and Government Response
Enterprise-threatening events are rarely confined to a single courtroom or the offices of a solitary regulator. Controversies posing the greatest risk to business often involve actual or threatened civil or criminal litigation, intense media scrutiny, congressional investigations, and overlapping inquiries by state and federal regulators. Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP has repeatedly obtained favorable results for clients caught in the crosshairs of such high-profile and multi-dimensional disputes.
Because we understand that in complex disputes success can be determined by what happens outside the courtroom, we work directly with CEOs, boards, and in-house teams—in the United States and abroad—to craft an overall strategic approach extending to all facets of a case. We assist clients in dealing simultaneously with the law, the media, and the government. And we help them respond swiftly and intelligently in a way that not only addresses the existing crisis but also minimizes future financial, litigation, and reputational exposure.
When a client is facing an enterprise-threatening problem—particularly one that is unfolding publicly—there is tremendous advantage in having the right lawyers help guide media and government outreach while also conducting any necessary internal review or investigation to ascertain key facts accurately and quickly. Many lawyers shy away from this. We embrace these roles, given our backgrounds, experience and track records. And we firmly believe that only an integrated approach can ensure that strategy remains consistent across all aspects of a major controversy; that internal investigations are conducted timely, thoroughly and accurately; that litigation positions or positions taken with a regulator are not undercut elsewhere; and that deliberations and communications forged in crisis are protected to the maximum permissible extent by applicable legal privileges.
Our Partners have unique experience helping clients navigate complex problems—and in tackling those problems from all angles. They have served in senior positions across the government, including in the White House, Congress, Department of Justice, Department of State, Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Trade Commission, National Security Council, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Armed Services, U.S. Attorney’s Offices and in Offices of State Attorneys General. And they have advised CEOs, politicians, government officials, and others in congressional investigations and other high-stakes matters, managed national media firestorms, prepared clients for congressional testimony (and testified before Congress themselves), and assisted clients in critical dealings with state, federal and international agencies and departments.
From its inception, BSF and its Partners have handled the most complex, high-profile and high-stakes legal matters in the United States and abroad—including, in its early years, serving as lead counsel to former Vice President Al Gore in Bush v. Gore and related proceedings that decided the 2000 presidential election. Representative matters in which the firm has played a central role in coordinating litigation, media and government response include:
- Perry v. Brown: A team headed by BSF Chairman David Boies served as co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs in this landmark case, winning judgments establishing the constitutional right to marry for gay and lesbian citizens in California.
- Russian Federal Customs Service v. Bank of New York Mellon: A team headed by BSF Managing Partner Jonathan Schiller led a two-year global defense of the Bank of New York Mellon, and in late 2009 settled a $22.5 billion claim filed by the Russian Federal Customs Service in Russian courts for $14 million—less than 1% of claimed damages. Resolution of the case involved work with the U.S. and Russian Governments at the highest levels. The case garnered national and international media attention, and the settlement was hailed as an unprecedented legal victory for the Firm's client. The New York Times called the case a "strange odyssey through the Russian legal system."
- United States v. Microsoft: BSF Chairman David Boies served as Special Trial Counsel for the United States Department of Justice in its successful, landmark antitrust suit against Microsoft.
- Starr International Company, Inc. v. United States: BSF serves as lead counsel for a class of AIG shareholders suing the Government for tens of billions of dollars in damages resulting from the unauthorized taking of their equity and voting rights in connection with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's loan to AIG in the midst of the 2008 financial crisis. The Firm, which has successfully defended against multiple attempts to dismiss the lawsuit, anticipates taking the case to trial in September 2014.
- Hank Greenberg / AIG: Since March 2005, the Firm has acted as lead counsel to Hank Greenberg and the Starr Companies in connection with their separation from AIG, following allegations of misconduct leveled by then-New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. BSF resolved related governmental investigations on behalf of Mr. Greenberg and secured dismissal of all material civil allegations, leading the New York Attorney General’s office to abandon its claim for over a billion dollars in damages. BSF also represented Mr. Greenberg in connection with congressional and other investigations resulting from AIG’s collapse in 2008.
- Apple / FISA Court: The Firm represented Apple, Inc. before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court challenging the Government's refusal to permit major internet and communications service providers to disclose publicly details regarding government demands for information under national security laws, including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The Government ultimately agreed to declassify and permit the providers to disclose this information.
- Detroit International Bridge Company: The Firm acts as lead counsel to the owners of the Ambassador Bridge, the only major border crossing in the U.S. that is privately owned, in the international defense of its right to build a new span to the bridge and discrimination related thereto, which has included work with the State Department and U.S. Coast Guard, as well as a NAFTA arbitration against Canada and litigation against the U.S. Government in the district court and Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
- Tyco International and Adelphia Corporate Governance Scandals: The Firm has served as lead counsel in connection with corporate governance scandals arising out of numerous allegations of self-dealing and accounting irregularities by former management, which included sprawling governmental and congressional investigations, as well as civil litigation, lasting several years.
- Sofitel / Dominique Strauss Kahn affair: BSF represented Sofitel in connection with allegations of sexual assault and attempted rape made by a hotel maid against Dominique Strauss-Kahn at the Sofitel New York Hotel in 2011. At the time of the alleged attack, Strauss-Kahn was the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and considered to be a leading candidate for the French presidency in 2012.
- Porton / 3M: BSF represented British venture fund Porton Capital and its CEO in litigation against 3M Corporation in what The New York Times called “a trans-Atlantic legal death match with political overtones.” A UK judge awarded Porton damages for 3M’s abandonment of a medical device developed in part by the British Government and BSF won dismissal of claims filed by 3M in New York and the District of Columbia. Disclosures resulting from the litigation led to the resignation of the UK Minister of Defense.
- National Football League: BSF represented the NFL in 2011, after the NFL Players Association abandoned collective bargaining negotiations, renounced its status as a union, and filed several antitrust suits against the NFL. Following a preliminary injunction enjoining the lockout and an expedited appeal of that ruling by the NFL to the Eighth Circuit where the court granted a stay of the injunction, the parties ultimately agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement, allowing the NFL season to start as scheduled.