Practice Areas & Industries: Eversheds Sutherland (US) 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.

Prevailed as lead counsel to a construction manager in state and federal litigation and related arbitrations 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 that 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. All claims were settled on the eve of trial for far less than the regulators had demanded, and for significantly reduced charges. During the course of the investigations, Sutherland assisted our client in producing more than 1.8 million e-mails and attachments, 200 gigabytes of e-mail data and almost a million pages of documents.

Obtained a favorable jury-trial verdict, affirmed on appeal, for a major parking management company in litigation against claims for breach of contract and lost profit damages.
Served as lead counsel for a major parking management company against claims for breach of contract and lost profit damages arising out of a financing term sheet. We obtained a verdict in favor of our client following a three-week jury trial. The case was affirmed on appeal by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

Articles Authored by Lawyers at this office:

A Subtle Snare of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act for Businesses Indirectly Supporting International Terrorism
Peter J. Anderson,Mary Beth Martinez,W. Scott Sorrels,Ronald W. Zdrojeski, October 25, 2016
While countless news outlets have reported the recent Congressional override of President Obama’s veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), few have given much thought to the more nuanced consequences that JASTA could have on private businesses. While the primary goal of...

CFPB Single-Director Structure Unconstitutional: CFPB Director Now Serves at President’s Will
Thomas M. Byrne,Matt Gatewood,Kymberly Kochis,Lewis S. Wiener, October 14, 2016
A divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled October 11, 2016, that the current structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is unconstitutional. The court concluded that an independent agency such as the CFPB cannot have a single director...

CFPB Fires Another Warning Shot for Processors to Be Aware of Their Merchants’ Activities
Brian Barrett,Brian M. Murphy,Robert J. Pile,Lewis S. Wiener, June 14, 2016
In a recent line of enforcement actions, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has signaled that it will hold payment processors liable if the CFPB believes the processors know or should have known that transactions processed for their processing customers are fraudulent or illegal. The...

FTC Reviews Security Updates Practices of Eight Mobile Device Manufacturers
, May 17, 2016
The Federal Trade Commission is requiring eight mobile device manufacturers to provide the FTC with information about how they determine to issue security updates to address vulnerabilities in smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. The FTC plans to use these filings to study policies,...