A Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton team led by partners Lev Dassin, Roger Cooper, Rishi Zutshi and Lina Bensman takes home the top runners-up spot for their trial win for monoline insurer Assured Guaranty. During a five-week bench trial in the fall of 2021, the Cleary team squared off with lawyers for Lehman Brothers International Europe, which was seeking $485 million dollars related to the valuation of certain credit default swaps during the financial crisis in July 2009. “At that point in time, the markets were so disrupted that accurate market prices were non-existent,” wrote New York Supreme Court Justice Melissa Crane. The judge this week sided completely with Assured Guaranty, finding its valuation “was commercially reasonable and in good faith” and that LBIE’s proposed valuation “relied entirely on market prices its experts constructed for this litigation.” The Cleary team also included associates Daniel Montgomery, Tabitha Cohen, Drew Kramer, Jonathan Jaroslawicz, Tom Mintz, Xu Yang, Laura Harder and John Mucciolo, senior discovery attorney Jennifer Levy, and staff attorney Ashley Graham.
Runners-up honors also go to J. Scott McBride, Nevin Gewertz, Rebecca Horwitz and Meg Fasulo of Bartlit Beck for defending Gilead’s blockbuster hepatitis C drugs from patent infringement claims. The Federal Circuit this week upheld the firm’s win alongside co-counsel at Venable in an inter partes review at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board for Gilead, invalidating all claims of a patent asserted by the Regents of the University of Minnesota against Gilead’s hepatitis C treatments containing sofosbuvir. Federal Circuit Judge Alan Lourie wrote that the university’s patent, which provided multiple paths to create potential compounds, did not provide “a written description of what might have been described if each of the optional steps had been set forth as the only option.” The judge continued: “This argument calls to mind what Yogi Berra, the Yankee catcher, was reported to have said: ‘when one comes to a fork in the road, take it.’”