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February 9, 2010 5:49 PM

Cravath Calls Airgas's Claims a Bunch of Hot Air

Posted by Brian Baxter

In Pennsylvania state court proceedings on Tuesday, lawyers representing Cravath, Swaine & Moore denied that the firm breached its fiduciary duty to industrial gas producer Airgas by representing rival Air Products on a $5.1 billion bid for the company.

Airgas formally rejected the unsolicited offer by Air Products late Tuesday.

Sibling blog The Am Law Litigation Daily reports that Cravath's attorneys from Philadelphia's Conrad O'Brien were successful in getting a judge to deny a temporary restraining order sought by Airgas preventing Cravath from advising Air Products in its hostile bid for the company.

Airgas's counsel at Cozen O'Connor argued that Cravath had advised Airgas for ten years and dropped the company as a client over its objections in order to represent its larger rival in an acquisition. Airgas now wants Cravath sidelined from the looming takeover battle, and it's also seeking compensatory and punitive damages, the Lit Daily reports.

But Cravath says the story isn't nearly that simple. Four Cravath lawyers--head of corporate and deputy presiding partner C. Allen Parker, corporate partners Ronald Cami and James Woolery, and litigation partner Stuart Gold--have submitted affidavits attesting to different motives for Airgas's civil suit.

The two sides are set to reconvene next week for a preliminary injunction hearing. For the full report, as well as links to the pertinent court documents, head over to the Lit Daily.

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