Notable Representations, Key Contacts
Consequently, we have a long record of successfully resolving these proceedings on behalf of clients across industries, including retail and consumer products, energy, chemicals, media and entertainment, healthcare and life sciences, heavy manufacturing, insurance, technology, and financial services. Likewise, our experience covers a broad range of substantive areas of law, including fraud, bankruptcy, media and entertainment, trade secrets and restrictive covenants, unfair and deceptive trade practices, RICO, insurance and reinsurance, breach of contract, consumer protection, product liability, and antitrust, among many others.
The practice's comprehensive offerings are supported by a number of foundational capabilities:
Trial Ready Approach
Class Action and Multi-District Litigation Experience
Weil has an excellent track record in defending complex, multi-plaintiff actions, including proceedings before the Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation (MDL) and under various state multi-district litigation statutes, as well as class and collective actions in state and federal courts around the United States. From multi-hundred-plaintiff MDLs regarding healthcare reimbursement rates to significant class actions challenging immunity under the Communications Decency Act, Weil’s Complex Commercial Litigators have extensive experience litigating high-value claims, cases of first impression and other significant issues in these contexts for clients across the industry spectrum. Read more
Over the past two years, more than a dozen Weil litigators have tried a case to verdict.
In 2015, Weil obtained two significant victories for CBS and its affiliates that will redefine the contours of publicity and privacy law in the United States involving the use of student-athlete names, images, and likenesses in the media.
In June 2015, Weil persuaded a Tennessee federal court to dismiss with prejudice a putative nationwide class action (Marshall) brought by NCAA Division I student-athletes alleging that CBS, among other networks, college athletic conferences, and licensors, profited from the broadcast and use of student-athletes’ names, images, and likenesses without permission, violating Tennessee’s right of publicity statute and federal antitrust laws. In a landmark decision and judgment on CBS and the other defendants’ motions to dismiss, the court dismissed Plaintiffs’ complaint in its entirety, with prejudice. Among other things, the court ruled that there was no right of publicity for participants in sporting events, and with respect to Plaintiffs’ antitrust claims, the court rejected Plaintiffs’ claim that the broadcast contracts that purportedly transfer student-athletes’ names, images, and likenesses are the unreasonable restraint of trade, and rejected Plaintiffs’ allegations of antitrust injury or reduced competition. The case is currently on appeal in the Sixth Circuit.
In August 2015, a California federal court granted Weil’s motion for summary judgment on behalf of CBS Interactive Inc. (CBSI) in another landmark right of publicity case (Lightbourne) that dismissed all of plaintiff’s claims. The plaintiff in this action alleged that CBSI had used student-athletes’ names, images, and likenesses, without their consent, in connection with its provision of services to NCAA member institutions’ sale of photographs of student-athletes through the schools’ official athletic websites. The plaintiff had asked for a nationwide class of potentially over a million current and former student-athletes and was seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in minimum statutory damages under California’s right of publicity statute. The summary judgment ruling followed the court’s July 30, 2015 denial of the plaintiff’s motion for class certification, in which the Court, among other things, rejected Plaintiff’s attempt to apply California law to a nationwide class in this case, concluding that there were material differences in states’ right of publicity laws, and that other states’ interests in applying their own right of publicity laws outweighed California’s interest. The Court also found that the need to then apply various states’ right of publicity laws to class members’ claims also weighed against a finding of predominance.
Weil is currently representing Farmers and a number of its affiliates in a federal consolidated antitrust multi-district litigation alleging that Farmers and others have engaged in anticompetitive behavior and other unlawful conduct in Florida and other states to control and reduce what they pay Plaintiffs for automobile damage repair, labor, and material costs in violation of the federal antitrust laws and other state laws. The court recently granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss the lead case in its entirety.
In an industry-wide Medicare False Claims Act case, Weil obtained a major victory for Farmers Insurance when in June 2015 a U.S. Magistrate Judge recommended the dismissal with prejudice of all claims – worth several hundred million dollars – alleging that Farmers and more than a dozen other defendants violated the federal False Claims Act by allegedly failing to reimburse the government for payments made to Medicare beneficiaries as mandated by the Medicare Secondary Payer statute.
Weil represents the Elite Rodeo Association (ERA), a newly-founded professional rodeo association, and several of its owners who are the best athletes, as plaintiffs in an antitrust class action lawsuit in Texas federal court challenging, as unfair, retaliatory, and illegal, bylaws passed by the dominant sanctioning body in the sport, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). Among other anti-competitive restrictions, the new PRCA bylaws prevent ERA rodeo athletes from participating in PRCA-sanctioned events. Additionally, the bylaws prohibit rodeo committees and other contracting parties like facilities and vendors from participating in non-PRCA rodeo events, including ERA events, within 72 hours before or after any PRCA-sanctioned event. Nationwide, PRCA-sanctioned events take place several times per month, year-round, often with multiple events occurring simultaneously, meaning the 72-hour window before and after any PRCA-sanctioned event effectively prevents numerous entities involved in and necessary to the sport of rodeo from participating in an ERA event.
Plaintiffs allege violations of sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act for an illegal group boycott and unlawful monopolization, and seek a court order preventing the enforcement of the current PRCA bylaws; the implementation of new anti-competitive bylaws prohibiting any professional rodeo athletes and third parties from participating in both ERA and PRCA events; and retaliation against ERA athletes.
Weil again represented ESPN successfully in a second and different matter obtaining a near-complete defense jury verdict following trial of more than $150 million in claims brought by DISH Network challenging certain provisions of distribution agreements ESPN had negotiated with DISH and several of DISH’s competitors.
Weil has been successfully representing Procter & Gamble (P&G) as lead counsel in a high-profile MDL in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in which plaintiffs allege that they were injured through their use of the popular denture cream, Fixodent. Specifically, plaintiffs allege that zinc contained in the denture creams manufactured by P&G and others caused neurological problems. Plaintiffs filed numerous Florida state law claims, including strict product liability, negligence, intentional misrepresentation, breach of express warranty, implied warranty, and violation of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. In 2014, Weil won a significant victory before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit that affirmed the trial court’s Daubert and summary judgment orders in the lead case, which excluded plaintiffs’ expert testimony and resultantly found that plaintiffs could not sustain their burden of proof. While the Chapman case was on appeal, the remaining plaintiffs in MDL 2051 were granted an opportunity to proffer new experts and any new science in support of their causation theory. P&G again challenged plaintiffs’ new experts and purported new science through the submission of additional Daubert motions seeking to exclude those general causation experts. In January 2015, the trial court granted P&G’s motion to exclude all of the plaintiffs’ general causation experts, a decision that led to the dismissal with prejudice of 62 plaintiffs in April 2015.
Later, Weil successfully represented Exxon in more than 30 putative class actions worth billions that have been filed against motor fuel retailers throughout warmer regions of the United States, which asserted failure to adjust the price or size of gasoline to account for thermal expansion. Weil secured a favorable settlement worth a fraction of what plaintiffs sought.
Weil represents Credit Suisse in a purported class action filed by homeowners of luxury resort properties who are asserting RICO claims along with a host of state-law claims and alleging damages of $8 billion. The Firm successfully obtained dismissal of plaintiffs’ RICO claim, followed by an order denying certification of a class.
Weil also represents Credit Suisse as plaintiff in litigation in New York Supreme Court in which it alleges that several investment funds, managed by Highland Capital, failed to settle trades they entered into in 2008 with respect to loans that Credit Suisse had arranged to third-party real estate developers. Highland claimed, among other things, that the trades were unenforceable because Credit Suisse had breached alleged contractual obligations under the credit agreements with the developers, and also argued that interest should be based on the rate in the trade confirmations for delayed settlements (around 0.45%) rather than the New York statutory rate (9%) for breach of contract. In August 2014, the Court granted our motion for summary judgment and rejected each of Highland’s defenses, concluding that the credit agreements are irrelevant to the trades between Credit Suisse and Highland, and that the trade confirmations’ rate of interest did not apply where a party breaches an obligation to settle a trade. The Court ordered entry of judgment for more than $50 million plus interest at 9% running from October 16, 2008.
Weil represented the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in a high-profile appeal to the Court of Appeals of the State of New York that led to the reversal of an intermediate appellate court’s decision finding the Port Authority liable for damages caused by the 1993 terrorist attack at New York’s World Trade Center.
Weil recently secured another major victory for the Port Authority in its six year, multi-forum litigation battle with Maher Terminals, in which Maher, the Port's largest marine terminal operator, has alleged hundreds of millions of dollars in damages caused by its lease, which it claims is unfair and discriminatory. In July 2014, the District of New Jersey federal court dismissed in its entirety Maher's complaint, which had alleged that the fees and charges Maher pays pursuant to its lease violate the Tonnage Clause of the U.S. Constitution, as well as the Rivers and Harbors Appropriation Act of 1884 and the Water Resources Development Act.
A major player in New York for large-scale disputes.
Clients note Weil’s “excellent work product,” calling our lawyers “very responsive, very professional and great partners - they work with us to help us achieve our business objectives,” and calling our Complex Commercial Litigation practice the “go-to for bet-the-company cases.”
Sources call Weil an “awesome litigation firm” that has “tremendous reach nationally and tremendous experience.”
Legal 500 US
Weil’s Litigation department has “a very deep bench in which all lawyers are meticulous, smart, careful, practical, energetic and tenacious.”
Legal 500 US
Recognized as a leading General Commercial Litigation firm in the US and in several states.
Chambers USA, 2008–2015