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Fundamentals of Taking and Defending Depositions 2014


Speaker(s): Charles Michael, David A. Piedra, David G. Keyko, Denise L. Plunkett, Hon. Analisa Torres, James H.R. Windels, James S. Goddard, Kenneth J. Brown, Lori L. Pines, Mark S. Cohen, Randi W. Singer, Seth A. Gastwirth, William H. Taft V
Recorded on: Mar. 11, 2014
PLI Program #: 49872

Charles Michael has successfully handled a wide range of commercial litigation matters.  He has obtained favorable settlements or dismissals on behalf of clients accused of securities fraud, intellectual property infringement, antitrust violations, wrongful termination and breach of contract.  He has also successfully represented clients bringing claims for breach of fiduciary duty, trademark infringement, breach of contract, and professional malpractice.

Mr. Michael was recently part of the trial team that obtained a complete victory after a bench trial of a $120 million suit relating to a collateralized debt obligation (CDO) transaction.  He also secured a preliminary injunction preserving a medical practice’s contractual option to buy the company supplying the practice’s non-medical support staff, and won an appellate decision reversing the trial court and dismissing a $200 million fraud and alter ego suit against a private equity firm.

Mr. Michael is also experienced in regulatory and criminal investigations.  He has represented clients under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and the US Department of Justice (DOJ). 

He is the founder and editor of the SDNY Blog which covers civil litigation and trial practice in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.  Additionally, Mr. Michael has recently given several presentations to in-house counsel at private equity firms and others about limiting the risk of being held responsible in court for portfolio company liabilities, and preserving the attorney-client privilege among corporate affiliates.

Representative Matters

  • Defeated a Japanese billionaire’s federal court petition to force a US-based global investment bank to produce, for purposes of a Japanese litigation, extensive discovery from the bank’s Japanese broker-dealer
  • Successful dismissal of multimillion-dollar breach of contract and fraud suit brought by real estate developer against project owner
  • Granted summary judgment for a home furnishings company accused of failing to pay over $20 million in alleged liabilities under an acquisition agreement
  • Defended software firm in dispute relating to $150 million acquisition of another software firm
  • Defended dietary supplement maker in multimillion-dollar lawsuit arising from the failed launch of a pre-workout beverage
  • Secured a preliminary injunction in a case involving theft of trade secrets
  • Successfully defended several asset purchasers in successor liability lawsuits in multiple jurisdictions
  • Granted summary judgment that largely disposed of case seeking $15 million in damages for alleged breaches of an oil rig lease and related contracts
  • Defended investment banking executive in multiple investigations relating to auction-rate securities market collapse
  • Successfully defeated, before trial court an on appeal, a motion to preliminarily enjoin a consumer products manufacturer from selling its largest brand
  • Defended private equity firm in $55 million wrongful termination lawsuit brought by its former president
  • Defended the former owners of the “Tinkerbell” trademark in a fraud and breach of contract action brought by a former licensee
  • Obtained summary dismissal of a securities fraud case against a publicly-traded technology firm
  • Obtained a preliminary injunction against a company improperly using a client’s trademarks
  • Represented a consumer products manufacturer in an lawsuit accusing two of the company’s former executives accounting fraud
  • Represented a public company in multibillion-dollar class action accounting fraud case
  • Successfully defended publicly-traded investment bank accused of understating options compensation in proxy statement
  • Represented bank in DOJ investigation of money transfers to sanctioned countries and entities

Noteworthy

  • New York Super Lawyers, Business Litigation, 2013-2016

Select News & Events

Selected Publications

  • SDNY Blog
  • A Middle-Ground Approach To 'Piggybacking'
    June 2, 2015, Law360
  • Judge Rakoff Allows FIRREA Claims Where Bank’s Misconduct ‘Affects’ Itself
    August 23, 2013, The CLS Blue Sky Blog


David A. Piedra is a Partner in the Business Litigation Department of Morrison Cohen LLP, and also serves as the Firm’s General Counsel. He handles all phases of complex litigation, from pleading through trial and appeals.  David has a broad-based litigation practice, with a focus on real estate, insurance, and partnership matters. David regularly advises clients in connection with the defense or prosecution of contract claims, lease disputes, valuation disputes, dissolutions of partnerships or corporations, business tort claims, and other commercial disputes. David is frequently called upon to represent high net-worth individuals in professional and personal disputes, including partnership, contract, employment, compensation, securities, and royalty disputes.  David also serves as an arbitrator on the American Arbitration Association’s roster of neutrals.


David Keyko is a partner in the law firm's Litigation practice and is located in the New York office. His practice has focused on major, complex litigation, often involving multiple parties. He has handled cases involving allegations of securities or other types of fraud, antitrust violations, ethics issues and trusts and estates issues across the country, often involving insurance coverage issues. He has conducted internal investigations and represented clients responding to government probes. He has also served as an expert witness in connection with legal malpractice litigation. Among the prominent cases Mr. Keyko has handled was the representation of a defendant in a $1.4 billion antitrust lawsuit.

Mr. Keyko was named the "New York City Best Lawyers Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law Lawyer of the Year" for 2012, 2017 and 2019. He has lectured and written widely on securities, antitrust, legal ethics and general litigation topics, and chairs PLI's programs on federal pretrial practice and ethics for corporate lawyers. He is a former columnist for the New York Law Journal and has written several dozen articles on litigation and ethics issues for such publications as the National Law Journal.

Mr. Keyko has undertaken a variety of pro bono projects, including representing for over 20 years a death row inmate in Alabama asserting that the inmate is innocent of the crime for which he was convicted, serving as Chair of the Board of  Mobilization for Justice Legal Services, Inc., and serving two terms as a member of the Departmental Disciplinary Committee of the First Department. He was Chairman of the Professional Responsibility Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. He chaired the ad hoc committee of the Association that commented on proposed SEC regulations under Section 307 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. He is currently the chair of the Association's Legal Referral Service Committee and is a member of the ABA Legal Referral and Information Service Committee.

Mr. Keyko is a member of Pillsbury's Sarbanes-Oxley Committee, Opinions Committee and Professional Responsibility Committee. He is an adjunct professor at the Fordham University School of Law where he teaches legal ethics.


James S. Goddard is a Director and Associate General Counsel with Citi f/k/a Citigroup in New York, NY, and has been a senior litigation attorney with Citi’s predecessors-in-interest, beginning with Shearson Lehman Brothers in 1991.  Mr. Goddard’s practice focuses on banking, securities, commercial and residential realty, intellectual property, technology, abandoned property and general commercial transactions.  His litigation experience includes jury and bench trials in state and federal courts, as well as arbitrations in several forums.

Prior to joining Shearson Lehman Brothers, Mr. Goddard was a litigation associate with Davis Polk & Wardwell, Edwards & Angell and Coudert Brothers.  Mr. Goddard served as Law Clerk to the Honorable William H. Timbers, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.


Mark Cohen is a partner of the firm, which he co-founded in 2002,  and is head of the firm's Litigation and Arbitration and White Collar Defense groups.  Mark’s litigation practice includes complex commercial litigation, real estate litigation, shareholder, securities, and derivatives litigation, employment litigation, corporate control and M&A litigation, and antitrust litigation. He also focuses on white collar defense, regulatory enforcement, and internal investigations, where he represents companies, financial institutions, corporate boards and their committees, and individual clients in white collar criminal cases, federal and state regulatory proceedings, proceedings before self-regulatory organizations, and corporate internal investigations. Mark is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Since 2011, he has served as a court-appointed monitor for the largest fire department in the country following his appointment by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The monitorship involves implementing the Court’s remedial order following a lawsuit alleging racial discrimination.

Mark is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, where he was a Note Editor of the Law Review. He formerly practiced with Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson and served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

Mark has been ranked by the Chambers USA guide as a “Leading Individual” in the white collar crime and government investigations category each year since 2013 and has been recognized in its securities litigation category since 2016. He is recognized in Legal 500’s U.S. guide in the categories of corporate investigations and white collar criminal defense, securities litigation, and general commercial disputes. He is regularly recognized by The Best Lawyers in America in the Criminal Defense: White Collar category, and has been a member of Law360's editorial advisory board for its white collar coverage since 2014. He has also been named a “Local Litigation Star” in the last six editions of Benchmark Litigation and has been included as one of New York’s Super Lawyers for Business Litigation each year since 2008. Mark has been selected by Super Lawyers each year since 2014 as one of the top 100 lawyers in the  New York metropolitan area. He is a visiting lecturer at the Sorbonne University in Paris, teaching a course to French law students on U.S. white collar criminal law.

Activities and Affiliations

Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers Board of Trustees, Federal Bar  Council Visiting Lecturer, Sorbonne University (Paris)

Member, Law360 Editorial Advisory Board (for White Collar Coverage)

Member, Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (Compliance and Legal Division) Member, American Bar Association (Section on Litigation)

Former Co-Chair, Securities Subcommittee of the Committee on Commercial and Business Litigation, American Bar Association

Board of Trustees, Supreme Court Historical Society Member, New York City Bar Association

Board of Directors, New York Council of Defense Lawyers, 2008-2011 Member, UJA-Federation of New York (Lawyers Division, Criminal Law Group)

Practice Areas

Litigation and Arbitration; White Collar Defense

Education

University of Michigan Law School (J.D., magna cum laude, 1987); Cornell University (B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, 1984)

Bar Admissions

New York State; U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit


Randi Singer is a litigation partner in Weil's New York office, a member of the Firm's Intellectual Property & Media practice and Co-Head of its Cybersecurity, Data Privacy & Information Management group. She focuses primarily on copyright, Lanham Act false advertising and trademark litigation, as well as privacy and cybersecurity, in addition to complex commercial litigation and bankruptcy proceedings.

Ms. Singer has been repeatedly recognized as a leading intellectual property and media & entertainment lawyer by legal industry publications, including The Legal 500 US, Chambers USA, World Trademark Review, Benchmark Litigation, Expert Guides, Managing IP Magazine's IP Stars, Super Lawyers, and Law360. She has successfully represented and counseled clients on a wide variety of copyright and trademark matters encompassing classic ownership and fair use issues for comic books, academic works, music and photographs. A recognized expert on secondary liability infringement issues, major internet platform clients regularly call on Ms. Singer for help navigating an array of unprecedented concerns and solving a wide variety of disputes. Her advertising, trademark, and state unfair trade practices cases have spanned a broad spectrum of consumer products and services, from over-the-counter drugs, razors, toothpaste, paint, food and cosmetics, to financial services, cell phone cases, luxury goods and consumer electronics.

Ms. Singer has earned the Certified Information Privacy Professional (ClPP/US) and Certified Information Privacy Technologist (CIPT) credentials and regularly advises clients in connection with privacy, cybersecurity, and social media issues in a wide variety of matters, including more than one hundred transactions ranging from high-profile deals such as Facebook's acquisition of Whatsapp, Inc. to large public company mergers and small talent acquisitions. In 2015, The National Law Journal recognized Ms. Singer as one of its inaugural "Trailblazers" nationwide for her cutting-edge work in the cybersecurity and data privacy area.

In addition to her active practice, Ms. Singer has taught a course on Trademarks and Unfair Competition Law as an adjunct professor at St. John's University School of Law and is a popular speaker whose speaking engagements include panels and discussions concerning copyright, advertising, and other intellectual property issues for organizations such as the International Trademark Association  (INTA), the Copyright Society, the National Advertising  Division, the Practising Law Institute, the American Conference  Institute, and the New York State Bar Association Section on Intellectual Property. Other professional affiliations include the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), the New York State Bar Association, the Private Advertising Litigation subcommittee of the ABA, and she has served on the Trademarks and Consumer Affairs Committees of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.

Ms. Singer is a member of the global steering committee for Women@Weil, Weil's women's affinity group, the winner of Weil's first-ever mentoring award, and an inductee into the YWCA's Academy of Women Leaders. In addition to  her work as the General Counsel for the Lang Lang International Music Foundation, her pro bono work includes litigation successes for the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and Sanctuary for Families, trademark and IP counseling for organizations such as The Joyful Heart Foundation and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, as well as extensive legal support and counseling concerning ambush marketing for NYC2012, New York City's bid for the 2012 Olympics.

Ms. Singer graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University. After receiving her J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, Ms. Singer clerked for the Honorable Richard Owen, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York.


Seth Gastwirth is a litigation partner in Kirkland’s Chicago office. He serves as lead trial, appellate and arbitration counsel in both individual and class action lawsuits involving complex, multimillion dollar claims in a variety of practice areas, including: commercial disputes, product liability, labor and employment, contracts and warranties, intellectual property, real estate, consumer fraud, deceptive trade practices, trade secrets, fiduciary duty, securities law, financial services, insurance, and litigation matters arising out of bankruptcy disputes.

Memberships & Affiliations

Member, Board of Directors, Ladder Up (2007-present)
Member, Board of Directors, Ravinia Associates (2008-present)
Alumni Student Recruitment Volunteer, The University of Michigan (2006-present)

Other Distinctions

Selected as an “Illinois Rising Star” by Super Lawyers magazine, a publication of Key Professional Media, Inc. in 2010 and from 2012-2014.

Selected as one of 30 “Future Stars” in Illinois litigation by Benchmark Litigation in its 2009 publication of the “Definitive Guide to America’s Leading Litigation Firms & Attorneys.”


William H. Taft V, based in the firm’s New York office, is a partner in the Litigation Department. His practice focuses on commercial and corporate governance litigation and international arbitration. Mr. Taft frequently advises clients in disputes arising from joint venture and partnership agreements, including matters involving commercial real estate and infrastructure development project companies, and has experience handling a broad range of contract disputes. He is admitted to practice before the New York State Courts, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second and Third Circuits.

Mr. Taft joined the firm in 2005. From 2004 to 2005, Mr. Taft clerked for the Hon. Samuel A. Alito, Jr. when Justice Alito served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Mr. Taft received a J.D. cum laude from New York University School of Law in 2004, and a B.A. in History from Yale University in 2000.

Prior to joining Debevoise, Mr. Taft worked at the RAND Corporation in Washington, D.C. He is a co-author of “Avoiding And Defeating Securities Fraud Actions Against Clinical-Stage Biopharmaceutical Companies,” Bloomberg BNA Life Sciences Law & Industry Report (July, 2015) and co-author of the study “Conventional Coercion Across the Spectrum of Operations,” RAND Corporation, 2003.

Mr. Taft was admitted to the New York Bar in 2005. He is a member of the American Society of International Law, the New York City Bar Association and has served on the International Disputes Committee of the New York City Bar Association (2010 - 2013). He currently serves on the Corporation Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association, the Program Committee of the Federal Bar Council and the board of The Fund For Modern Courts.


Denise L. Plunkett is a partner in Ballard Spahr’s Antitrust and Consumer Financial Services Litigation practice groups.  She is Co-Managing Partner of Ballard’s New York office, Co-Leader of the firm’s Payment Systems industry group and a Co-Chair of Ballard Women. 

Ms. Plunkett has over 25 years of high stakes litigation experience.  She currently focuses her practice on antitrust and business litigation in the payment card, financial services, and pharmaceutical industries.  She has successfully defended an impressive array of claims, ranging from alleged violations of antitrust laws and consumer protection statutes to business torts and common law claims.  She also represents corporate clients as plaintiffs in significant loss recovery matters.  Her experience includes jury trials and appeals, and she has litigated in state and federal courts across the country. 


Analisa Torres was appointed United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York on April 23, 2013. She served on the New York State bench, from 2000-2013, in the Supreme, Criminal and Civil Courts. Following seven years of practice in major Manhattan law firms, in 1993, Torres was appointed to the City Planning Commission. She served as law clerk to the Hon. Elliott Wilk. Judge Torres is a member of the CUNY Law School Board of Visitors and chairs the Board of Directors of the Women's Housing and Economic Development Corporation. She was awarded the Charles Evans Hughes Fellowship at Columbia Law School and graduated Harvard College magna cum laude. Judge Torres lives in Manhattan with her husband and daughter.


James H.R. Windels is a member of Davis Polk & Wardwell’s Litigation Department. Since joining Davis Polk in 1990 he has had wide experience in a variety of federal and state court commercial litigation matters, international arbitrations, regulatory enforcement proceedings, and internal investigations.

Mr. Windels’ matters include securities cases relating to public offerings and underwritings, sales and trading, asset management, mutual funds, private equity transactions and accounting matters. He has represented companies and accounting firms in internal investigations, bidders and targets in mergers and acquisitions litigation, and financial institutions and manufacturers in federal and state antitrust actions. He has also represented financial institutions and accounting firms in investigations and proceedings before the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Reserve Bank, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the New York Stock Exchange, federal and state criminal authorities, and local regulators in Europe and Asia.

Mr. Windels joined Davis Polk in 1990, became a partner in 1997, and served as practice group coordinator of the Litigation Department from 2006-11. He clerked for the Honorable Peter K. Leisure, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, from 1989-90. He is Chair of the Board of Directors of Volunteers of Legal Services and previously served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and Chair of the Board of Directors of Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A.


Kenneth J. Brown, a partner at Williams & Connolly LLP since 2010, focuses his practice on high-stakes commercial trials and other litigation matters.  He has successfully represented clients before federal and state courts across the United States, as well as a variety of arbitrators, federal and state regulators, and administrative boards.

Ken’s practice spans a range of substantive areas, including commercial and financial services litigation, class actions and class arbitrations, consumer protection and unfair trade practices cases, trade secrets, misappropriation of ideas, and First Amendment litigation. His pro-bono work includes various civil, criminal, and administrative matters in the Washington, D.C. area.

Born in Port Jefferson, New York, Ken grew up just north of New York City in Wesley Hills, New York.  He received his B.A., summa cum laude, from Washington University in St. Louis in 1998, and his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he was an Articles Editor on the University of Pennsylvania Law Review.  Ken completed two clerkships after graduation; the first for Judge William H. Yohn, Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; the second for Judge Stanley Marcus of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.  In the fall of 2012, Ken served as an adjunct professor of law at the George Mason University School of Law. Ken is a member of the Board of Directors of Gifts for the Homeless, Inc., a non-profit organization serving the homeless of Washington, D.C.


Lori L. Pines is a Litigation partner in Weil’s New York office, where she heads the Firm’s False Claims Act/Qui Tam practice and is a member of the Complex Commercial Litigation group. Ms. Pines has played a central role in managing the defense of some of the nation’s most complex and public disputes, including one of the largest class action/multi-district litigation proceedings.

Ms. Pines has litigated cases spanning a broad range of substantive areas on behalf of major clients in numerous industries, including life sciences, managed care, telecommunications, energy, commercial power, professional services, publishing, and manufacturing. In addition, Ms. Pines has substantial experience representing clients in cases involving the False Claims Act. Over the course of her career, Ms. Pines has been involved in a number of lengthy, complex jury trials in both state and federal court. She has also handled numerous government agency investigations and employment disputes, as well as all aspects of many important settlements.

Ms. Pines also has extensive arbitration experience. She has handled many disputes before the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”), and played a significant role in coordinating the defense of one of the largest International Chamber of Commerce (“ICC”) arbitrations to date. Ms. Pines’ advice regarding how to streamline arbitration proceedings to make them more efficient and effective has been sought, and published, by the AAA.

Recent notable experience includes:

  • Defending UnitedHealth Group in one of the first cases brought under the New York State FCA;
  • Representing the General Motors estate in an FCA suit brought against Allison Engine;
  • Defending Schindler Elevator in a qui tam action under the federal FCA; and
  • Serving as co-lead counsel for UnitedHealth in a major multi-district that challenged fundamental notions concerning the delivery of managed care in the US, and which sought billions of dollars in damages. Plaintiffs, purporting to represent a putative class of tens of millions of patient-subscribers, claimed that United misrepresented the scope of its health care coverage and interfered in the patient-physician relationship by discouraging physicians from imparting complete and accurate information to patient-subscribers. Working with defense counsel, Weil defeated plaintiffs’ motion to certify a class and ultimately obtained a very favorable settlement.
Ms. Pines has taught CLE-accredited classes on discovery techniques, document production, trial-preparation, and witness examination. She has also published numerous articles and book chapters on topics such as False Claims Act litigation, MDL strategies, expert retention, corporate depositions, and pleadings in complex cases, and she serves as editor of the Firm’s FCA Watch newsletter. She is a member of the American Bar Association and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, where she serves as the Chair of the Committee on Women in the Legal Profession for a three-year term that began in September of 2013. She is also a member of the University of Texas School of Law’s Consortium for Advancing Women Lawyers. Ms. Pines is the Chair of the Firm's Litigation Training Program, a member of the Firm’s Women Attorney Task Force, a member of the Firm's Professional Development Committee, a Career Development Partner and an official Mentor to associates. She is also an Advisory Committee Member of the Sloane Hospital for Women at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.

Ms. Pines received her J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she was a teaching assistant in the Lawyering Program and a member of the Moot Court Editorial Board. She has a Masters in Public Affairs from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and a B.A. in Biology from Harvard College, where she graduated with Honors.