cases. Marc also has an extensive and successful track record in dealing with investigations and lawsuits by state attorneys general, including path-breaking settlements of attorney general tobacco litigation. Marc 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. Profiled by Law360 as one of the country's most innovative managing partners, he has been described as a "decisive leader." He and the firm were also featured in a New York Law Journal cover story entitled "Kasowitz Holds Power Close as He Grows Firm, Lures Business."
- Harbinger Capital Partners, a prominent hedge fund and majority shareholder of LightSquared, Inc., in connection with litigations against LightSquared’s largest creditor in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. In one of these adversary proceedings, the bankruptcy court held – after a trial on the merits – that the creditor breached the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing and the creditor’s misconduct warranted equitable subordination of its interest.
- ACA Financial Guaranty Corp., a bond insurer, in its $120 million fraud suit against Goldman, Sachs & Co. and hedge fund Paulson & Co., Inc. for fraudulently inducing ACA to issue a financial guaranty for Goldman’s ABACUS CDO by deceiving ACA about Paulson’s role and financial interest in the transaction. Marc successfully argued the case before the New York Court of Appeals, creating precedent on the standards for reliance in fraud actions under New York law.
- Association of Financial Guaranty Insurers – which represents the world’s largest monoline insurers – in winning a precedent-setting First Circuit decision concluding that a Puerto Rican law allowing the government to restructure its debt was unconstitutional and preempted by the Federal Bankruptcy Code.
- AMC Networks Inc. and affiliates in the defense of a lawsuit claiming that AMC engaged in "self-dealing" and other alleged improper accounting practices to the detriment of profit participants on the television series, The Walking Dead.
- 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 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. 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, as conservator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, in actions in federal and state courts against numerous financial institutions and individuals. The lawsuits sought rescission or damages from the banks for, among other things, their misrepresentations concerning pools of mortgage loans that underlie residential mortgage-backed securities the banks issued, securitized and sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. After prevailing on critical pre-trial issues, FHFA settled the actions brought by Kasowitz for over $2 billion, including a $1.25 billion settlement with Morgan Stanley.
- TPG, one of the world’s largest private equity firms, and its senior partners, in bankruptcy proceedings and multiple state and federal court actions concerning TPG portfolio company Caesars Entertainment.
- 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. in their antitrust suit alleging that leading magazine publishers and their distributors conspired to force Source out of the wholesale single-issue magazine market. After obtaining a temporary restraining order compelling the defendant magazine publishers and their national distributors to resume supplying magazines to Source, 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 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 had been involved 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 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.
- Anderson News, L.L.C. in an antitrust action alleging a conspiracy among the leading magazine publishers and distributors to boycott Anderson forcing the company into bankruptcy.
- Savers, a national thrift store retailer and fundraiser, in defending its First Amendment right to solicit donations of used clothing and other goods on behalf of charitable organizations, in an enforcement action by the Minnesota Attorney General. The case settled favorably before discovery.
- TPG in an action seeking injunctive relief against a former employee, and supposed whistleblower, for breaching confidentiality obligations and stealing firm hardware and software. Kasowitz obtained an injunction against the ex-employee and the matter was settled in favor of TPG.
- Douglas Elliman Realty, one of the largest real estate brokerage firms in the country, in various employment, contract, intellectual property and commercial matters.
- 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 banks 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 an 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. 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.”
- A defamation-based action against billionaire Isaac Perlmutter arising out of an anonymous hate-mail campaign against Kasowitz’s client. Kasowitz defeated numerous attempts by Perlmutter to dismiss the case, with the Court holding that the pleadings, based on the firm’s investigation, sufficiently “link[ed]” Perlmutter to the hate mail campaign and that Perlmutter’s alleged conduct is “sufficiently outrageous” to sustain a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress.
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
U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, 2015
Associations / Memberships