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Commercial Litigation

With a National Tier 1 ranking in Commercial Litigation in U.S. News – Best Lawyers Best Law Firms ranking (2018, U.S News & World Report and Best Lawyers® (by Levine Leichtman Capital Partners)), the Adams and Reese Commercial Litigation Team advises regional, national and multinational companies on business disputes throughout the United States.

While we work to resolve matters at the bargaining table, our effectiveness in negotiations is enhanced by our strong bench of seasoned trial lawyers and their track record in the courtroom. We have handled a full range of disputes including those involving contracts and agreements, bankruptcy and restructuring, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, antitrust and unfair competition, regulatory defense and enforcement of intellectual property rights.

  • Breach of contract. When our client, an industrial equipment manufacturer, was alleged to have delivered faulty pumping equipment to a petrochemical processor, we defended the manufacturer against a breach of warranty claim and claims for consequential damages. With our firm’s deep experience representing both manufacturers and petrochemical companies, our team was able to master the details of the technology in dispute as well as the alleged operational consequences for the claimant and achieve a favorable result for our client.
  • Trade secrets. Our client, an oil and gas exploration company, was shown geology and test-drilling reports by an oil and gas investment promoter seeking to sell participation interests and drilling rights and executed a confidentiality agreement as part of its review of the petroleum asset. Though our client declined to invest in the drilling opportunity presented, it later set up drilling operations in similar strata, which prompted the promoter to accuse our client of stealing its trade secrets. We defended our client against the claims, showing that the area in which they ultimately drilled was geologically distinct from the area shopped to them by the promoter under the confidentiality agreement. We were also able to show that the restrictions of the confidentiality agreement had, in any case, expired. The case proceeded to trial on the merits and appeal, ultimately resulting in a favorable result for our client.
  • Fraud. We represented one of America’s largest food manufacturers in a high-profile food-product case in which allegations of fraud were brought against our client. We obtained a defense verdict vindicating the client of the fraud allegations and $24 million in damages sought, and also received a verdict in the amount of $1.1 million on our client’s counterclaim of breach of contract.
  • Securities. We defended a Wall Street investment bank and its general securities representative in an unsuitability claim brought by an investor in NASD and federal court proceedings seeking in excess of $30 million in damages.
  • Breach of fiduciary duty. Adams and Reese litigators represented a retirement plan and trustee in proceedings in federal and state court and before the NASD seeking a multimillion dollar recovery against 15 defendants for their breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract arising from mismanagement of the retirement fund.

Many law firms handle dispute resolution. At Adams and Reese, our litigation teams all have seasoned trial lawyers. So when resolution at the negotiation table is not possible, we stand ready to try cases – and deliver results for our clients. – Lee Butler, Commercial Litigation Practice Leader

Summary

Adams and Reese litigators have extensive experience representing clients in the financial services, oil and gas, manufacturing, insurance and public utility sectors. We speak the language of these industries and have the subject matter knowledge to quickly master the details of a dispute. We have litigators and trial lawyers in each of our offices, which allows us to provide comprehensive service in our Southeast footprint and across the country. Our lawyers handle trials through appeals and have represented clients in state and federal courts and before U.S. Courts of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.

We know that our clients are demanding more creative approaches to billing and fee arrangements, and we want to deliver. We work closely with clients to approach fee arrangements in ways that bring both predictability and cost-effectiveness to our representation of clients, including flat fees, success fees, and contingent fee work.

Representative Matters

  • Enforced client’s rights in a $100 million oil and gas lease transaction when the other party tried to avoid closing due to an unanticipated fall in energy prices.
  • Represented a manufacturing concern in the procurement of machinery in which the supplier breached the exclusivity agreement of the product.
  • Represented a manufacturer in the enforcement of indemnification agreements following an incident in which one of the manufacturer’s lifting devices fell on client property and caused injuries and property damage.
  • Represented several oil and gas companies in the recovery of delinquent royalty payments.
  • Represented one of America's largest food manufacturers in a high-profile food-product case, alleging fraud. Obtained a defense verdict vindicating client, from fraud allegations and $24 million of damages sought, and also received a verdict in the amount of $1.1 million on its counterclaim for breach of contract. 
  • Represented a large pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturer as appellate counsel in a class action filed by buyers and processors of farm-raised crawfish alleging that crawfish crops were damaged and their businesses adversely affected by the use of a pesticide manufactured by the client's predecessor and used by Louisiana farmers in rice fields where crawfish were also raised. The Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal reversed a $1.75 million judgment against our client, holding the company not responsible for the claims of buyers and processors of farm-raised crawfish.
  • Obtained a unanimous jury verdict for an academic and multi-specialty, healthcare system in a medical malpractice case in which a cardiothoracic surgeon allegedly failed to obtain informed consent to heart bypass surgery for a high-risk, disabled patient and the delayed treatment caused a severe sternal wound infection.
  • Avoided policy limits exposure, resolved dispute and avoided impugning the client's reputation in a recreational boat accident in which the plaintiff asserted defect in boat design, labels and warnings. A vigorous defense resulted in significant criticism of plaintiff's expert and undermined their case, leading to a settlement.
  • Represented a risk management company, which was awarded in excess of $10 million in a case in which one of three owners of a company that provides third-party administrator service to self-insured employers turned renegade and set out on a course to destroy his own company and shift its business to another company he owned. The jury found that his acts amounted to breach of his fiduciary duties to the company and his fellow owners and violated the state unfair trade practice law.
  • Defended publicly traded corporation against multi-billion dollar claims in multi-district class action litigation wherein plaintiff class alleged Civil RICO violations arising from company's delivery of health care services.
  • Defended Wall Street investment bank and its general securities representative in unsuitability, "dram shop" claim brought by investor seeking in excess of $30 million in NASD and federal court proceedings.
  • Defended international conglomerate in alleged industry-wide price-fixing conspiracy violating federal antitrust laws.
  • Defended a billion dollar privately held company that had acquired a long distance telephone business against claims by the selling shareholders of fraud and breach of contract related to alleged damages in excess of $50 million under an earnout provision in the purchase agreement.
  • Represented retirement plan and trustee seeking a multi-million dollar recovery against 15 defendants for their breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract arising from mismanagement of retirement fund in proceedings in federal and state court and before the NASD.
  • Defended publicly-traded Delaware corporation against claims of major corporate shareholder alleging inappropriate entrenchment by management and breach of their fiduciary duty for misleading SEC disclosures and awarding excessive compensation.
  • Defended D&O insurer of publicly traded bank in class action securities matter brought by investors seeking hundreds of millions of dollars for alleged fraud arising from inappropriate omissions and inaccurate disclosure of loan loss reserve and setting of same.
  • Defended a corporate registered investment advisor and three of its officers against claims by its client alleging unsuitability pursuant to federal and state securities laws as well as claims of breach of fiduciary duty, deceptive trade practices and common law fraud.
  • Represented creditor seeking in excess of $500 million in the Enron bankruptcy.
  • Defended major accounting firm against $700 million claim of professional liability and fraud relating to audit work performed for publicly traded company, which was liquidated in bankruptcy court.
  • Represented multi-million dollar privately held corporation seeking millions of dollars in damages for breach of warranty and related UCC claims arising from the alleged defective manufacture of specialized equipment.
  • Defended officers and directors of a privately held medical device company in federal court against claims by investors alleging fraudulent inducement, negligence, misrepresentations and stock fraud.
  • Defended officers and directors of a publicly traded manufacturing company against claims by trustee in bankruptcy alleging negligence, self-dealing and breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Defended a health care claims management company against claims seeking multi-million dollar recovery for negligence, misappropriation and fraud relating to alleged non-payment of health care claims on behalf of the insurer.
  • Defended a bank and one of its officers in a lawsuit alleging negligence and seeking a declaratory judgment and damages related to loan secured by real property.
  • Represented an international plastics manufacturer in a multi-million dollar lawsuit on an account owed to it and defended against claims of poor product quality and fraud.
  • Represented a petroleum information company to protect its multi-million dollar intellectual property rights related to enforcing a written contract and licensing agreements.
  • Represented operator in breach of contract and fraud claim arising from a large international offshore construction project.
  • Defended an international manufacturing company against claims by a subcontractor seeking payment for change orders on a petroleum high-pressure vessel fabrication job and including dissolving writs of attachment.
  • Defended company against a multi-million dollar maritime lien claim on a construction project involving two offshore jack-up rigs.
  • Defended national franchisor against Civil RICO, fraud and conspiracy claims by franchisees.
  • Represented publicly traded corporation alleging Civil RICO violations against companies for falsifying and fabricating asbestos lawsuits.
  • Represented major oil companies, as well as independents, in offshore and onshore oil and gas lease, contract and operation disputes.
  • Represented many employers in a trade secrets case against a former employee, who took confidential and proprietary information to use with a competitor.
  • Represented many employers to enforce a covenant not to compete against a former employee, who joined a substantial competitor.
  • Represented many companies to defend against alleged breach of or to enforce terms of a contract, including complex indemnity obligations.

Related Practices