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It was 1998, and Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison partner Meredith Landy thought she had a victory. But she may have been a little premature in her thinking. It took four years for the Fourth District Court of Appeal to side with Landy’s client, the now-defunct investment bank Robertson Stephens & Co., over an initial public offering gone wrong. Fightertown USA, a Florida-based entertainment enterprise that lets people toy with flight through simulators, sued Robertson Stephens after the bank pulled out of the company’s IPO. A jury in 1998 said the bank owed Fightertown $7 million — the company had sought $338 million — but the judge tossed it, saying oral guarantees aren’t binding. “In this case, they were trying to enforce a no-holds-barred, ‘you must go forward with the IPO’ approach and that sort of guarantee in this environment is very dangerous,” Landy said. The dispute, now seemingly ancient, could have packed a punch for the investment banking community, Landy said. “Underwriters have to be able to walk away,” she said. The case had an impact on Landy personally as well. For one thing, she had to live in an Orange County hotel for about three months in 1998 while she and her courtroom team, led by Richard Odom, went to trial in the case. It was also an intense fight. “It was a hard-fought case,” she said. “There was a lot of money at stake and it’s always challenging when you’re in that environment.” She said she got to know her colleagues well during the ordeal, and she values the camaraderie the team developed during the trial. Rounding out the trial team with Odom were partner Howard Privette and associate Sarah Barney. Partner Thomas Peterson handled the appeal. “I worked on that case for so many years,” Landy said. “When you try a case with someone for that length of time, you’re friends for life.”

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