Described by CNBC as the “toughest lawyer on Wall Street” and by Bloomberg Financial News as an “uberlitigator,” Marc E. Kasowitz is widely regarded as one of the preeminent trial lawyers in the country.
Marc has been recognized by Benchmark Litigation as one of the country’s top 100 trial lawyers. He has been honored as a Litigation Trailblazer by the National Law Journal and was designated a Securities MVP by Law360. Marc has also been recognized as one of the nation’s top litigators by Chambers USA (“widely respected as an ‘extremely talented litigator,’” praised by clients for “his ‘tremendous trial experience’”); Lawdragon 500 (“the cream of the crop”); Benchmark Litigation (“a unique, zealous, and exceptionally skilled advocate;” “his guidance is extremely reliable and he is very client-focused and big picture-oriented”); The Legal 500 (“excellent across the board” and “a superb lawyer”); The American Lawyer (a “powerhouse” and “the toughest of the tough guys”); The Globe and Mail referred to him as “one of the most prominent and feared litigators in the United States;” and Law360 profiled Marc as one of the country’s most innovative managing partners.
Marc regularly serves as national trial counsel in complex commercial litigation in the areas of antitrust, banking, securities, product liability, mass tort, corporate governance, fraudulent conveyance, RICO, environmental, breach of contract, and other cases. Marc also has an extensive and successful track record in dealing with investigations and lawsuits by state attorneys general, including path-breaking settlements of tobacco litigation. Marc has conducted numerous internal investigations on behalf of boards of directors, management and special committees regarding alleged corporate misfeasance, conflicts of interest, challenges to board authority, insider trading, accounting fraud, market timing, obstruction of justice and market manipulation.
- ACA Financial Guaranty Corp., a bond insurer, in its $120 million fraud suit against Goldman Sachs and hedge fund Paulson & Co. for fraudulently inducing ACA to issue a financial guaranty for Goldman’s ABACUS CDO by deceiving ACA about Paulson’s role and financial interest in the transaction. Marc successfully argued the case before the New York Court of Appeals, creating precedent on the standards for reliance in fraud actions under New York law.
- TPG in numerous matters, including in bankruptcy proceedings and multiple state and federal court actions concerning portfolio company Caesars Entertainment, and in obtaining injunctive relief against a former employee for breaching confidentiality obligations.
- Douglas Elliman Realty, one of the largest real estate brokerage firms in the country, in numerous employment, contract, intellectual property and commercial matters.
- Harold Peerenboom in a defamation action against billionaire Isaac Perlmutter arising out of an anonymous hate-mail campaign against Peerenboom. Marc defeated numerous motions by Perlmutter to dismiss the case, with the Court holding that the complaint’s allegations sufficiently “link[ed]” Perlmutter to the hate mail campaign and that Perlmutter’s alleged conduct was “sufficiently outrageous” to sustain a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress.
- MBIA, one of the world’s largest monoline insurers, in litigation brought by 18 of the world’s largest banks seeking to overturn MBIA’s corporate restructuring which, with the approval of the New York Department of Insurance, established a separate company for MBIA’s municipal bond insurance business. After a several-week evidentiary proceeding, the New York Supreme Court upheld MBIA’s restructuring. The banks agreed to drop their challenge, and MBIA received $1.7 billion in cash and a $500 million line of credit for its municipal bond insurance business.
- MBIA, as trial counsel, in a long-running put-back action against Credit Suisse in which MBIA is seeking to recover over $740 million related to RMBS insured by MBIA, resulting in a two-week trial in New York State Supreme Court, one of the very few such actions to go to trial. The court’s decision is currently pending.
- President Donald J. Trump in a wide range of litigation matters for over 15 years.
- Woodstock 50 in its highly publicized legal battle against its former financing partner Dentsu, a Japanese marketing and advertising company, which abruptly pulled its financing of the music festival celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the legendary 1969 Woodstock festival. After a two-day hearing, the New York State Supreme Court agreed with Kasowitz in ruling that Dentsu did not have the right under the parties’ contract to unilaterally cancel Woodstock 50. Arbitration proceedings are ongoing.
- Astra Asset Management, a London-based asset manager, in a trust instruction proceeding against Goldman Sachs involving Astra’s investment in an Abacus CDO sponsored by Goldman Sachs. Astra, which was seeking to require the distribution of $55 million in collateral appreciation to investors, rather than to Goldman, won two dispositive motions; Goldman Sachs settled with Astra on the eve of trial.
- Fairfax Financial Holdings, the largest insurance company in Canada, in recovering $31 million, including winning a jury verdict of $5.4 million in compensatory damages against hedge fund Exis Capital and a $5.5 million jury verdict in punitive damages against Exis Capital and two former executives in a New Jersey RICO case involving blatant insider trading, market manipulation and short selling attacks by hedge funds and investment firms. Morgan Keegan, originally a defendant, settled with Fairfax for $20 million shortly before trial. In addition to Fairfax’s $31 million recovery on this action, Fairfax secured additional prior settlements with other defendants.
- Federal Housing Finance Agency, as conservator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, in actions in federal and state courts against numerous financial institutions and individuals. The lawsuits sought rescission or damages from the banks for, among other things, their misrepresentations concerning pools of mortgage loans that underlie residential mortgage-backed securities the banks issued, securitized and sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. After prevailing on critical pre-trial issues, FHFA settled the actions brought by Kasowitz for over $2 billion, including a $1.25 billion settlement with Morgan Stanley.
- Harbinger Capital in successfully restructuring its $2 billion investment in LightSquared, including related litigation by Harbinger against Dish Network and the FCC.
- FinancialApps, a developer of financial services software, in its suit against Envestnet, a $3 billion wealth management software provider, and its subsidiary Yodlee, a consumer financial data aggregator, alleging theft of FinApps’ valuable proprietary information and trade secrets to unlawfully develop software products that compete with FinApps.
- MusclePharm, a nutritional supplements company, in various cases pending in state and federal courts in Arizona, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada and New York, including defeating a preliminary injunction motion brought by White Winston, a hedge fund shareholder of MusclePharm, seeking to prevent MusclePharm’s Chairman and CEO Ryan Drexler from converting his $18 million loan to the company into equity.
- Liggett Group as national counsel in smoking and health litigation for over 20 years and in conceiving, negotiating and implementing the first-ever settlement of smoking and health litigation, including health care cost recovery actions brought by state attorneys general. These Liggett settlements led to industry-wide settlements and revolutionary changes in industry conduct, as well as extraordinary financial benefits for Liggett.
- Association of Financial Guaranty Insurers, a trade association comprised of the leading monoline insurers, in a successful First Circuit argument that a Puerto Rican law allowing Puerto Rico, rather than Congress, to restructure its debt was unconstitutional and preempted by the Federal Bankruptcy Code. Marc’s amicus brief and oral arguments were considered instrumental in this precedent-setting win.
- Source Interlink Distribution and Source Interlink Companies, magazine wholesalers, in an antitrust action alleging that leading magazine publishers and distributors conspired to force Source out of the wholesale single-issue magazine market. After Marc obtained a temporary restraining order compelling the defendants to resume supplying magazines to Source, one commentator noted: “Standing in the way of the publishers’ alleged conspiracy, like Superman in front of a speeding locomotive, has been Kasowitz Benson.” The case settled on favorable terms.
- Private equity funds Apollo Management, Centerbridge Capital Partners, Fortress Investment Group, TPG and others in disputes in large leveraged buyout transactions. Marc formulated the litigation strategy for disputes with target companies regarding material adverse effect clauses, post-merger insolvency and specific performance, and disputes with major banks regarding funding of debt financing commitments.
- Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as lead trial counsel in the five-week trial concerning the Port Authority’s alleged liability for personal injury, wrongful death and business interruption damages arising from the 1993 terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center. After trial, the New York Court of Appeals dismissed the action on the basis of a governmental immunity defense developed by Marc.
- Apollo Management and its portfolio company, Hexion Specialty Chemicals, in litigation arising from Hexion’s proposed $15 billion merger with Huntsman Chemicals. Marc prosecuted an expedited proceeding against Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank to compel specific performance of the banks’ commitments to fund the acquisition, and successfully negotiated a settlement with Huntsman. The Wall Street Journal lauded the settlement as a “sweet deal” for Apollo and Hexion.
- Celanese Chemicals as national counsel for mass product liability litigation concerning allegedly defective plumbing systems installed in six million homes nationwide. In addition to winning several trials, Marc also negotiated and gained final approval for one of the largest product liability class action settlements in history, and successfully defended that settlement against constitutional law challenges in federal and state trial and appellate courts.