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NAME: Lawrence A. Salibra II TITLE: Senior counsel AGE: 54 THE COMPANY: The No. 2 aluminum producer in the world, Cleveland-based Alcan Aluminum Corp. is a U.S. subsidiary of Canada’s Alcan Inc. The company, with 10,000 employees in 28 facilities in seven countries, has about $3.4 billion in annual revenues. Through its five business units, Alcan produces high-quality sheet and light-gauge rolled products and rod, cable, wire and engineered cast products for industries such as building and construction, transportation and beverage can manufacturers. SIZE OF DEPARTMENT: In addition to litigation chief Salibra, the high-performance litigation team at Alcan consists of one full-time lawyer, two part-time attorneys and a paralegal. As senior counsel, Salibra reports directly to Alcan General Counsel William Jairrels. RESPONSIBILITIES: Salibra manages nearly all of Alcan’s litigation, especially major cases, and in his 25 years at the company has tried approximately 40 cases to verdict. Unlike most large companies, his unit rarely hires outside firms to litigate. In fact, Salibra’s department is known for handling precedent-setting cases with much greater frequency than other in-house units. For Salibra, his duty to the company is clear: “A case comes in, you try it.” Salibra’s partner in litigation, John Tillman, mostly handles employment matters, while Salibra takes on the larger cases facing the company. “We really are a lead on many more big cases than law firms,” Salibra says unabashedly. LITIGATION PHILOSOPHY: Despite Alcan’s size, Salibra maintains that he has been able to keep his caseload small — about 10 to 15 cases. When Alcan is wrong or at fault, Salibra says he tries to settle and settle quickly. But rather than succumb to settlements as a matter of routine, Salibra prefers to force cases to trial and through years of appeals when he believes the company is in the right. He says he has already made inroads in environmental claims against Alcan, especially ones brought by the Justice Department. Salibra says he refuses to buckle to settlement pressure. Instead, he says, he tries to make suing Alcan the most miserable experience possible. His goal is to get the plaintiffs’ bar, their clients and their experts to believe that “it’s just not worth screwing with us.” Even though that strategy may be costly up front, Salibra says it’s worth it in the end when the numbers of complaints against Alcan fall. Salibra insists that when parties realize Alcan won’t budge, they often drop their claims. He sees this especially when Alcan is named in contribution actions. “A lot of what goes on in this profession is based on the settlement mode,” he says. Yet, he maintains, “When you take that formula out of the system and people realize that it is no longer part of the system, they just don’t want to play anymore.” BIG CASE: One of Salibra and Alcan’s biggest cases goes back more than 15 years, when a dispute began over two polluted sites, one in western Pennsylvania and the other in upstate New York. In what became an important Environmental Protection Agency Superfund case, Alcan, among others, admitted dumping waste at both sites. The EPA claimed joint and several liability for all polluters, putting Alcan’s responsibility at 25 percent, or $5 million. Alcan, however, contended that polluters should be liable only if their waste caused damage. Alcan claimed that its waste, a lubricant used in manufacturing aluminum, had not caused any harm. In two cases argued before the 2nd and 3rd U.S Circuit Courts of Appeals, Salibra led the charge to achieve the first appellate court defeat for the EPA on the imposition of joint and several liability relating to the Superfund law. On remand in the trial courts, however, Alcan lost both cases. These cases are still pending in federal court. “The cases are important because they seek to revitalize an essential precept of our legal system that liability should be associated with the harm you cause,” Salibra says. “By eliminating causation, the judiciary has subverted the principle of polluter pays and converted the liability system into a polluters’ subsidy doctrine contrary to Congress’ intention and in contravention of well-established traditional legal doctrines.” POSSIBLE TRIAL: Although the case is now on hold, Salibra also is involved in litigating more traditional in-house cases. In a case set in federal court in Bowling Green, Ky., Salibra is defending Alcan in a discrimination claim by a former lift-truck driver who sued Alcan claiming that he was fired after filing a workers’ compensation claim. Salibra says Alcan absolutely won’t settle because the company claims that the man was fired for just cause before he filed the workers’ compensation claim and also because the workers’ compensation claim itself is based on fraud. LEGISLATIVE SOLUTION: Although Salibra is realistic enough to know that losing is part of the court process, he doesn’t always see an adverse appellate court decision as the final blow. Instead, he is comfortable switching arenas. Take a series of cases he handled for Alcan in upstate New York: The company believed there was a fundamental policy involving the general obligations law that was not being interpreted correctly in the courts. Alcan didn’t think it was right, for instance, that companies were being held liable for the safety of their equipment when they had hired a third-party contractor to manage their safety. For example, when someone was injured on an Alcan-owned ladder, the company was automatically liable, even though the company had hired someone to make sure the ladder was adequate. Alcan was unsuccessful at getting the issue reviewed by the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, so Salibra switched to politics, drafting an amendment to the New York statute in question and spending the time to get the amendment sponsored. It is an issue he hopes will be addressed by the state Legislature next session. “Because so much of our litigation tends to be top-end as opposed to slip and falls, we tend to move fluidly between the political and litigation,” Salibra said. “If we don’t get the solution one way, we’ll get it the other way.” PRIMARY OUTSIDE COUNSEL: For litigation, Salibra goes outside for help so infrequently that he could not name any outside firms he regularly calls on. He says he most often needs outside counsel when he or lawyers on his staff need to make an appearance in a court where they are not admitted. When he does go outside for a substantive reason, it’s because he is involved in an area of law unfamiliar to him. “I used outside counsel to sound off issues until I had sufficient confidence that I knew as much as they do,” he explains. ROUTE TO THE TOP: A 1968 graduate of Wesleyan University, Salibra went on to earn his J.D. from the University of Wisconsin. He first worked at Sidley & Austin, where as an associate, he mostly handed intellectual property matters. He joined Alcan as an associate attorney in 1976, was made assistant secretary in 1979 and became senior counsel the following year. He also is a founding member of the American Corporate Counsel Association and past chairman of the National Litigation Committee. FAMILY: Salibra and his wife, Marie, have two sons, Lawrence III, 20, a sophomore at Wesleyan, and Jonathan, 16, a high school junior. LAST BOOK READ: “Germs, Guns and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies” by Jared Diamond, about why European populations dominated Native Americans, both North and South.

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