Cases (#12 December 2014)

New York-based law firm receives contingency fee of USD 44 million

The Supreme Court of New York has ruled that the heirs of the widow of Sylvan Lawrence, an estate tycoon, must pay USD 44 million to the Graubard Miller law firm, which represented the woman for more than 22 years. Alice Lawrence hired Graubard Miller back in 1983 for litigation against a partner of her late husband Seymour Cohn seeking the tycoons property.

Right up till 2004, the lawyers worked under the contract on hourly pay and for that period of work the widow paid them USD 18 million. She then changed the form of payment for legal services and concluded a contract with the contingency fee of 40% of the amount awarded by the court.

Five months later, the lawyers won a lawsuit and the widow was awarded USD 111 million. Thus, the contingency fee was USD 44 million. However, Mrs. Lawrence refused to pay that amount, and the law firm addressed the court. In 2008, Alice Lawrence died. The court dismissed the arguments put forward by her heirs that the widow was deceived by the lawyers and said that she was clearly aware of the risks of replacing one form of payment with the other.

Shares in Zaporizhzhya Aluminum Plant returned to the State Property Fund of Ukraine

A court has returned a 68.01% shareholding in the Zaporizhzhya Aluminum Plant held by Cypriot company Velbay Holdings Limited, which is reportedly affiliated with Russian company Rusal. After the State Property Fund found that AvtoVAZ-Invest and later Velbay Holdings Limited failed to fulfill their obligations in terms of investments and refinancing of the loan, the Prosecutor Generals Office appealed to a court to return the sold shares to the state. The case was heard by courts from 2011. In October the Higher Commercial Court approved the conclusions of courts of lower instances, which annulled the sale and purchase agreement and returned the shares to the State Property Fund. The judgment was made due to the failure of companies to fulfill their obligations under the agreement.

Integrites defended Samsung C&T Corporation

ILF Integrites has acted as a legal counsel to Samsung C&T Corporation in a commercial dispute in Ukraine. The firm represented the interests of Samsung C&T Corporation in pre-trial dispute resolution between the corporation and a top 10 producer of transformers on the CIS and Europe market, which failed in a timely manner to pay for goods supplied by Samsung C&T Corporation. Within the framework of the project the firms lawyers acted in jurisdictions of Ukraine and Korea. Lawyers of the restructuring and mediation practice, including Ihor Torshyn and Vladimir Denysenlo, led by Aliona Siverskaya, partner of dispute resolution practice, managed to restructure the debt.

Konnov & Sozanovsky defended Soremartec S.A.

Konnov & Sozanovsky defended the interests of Soremartec S.A. which is part of the Ferrero Group, in a dispute for partial invalidation of the Certificate for the Rafael; my cuisine trademark. The claims were based on the fact of confusing similarity of the combined Rafael; my cuisine (in Russian) trademark with the world-known Raffaello trademark. In the court proceeding the interests of the clients were defended, the defendant has abandoned the Certificate for the Trademark registered by him. Legal support was provided by partner Alexey Pokotylo and assistant attorney Mariana Polishchuk.

ECOVIS Bondar & Bondar represented Ukraine International Airlines

ECOVIS Bondar & Bondar represented Ukraine International Airlines in a dispute brought to the Kiev City Commercial Court by Boryspil International Airport. The latter claimed collection of over UAH 37 million of debt for non-contractual ground handling services, supposedly provided by the claimant. On 24 November 2014 the Kiev City Commercial Court fully dismissed Boryspil Airports claim to UIA. ECOVIS Bondar & Bondar team included Oleg Bondar, managing partner, and Oleksandr Povar, senior associate.

Lavrynovych & Partners defended Väderstad

Lavrynovych & Partners legal advisor to the Väderstad LLC, the Ukrainian subsidiary of Europes largest agricultural machinery manufacturer, in a litigation process for recognition and cancellation of Cherkassy customs UAH 1.05 million illegal tax notices, which determined an additional tax liability made up of import duties and VAT. The Higher Administrative Court of Ukraine upheld a cassation appeal and a judgment by a court of first instance on the full satisfaction of the claim, resuming the violation of legitimate rights of the Väderstad LLC. The firms team included associate Inna Rudnyk under the guidance of Andriy Moroz, associate partner.

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