Outthinking and Outflanking our Opponents
Kasowitz’s core focus is commercial litigation. We outthink and outflank our opponents, and understand what it means for our clients to win. We have extensive trial experience and are always trial-ready. We represent both plaintiffs and defendants and have won major cases in virtually every litigation sub-area.
We have significant experience in representing clients in all types of breach of contract, fraud, fraudulent conveyance, tortious interference, antitrust, unfair competition, civil RICO, securities, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, product liability, environmental and other commercial actions in state and federal courts throughout the country, as well as in national and international arbitrations and mediations.
Our clients include Fortune 500 and other leading companies across a wide range of industries, including private equity, financial services, manufacturing, high-tech, chemical, energy, entertainment, consumer products, pharmaceutical and telecommunications. Our philosophy is to aggressively litigate every action, while doing so in a cost-effective manner, in order to best achieve the goals of our clients.
Fairfax Financial Holdings, the largest insurance company in Canada, in recovering $31 million, including winning a jury verdict of $5.4 million in compensatory damages against hedge fund Exis Capital and a $5.5 million jury verdict in punitive damages against Exis Capital and two former executives in a New Jersey RICO case involving blatant insider trading, market manipulation and short selling attacks by hedge funds and investment firms. Morgan Keegan, originally a defendant, settled with Fairfax for $20 million shortly before trial. In addition to Fairfax’s $31 million recovery on this action, Fairfax secured additional prior settlements with other defendants.
MF Global Holdings, a former global financial derivatives broker, in a $3 billion lawsuit against its outside auditor, PwC, which settled during trial.
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.
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, established a separate company for MBIA’s municipal bond insurance business. After a several-week evidentiary proceeding, the New York Supreme Court upheld MBIA’s restructuring. The banks agreed to drop their challenge, and MBIA received $1.7 billion in cash and a $500 million line of credit for its municipal bond insurance business.
Loreley Financing in claims against banks totaling $13 billion, including a $965 million claim alleging that Citigroup had committed fraud by inducing Loreley to invest in CDOs filled with assets selected by short investors.
ACA Financial Guaranty, a bond insurer, in its $120 million fraud suit against Goldman Sachs and hedge fund Paulson & Co. 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. We 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.
Astra Asset Management, a London-based asset manager, in a trust instruction proceeding against Goldman Sachs involving Astra’s investment in an Abacus CDO sponsored by Goldman Sachs. Astra, which was seeking to require the distribution of $55 million in collateral appreciation to investors, rather than to Goldman, won two dispositive motions; Goldman Sachs settled with Astra on the eve of trial.
TPG in numerous matters, including multiple state and federal court actions concerning portfolio company Caesars Entertainment, and in obtaining injunctive relief against a former employee for breaching confidentiality obligations.
MatlinPatterson, a global asset manager, and certain principals, in securing the dismissal of $123 million breach of fiduciary duty claims brought by a minority shareholder of portfolio company DuCool. The minority shareholder had alleged that our clients, including directors and officers of DuCool, had breached their fiduciary duties in managing the company, diluting the plaintiff’s equity interest.
An international hotel company in successfully obtaining significant preliminary injunctions arising from contract disputes with hotel owners. One preliminary injunction, unanimously affirmed by the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, bars the owner of a large New York City hotel from unilaterally terminating its license agreement with our client. The other preliminary injunction, also unanimously affirmed by the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, bars the owner of another large Times Square hotel from unilaterally terminating its hotel management agreement with our client.
Hilton Worldwide in defending a civil action alleging trade secret misappropriation brought by Hilton’s competitor, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, and a parallel grand jury investigation by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. The case, described by the media as “Grishamesque,” settled after a year of discovery.
The State of Hawaii in an action alleging fraud, False Claims Act violations and other claims against Ciber, Inc. stemming from an implementation of Oracle software for the State’s Department of Transportation.
Coach, the global fashion company and leading design house of modern luxury goods, in four putative class-action lawsuits alleging violations of various consumer protection laws on behalf of nationwide classes and state subclasses.
SL Green Realty in a litigation against a major gaming company arising out of the bidding process to run New York’s Aqueduct racetrack casino.
Apollo Management and its portfolio company, Hexion Specialty Chemicals, in litigation arising from Hexion’s proposed $15 billion merger with Huntsman Chemicals. Kasowitz prosecuted an expedited proceeding 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. The Wall Street Journal lauded the settlement as a “sweet deal” for Apollo and Hexion.
Freescale Semiconductor in defending against injunctive and damages litigation by senior lenders who claimed that a material adverse change had occurred, and that their interests were diluted, when the company issued incremental debt of $750 million. This case involved expedited discovery and a number of appellate proceedings.
Verizon Wireless in a deceptive trade practices lawsuit by the Florida Attorney General against Alltel Communications, which Verizon Wireless had acquired. The Florida AG sought more than $20 million in damages and billions of dollars in penalties for alleged unfair trade practices violations in connection with Alltel’s marketing of its roadside assistance feature for mobile customers. After a three-week bench trial, the Circuit Court Judge entered judgment in favor of Alltel on all counts.
TD Bank in actions by investment groups alleging that the bank aided former attorney Scott Rothstein’s $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme. TD Bank contests the allegations and has asserted various affirmative defenses.
Southern Union Company in a lawsuit relating to its unsuccessful acquisition bid for Southwest Gas. A federal court jury awarded Southern Union $60 million in punitive damages against the Arizona Corporation Commissioner for improperly influencing the outcome of the acquisition. The primary corporate defendants, Southwest Gas and the competing bidder, Oneok, agreed to multi-million dollar settlements with Southern Union. The verdict is believed to be the largest-ever punitive damages award against an individual.
Level 3 Communications, in its action against Switch & Data Management Company to prevent S&D from effectively shutting down large portions of Level 3’s international network as a result of a contract dispute. The firm obtained a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction precluding S&D from taking action. The parties then reached a confidential settlement.
Special Entertainment Counsel for the Chapter 11 Trustee for Trans Continental Television Productions in a three-year heavily contested litigation against MTV Networks, Viacom, Viacom International, Bad Boy Films and Bad Boy Records. The lawsuit centered around MTV’s scheme to misappropriate Trans Continental’s ownership interest in Making the Band, which later featured hip-hop star Sean Combs (p/k/a Diddy). The case raised novel issues of copyright and contract law. On the eve of the three-week jury trial, the Viacom and Bad Boy defendants agreed to settle the case.