The Transnational Litigation Practice Group specializes in protecting clients against claims in U.S. and other courts stemming from overseas activities, as well as reducing and eliminating the risks posed by foreign litigation that, if unchecked, threaten company-wide implications. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s uniquely skilled, creative and experienced transnational team is equipped to manage all aspects of cross-border litigation, including devising, coordinating and implementing offensive and defensive global strategies.
The Transnational Litigation group has represented clients in some of the highest-profile cases around the world. This includes obtaining a landmark U.S. federal court RICO judgment, and Second Circuit affirmance, in favor of Chevron Corporation in its long-running battle with lawyers suing it in Ecuador, which The New York Times described as a “major victory” and The Washington Post called a “resounding” win.
The US Legal 500 has ranked Gibson Dunn in Tier 1 for Disputes Resolution – International Litigation in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, highlighting the firm’s “‘terrific’ transnational litigation team” and noting that the firm “’stands out for highly complex cross-border matters that require a global strategy and the ability to work with foreign law experts.’” Additional recognitions include from The American Lawyer, which named the Argentine bonds litigation settlement as the 2016 Global Dispute of the Year: Grand Prize winner at its 2016 Global Legal Awards, recognizing Gibson Dunn for its representation of NML Capital in its $2.4 billion settlement with Argentina after a decade of litigation. The publication previously recognized Gibson Dunn in its 2014 Global Legal Awards, honoring law offices that “played a substantial role in the most distinguished cross-border work.” The firm was recognized in the categories of Global Dispute of the Year: U.S. Human Rights Litigation for Chevron v. Donziger and Global Dispute of the Year: U.S. Financial Litigation for NML v. Argentina.
Drawing from a wealth of experience, the Transnational Litigation group leverages Gibson Dunn’s deep knowledge and proficiency in global strategy, multijurisdictional environmental, tort and contract disputes, transnational media management, technology, intellectual property, and international arbitration, with broad capabilities in the following transnational areas, among others:
- Cross-border discovery, including 28 U.S.C. §1782 and the Hague Convention
- Jurisdictional disputes, including extraterritoriality issues, forum non conveniens, and the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act
- UK and Commonwealth litigation
- Foreign judgment defense, enforcement, and asset recovery
- Global fact investigations
- Corporate separateness, including parent liability for alleged acts of subsidiaries
- Litigation of RICO and parallel regulations
- Multinational trademark and intellectual property disputes
- Transnational technology and data privacy disputes
- International supply chain litigation and legislation
- Identification, management and leveraging of choice of law arguments and experts
- Presentation of comprehensive arguments regarding, and the management of, foreign legal issues
Our group has extensive experience in numerous industries worldwide, including representing clients in the energy, computer, food, manufacturing and transportation industries. These representations have involved allegations regarding, or litigation in, a variety of countries, including Canada, Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina, the Cayman Islands, France, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Australia, India, China, Taiwan, Korea, Russia and the Philippines. In addition to assisting clients with anticipated or ongoing litigation at the trial and appellate level in international jurisdictions, our lawyers have also represented clients before numerous tribunals in international arbitrations, including those pursuant to bilateral investment treaties.
Recent representations include:
- Represented Chevron Corporation in its successful RICO suit against the purveyors of what The Wall Street Journal called the legal “fraud of the century,” Chevron Corp. v. Donziger et al., Case No. 11-cv-0691 (SDNY). Gibson Dunn was lead counsel in Chevron’s RICO and fraud suit against the U.S. lawyer and associates who masterminded an extortion scheme against Chevron that included fraudulently procuring a $9.2 billion Ecuadorean judgment against the company and carrying out an extortionate pressure campaign in the United States. Gibson Dunn obtained a trial verdict in favor of Chevron, in which the district court held that the scheme constituted racketeering in violation of RICO and federal laws prohibiting attempted extortion, wire fraud, money laundering, witness tampering, obstruction of justice, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. In its 485-page opinion, the court described the case as “extraordinary” and “includ[ing] things that normally come only out of Hollywood,” including “coded emails,” “payments out of a secret account,” videotaped evidence of crimes in progress and blockbuster evidence that the defendants “wrote the [Ecuadorean] court’s Judgment themselves and promised $500,000 to the Ecuadorian judge to rule in their favor and sign their judgment.” Gibson Dunn subsequently obtained Second Circuit affirmance.
- Resolved groundbreaking, multibillion-dollar litigation by NML Capital, Ltd. (an affiliate of Elliott Management Corporation) against the Republic of Argentina when Argentina paid NML more than $2.4 billion to satisfy NML’s claims on the country’s defaulted bonds. This settlement marked the conclusion of what the Financial Times called the “sovereign debt trial of the century” and ended 13 years of litigation following Argentina’s default in 2001 on more than $80 billion in external debt. While most of Argentina’s creditors accepted new bonds, worth much less, in exchange for the repudiated bond obligations, NML chose to fight. After securing judgments, attachments and injunctions against Argentina, the tide turned with two decisive U.S. Supreme Court victories won for NML by Gibson Dunn. Still unwilling to comply, Argentina continued to resist – and suffer the consequences – until the Republic’s new president initiated negotiations with creditors and the settlement agreement was reached.
- Successfully represented Daimler AG before the U.S. Supreme Court in a transnational case, in which the Court held that it violates due process for a U.S. court to exercise general personal jurisdiction over a non-U.S. corporation based on the fact that an indirect corporate subsidiary performs services on behalf of the defendant in the forum state.
- Secured an important precedent for all trademark owners from the Second Circuit in affirming the most relevant parts of a series of orders that Gibson Dunn had previously obtained for luxury brands including Gucci and Tiffany & Co. in combatting the sale of unlawful counterfeits from China. In particular, the Second Circuit unequivocally affirmed the injunctions issued against the defendant counterfeiters in both cases, finding that “[t]he court had personal jurisdiction over the defendants, as well as the equitable authority to issue the prejudgment freeze” to preserve the availability of final equitable relief, such as an accounting of profits.” Importantly, the Second Circuit found that “a district court need not preliminarily establish personal jurisdiction over a nonparty bank to restrain a defendant’s assets” and confirmed the authority of the district court to order a defendant to “‘freeze’ property under the party’s control, whether the property be within or without the United States.”
- Representing Gucci America, Inc., Balenciaga America, Inc., Bottega Veneta Inc., Yves Saint Laurent America, Inc. and their parent company, Kering S.A. against a group of online merchants who were responsible for sales of counterfeit merchandise through the family of websites that The Wall Street Journal has called “China’s – and by some measures, the world’s – biggest online commerce company,” the Alibaba Group. Gibson Dunn obtained a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction on the clients’ behalf and subsequently filed an additional complaint against the Alibaba Group and its affiliated companies, asserting: claims of contributory trademark infringement and counterfeiting for knowingly allowing the listed merchants to sell counterfeits; direct federal trademark infringement and dilution claims related to Alibaba’s use of the plaintiffs’ trademarks; New York State trademark claims; and a RICO claim.
- Transformed a high-risk toxic tort litigation against Dole Food Company, Inc. into a headline-making victory when Gibson Dunn took over the defense of a series of cases filed against Dole alleging that its use of the pesticide DBCP in Nicaragua in the 1970s caused sterility in former farmworkers. Gibson Dunn uncovered a scheme by plaintiffs’ lawyers to recruit and train fraudulent plaintiffs in a toxic tort suit which the court dismissed as a sanction, finding pervasive fraud. Prior to Gibson Dunn’s representation, a Los Angeles jury had awarded $2.3 million in damages in another DBCP case, a verdict that the court threw out, finding it was tainted by fraud.
- Represented Yukos Capital S.a.r.l. and affiliates acting on behalf of former shareholders of Yukos Oil Company as part of a complex, decade-long, global battle arising out of the forced bankruptcy and liquidation of Yukos Oil Company by the Russian Federation. Gibson Dunn aided in the recovery of more than $400 million dollars for the Yukos claimants after securing a pre-judgment attachment against Rosneft Oil Company (Rosneft). The Second Circuit affirmed a $185 million judgment in favor of Yukos Capital in all respects in an action to enforce an arbitral award against OAO Samaraneftegaz, a subsidiary of Rosneft. Months later, a global settlement was reached between the Yukos claimants and Rosneft pursuant to which all proceedings between the parties were terminated.
- Secured Delaware Supreme Court affirmance of the forum non conveniens dismissal, also won by Gibson Dunn, of Philip Morris USA and Philip Morris Global Brands in a case filed by hundreds of Argentine citizens in Delaware alleging exposure to pesticides used on Argentine tobacco farms and seeking compensatory and punitive damages. The Court held that where defendants demonstrate that litigating in Delaware would result in an overwhelming hardship to them, Delaware courts may dismiss suits under the doctrine of forum non conveniens even if no alternative forum for the lawsuit is available. The existence of an alternative forum is not a prerequisite to dismissal, but only one of many factors to be considered in making the “overwhelming hardship to defendants” determination. The decision was a significant development in transnational law given the large number of multinational corporations subject to suit in Delaware, and the challenges they face presenting a meaningful defense where the key documents, witnesses and evidence reside overseas.
- Scored a decisive victory for Dole Food Company, Inc. when over 50 Colombian plaintiffs dismissed their wrongful death cases in California Superior Court with prejudice after Gibson Dunn exposed shocking evidence of jailhouse witness bribery and evidence spoliation. Dole Food was one of several U.S. companies that operated in Colombia to have been sued for allegedly supporting the AUC (Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia), a paramilitary organization that sprang up to combat the “guerrilla” group known as the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) during Colombia’s bloody civil conflict. Plaintiffs had claimed that Dole and its Colombian subsidiary Tecbaco conspired with and paid the AUC in exchange for violent security services and was liable for the AUC’s murders of their family members.