Name and co-founding partner Dan Benson is one of the country’s leading complex commercial litigators, and has vast experience handling a wide variety of litigation, including credit market, securities, mass tort and environmental disputes. Dan has been recognized as a national and local “litigation star” by Benchmark Plaintiff and has been selected to New York Super Lawyers.
Among other accomplishments, Dan conceived and negotiated ground-breaking tobacco settlements on behalf of cigarette manufacturer Liggett. Liggett’s settlements, which led to the industry-wide multi-state tobacco settlement, represented a public health landmark and a uniquely successful litigation and business strategy for the client. Dan also directed the litigation strategy that resulted in one of the largest settlements ever in an environmental case on behalf of residents of an Alabama town contaminated by dangerous chemicals.
Dan is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of Commentary magazine, one of the country’s leading magazines of opinion and culture.
- ACA Financial Guaranty Corp., a bond insurer, in its $120 million fraud suit against Goldman Sachs 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.
- TPG in numerous matters, including in bankruptcy proceedings and multiple state and federal court actions concerning portfolio company Caesars Entertainment, and in obtaining injunctive relief against a former employee for breaching confidentiality obligations.
- 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 evidentiary proceeding, the New York Supreme Court ruled in favor of MBIA, upholding MBIA’s restructuring. The banks agreed to drop their challenge to MBIA’s restructuring, and MBIA then received $1.7 billion in cash and a $500 million line of credit for its municipal bond insurance business.
- Bringing whistleblower claims under the False Claims Act against four of the country’s largest chemical companies for their decades-long conspiracy to conceal from the federal government not only their intentional refusals to transfer to the Environmental Protection Agency significant hazard information about their chemicals, but also their resulting liability for $30 billion in Toxic Substances Control Act civil penalties and damages for breaching their Compliance Audit Program contracts with the EPA.
- 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.
- 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.
- Harbinger Capital Partners, a prominent hedge fund and majority shareholder of LightSquared, in connection with adversary proceedings against LightSquared’s largest creditor in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. In one of those 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.
- Anderson News, a leading magazine wholesaler, in an antitrust action alleging a conspiracy among the leading magazine publishers and distributors to boycott Anderson forcing the company into bankruptcy.
- Liggett Group as national counsel in smoking and health litigation for over 20 years and in conceiving, negotiating and implementing the first-ever settlement of smoking and health litigation, including health care cost recovery actions brought by state attorneys general. These Liggett settlements led to industry-wide settlements and revolutionary changes in industry conduct, as well as extraordinary financial benefits for Liggett.
- Association of Financial Guaranty Insurers, a trade association comprised of the leading monoline insurers, in a successful First Circuit argument that a Puerto Rican law allowing Puerto Rico, rather than Congress, to restructure its debt was unconstitutional and preempted by the Federal Bankruptcy Code.
- Source Interlink Distribution and Source Interlink Companies, magazine wholesalers, in an antitrust action alleging that leading magazine publishers and their distributors conspired to force Source out of the wholesale single-issue magazine market. One commentator noted: “Standing in the way of the publishers’ alleged conspiracy, like Superman in front of a speeding locomotive, has been Kasowitz Benson.” The case settled on favorable terms.
- Celanese Chemicals as national counsel for mass product liability litigation concerning allegedly defective plumbing systems installed in six million homes nationwide.