Practice Areas & Industries: Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP

 




Complex Business Litigation Return to Practice Areas & Industries

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Practice/Industry Group Overview

When clients face complex commercial disputes, Sutherland litigators tailor strategic approaches to meet our clients’ business objectives.

Clients facing complex litigation want both the focused attention of a sophisticated boutique and the resources of a national law firm.  Sutherland offers both.  With a national reputation for helping clients meet their complex business needs, the attorneys on Sutherland’s Complex Litigation team are experienced in resolving disputes efficiently and effectively.  While many disputes facing our clients fall within our well-established specialty areas, such as securities or employment law, many disputes that we litigate for clients are sui generis or independent events that arise from the breach of a significant contract, a clash with a competitive business, or an intra-organizational conflict.  These types of cases are a major part of our litigation practice – for local, regional, national, and international clients involved in a wide range of industries.

Our litigators are regularly singled out by their professional peers for recognition in many of the top legal directories and rankings, including Chambers USA: Guide to Leading Business Lawyers, Legal 500 United States, The Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers®.   We have tried cases in federal and state courts throughout the United States and have appeared before the Supreme Court of the United States, all 13 United States Courts of Appeals, and state appellate courts around the country.  We also have extensive experience before federal and state administrative agencies and arbitration tribunals in the U.S. and abroad.
 
Why Sutherland

We bring experience and resources to help clients resolve even the largest and most complex business and commercial issues, including:

  • Breach of contract
  • Bid protests
  • Business torts, including fraud, unfair competition, and deceptive trade practices claims
  • Class actions
  • Commercial real estate disputes, including leasing and foreclosure
  • Creditors’ rights
  • Defamation cases
  • Trade secret and noncompetition matters
  • Insurance coverage disputes
  • Shareholder and partnership/LLC disputes
  • Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) litigation

We are keenly aware of the frustration that business clients often experience in litigation – including, sometimes, frustration with their own lawyers – and believe that we offer a different, client-focused approach.  Here are some of the guidelines and practices we follow:

Our client’s problem is not our opportunity.  Our objective at all times is to be rigorously aligned with our client in finding the least expensive and quickest route to a successful resolution of the case – not a billing opportunity for us.  Some cases can be resolved without costly discovery, if the lawyers are intent enough about problem-solving instead of reflexively launching the standard “litigation 1-2-3.”

We define objectives early and re-evaluate them often.  We urge clients to define, at the outset of the case, what a “win” would be, with attention to litigation’s collateral consequences.  Because new facts often emerge during litigation, we encourage clients to regularly reassess objectives and case valuations.

Work product should be what the client wants – not what we want.  Sometimes clients feel they are trapped on a runaway train once they hire a law firm.  We believe that listening is especially important when it comes to delivering what the client needs.  A 200-page research memorandum could be written on practically any subject, and occasionally that kind of product is exactly what the client wants and needs.  Most often, however, the client is seeking well-founded advice and analysis, concisely and efficiently delivered, and scaled to the circumstances.  We discuss with clients the range of options and costs before undertaking significant research.

We don’t train on your nickel.  Appropriate staffing is a cornerstone of our practice.  We don’t train our new attorneys at our clients’ expense, and we match the task at hand with the appropriate level of staffing and experience.

We manage costs with budgets and creative billing approaches.  We have worked successfully with many clients on a retainer basis.  We are accustomed to providing litigation budgets – and sticking to them.

Preventative counseling can reduce litigation and potential liability.  The adversary process often sheds light on structural or business practice risks that were difficult to foresee.  An important element of our service to clients is to point out ways to lower the risks of future litigation.

Vendor and expert costs should be managed.  Clients involved in high-stakes litigation are besieged by third-party vendors – expert witnesses, class-action administrators, e-discovery managers, trial consultants, mediators and arbitrators, and the like.  The costs associated with these service providers are sometimes not fully accounted for or effectively monitored.  It is Sutherland’s practice to regard ensuring vendor efficiency as part of our service to clients, unless the client prefers otherwise.

An inside lawyer is co-counsel, not the client.  We understand the proper relationships among our clients, inside co-counsel, and ourselves.  We address conflicts swiftly and ethically.

Teamwork and cooperation matter.  Teamwork and cooperation are imperative for success and cost-effectiveness when conducting national, multi-defendant litigation.  Outside counsel need to check their egos and competitive instincts at the door for the achievement of the common objectives.

Volume of paper seldom corresponds with quality of advocacy.  Some lawyers seem to view litigation as a contest to see who can generate the largest documents laden with footnotes and defined terms.  Particularly in trial courts, there is seldom a correlation between the length of the briefs and the quality of advocacy.

Selected Experience
Sutherland prevails in complex, protracted dispute with owner of a major casino resort, hotel and retail project.
Serving as lead counsel in state and federal court litigation and related arbitrations, Sutherland prevailed in a complex, protracted dispute with the owner of a major casino resort, hotel and retail project. After a nine month jury trial, we achieved the largest commercial verdict to date in the state of Nevada.

Sutherland represents major regional investment firm in parallel federal and state investigations stemming from the subprime mortgage crisis.
Sutherland defended and guided our client through three years of investigations, settling all claims on the eve of trial for far less than the regulators had demanded, and for significantly reduced charges.

Sutherland secures jury verdict for client in breach of contract case.
Sutherland represented a major service provider in the retail and hospitality industry in a three-week jury trial in which the plaintiff asserted breach of contract claims and sought millions of dollars in purported lost profits. The jury returned a defense verdict, and the decision was affirmed on appeal.


 
 
Articles Authored by Lawyers at this office:

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Baucus Releases International Business Tax Reform Discussion Draft
, November 27, 2013
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, November 15, 2013
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Georgia Supreme Court Declines to Review Decision Regarding Limitation-of-Liability Clauses in Customer Contracts
, November 08, 2013
This week, the Georgia Supreme Court denied a request to review a divided Georgia Court of Appeals decision with potentially far-reaching consequences for companies that do business in Georgia and rely on limitation-of-liability clauses in their customer contracts. Monitronics International v....

California Strengthens Data Privacy and Breach Notification Laws
, October 15, 2013
At the end of September, California passed two new amendments to existing data privacy laws aimed to protect California consumers. The first focuses on the collection of personal information and requires companies engaged in such practices to disclose whether they honor web browser “do not...

New TCPA Rules Take Effect for Telemarketing Calls
Wilson G. Barmeyer,Thomas M. Byrne,Lewis S. Wiener, October 15, 2013
Significant regulatory changes are taking effect under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) on October 16, 2013, due to a revision of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) TCPA rule. The amended rule will now require that consent be in writing for autodialed or prerecorded...

PCAOB Offers Guidance for Accounting Firms and Accountants Preparing Written Statements of Position
Samuel J. Casey,Patricia A. Gorham,Kurt Lentz,Amelia Toy Rudolph, September 26, 2013
On September 19 and 20, 2013, the American Law Institute presented its annual course, Accountants’ Liability: Managing Risks in a Changing Environment. One highlight of the conference was a Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) panel presentation featuring Claudius B. Modesti,...

An Ode to the Actuaries: Tax Court Concludes that Acuity’s Loss Reserves Were “Fair and Reasonable”
, September 12, 2013
On September 4, the United States Tax Court issued its opinion in Acuity v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2013-209. In brief, the court concluded that Acuity’s reserves for unpaid losses and loss adjustment expenses for 2006, as used by the company in computing “losses incurred”...

After Four Years of Increased Activity, FINRA’s Sanctions Are Dropping in 2013
Andrew M. McCormick,Brian L. Rubin, September 10, 2013
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) 2013 fines and disciplinary actions are on track to fall well short of 2012’s totals. During the first half of 2013, FINRA reported $23 million of fines in its monthly Disciplinary and Other FINRA Actions publications. In contrast, during the...

New Final Regs on Use of Differential Income Stream in Evaluating Cost-Sharing Arrangements
, September 04, 2013
On August 26, 2013, the United States Treasury Department issued new final regulations under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 482. The new regulations provide guidance on the “income method” for determining taxable income in connection with cost-sharing arrangements (CSAs) entered...

Litigation Update on 14 Patronage Capital Cases in Eight States
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CFTC Issues Highly Anticipated Harmonization Rules
, August 15, 2013
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An End-User’s Guide to the CFTC’s Final Cross-Border Guidance
, August 09, 2013
Last month, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) issued final interpretive guidance with respect to the cross-border application of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act’s (Dodd-Frank Act) requirements for swaps (Final Guidance). This Legal Alert...

Ready or Not: Lost Securityholders, Uncashed Checks and Dormant Accounts
, August 09, 2013
In the dog days of August, it would be tempting to put aside challenges created by new Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules. But we all know that would be a mistake. Instead, attention needs to be paid now to new rules requiring searches for lost securityholders and persons holding...

Georgia Court of Appeals: Fine Print Too Small to Save Limitation-of-Liability Clause in Home Security Contract
, August 01, 2013
A decision by the Georgia Court of Appeals has potentially far-reaching consequences for companies that include limitation-of-liability clauses in their customer contracts. In Monitronics International v. Veasley, the Georgia Court of Appeals upheld a $9 million jury verdict against an alarm...