Strategy: Sometimes winning on a procedural point can be just as devastating as a substantive point.
Banco do Brasil, one of the premier financial institution in Latin America, was faced with a U.S. lawsuit by an international construction company, Mendes Junior International Company, seeking more than $800 million in damages arising out of construction performance bonds for infrastructure projects in Iraq. Misappropriations and political kickbacks were suggested. With Don Hayden acting as counsel, the defendant successfully moved to have the matter dismissed and sent to Brazil as the more appropriate forum. Mendes Junior Int’l Co. v. Banco do Brasil, S.A., 15 F. Supp 2d 332 (S.D.N.Y 1998). Through contorted pleading of the claims and manipulation of the Brazilian courts, Mendes Junior eventually convinced the Brazilian courts that they did not have jurisdiction. With that Brazilian court decision in hand, Mendes Junior sought to reinstate the U.S. proceedings. We proved that they had not made the necessary good faith efforts to pursue their claims in Brazil and their motion was denied. On appeal, 14 years after the original action was filed, a unanimous panel of the Second Circuit affirmed the trial court’s decision and closed the action. Mendes Junior International Company v. Banco do Brasil, S.A., 394 Fed. Appx 787 (2d Cir. 2010). Despite considerable media attention, and a potential exposure approximating over $2 billion when all was said and done, we obtained a complete victory for our client.