Our first runners-up this week are Joseph Baio and James Dugan of Willkie Farr & Gallagher who landed a $44.7 million verdict for Larry Lawson, the former CEO of Spirit Aerospace Systems, in his compensation dispute with the company. After a three-week in-person bench trial in June, U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren in Wichita, Kansas, this week wrote that he didn’t buy Spirit’s affirmative defense — a claim that the former CEO violated a non-compete provision in his retirement agreement by serving as a consultant to Elliott Associates and participating in a proxy fight involving Arconic Corp., a company that Spirit claimed was its competitor. The Willkie trial team, which won the full amount of damages claimed, also included senior associates Meryl Governski and Ravi Chanderraj.
A trial team at Sidley Austin gets runners-up honors this week for winning the first trial at the Delaware Court of Chancery to consider whether a corporate board can refuse to put potential directors up for election when certain disclosures aren’t made in a nomination notice. Following an expedited Zoom bench trial, Vice Chancellor Joseph Slights III last week found the board of Vancouver, Washington-based biotech company CytoDyn didn’t breach company bylaws or act unfairly when it declined to put a slate of five proposed directors on its ballot despite the fact their notices were filed by the applicable deadline. The Sidley trial team representing CytoDyn’s board was led by litigation partners Andy Stern, Alex Kaplan and Isaac Greaney and included associate Charlotte Newell.
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