The Work

August 30, 2011 7:28 PM

Boies, Schiller Defending Lawyer Lanny Davis in 3M Extortion Suit

Posted by Tom Huddleston Jr.

UPDATE: 8/31/11, 3:05 p.m. EDT. A statement from the plaintiff's counsel has been added in the fourth paragraph.

Lanny Davis, a high-profile lawyer and lobbyist, is facing a lawsuit filed against him by 3M that alleges he conspired with an investment group to "coerce" the company into "paying tens of millions of dollars" to settle a lawsuit related to the cancellation of a medical screening test.

3M, based in St. Paul, Minnesota, filed the suit (PDF) Aug. 24 in U.S. district court in Washington, D.C., claiming Davis and the investment company, Porton Capital, in London, threatened to engage in a smear campaign against 3M, its executives and major shareholders, if they didn't settle a suit brought by Porton and others who lost money when 3M discontinued production of the medical test. The suit by 3M named as defendants Davis; his firm Lanny Davis & Associates, as well as an affiliated public relations firm, Davis & Block; Porton Capital; a subsidiary, Porton Capital Technology Funds; and Porton's CEO Harry Boulter. They are accused of conspiracy, defamation, and tortious interferference, among others.

3M previously filed two similar suits in a New York State court, the first, in June, named only Porton Capital, Porton Capital Technology, and Boulter, but was withdrawn soon after it was filed. The second suit, filed July 21, added as codefendants, Davis (and his firms), who had been advising the defendants in the related suit in the United Kingdom. 3M has not withdrawn that suit, according to court records, and it was still unclear as to whether or not that case would proceed.

William Brewer, counsel to the plaintiffs, told The Am Law Daily in an e-mail statement that the suit has been refiled in Washington, D.C., in order to avoid delays he said would have arisen after a defendants' motion questioned the original jurisdiction. Brewer said Washington, D.C., is "the concededly appropriate forum" for the case.

In the past ten years Davis has been a partner at Patton Boggs; Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe; and McDermott Will & Emery. His past client list includes coup-supporters in Honduras and former president Bill Clinton. Davis declined to comment.

Kenneth Pfaehler, a D.C.-based litigation partner at SNR Denton, and William Brewer of Bickel & Brewer are representing 3M, according to court filings. Boies, Schiller & Flexner litigation partners Lee Wolosky and Christopher Duffy are representing the defendants. Wolosky and Duffy declined to comment.

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