Clients “Bet the Company” on Doerr (and Win)



“Bet-the-company” litigation refers to lawsuits that could end in a company being forced out of business. These cases are not like most commercial lawsuits because they’re not just about money, they’re about whether a company can continue to operate. The plaintiff, typically a competitor, may also seek to acquire the attacked company’s assets and intellectual property.


Approximately three years ago, a Michigan company retained Joe Doerr and Derek Howard to defend a “bet-the-company” lawsuit. In addition to seeking millions in money damages, the plaintiffs sought an immediate TRO – asking the judge to enjoin the defendants from conducting any business or contacting its own customers. In a very short timeframe, Doerr and Howard filed written responses and appeared in court – ultimately convincing the judge that plaintiffs’ request should be denied.


Following the hearing, the defendants counter sued. After attending several days of unsuccessful court-ordered mediation, the parties deposed numerous high-profile executives, both in and outside of the United States. Although the stakes were high, Doerr and Howard readied for trial and made it clear they were confident and prepared to take the case all the way to a verdict.


Shortly after the close of discovery, the plaintiffs appeared to accept that defendants were not going to back down and sought to end the lawsuit. Ultimately, the defendants not only continued to do business, but they retained full ownership and control of the company and its assets, paying no money to the plaintiffs.


The above summary is for informational purposes only. Case results depend upon a variety of factors unique to each case and prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.