Our commercial and corporate litigation practice is one of the leading national and international litigation and dispute resolution practices. Our commercial litigation experience spans the full range of issues that arise for companies, including contract litigation, securities litigation, insurance coverage litigation, litigation involving banking and financial institutions, real estate, transportation, and disputes relating to all types of transactions. We also have significant experience in class action litigation on both the federal and state level, as well as injunction-related experience.
What we do
We serve as national counsel for a number of companies in important “bet-the-farm” litigation matters. We pride ourselves on working closely with our clients to understand their objectives and partnering with our clients through the litigation process to provide clients with informed options.
What makes us different
Our litigators include former judges, prosecutors and other seasoned trial attorneys who have earned their reputation as aggressive trial attorneys who obtain results in a wide variety of litigation matters including complex multi-district litigations and class-action lawsuits. We count among our ranks:
- Former United States District Judge for the District of New Jersey Stephen M. Orlofsky
- Former Chief District Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Edward N. Cahn
- Former Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge G. Craig Lord
- 11 former U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) assistant U.S. attorneys
- 2 former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) appellate attorneys
- A former prosecutor in both the Public Integrity and Fraud Sections of the DOJ Criminal Division
- A former DOJ Tax Division Attorney, Appellate Section
- A former district attorney
- A former assistant state attorney general
- Over 150 former federal and state court law clerks
Whether representing individuals or corporations, Blank Rome’s depth of talent and range of experience has resulted in many favorable verdicts and resolutions for our clients. Our philosophy is to minimize the tactical sparring that too often accompanies litigation and to proceed promptly and efficiently to a resolution based on merits.
We seek to minimize the disruption from a lawsuit through a thorough and early understanding of a client’s business, concerns, and goals. We then evaluate the factual and legal settings and formulate a strategy designed to accomplish the client's goals as quickly and efficiently as possible. This may mean an early settlement or a fast-track discovery and pre-trial schedule.
Our litigation attorneys devote significant time to preventive counseling on behalf of clients, from routine advice to custom training programs. Clients benefit from our in-house lunch courses on hot topics such as e-discovery, as well as our full-day CLE programs such as the recent program on emerging issues for inhouse counsel.
- Solutia Inc. v. FMC Corporation, No. 04 CV 2842 (S.D.N.Y.).—Blank Rome represented FMC Corporation, a publicly-traded chemical company, in this commercial dispute brought by its most fierce competitor, Solutia, seeking hundreds of millions of dollars from FMC for FMC’s purported failure to contribute certain chemical technology to the parties’ joint venture, Astaris LLC, that would allow the joint venture to fund and construct at Conda, Idaho a plant that would produce 80,000 metric tons of food-grade purified phosphoric acid. FMC successfully moved to eliminate most of Solutia’s initial theories on the basis of standing, leaving a dispute over whether FMC fully disclosed to Solutia information concerning FMC’s attempts (and alleged struggles) to adapt the technology FMC used in Spain to the new project in Idaho using a different type of phosphorus ore. Blank Rome’s team, led by Ann Laupheimer, won a series of strategic successes, beginning with a withdrawal of the reference of the case to Bankruptcy Court (Solutia was in bankruptcy), striking a jury trial, winnowing the case both in the motion to dismiss phase with creative standing arguments, and later to carving out various theories during summary judgment. What remained—a factual dispute and battle of highly technical chemistry experts over what was disclosed, whether omissions were material and whether Solutia’s executives would have acted on any disclosures— was very favorably settled on the eve of trial.
- Unzipped Apparel LLC et al vs. Sweet Sportswear LLC, et al., Superior Court of CA, LA County BC319612—Blank Rome represented Iconix Brand Group and three of its subsidiaries in litigation against Hubert Guez and three of his companies. Iconix formed a joint venture with Guez’ firms called Unzipped and Guez’s companies served as the manager, supplier, and distributor of Iconix’s products. After Iconix terminated the management, supply, and distribution agreements, Mr. Guez refused to turn over inventory and, instead, sold it for his own profit, claiming that Iconix owed his companies nearly twenty million dollars. Guez’s demand that Iconix pay him $90 million in settlement resulted in a team led by Blank Rome’s Jim Smith trying the case to verdict. After a three-month trial in Los Angeles, the jury rejected all of Mr. Guez’s claims and awarded Iconix compensatory damages, plus punitive damages. The Los Angeles Daily Journal listed the verdict among the top ten verdicts in California in 2007. The trial judge granted post-trial motions reducing the compensatory damages—but awarded attorneys’ fees and costs. Both sides appealed. On appeal, the Court of Appeal (District Two, Division Seven) reversed some of the post-trial orders, leaving Iconix with an affirmative award of $70 million, including interest. To date, the client has recovered $37 million of the judgment, and Blank Rome is currently executing on the unpaid amount of the judgment.
Other recent notable engagements include:
- Represented a public chemical company in the defense of a $300 million claim by a partner in a failed joint venture.
- Retained as mediator, arbitrator, and special master in wide variety of disputes including complex contractual, environmental, class actions, employment discrimination, antitrust, securities, patent, and intellectual property disputes.
- Represented an aerospace and defense client in a three-month jury trial involving breach of contract, fraud, and other claims against a Texas company and other companies, resulting in an award for our client.
- Defended a utility in a breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty case involving a joint venture in a natural gas/steam co-generation plant.
- Successfully defended a food and beverage company at trial in federal district court and on appeal to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in a $650 million fraudulent transfer action arising from a spin-off.
- Represented one of the world’s top defense contractors in an arbitration proceeding before the American Arbitration Association, where the claimant sought $100 million for alleged breach of a technology transfer agreement.
- Successfully defended a Pennsylvania-based, national industrial manufacturing company in a contractual-indemnification lawsuit concerning more than 20,000 toxic tort claims filed in state court jurisdictions throughout the country.
- Obtained an arbitration award on behalf of our client in a trademark dispute in connection with contract claims and defeated multi-million dollar contract and fraud counterclaims asserted against client in arbitration.
- Defended claims against our client, a mortgage-lending institution, and obtained an award on behalf of the client in connection with its affirmative breach-of-contract, fraud, and RICO claims.
- Automated Trading Desk, LLC (a subsidiary of CitiGroup) in a commercial litigation matter. We responded to a demand for AAA mediation asserted by CSG Holdings, LP on a significant claimed obligation due on a note. The note was provided in the acquisition of an automated trading desk business in the Chicago Stock Exchange. We identified defenses, set offs and cross claims arising out of claims subsequently asserted by the SEC after our client’s acquisition of the business, concerning improper automatic trading by CSG in the operation of the automated trading business. The defenses and claims relied upon breach of representation and warranties, fraud in the inducement, as well as indemnification provision. The parties attended the contractually mandated non-binding mediation before Bruce Schimberg of Sidley Austin LLP, as the prelude to binding arbitration. At mediation, CSG continued to demand full payment under the note. Following our presentation at the mediation, CSG abandoned the arbitration and any further claims on the note.
Experienced Attorneys, Recognized in Their Fields
Our litigation attorneys and practice are consistently recognized as leaders in the legal industry, receiving high-level rankings in Chambers USA, Chambers Global, and U.S. News & World Report – Best Lawyers®. In Chambers USA 2017, clients stated that we are their “go-to firm” for complex litigation matters.