Litigation

Mike Gass, Eric Marandett, John Nadas, Mark Cahill, Jack Cinquegrana, Bob Frank, Melissa Tearney

  • Choate launches a dedicated Complex Trial & Appellate Litigation Group comprised of seasoned trial attorneys from its leading litigation practice.  Read more...

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    Choate was ranked among the best law firms in this year's US News - Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" list, and has been named as an elite "National Tier 1" law firm in 4 practice areas.  Choate also received top "Tier 1" Boston rankings in 27 practice areas.  Read more...

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    Over one-third of equity partners and majority of practice areas recognized for excellence.

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  • Eric Marandett has been singled out as a 2015 Boston “Lawyer of the Year” by The Best Lawyers in America.  Read more...

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    Choate litigators won dismissal of an antitrust class action in the first decision of its kind to apply vertical analysis in the area of private label retailing—a sector that has become increasingly important during the recession.  Class action lawyers attacked an agreement between high-tech manufacturer Hewlett-Packard and its leading retailer, Staples, alleging that the agreement had an unlawful impact on private label sales.  By demonstrating that the agreement was lawful because HP and Staples have a primarily vertical relationship, Choate’s original and creative defense won dismissal of the case.

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    Choate saved energy customers more than $100 million by successfully upending a state law requiring that utilities enter into long-term renewable energy contracts only with Massachusetts-based generators.  In this industry-leading lawsuit on behalf of client TransCanada, Choate created a buzz in the energy industry by successfully demonstrating that the law violated the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution.

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    Choate litigators recently won a $5.75 million jury verdict and a major sanctions award for life sciences company Clinical Data, Inc.  The case arose from a former chief executive officer’s breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and misuse of Clinical Data’s confidential information.  Choate successfully demonstrated that the former chief executive had exploited Clinical Data’s trade secrets for his own benefit, and the jury awarded the company almost two times the amount of its estimated damages.  Prior to trial, Choate litigators further proved that the former chief executive had intentionally destroyed relevant evidence, which resulted in an adverse inference being drawn against him at trial and a court order dismissing all of his claims and awarding Clinical Data $243,000 in sanctions.

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    Choate lawyers represented Akamai, the market leader for Internet content delivery, in a successful patent infringement action against Limelight Networks.  After a three-week trial, the jury returned a favorable verdict, finding Limelight's method of content delivery infringed all four of the claims asserted at trial and rejected Limelight's claims that they were invalid.  The jury awarded over $45 million in damages plus interest.  Akamai's jury verdict was subsequently overturned in post-trial motions, but the Federal Circuit decision affirming that post-trial ruling has subsequently been withdrawn and the matter is now on appeal to the Federal Circuit en banc.

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    Choate represented Tillotson Corporation in multiple district court infringement and licensing actions to enforce a patent to conformable medical gloves, although the ITC had previously declined to enforce the patent prior to Choate’s representation.  Choate nevertheless subsequently enforced the patent and related license agreements in numerous actions in federal courts in Georgia and Illinois, resulting in a number of settlements and significant court rulings preserving Tillotson's ability to enforce the license agreements.  Choate’s enforcement actions resulted in Court rulings supporting both actual and liquidated damages as well as recovery of attorneys' fees, ultimately recovering millions of dollars in additional license fees for the client.

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    Current Choate partner led a trial team to victory at the US International Trade Commission, representing two respondents accused of infringing five complex patents directed to semiconductor test equipment.  After a trial lasting over two weeks, the Administrative Law Judge found in favor of the respondents, concluding that they had not infringed the patents in the suit and that the complainant failed to establish the necessary domestic industry – rulings that were subsequently affirmed by the full US International Trade Commission.

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    Choate recently obtained a preliminary injunction for Momenta Pharmaceuticals in a patent infringement action to preserve exclusivity in sales of the only generic form of enoxaparin, which had more than $1 billion in sales in its first 12 months.  Choate immediately sued and moved for a TRO and Preliminary injunction based on infringement of two patents covering methods used in the process of making the product, after another party announced in September, 2011 that it had obtained FDA approval to market a second generic enoxaparin.   Choate successfully obtained the TRO and then a preliminary injunction after several rounds of briefing and hearings, also surviving a motion to dismiss, thereby successfully keeping the rival product entirely off the market until trial.   

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    A team of Choate lawyers represented speech recognition company Voice Signal Technologies in three litigations with Nuance Communications.  The lawsuits filed in Boston, East Texas and Pittsburgh, involved multiple claims and counterclaims for patent infringement and theft of trade secrets.  The cases have been resolved as a result of an agreement by which Nuance will acquire Voice Signal.

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    Choate represents companies and individuals in connection with major Department of Justice healthcare fraud investigations and prosecutions.  Recent matters include the defense of national pharmaceutical companies and their officers and employees, a national health insurer in an aggressively litigated qui tam case, and one of the state’s largest managed care health plans.   

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    Choate’s expertise covers the spectrum of securities fraud cases, including DOJ investigations, SEC investigations and enforcement actions, and private class action and derivative litigation.  We have successfully defended many companies and individuals in a variety of cases involving revenue recognition, insider trading, market manipulation, market timing and stock option dating practices.  We currently represent companies, special committees and individuals in a number of options dating cases. 

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    Top-tier reinsurance players (reinsurers, cedents, intermediaries) have sought our assistance with some of their (and the industry’s) thorniest problems, including: whether large asbestos non-products losses can be properly aggregated under various treaty programs; whether pharmaceutical losses are within the contemplation of the parties to a multi-year treaty relationship; the effect of cut-off/run-off termination endorsements on in-force business when return premium was retained by the reinsurer; whether hurricane losses can be aggregated as “program losses” under a property reinsurance treaty; the proper treatment of 9/11 losses under a reinsurance contract; the number of occurrences at issue in clergy and Boy Scouts of America abuse cases; and whether declaratory judgment expenses are covered under reinsurance contract wording.

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    Lead counsel to primary insurers in connection with numerous civil proceedings involving insurance coverage disputes arising out of asbestos, environmental and various mass tort exposures, as well as a variety of business claims.  We have handled those matters across the country in more than 25 state and federal trial courts, in the bankruptcy courts, in Wellington arbitrations and in various appellate courts.  We are experienced in the trial of such matters as we are, when in our clients’ best interests, counseling avoidance of dispute and settlement.

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    Obtained a federal court jury verdict in favor of a national insurance company which had been sued by a policyholder that sought consequential and punitive damages of approximately $110 million.  The policyholder claimed the insurer had wrongfully denied a claim for coverage of a business interruption loss under a first-party property policy, and asserted that the alleged wrongful denial of coverage forced it to sell its business at a “fire sale” price.  Pre-trial, the Court granted our client’s motion for summary judgment on all bad faith claims.  At trial, the jury found that the insurer’s conduct did not force the policyholder to sell its business, and it also found that the policyholder had been paid fair market value for its business in any event.

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    Choate successfully defended this national tax accounting firm in a lawsuit bought by two former managing directors.  The plaintiffs alleged that they had been improperly forced out of the firm and were owed substantial amounts under their managing director agreements and the Massachusetts wage payment statute, entitling them to treble damages and attorneys fees.  Choate obtained a highly favorable settlement at the conclusion of discovery in the case. 

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    Choate successfully represented Anacomp, Inc. in a claim brought by a former senior executive who alleged that he was owed millions of dollars in unpaid compensation subject to the Massachusetts Wage Payment Act.  The plaintiff attempted to pursue his claims in Massachusetts state court, notwithstanding an arbitration provision in his employment agreement.  In a case of first impression, Choate successfully removed the case to federal court and then obtained an order compelling arbitration of the plaintiff’s claims. 

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    Choate represented this international household appliances company, headquartered in the United Kingdom, in an action against a former senior designer who left to join a competitor based in Massachusetts.  The defendant had previously been seconded to Singapore, presenting issues of international law and jurisdiction.  Following expedited discovery and a hearing, Choate obtained a highly favorable settlement for our client. 

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    Choate represented a large national company that the Department of Labor had targeted for an audit of the classification of its employees.  The DOL reviewed the company’s records and audited its practices relating to more than 100 employees for more than a year.  After Choate met with the DOL to defend the company’s classifications and payroll practices, the DOL elected not to pursue any charges against the company.

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    Choate represented U.S. Foodservice, a large nationwide food distributor, in a disability discrimination case in Massachusetts state court.  While the employee, who had suffered a shoulder injury, argued that he was subsequently terminated in violation of the disability laws, Choate was able to persuade a superior court judge to dismiss the case at the summary judgment stage, on the grounds that he did not have a qualified disability that entitled him to disability law protections.

 

Litigation

Why Choate for high stakes litigation?


Founded as a litigation firm more than 100 years ago, Choate has long been recognized as a “go to” firm for complex, high stakes disputes.  Led by experienced trial lawyers and empowered by Choate’s single office model, our team of sixty-plus litigators is highly collaborative and intensely focused on effectively advocating our clients’ interests.  The depth of our litigation talent enables us to successfully handle the largest cases; our model gives us the agility to remain focused on our clients’ business objectives.  We have no ‘one size fits all’ approach to managing major disputes.  Our litigators can and do try cases, positioning our clients to achieve better results in both settlements and verdicts. 

In addition to handling major commercial disputes that arise in the course of our clients’ businesses, our litigators have extensive expertise in several specialized areas of litigation.  Our litigation specialties include:

Intellectual Property.  Choate’s IP litigation team is renowned for its work with leading technology and life sciences companies on a wide range of matters, including patent litigation, disputes concerning IP ownership or derivation, and contract disputes (relating to licenses, collaborations, manufacturing agreements, etc.).  Choate's trial lawyers bring partner-level intensity to each of their cases, including pre-litigation and due diligence counseling, as well as outcome-driven litigation and trial strategies.  We provide a collaborative and interdisciplinary team including litigators, prosecutors, technical advisors and/or corporate or deal specialists who work closely with our clients to achieve their goals—developing targeted strategies to avoid litigation, or crafting the most powerful positions if litigations do move forward.  We serve as lead counsel in major patent cases, including securing a damages verdict of over $45 million for a market leader in internet content delivery.

Government Enforcement and White Collar Defense.  Choate’s Government Enforcement & Compliance Group has an extensive track record of resolving matters at the earliest possible stage, without indictment or trial and without publicity.  Major global corporations and their executives trust us with their most significant and high stakes matters.  Our team has significant prosecutorial backgrounds, including three partners who are former Assistant US Attorneys.  We are healthcare fraud experts, with over two decades of healthcare industry experience.  For example, we recently represented one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies in a government investigation regarding its voluntary withdrawal of a product—one of the most extensive healthcare fraud investigations ever conducted by the Department of Justice.  We also represent prominent public and private companies, officers and directors in financial fraud related matters, and have handled FCPA matters for Fortune 500 companies.
 
Insurance & Reinsurance.  Choate’s Insurance & Reinsurance Group is trusted by national and multinational insurers, reinsurers and intermediaries to handle their complex litigation, arbitration and bankruptcy proceedings.  We have appeared in more than 200 cases and arbitrations, and our clients include AIG, The Hartford, John Hancock, Liberty Mutual, Manulife, MassMutual and Travelers.  The practice is top ranked by Reactions, who named Choate the #1 reinsurance and litigation firm in 2012.

Securities, Corporate Governance and Shareholder Disputes.  Choate provides business-oriented, targeted corporate governance guidance in high stakes issues such as disclosure, enforcement, investigations, transactions, proxy contests and takeover planning.  We minimize director liability by proactively facilitating the timely adoption of current best practices and staying abreast of evolving trends.  Our sophisticated securities litigation group gets involved early to consult on any sensitive or contentious corporate governance matter—the goal is to deflect litigation before it begins.  We have consistently succeeded in derailing cases early through motions to dismiss, avoiding expensive and time-consuming discovery.

Private Equity and Venture Capital-Related Mergers and Acquisitions Litigation.  Choate litigators have substantial experience prosecuting and defending disputes stemming from private M&A transactions, including those involving working capital, earnout, business valuations and complex indemnification disputes in trial courts and arbitration forums. Our experience and strategies have resulted in eight-figure recoveries.  We regularly work with accounting experts, and put our own high level of corporate finance knowledge and business experience to work for our clients.  We also work closely with our transactional colleagues and clients on the front end of deals in an effort to avoid disputes so that our clients can minimize the hard dollar expense and the substantial distraction costs of litigation, and focus on developing their portfolio company’s business. 

Complex Trial and Appellate. Choate’s Complex Trial and Appellate Group helps sophisticated clients resolve their most challenging business disputes through litigation, including trials, arbitrations, appeals and settlements.  We pride ourselves on our ability to learn and understand a client’s business and the unique issues it faces, apply our skills and experience to the problem at hand, and help achieve the best resolution possible.  Although many disputes and resolved amicably through negotiation, the best results are often achieved by preparing cases for trial.  Working closely with clients, our team has developed extensive experience and outstanding results in a wide range of business disputes, including complex contract, breach of fiduciary duty, professional negligence, products liability and other tort claims, ranging from two-party disputes through large class actions and multi-district litigation matters.  Our clients range from fortune 100 companies to start-ups to universities; from major law firms to individuals.  We work as plaintiffs and as defendants.  We pride ourselves on being true American “barristers.”

Trial Lawyers, Not Just Litigators

It is a simple fact that many big firm litigators rarely, if ever, try cases.  Not so with Choate’s litigators.  We have an established track record of trying cases to conclusion.  Our clients understand that our willingness and ability to try cases, and our reputation for winning cases, gives them significant leverage in resolving disputes.  Our opponents understand this as well.

Case Management

Litigation costs have skyrocketed in recent years, fueled by exponential increases in e-discovery and ever-increasing hourly rates.  As a consequence, clients have become very focused on managing litigation costs.  Our clients appreciate our ability to manage the litigation process and its associated costs.  Our model is not (and never has been) built on leveraging large cases by throwing endless bodies at document reviews and research tasks.  Rather, our partner-centric, relatively unleveraged approach empowers our litigators to work with clients to apply judgment, proportionality and creativity to the problems presented by large litigation.  On the e-discovery front, we have never relied upon huge document reviews as a profit center; rather, we have focused on creative ways to address the often prohibitive costs of processing ever increasing amounts of documents and data.  For example, we have been ahead of the curve in utilizing new technologies to solve the problem created by technology—i.e., the explosion of data—often saving our clients millions of dollars compared to traditional discovery approaches.

We routinely find that our efficient and effective  approach to big cases delivers best of class results at materially lower overall costs relative to our competitors.  We do not shy away from working within budgets or alternative fee arrangements—we like having ‘skin in the game’ along with our clients.

Critical Mass

While we do not reflexively staff all cases with large numbers of lawyers, we have proven time and again that we have the resources to handle extremely large cases. 

Geographic Scope

Our clients want us handling their litigations, arbitrations and mediations, wherever they take place.  And when local counsel is required, they appreciate our flexibility in being able to select the attorney most suited for the case, and not being tied to using a satellite office.  As a result, our litigation practice is truly national in scope.  We have litigated cases in 45 states, and internationally.

Lawyers’ Litigators

Our litigation team has a well-earned reputation in the legal community for being smart, strategic, aggressive, and result-oriented advocates.  As a result, we are frequently engaged by other law firms when they are sued, and to assist other firms when clients cannot risk losing.

 

Thank you for reaching out to contact Choate. Before you send your message, we wanted to make sure you are aware of the following. Please do not send any confidential information in response to this link. Sending an e-mail to Choate does not give rise to an attorney-client relationship, and will not be deemed to disqualify Choate from undertaking any engagement for a current or future client.  Before any attorney-client engagement may be formed, Choate will need to check for possible conflicts of interest, you will need to consider whether you wish to retain Choate as counsel, and we will need to consider whether we wish to accept the potential engagement. In the meantime, Choate reserves the right to represent parties with interests adverse to you.

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