Complex Commercial Litigation
We are litigation specialists. King Branson lawyers have represented clients in a wide range of complex commercial cases before trial and appellate courts, government agencies and other tribunals across the country and around the globe. Our clients span the range of FORTUNE 500 corporations and a broad diversity of other companies in bet-the-company litigation and other disputes spanning a broad array of substantive areas. We are especially experienced in successfully handling multi-million-dollar contractual cases, defeating class action certification, litigating disputes arising from the development and sale of certified emissions credits under the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol, and defending mass tort and product liability claims.
Our approach is simple: We have an unwavering focus on identifying and obtaining the best bottom-line solution throughout every stage of the case. Our priority is always to work with legal departments to serve the business interests of our clients in a focused and efficient manner. Our hallmark is to work closely with our clients to define the "win" early in the case and to ensure that all actions in the case are narrowly tailored to achieve that result. When full-scale litigation is required, we litigate zealously but efficiently, combining creative legal and factual analysis with a thoughtful plan for achieving the desired result. We vigorously seek early dismissal of claims through motions practice with proven success. Where litigation is unwarranted or unwise, we are skilled at developing and negotiating favorable and creative settlements.
Our attorneys' successes include:
- Obtaining dismissal of a $20,000,000 claim for breach of an alleged contract to sell certified emissions credits, as well as plaintiff's damages theory, and settling the remaining claims for a nominal sum.
- Defeating certification of a class of over 500 homeowners seeking property and personal injury damages for alleged groundwater contamination.
- Obtaining a substantial settlement on behalf of former shareholders of a bank for breach of the sales contract requiring payments from earnings on pre-existing assets.
- Defeating the key claims in a multi-million dollar claim for breach of a commodities trading contract and obtaining a "no money" settlement.
- Establishing new law in Texas barring property damage claims that accrued prior to purchase to defeat actions for damage to groundwater by owners of mineral rights at oilfields
Class Action & Mass Tort Litigation
Class claims present a special problem for business clients. The decision on class certification in many cases is outcome-determinative in practical effect. We therefore are aggressive in our defense of class suits, seeking and routinely succeeding in defeating class certification at the earliest opportunity. We also take advantage of all reasonable opportunities to bring dispositive motions early in the process that effectively defeat the class claims.
We are experienced in all aspects of class litigation. Our class action experience encompasses a wide range of substantive areas, including products liability, environmental and mass tort litigation. We have acted as lead counsel, and also have substantial experience working with other defense counsel in joint defense groups.
King Branson attorneys have substantial experience in defending mass tort claims, whether brought as class actions or otherwise. We have a particular expertise in toxic torts, having defended numerous large-scale environmental release claims. We have a proven track record of success at all levels of mass tort litigation, including disqualifying and debunking experts, devising strategies to move cases into more favorable forums and aggressively attacking issues of general and proximate causation. We have a deep bench of distinguished experts in every relevant area to support our defenses.
We defend civil environmental enforcement actions throughout the country, whether brought by the federal government, state and local authorities or in the form of citizen's suits. Our experience includes defending actions under RCRA, CERCLA, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, claims for natural resource damages, as well as alleged violations of state environmental statutes. King Branson attorneys also defend cost recovery suits as well as permit violation actions.
King Branson attorneys have substantial experience under the federal Administrative Procedures Act and its state counterparts. We help clients during the notice-and-comment phase to anticipate future enforcement problems, as well as making use of administrative remedies to challenge rulemaking. We also litigate claims of improper rulemaking in federal and state courts.
We also recognize that misinformation and negative public perception can result in Pyrrhic victories. Our attorneys are experienced in assisting public affairs representatives of our clients in getting the facts before the public and in integrating the client's public information efforts with the enforcement defense.
International Arbitration & ADR
We have a special expertise in international arbitration. Our partner David Branson is the Director of the ADR Center at the International Law Institute in Washington DC, and is an internationally-recognized expert in arbitration in forums around the world. He has participated as counsel in international arbitrations under the Rules of the International Chamber of Commerce, the London Court of International Arbitration, the American Arbitration Association International and Domestic Rules, and ad hoc arbitrations under the UNCITRAL Rules. He has taught the law of arbitration and mediation as Director of the ADR Center at the International Law Institute in Washington DC, at Palacky University in the Czech Republic and at City University of Hong Kong. He has written extensively on the subject of international arbitration.
Arbitration and other forms of ADR are an essential part of any litigation practice, and are particular specialties at King Branson. Our attorneys regularly serve as advocates in mediations, arbitrations and traditional settlement negotiations, both in the United States and elsewhere. We have used ADR to resolve complex commercial disputes of all kinds, toxic tort litigation, claims related to the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol, and a wide range of other disputes.
At King Branson, ADR is an integral part of our approach to disputes. Whether the case calls for full-scale litigation, aggressive motions practice, ADR or settlement, we always ensure that everything we do on a case is focused on obtaining the "win" as defined by the client with our assistance.
Product Liability Litigation
We understand that product liability claims can result in vast and unpredictable exposure. Plaintiffs' damages models have become more and more creative, exponentially increasing potential judgments. Product liability claims are also particularly susceptible to class treatment, further increasing the risk of exorbitant demands and liability.
We are experts in all aspects of product liability claims, whether they arise from a claimed manufacturing defect, defective design or inadequate warning. We specialize in developing and applying complex legal concepts in novel situations, including federal preemption of state lawsuits and pursuing collateral actions in more favorable forums. We maintain a robust stable of highly-credentialed experts that provide invaluable support to our clients facing complex product liability claims.
Whether plaintiffs bring a straightforward product action, assert their claims through consumer protection statutes, craft novel joint liability theories, or otherwise, King Branson attorneys have the experience and expertise to defend the product and the claims.
Climate Change Litigation
King Branson has a specialized practice in issues relating to the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol. We are experts on the CDM structure and advise clients of their rights and obligations under the CDM and related rules and procedures. We bring creative solutions to these emerging problems.
We have particularized experience in litigating, arbitrating and mediating disputes arising from the development of Certified Emissions Reductions under the CDM, and the sale and purchase of CERs. Our recent successes include:
- Winning dismissal of a $20,000,000 claim for breach of an alleged contract to sell certified emissions credits, as well as plaintiff's damages theory, and settling the remaining claims for a nominal sum.
- Obtaining a favorable settlement in mediation of a claim that a joint venture existed to develop a CDM project, resulting in vindication of our client's position that no such venture was formed.
Federal & State Appellate Practice
We are "go-to" appellate lawyers. King Branson attorneys have appeared as appellate counsel in nearly every federal circuit court, a substantial number of state appellate courts, and appellate courts in foreign jurisdictions. Our cases encompass a wide spectrum of issues under federal and state law, including contract and other business disputes, administrative law, constitutional law and environmental law. Our attorneys have also been called upon to prepare amicus briefs by trade associations and individual corporations.
Our attorneys' best-known success was for the petitioner in the seminal summary judgment case of Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242 (1986), where our partner David Branson established the principle that plaintiffs must show the existence of a genuine issue of material fact to defeat summary judgment.
Our appellate practice does not begin with the filing of an appeal. In all our cases, and in advising clients before litigation, we focus on identifying, developing, and preserving potentially dispositive legal issues.