On December 16, 2009, the Bankruptcy Court in the Northern District of Illinois granted summary judgment to Cravath client Alcoa on all claims brought by William Brandt, the Trustee of Longview Aluminum LLC. The Trustee’s adversary action arose from Alcoa’s sale of a smelter to Longview in 2001 and involved unprecedented claims of breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, unjust enrichment and other claims against Alcoa. The smelter, which was temporarily curtailed upon its sale, did not restart after the curtailment period and Longview subsequently declared bankruptcy. The Trustee of the estate filed suit, alleging that the Chairman of Longview had breached his fiduciary duty and committed corporate waste by causing the purchase of the smelter at an exorbitant price and by looting the assets of the smelter after the sale. The Trustee alleged that Alcoa had aided and abetted those breaches and was unjustly enriched by the sale of the smelter. The Bankruptcy Court found that the Trustee has previously litigated and lost substantially the same underlying claims in a prior action against different defendants, and therefore could not seek to re-litigate those claims against Alcoa. The Court further found that there were no facts that supported some of the Trustee’s claims.
The Cravath lawyers involved in this matter included partner Daniel Slifkin and associates Jisun Park, Maura Caffrey Smith and Nicholas W. Sage.