Alston & Bird has been honored as the 2015 “Overall Litigation Department of the Year” by the Daily Report.
Selected based on the degree of difficulty, dollar value and importance of its cases, the firm was recognized as the top litigation department overall for successfully protecting clients’ interests in a wide range of matters.
As noted by the publication: “Alston & Bird attorneys in 2014 won a case before the U.S. Supreme Court and two jury trials that secured more than $200 million for clients. These matters highlighted a year in which the firm represented more than 40 Fortune 500 companies in all sorts of litigation areas – class actions, securities, products liability, environmental regulation and torts.”
In the U.S. Supreme Court case – Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Company et al v. Owens – Nowell Berreth, Brian Boone, and Jonathan Parente argued and won an important decision in favor of Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Company, which operates natural gas wells in Kansas. The case arose from a putative class action in a Kansas state court over oil and gas royalties. Dart removed the case to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act, but the district court remanded it to the state court because the Dart petitioners had not attached evidence of federal jurisdiction to their notice of removal. Alston & Bird then joined the case at the appellate stage and applied to the Tenth Circuit for permission to appeal, which was denied. On December 15, by a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court vacated that decision, holding that a notice removing a case from state to federal court does not need to include evidence of federal jurisdiction, only plausible allegations of the grounds for removal.
Also highlighted was Alston & Bird’s win on behalf of Mylan Inc. and Mylan Pharmaceuticals. Following a two-week jury trial in New Jersey federal court, the trial team – led by Frank Smith and assisted by partners Michael Johnson and Natalie Clayton – secured a $106 million verdict against GlaxoSmithKline LLC in a breach of contract claim over the marketing and sale of a generic formulation of Paxil CR, a popular antidepressant, in addition to winning a court-ordered injunction preventing Glaxo from making future sales of generic Paxil CR for resale by another pharmaceutical company. About a year later, the trial team secured another $13.7 million in supplemental damages, bringing the total damages awarded to Mylan to about $120 million.
Alston & Bird was also recognized for its victory representing Mohawk Industries in a breach of warranty and breach of contract dispute with Arizona Chemical Co. LLC. arising from the defendant's sale of defective component goods. The trial team – led by Doug Scribner, Daniel C. Norris, and Jason Rottner – secured a $70.1 million circuit court jury verdict for Mohawk, including substantial damages for the replacement of defective goods and lost profits. The trial court subsequently awarded an additional $19 million in attorney fees and prejudgment interest.
Both the Mylan and Mohawk wins were ranked among the country’s top 30 largest verdicts of 2014 as determined by The National Law Journal.
This is the third time in as many years that Alston & Bird has earned top litigation honors from the Daily Report. In 2014, the firm won “Securities Litigation Department of the Year” and in 2013, “IP Litigation Department of the Year.”
Each year, the Daily Report highlights one firm as its litigation powerhouse of the year while recognizing other firms with leading labor and employment, insurance, and other specialty practices. Now in its fourth year, the program is one of Georgia’s most celebrated events for acknowledging the achievements of the local legal community.