Publications Search Results
Type: Case Study
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Countering a New Threat from the False Claims Act
Authors: Thomas C. Hill, Jeetander T. Dulani
For companies in certain business sectors, such as defense contracting and health care, insider-whistleblower lawsuits under the U.S. False Claims Act are a familiar threat. But Pillsbury client Victaulic, the world’s leading producer of mechanical pipe joining solutions, could never have expected to face FCA litigation brought by a “whistleblower” with no connection to the company.
Saving Billions for Nuclear Plants and Their Electricity Customers
For almost 40 years, Pillsbury has been a leading force in the U.S. nuclear energy industry’s efforts to develop and implement a national nuclear waste program. After the Obama Administration cancelled the planned Yucca Mountain waste repository in Nevada, Pillsbury convinced the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2013 to stop the government from continuing to collect $750 million per year in fees from nuclear power producers for a now nonexistent waste disposal program.
A Landmark in the History of U.S. Public-Private Partnerships
“The $2.6 billion deal to lease San Juan’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport to a private consortium is being watched by bankers and industry officials keen to import a business model that is widely used in Europe and Asia. —The Wall Street Journal
Delivering the Oral Argument to Win Dismissal of Nine Cases Across Seven States
"Dynegy is extremely pleased with Pillsbury's leadership in these complex cases and with the resulting dismissals. They are our go-to firm for this kind of bet-the-company litigation. "
—Jason Buchman, Vice President and Dynegy Group General Counsel
Winning Redress for Costly Broken Promises
"Our Pillsbury lawyers truly partner with us in achieving AOL's goals. This substantial recovery is an excellent example of the successes we have achieved working with them. "
—Jeffrey Novak, Assistant General Counsel, AOL
Freeing a Rapidly Growing Company from an Unreasonable Service Contract
"[Yogurtland's] financial ratios are strong and best in class. We credit this to management's superior operating model and meticulous growth plans."
—The FranchiseHound.com, on its "strong buy" recommendation for Pillsbury's client
Securing a Complete Reversal on Appeal from New York State's Highest Court
"No public policy prohibited plaintiff from agreeing [to the contract's Permitted Exception], as it did, but this was plaintiff's problem and not Pathmark's..."
—Unanimous decision by the New York State Court of Appeals, agreeing with Pillsbury's argument
Rescuing Clients from the "Harshest Available Penalty"
"[U]nanimously reversed, on the law and the facts, without costs, the judgment vacated and plaintiff's motion denied."
—New York State Appellate Division's decision in favor of Pillsbury's client
Successfully Defending "Best Technology Available" Determination by Water Board
"[W]e discern no basis to hold that the board erred ... [in] finding that the costs of alternative cooling technologies for the [power plant] were "wholly disproportionate" to the anticipated benefits. "
—Opinion from the California Supreme Court
Persistently Beating Back a Would-Be Securities Class Action
"The defendants argue, and the Court agrees, that these additional allegations are not facts showing how plaintiffs can establish that their shares are traceable to the Secondary Offering. "
—U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston, agreeing with Pillsbury on the plaintiffs' lack of standing, in her decision dismissing all claims with prejudice
Thwarting a Countersuit and Returning an Insurance Dispute to Its Rightful Venue
"A New York federal judge on Wednesday tossed a suit brought by Gibson Guitar Corp.'s insurer seeking to dodge responsibility for covering a flood at Gibson's Nashville, Tenn., headquarters ... "
—Insurance Law360, Sept. 8, 2011
Prevailing at All Levels in Technology Patent Litigation
"We flagged the claim construction issue early on as case dispositive ... [so] we were able to litigate the No. 1 issue. "
—Pillsbury attorney Bryan Collins, quoted by Law360 on how the firm efficiently handled Stanley's case
Quickly Clearing a Disputed Trademark
"With limited time to prepare and in the context of an aggressive adversary, Pillsbury was able to achieve an excellent result for Clearwire at the preliminary injunction phase of the litigation. "
—Chuck Lobsenz, Senior Corporate Counsel/Director of Intellectual Property, Clearwire
Winning the Recall of a Competitor's Infringing Product
"I know that it is rare to have a competing product recalled from the market. The Pillsbury team did an excellent job in gathering and presenting the facts to secure such a result. "
—Francesco Bellifemine, President, Tecnimed Srl.
Clarifying a Lack of Trademark Confusion in Online Marketing
"Defendants observe correctly that 'trademark laws protect against mistaken purchasing decisions, and not against general confusion due to coexistence.' "
—U.S. District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel, noting Pillsbury's arguments in his favorable decision
Defeating a $22 Million Attempt at Unprecedented Taxation
"The Archdiocese of San Francisco is delighted that the Superior Court has vindicated the position the Archdiocese has taken all along, and has rejected this unilateral attempt to ignore existing tax law and practice. "
—George Wesolek, Director of Communications for the Archdiocese, on the victory secured by Pillsbury
Winning a Rare Victory Against a Regulatory Agency
"[T]he Class B shares purchased by Ponderosa were public utility assets that were owned by Ponderosa. Therefore, the Commission's decision to credit the par value redemption proceeds of those shares to the ratepayers constituted an illegal appropriation of Ponderosa's property."
—Unanimous opinion by the California Court of Appeal, agreeing with the argument made by Pillsbury
Wining Second Circuit Endorsement of a Groundbreaking Legal Strategy
"This is a victory for all New Yorkers and validates our efforts to hold all the gun dealers we have previously sued accountable. "
—Statement from Pillsbury's co-counsel, the City of New York Law Department, as reported in a front-page story by the New York Law Journal
Protecting Private Property from Unjustified Government Seizure, in a First Test
"It just shows that the city cannot just come in and bully everybody."
—Victor Nunez, board member of the Community Youth Athletic Center, as quoted by station KGTV about Pillsbury's victory
Shielding Indenture Trustees From Liability for Fraud Perpetrated by Others
"Plaintiffs’ proposed interpretation…[would] greatly expand indenture trustees’ recognized administrative duties far beyond anything found in the contract."
—New York Court of Appeals opinion, echoing the points raised by Pillsbury as amicus in Racepoint Partners
Shutting Down a Novel Theory of Liability
"[C]ause for suspension or revocation of the Respondent's license does not exist…in that Anheuser-Busch did not, directly or indirectly, provide free malt beverage products during a public event."
—Administrative law judge's order
Upholding Commercial Free Speech Rights
"Rules governing lawyer advertising in New York that were passed in February 2007 cannot be enforced because they violate the First Amendment right to free speech, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled today."
—Press release by Public Citizen, a nonpartisan advocacy organization
Fulfilling the Promise of Freedom in America
"The promotion and protection of human rights is likely to be crucial in the months leading up to the 2011 general elections in Cameroon. A number of the human rights violations documented in this report have been linked to a government strategy of stifling criticism and effective opposition."
—From the Amnesty International report titled “Cameroon: Impunity underpins persistent abuse”
Preserving a $60 Million + Victory on Appeal
“After a trial, the Court of Chancery ruled substantially in favor of CA…. We find no merit to Ingres’s appeal and affirm….”
—Opinion from the Delaware Supreme Court
Successfully Challenging a Local Tax Scheme
"Richmond is interfering with interstate commerce by exposing Chevron to the possibility of being taxed more than once by othercities or states for the same business activity."
—The San Francisco Chronicle, summarizing the court’s decision
Neutralizing a $30 Million Risk in the Damages Phase
"Pillsbury delivered an excellent result for us in this case. The team did a superior job researching and briefing numerous complex legal issues and their attention to detail, superb witness preparation and overall resolve in this protracted litigation made the difference."
—Matthew A. Sokol, Chemtura's Associate General Counsel
Securing Attorneys' Fees for the Client and Praise From the Judge
"Defendant's counsel could not have achieved a better result for their client."
—U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth A. Marra, in his award of attorneys' fees to Pillsbury's client Atlas Copco
Protecting an Innovative Success Story in Banking
“I have never before seen such a surgically complete dissection of a complaint as achieved by you and your team.”
—Capitol Bancorp chairman Joseph D. Reid, a veteran litigator, in a letter congratulating Pillsbury attorneys on their victory
Prevailing in Court and Settlement Negotiations
“Because plaintiffs bear the burden of proving breach, and because there is no evidence of breach, Chevron is entitled to summary judgment. In addition, even if plaintiffs could show a duty and breach, the nondisclosure claim fails for lack of causation.”
—U.S. District Court Order
Securing Court Victories to Validate a Client’s Procedures
“As the Administrator and Committee’s interpretation of the Plan was legally correct, no abuse of discretion occurred.”
—Fifth Circuit opinion in Stone v. Unocal Termination Allowance Plan
Clearing the Path to a Clean Energy Future
“[Petitioners] do not provide information to support their claims that cultural resources, water quality, and wildlife will be harmed by [Cogema’s] mining activities.”
—Memorandum and Order of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Atomic Safety and Licensing Board
Long Fight Against Coerced Confessions Leads to Freedom
“This case exemplifies everything that is wrong with Guantanamo. He’s a completely innocent man and they torture him into confessing, right out of the North Korean and communist Chinese play book.”
—The Associated Press, quoting Pillsbury partner David Cynamon
Defending Privacy Rights from Unrestricted Drug Testing
“This was an extreme policy, far beyond what California law allows, and we are pleased that the court recognized this.”
—The Sacramento Bee, quoting Pillsbury partner Tom Loran
Protecting Political Speech from Retaliatory Litigation
“A Cobb County judge has dismissed a Smyrna gun seller’s lawsuit that was brought against New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.”
—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Winning Over $54 Million in a Complex Breach-of-Contract Trial
“The Sacramento Municipal Utility District and the company it hired to build a new power plant in the southeastern county are locked in a high-stakes legal dispute over the project’s delay.”
—The Sacramento Bee
Leading a $50 Billion Battle for an Entire Industry
"The decision is a victory for Nebraska Public Power District and other utilities that are seeking to recover billions of dollars they have spent over the last two decades…."
When Failure Isn’t Fraud: Defending Reputations Hit by Market Forces
“Defendants were ably represented by very skilled and capable counsel … with well-deserved and nationwide reputations for vigorous advocacy in the defense of complex federal securities litigation.”
—Plaintiffs attorneys’ declaration, In re Exodus Communications, Inc., September 9, 2008
Shutting Down Massive Class Actions
“Pillsbury ... was the first to warn operators late last year that the industry was vulnerable to facing a number of class-action lawsuits stemming from FACTA violations.”
—Nation’s Restaurant News, September 15, 2007
Protecting an Innovative Business Model
“Clients are full of praise for the ‘team work and triple-A results’ of this firm, as well as the lawyers’ communication skills: ‘They always ask how they can do better.’”
—Chambers USA 2007, on its ranking of Pillsbury’s practice in commercial litigation
Blazing a Faster Route to the Right Result
“Congratulations again on a terrific result and especially on the outstanding brief that caused it.”
—Attorney for the SDL directors’ insurance company, June 23, 2008
Securing the Foundation of a $1.7 Trillion Business
“If that finding is left to stand, it would have a chilling effect on the financial markets and would eliminate a significant means by which banks, financial institutions and corporations diversify their credit risk.”
—amicus brief in support of Société Générale, May 8, 2006, International Swaps and Derivatives Association
Breaking Through Roadblocks to Complete a $3.5 Billion Deal
“The Pillsbury litigation team maintained steady focus on our objectives, and were efficient in executing our strategies to keep the transaction moving to closure without delay.”
—Joseph J. Catalano, Senior Vice President and Chief Litigation Counsel, Union Bank
Protecting Bondholders on $850 Million Debt
“Jean Coutu’s senior vice-president ... was peppered with questions from irate fixed-income investors, who expressed doubt Jean Coutu could avoid triggering a change-of-control measure forcing it to buy back the debt at a 1% premium.”
—:Financial Post, August 26, 2006
Atheros Communications: 100 Million Satisfied Customers
“Atheros has relied on Pillsbury since the company was founded, and they have proven time and again that they understand our business and our technology. We tell them where we want to go, and they help us get there.”
—Adam H. Tachner, Vice President and General Counsel, Atheros Communications
Goowy Media: Big Deals in Small Packages
The next big opportunity in online advertising is actually quite small: the widget. Widgets are small web applications that add dynamic content code to web pages like a user’s social networking profile or personal blog. Widgets’ key advantages over traditional banner advertising are their interactivity and the fact that users choose to host their content—a highly compelling solution for linking advertisers to customers. In 2004, Alex Bard joined three friends to found Goowy Media. Working on a tight budget, their first move was to develop a set of user-friendly web tools for managing email, contacts and calendars. The Goowy Webtop attracted the interest of Mark Cuban, who led the company’s first (and only) venture round. Maintaining no-frills discipline, the company’s momentum catapulted upward as it shifted focus to developing a novice-user widget platform and the backend management and analytics tools that support dynamic advertising.
Achieving Resolutions for a City’s Drinking Water Disaster
“The perchlorate plume polluting the Rialto-Colton Groundwater Basin is believed to be about six miles long, and to spread at a rate of about three feet per day, according to city officials. ”
—The Riverside Press-Enterprise, March 17, 2008
Pillsbury Prevails in Landmark Uranium Fuel Case Before the European Court of Justice
A Complex Dispute
Luminant’s highly complex dispute over enriched uranium fuel involved multiple transactions, the bankruptcy of a key player, and companies based in five countries on three continents.
First-of-Kind Project Leaves Canadians Breathing Easier
Three countries, multiple bankruptcies, the absence of an EPC contractor, a complicated fuel supply plan, a credit market meltdown, two lawsuits on the eve of closing... and a deal that was the first of its kind. These were just some of the challenges Pillsbury’s client, Mitsui, faced in the C$650 million development and financing of the Greenfield Energy Centre, the largest project developed under Ontario, Canada’s new Clean Energy Program, and the largest power generating project financed in North America in 2007.
$6 Billion Electric Transmission Infrastructure Project Sets Regulatory Standard
An Ambitious Project
In the wake of the increased attention being paid to energy security and supply, one of the nation’s fundamental challenges is how to link renewable energy sources to the locations where their output is consumed. In the western U.S., where such distances can be measured in the hundreds and thousands of miles, Pillsbury client PacifiCorp aims to bridge the gap.
Innovative Financing Fuels Growth Opportunities
As one of the largest biodiesel producers in the U.S., Renewable Energy Group (REG) is transforming today’s fragmented biodiesel market into tomorrow’s viable alternative to fossil fuels. REG’s success can be attributed, in part, to a corporate structure that gives each of its core business units—production facility construction and management, marketing and distribution, and investments— the financial and operational flexibility to respond independently to rapidly changing market conditions.
PeopleSupport: Buckle Your Seatbelts
PeopleSupport’s success story is one of booms and busts and well-timed shifts in strategy. The company started out as an outsourced call center to first-generation internet ventures. Pillsbury worked with the high-growth startup through formation and two rounds of venture financing before its customer base began to suffer the effects of the post-boom contraction. Struggling to stay afloat, the company’s management recognized three factors that would allow them to not just weather the bust, but emerge a stronger company: the commercialization of IP telephony; excess undersea fiber optic capacity; and the labor cost arbitrage between high-turnover U.S. call center workers and low-turnover, better-educated overseas workers. And indeed by shifting call center operations to the Philippines and adopting IP telephony, the company entered a new period of growth that culminated in a successful IPO in 2004.
Recovering Industry Losses from Federal Inaction
“The ruling marks yet another victory for Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman’s energy practice, which has chalked up two other big wins in the spent-fuel disposal realm in the last month alone.”
—Energy Law360, October 19, 2007
Steering an Icon Through a Financial Storm
“After two years of uncertainty, the Queen Mary can once again become a world-class tourist destination.”
—Pillsbury partner quoted in Bankruptcy Law360, November 9, 2007
Tenacious Advocacy Pays Off in Big Bankruptcy Recovery
“Even holders of pre-bankruptcy Solutia’s common shares will make a recovery, despite repeated warnings by the company that those shares would be worthless. ... Those who had been set to get nothing could wind up owning a combined 18 percent of a growing corporation.”
—St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 27, 2007
Turning the Tables in a High-Stakes Battle
“Our Pillsbury attorneys assessed the challenge Fellowes was facing from a Chinese competitor’s patent lawsuit and were confident that we could turn the tables and win in court. And they did exactly that.”
—Steve Carson, General Counsel of Fellowes, Inc.
A Clean Sweep, by a Lean Team, Against Patent Infringers
“We are very pleased with the court’s ruling and are moving forward aggressively to build sufficient product inventories to support the increased demand for our vascular sheath product lines.”
—Dr. Paul Kurth, inventor and President of Pressure Products, Inc., August 10, 2008
Rigorous Investigation Helps Avoid SEC Penalty
“Pillsbury’s guidance enabled us to far surpass the high standards that apply to an independent board-level investigation. Pillsbury was expert, thorough, responsive and instilled confidence throughout.”
—Ken Goldman, Juniper Networks Audit Committee Chairman
WebEx Communications: Keeping Airline Executives Up at Night
WebEx founders Subrah Iyar and Min Zhu had an elegant idea: develop an on-demand application that replaced cumbersome and proprietary videoconferencing equipment with a web browser and a telephone. They planned to tap into the best engineering talent in Silicon Valley and Shanghai, and beat the competition to the most attractive global markets by establishing a local sales presence early on.