Practice Areas » Litigation
There are a million ways to lose a complex commercial legal case; our lawyers find ways to win. Such was the case of summary judgment we won for a multinational client in a patent infringement case which, if lost, would have resulted in the shutdown of a $150,000,000 production line. Or the multi-state securities litigation whose outcome was a life-or-death event for a publicly traded industrial company.
Our lawyers secured the dismissal with prejudice of a trade secrets case against a client who would have been out of business had we lost.
Our trial lawyers' experience spans all types of complex commercial litigation: securities litigation including class actions, construction cases, trade secret matters, director and officer defense cases, employment law litigation, credit recovery cases, complex insurance matters, and commercial disputes.
- When the acquisition of a large European company fell through, the plaintiff, a U.S. company, sued an international investment broker for several million dollars, claiming that the broker withheld vital information about the European company. We succeeded in having the case dismissed before trial and prevailed on the appeal in the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. We then proceeded to recover several thousand dollars in attorneys' fees for our client.
- Under a long-term coal supply agreement, an electric utility committed to purchase over 2,000,000 tons of coal annually from our client, a major United States coal producer. In an effort to reduce its annual purchases by more than one-quarter of a million tons, the utility employed various reinterpretations of the contract. After a lengthy arbitration proceeding, we secured an order requiring the utility to purchase the full contract tonnage for the remaining 13 years of the agreement which represented in excess of 30,000,000 tons of coal.
- Sued on a $12,000 invoice, our client countersued for defective performance by the manufacturer responsible for anodizing cookware. At trial, we won judgment for the entire amount of the counterclaim which was in excess of $250,000.
- Our clients exercised their rights to terminate an agreement to acquire a department store chain because the agreement's due diligence condition as to the value of the assets was not satisfied. The seller sued for an amount in excess of $10,000,000 claiming that the condition had been waived. We successfully defended the client's decision through two years of litigation and negotiated a settlement under which the client purchased only the few stores it wanted at their actual value.
- After purchasing the assets of two competing businesses, our client learned that the sellers were back in business violating the covenants not to compete that they had made in connection with the transaction. We filed complaints to enjoin the unlawful competition and ultimately secured the sellers' consents to the injunctions proving the enforceability of the covenants, thereby saving our client substantial litigation costs.
- A specialty steel manufacturer suffered substantial business loss when a new furnace failed causing a molten metal run-out. The company's business interruption insurer offered to pay only nominal damages. We sued, and the jury awarded over $1,000,000 in damages, which the insurer ultimately paid, at a small discount, rather than appeal.
- We obtained summary judgment on behalf of a local development authority, the defendant in a multi-million dollar breach of contract and tort action. The plaintiff alleged that it was the successful low bidder on a large environmental remediation and construction project and brought claims against our client alleging a failure to award the bid to the lowest responsible bidder. The plaintiff sought $26 million in compensatory damages and asked for punitive damages. On our motion, summary judgment was obtained on behalf of our client and the District Court's ruling was upheld by the United States Circuit Court of Appeals and certiorari to the United States Supreme Court was denied.
- A former vice-president sued our client for several hundred thousand dollars in commissions on a score of complex equipment leases he had helped to close. Consistent with our advice, the employer offered the relatively small amount his records indicated was owed. The former employee sued, and after a complicated bench trial explaining the intricacies of each of the various equipment lease transactions, the court awarded precisely what we had advised the employee was actually due.
- Two electric utilities refused to allow our cable television client to lease space on their utility poles in favor of a competing cable television company which had sought to rent the poles only after our client had first applied to rent them. At the conclusion of the hearing to enjoin the utilities from favoring the competitor, the utilities withdrew their opposition to the injunction and agreed to acknowledge our client's prior right to use the poles. Thereafter, our client constructed the new cable system it had set out to build.
- Our client formed an affiliated company to provide environmental services to its customers. The former employer of two officers the affiliated company hired sued to enjoin the officers from working for the client's affiliate even though they had not signed any agreements not to compete. We filed the preliminary motions to the suit which the trial court granted and then dismissed the case without a trial. We prevailed in appeals of the decision all the way to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
- Our client, a Dutch Corporation, owned the exclusive rights and license to the "total image" of one of the world's foremost tennis superstars. On behalf of our client, we brought claims against a sports equipment manufacturer for breach of endorsement contracts, unjust enrichment, and various other business torts. We obtained a favorable settlement for our client with payment of the proceeds coming in part, from the principals of the manufacturer.
- After a subcontractor's concrete materials failed, our client's general contractor was set back several months and several hundred thousand dollars. The client terminated the subcontractor and threw it off the job. Convinced that the subcontractor was insolvent, the client did not intend to sue it. We argued that the subcontractor's liability insurer covered the accident and filed suit. The insurer settled the claim by paying a large percentage of the client's losses.
- Our client-bank was sued by an insurer for an amount in excess of three quarters of a million dollars it had paid to its insured whose dishonest officer had embezzled the money by depositing forged claim checks into an account at the client-bank.
- Our client defended against the suit and joined, as a party to the case, the bank on which the checks were drawn. We successfully argued a motion for summary judgment, and our client paid nothing. The other bank then settled the claim.
- A vice president of our client had admitted signing millions of dollars worth of letters of credit on which the holders sued for payment. We defended our client, arguing that the letters were unauthorized and brought various insurers of the bank into settlement negotiations to resolve the claim. Based on our arguments, the holders substantially compromised their claims, the insurers contributed to the settlement and our client paid a fraction of the letters' face value.
- Our client had written off the balance of a loan made to finance a large construction project. We favorably evaluated numerous lawsuits the borrower had filed and which had been filed against it arising out of the project, and participated in the negotiation of a settlement of all the lawsuits, under which our client realized a payment of over $1,000,000.
- We have been called upon by our financial institution clients to evaluate lawsuits its borrowers have in order to use them as a vehicle to settle outstanding loans. Through this process, we have helped our clients recover a higher percentage of the amount owed than they otherwise would have recovered.
- We obtained summary judgment on behalf of a national insurance company, the defendant in a declaratory judgment action. The plaintiff in the case, an excess insurance company, claimed that our client breached its duty to defend an underlying insured, and failed to make indemnity payments to that insured.
- We represented a volunteer fire company, which owned and operated a social club serving alcohol, in obtaining summary judgment in two wrongful death and survival actions which brought dram shop and other tort claims. We successfully applied Pennsylvania law granting immunity to volunteer fire companies and obtained summary judgment on behalf of all defendants.
- Our client, a large insurer of industrial risks, was the plaintiff in a subrogation action following the explosion of a large industrial facility. This insurer had made payment on the property damage claims. We obtained a substantial settlement on behalf of our client prior to trial.
- Our client was an insurance company that had issued environmental remediation bonds. Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Resources had forfeited numerous bonds pursuant to a coal mine operator's failure to properly remediate and reclaim strip mining areas in Western Pennsylvania. On behalf of our client, we successfully overturned a majority of the forfeitures, saving the insurance company large sums of money that would otherwise have been paid on these forfeited bonds. This case involved 10 years of litigation before the Environmental Hearing Board and various Pennsylvania trial level and appellate courts.
- We represented a life insurance company, as plaintiff, in a complex commercial litigation matter in which we prosecuted claims for fraud, embezzlement, breach of contract and banking related claims involving fraudulent endorsement issues. We obtained a large settlement on behalf of plaintiff against the defendants.
- We successfully defended our client, a surgeon, against a medical malpractice claim by the estate of a patient who died of a gastrointestinal hemorrhage following surgery. After the close of all evidence at trial, the court entered a directed verdict in favor of our client.
- In a lawsuit brought against our client, a hospital, plaintiff claimed that he had sustained nerve damage during back surgery. We demonstrated to the court that there was no credible evidence of negligence by the hospital. The court granted summary judgment in favor of our client just prior to trial.
- A truck driver sued a large steel manufacturer for $2.4 million dollars, $1,742,000 of which were economic damages for personal and permanent injuries he sustained while on our client's premises. Because our lawyers presented a persuasive analysis that the manufacturer had no duty to the driver, the case was dismissed prior to trial, with the manufacturer paying no amount of money to the plaintiff.
- Another truck driver sued the same manufacturer for permanent injuries sustained while the manufacturer's crane operator was in the process of loading a coil of steel on to the bed of his truck. Emphasizing the plaintiff's contributory negligence, we settled the case for a significantly nominal amount prior to trial.
- We have represented a major shopping mall with respect to personal injury suits by invitees. By working with the client to institute careful mall maintenance and security procedures, we helped to significantly reduce both the number of claims and their overall costs. We have also held firm on several sham cases which were ultimately exposed as such.
- An employee of an independent contractor fell while using the upper half of an extension ladder to perform work on our client's premises. Citing misuse of the ladder, we won summary judgment prior to trial despite the seriousness of the permanent injuries.
- Several cases have been brought alleging personal injury and property damage resulting from failures in service of train wheels manufactured by a specialty steel fabricator. Many have been settled by us based upon pretrial settlement negotiations on terms favorable to the manufacturer.
- Cases, including one fatality, have been brought by employees who work on and near a large steel galvanizing line in an industrial plant. It was alleged that the owners had defectively designed the line and certain of its components. All cases have been won on summary judgment prior to trial.
- Our longstanding representation of the eighth largest integrated steel company has given rise to several products related cases. One such case involved a steel coil weighing approximately 20 tons. When the metal bands containing the coil broke, the tail of the coil struck a young employee of the purchaser in the head and neck area, causing severe, permanent injuries. The damages claimed were substantial. We were able to settle the case well within the non-excess policy limits by emphasizing the lack of proof regarding causation.
- We successfully defended a distributor of construction equipment against a products liability claim brought by an individual who claimed serious brain injury resulting from an alleged design and manufacturing defect in a forklift truck which had been modified and sold by our client. The individual demanded $7,000,000 for settlement. Jury returned a verdict in favor of our client.
- Our client, a Japanese manufacturer and American supplier of kerosene heaters, was a defendant in an action regarding bodily injury and property damage claims arising out of a fire which burned and injured individuals living in a duplex house in rural Greene County. The plaintiffs alleged product defect in design and manufacture and negligence in failure to warn. We obtained a defense verdict on behalf of all defendants following jury trial.
- Our lawyers represented a national manufacturer of sophisticated processing line equipment for use in the steel-making industry. We served as national counsel for the client, coordinating procedural and settlement policies for personal injury matters. We also worked with the company's insurance carrier to assume the defense of additional claims.
Restraint of Trade/Antitrust:
- Our client, a national retailer, was sued by a competitor that claimed our client conspired to keep the competitor out of certain key retail locations. We defended the case and settled it for less than 10% of the damages claimed.
- Our client was sued for allegedly copying another company's product packaging. Although damages of $10 million were sought, we settled the case for $0.
- Our lawyers have represented a number of clients who allegedly committed price fixing along with other defendants. We were able to settle these cases for nominal amounts.
- A $45 million dollar class action was brought under Rule 10b-5 against a publicly traded national retailer. We settled it on extremely favorable terms.
- Federal and state shareholder derivative actions were commenced against a major financial institution. We defended and obtained dismissals of both actions.
- A $35 million class action was brought under Rule 10b-5 against a publicly traded manufacturing concern. We settled the litigation well below policy limits and on extremely favorable terms.
- Our lawyers have represented multiple clients in the defense of thousands of cases alleging asbestos-related injuries in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, New York and Virginia. Emphasizing the lack of causation between defendants' products and plaintiffs' alleged illnesses, we obtained either summary judgments, defense verdicts or settlements for small amounts of money.
- Highlighting the lack of association between benzene and Hodgkin's Disease, our lawyers have defended multiple clients in cases brought by painters who claim they contracted Hodgkin's Disease as a result of their exposure to benzene. Settlements obtained were for minimial amounts of money.
- Currently, we represent a supplier of chemicals and printing inks in a wrongful death case in which the plaintiff's decedent alleges that the decedent contracted leukemia as a result of his exposure to benzene-containing chemicals and printing inks. This case is in pretrial proceedings.
Trade Secrets/Intellectual Property:
- An industrial products company began manufacturing and marketing a form of robotics that incorporated our German client's proprietary know-how and trade secrets. We went to court and won an injunction to stop the illegal activity.
- A large European multinational client was sued in Federal District Court for patent infringement and breach of contract by a competitor. The client faced millions of dollars in damages and the potential shutdown of a $150,000,000 production line. We obtained summary judgment even though the agreements were highly complex documents, the facts of the case spanned thirty years and the District Judge had warned us that any summary judgment motion would be futile.