Civil Litigation Practice Group
Who We Are
Butzel Long Tighe Patton has fourteen trial lawyers in Washington who are experienced in a great many areas of civil litigation conducted in trial and appellate courts and private arbitrations across the country. Most of our trial lawyers have come from large prominent firms and the Justice Department, and have a deep understanding of how to thoroughly and zealously pursue trial victories while simultaneously striving to control client costs.
Civil Litigation Overview
Butzel Long Tighe Patton lawyers have broad experience in handling complex commercial cases. We are regularly engaged in business cases that arise out of such matters as disputes concerning contract interpretation or performance, business torts, insurance coverage, ownership of intellectual property, employment, federal regulations and actions by government agencies. We regularly handle matters in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia courts, the US District Courts, and state and federal courts throughout the country, often appearing by permission of a local court. In addition, we have substantial experience with many federal departments and agencies and know how to challenge federal agency actions and regulations. Our trial attorneys have enjoyed repeated success in all of these areas in both jury and non-jury trials, and in appeals. We also regularly represent clients in arbitrations and mediations before most arbitral panels, including AAA, FINRA, NFA and court-sponsored or private mediations. Among the federal agencies in which we have appeared in administrative and regulatory disputes are the SEC, FTC, CFTC and FCC.
Success at the Earliest Possible Point
While we are proud of our many trial successes, we realize that many cases can be won with quick and aggressive actions, frequently even before a case has been filed. Thus, we carefully examine every situation at the outset to see if there is a way to resolve the dispute before going to the effort and expense of filing suit with its attendant impact on relations between the parties. If filing suit cannot be avoided, we position our clients to ensure that applications for summary judgment and other pre-trial remedies, where available, are made effectively and at the earliest possible time. Early arbitration, mediation and other forms of alternate dispute resolution are also employed whenever any such technique would better serve our client's interests. Throughout our representation of our clients, we also take pride both in our professionalism and in the kind of "can-do" spirit that finds ways for our clients to achieve their goals, rather than merely pointing out obstacles.
Big Firm Capacity at Small Firm Cost
As a result of our relationship with Butzel Long, we have the ability to bring all the resources of a large firm to bear on complex litigations without the enormous overhead that flows through to the billing rates of many large Washington, D.C. firms. Butzel Long is one of Michigan's largest firms and has superb litigation support capabilities that it supplies to us at Midwest billing rates. To the extent any litigation needs the support resources of a large firm, we are able to provide any needed capacity at a cost level considerably below most large firms centered in the Washington, D.C. area. In addition, if needed, we can draw from Butzel Long's stable of lawyers, many of whom have particular expertise in a wider range of areas than would normally be found in a relatively small firm.
Our litigation services are provided at rates and costs below those of larger Washington, D.C. firms and we are ever conscious of our client's bottom line. We only assign the right number and mix of lawyers needed to get the job done. Our individual lawyer biographies furnish details of the accomplishments and skills of each of our litigators and show the diversity of the cases in which we have represented our clients.
Antitrust & Trade Regulation
Our antitrust practice group includes attorneys who bring many decades of antitrust litigation experience to any matter. We represent clients in a broad range of litigation and counseling matters, including monopolization, mergers and acquisitions, distribution, unfair promotional practices, and price-fixing claims under the Sherman Act. Our experience includes involvement in all aspects of civil and criminal antitrust litigation and investigations. Our work has included both defense and affirmative use of the antitrust laws to promote our clients' interests.
Our lawyers also have extensive experience in handling complex and demanding class actions. We know how to get clients through the pre-trial thicket of e-discovery, motions practice, expert witness selection and depositions before a case even gets to trial. Most of all, we know that we have the judgment to guide clients through complex disputes, knowing that clients usually do not want to litigate in most cases and we always give our best advice about the client's prospects and settlement potential. This also applies to white collar criminal cases, in which we engage in investigations, grand jury proceedings, trials and plea bargaining. In the criminal arena, we have, for example, handled cases involving securities and financial fraud, public corruption, antitrust, RICO, mail fraud, and false claims.
We regularly defend companies facing class actions in nearly every substantive area of our litigation practice, including consumer protection claims, antitrust, securities and employment law Our litigators have been successful in denying and limiting class certification in novel ways that have substantially reduced or eliminated some of the largest lawsuits facing our clients. Judicial determinations of the size and scope of the class turn upon the complexities of the substantive area involved, and our substantive and industry expertise has proven an invaluable advantage in defeating plaintiffs' attempts to certify large damage classes. Even in those cases in which class treatment may be a foregone conclusion, litigation over class certification principles may allow early determinations that affect the merits and lead to favorable dispositions. Although most of our efforts have been in defending class claims, we have also successfully represented plaintiffs having bona fide claims on behalf of a class of victims.
Securities and Commodities
Our securities and commodities practice is at the forefront of Washington D.C. law firms. We have represented broker-dealers and registered representatives in the defense of a variety of securities-related claims, including those alleging blue sky violations, improper sales practices, negligent supervision, unsuitable investment recommendations, churning, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract, criminal and civil investigations and enforcement proceedings by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). We are experienced in representing individuals and entities in arbitration before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the National Futures Association, as well as reparation cases before the CFTC. We have also brought and defended derivative and direct actions by shareholders against company directors, litigating demand futility, business judgment, and other derivative/direct action issues.
Trust and Estate Disputes
We represents beneficiaries in will contests regarding testamentary capacity of the testator (the one who made the will), or to undue influence applied upon the testator causing illegitimate changes to a will. We represent personal representatives who defend the will and administer estates in collecting or gaining control of property for the estate or in defending claims brought by disgruntled beneficiaries. We also advise and represent trustees, or bring actions against trustees, in disputes over the trustee's exercise of fiduciary duties, conflicts of interest, title to trust property, management or distributions of trust assets, or to recover or claim assets for the benefit of the trust.
Fraud and Consumer Protection
We are regularly called on to defend individual, class, and governmental claims alleging unfair or misleading practices, fraud or invasion of privacy. In this regard, we have successfully defended individual lawsuits in state and federal courts as well as lawsuits and administrative actions by governmental agencies. We also have substantial experience in representing clients in responding to investigations by federal and state agencies, the U.S. Department of Justice and many state Attorneys General. Almost invariably, these investigations result in no claims being made against our clients.
Our intellectual property capability has especially benefited through our relationship with Butzel Long. Together, we have a depth of experience in a broad range of intellectual property matters, from litigation in federal courts and the International Trade Commission to advise, registration and prosecution concerning trademarks, copyrights and patents. We also have a breadth and depth of experience in such related areas as licensing, unfair trade practices, false advertising, theft and ownership of intellectual property, trade secrets, non-disclosure and similar agreements, employment law, joint ventures and other areas in which valuable intellectual property rights are at stake.
Real Estate & Construction
We have extensive experience in all matters related to real estate and construction industry claims and litigation, including all forms of alternative dispute resolution and in state and federal courts. We litigate on behalf of our clients in claims involving real estate agent or broker disclosures, construction demolition and cleanup, contractor and subcontractor design and construction performance, vendors, OSHA and safety laws, and environmental permitting, inspection, and compliance. We specialize in the management and transfer of risk in the purchase and sale of environmentally impaired real estate. We also serve as arbitrators in a wide variety of construction and real estate disputes.