Naftogaz v. Russia
Covington & Burling has secured a $6.31 million contract to represent Ukraine’s state-run
oil company Naftogaz in an arbitration dispute
against the Russian government over its 2014
incursion into Crimea.
Led by partners David Pinsky in New York,
Marney Cheek in Washington, D.C., and Jer
emy Wilson in London, Cov-
ington represents Naftogaz as
it pursues claims that Russia
took steps to wrest away the
Ukrainian oil and gas compa-
ny’s assets in Crimea. Naf-
togaz announced the arbitra-
tion in October under a
bilateral investment treaty
between Ukraine and Russia, saying Russia’s ac-
tions in Crimea caused at least $2.6 billion in
damages to Naftogaz and six subsidiaries.
The engagement and Covington’s contract
were reported earlier by Ukraine’s Interfax news
agency, which said Covington’s contract was set
to run until Dec. 31, 2017. The contract’s dollar
value is also noted on the Ukrainian government’s
public procurement disclosure site, Prozorro. A
Covington spokesman declined to comment.
Naftogaz claims that in 2014, Russia illegally
invaded and occupied Crimea, a peninsula that
juts into the Black Sea south of Ukraine. In the
process, Naftogaz alleges, Russia engaged in
a scheme to seize energy assets in the region
from Ukrainian companies.“The Russian Federation’s actions violated the Russia-Ukraine
bilateral investment treaty, which requires the
Russian Federation to respect and protect Ukrai-nian-owned assets, including those in Crimea,”
the company said in an Oct. 19 statement.
Covington’s role for Naftogaz follows previous work the firm did in Ukraine, following former Ukraine Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s
arrest on charges of embezzlement and abuse
of power. Tymoshenko maintained that the
charges were motivated by her political rivalry
with Viktor Yanukovych, who would become
Ukraine’s president. Covington was tasked by
Tymoshenko with reviewing a 2010 report that
described her alleged wrongdoing.
The firm’s report concluded that there was
no evidence that Tymoshenko abused her posi-
tion of power and that her prosecution was po-
litically motivated. In 2011, however, Tymoshenko
was convicted and sentenced to seven years in
prison. She was released in 2014, when Yanu-
kovych was ousted as Ukraine’s president. —S.F.
Moore v. Department of Homeland Security
A pro bono team from Hogan
Lovells working with lawyers
from Relman, Dane & Colfax
won a $24 million settlement
in a long-running racial discrimination class action on
behalf of more than 100 current and former African-The plaintiffs alleged that the U.S. Secret
Service maintained a pattern and practice of
discrimination, failing to promote black special
agents, harboring a racially insensitive environment and tolerating racist activities.
Filed in 2000 in U.S. District Court for the
District of Columbia, the suit was litigated
IN A CASE WITH BILLIONS OF DOLLARS
at stake, McDermott Will & Emery partners
William Gaede III and Sarah Columbia won a
rare post-trial ruling for Amgen Inc. that booted a rival’s drug from the market.
The Jan. 5 order granted the attorneys’
motion for a permanent injunction blocking
Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.
from selling Praluent, a biological drug used
to treat high LDL cholesterol, for the next
12 years. Judges have seldom issued injunctions in patent infringement cases since the
Supreme Court’s ruling a decade ago in eBay
v. MercExchange. But Gaede and Columbia were able to convince U.S.
District Judge Sue Robinson of Delaware that their client Amgen had suffered irreparable harm to market share and reputation.
“Plaintiffs assert that patent protection is fundamental to their business model and they will not be able to fully recoup their investment in
[Amgen drug] Repatha without an injunction. Monetary damages will not
suffice under the present circumstances,” Robinson said in her order.
In 2014 Amgen had filed for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval
of its own biologic Repatha, planning to use its 2014 patents to maintain
market exclusivity for its drug. But Sanofi and
Regeneron spent $67.5 million to beat Amgen
to market with a regulatory mechanism known
as an orphan drug priority voucher. Amgen sued
Sanofi and Regeneron in October 2014.
Days before the 2016 trial, Gaede and Co-
lumbia won a ruling to knock out the defen-
dants’ obviousness defense. The jury had only
to decide the issue of validity, and on March
15, the panel returned a verdict for Amgen.
The defendants are appealing both the
jury verdict and Robinson’s order for a per-
manent injunction. On Feb. 8, the U.S. Court
of Appeals for the Federal Circuit agreed to stay the injunction until the
Sanofi and Regeneron had been represented by a team from Akin
Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, led by Dianne Elderkin, Steven Maslowski
and Michael Kahn. On Jan. 12, the defendants filed a notice that Akin had
withdrawn. Ashby & Geddes, led by Steven Balick, continues to serve as
Delaware counsel, while Steptoe & Johnson’s John Molenda and Vishal
Gupta and Kirkland & Ellis’ Paul Clement and George Hicks Jr. stay on as
lead defense counsel. —Tom McParland, with Scott Flaherty
Amgen v. Sanofi