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Rory A. Leraris

Partner, Litigation

Rory A. Leraris’s practice focuses on antitrust, M&A, securities and derivative litigation, and other complex commercial disputes. Ms. Leraris’s clients have included Alcoa, American Express, Barnes & Noble, Credit Suisse, First Citizens Bancshares, IBM, INEOS, Integrys Energy, The Jones Group, JPMorgan Chase, Kraton, Martin Marietta, Mylan, Palantir Technologies, Sabre, Saint‑Gobain, Time Warner, Viacom, Xerox and Zale, among others.

Ms. Leraris’s current and recent matters include:

Antitrust Litigation

  • Obtained a major victory for American Express before the U.S. Supreme Court in an antitrust lawsuit originally brought by the DOJ and 17 state attorneys general challenging certain provisions in AmEx’s merchant agreements. She also represented AmEx in obtaining the Second Circuit Court of Appeals’ unanimous reversal of an adverse trial decision in this case, one of the most significant government antitrust enforcement actions in recent history.
  • Represented American Express in a series of putative class actions and individual lawsuits brought by large supermarket and pharmacy chains in New York federal court alleging that American Express imposed rules that limited merchants from steering their customers to other payment methods in violation of Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act. The matters settled in April 2019 following AmEx’s victory in the Supreme Court. She also represented the company in related merchant arbitrations.
  • Representing American Express in a putative class action brought on behalf of all U.S. merchants that accept American Express cards, alleging that American Express tied acceptance of certain of its card products to acceptance of other American Express card products in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act.
  • Represented Sabre in its successful appeal to the Second Circuit of an adverse jury verdict in a lawsuit brought by US Airways in New York federal court alleging that Sabre used its monopoly power to charge inflated fees to airlines for bookings made through its Global Distribution System, and impeded travel agents and others from using cheaper alternative platforms to book airline seats for customers. In September 2019, the Second Circuit vacated the jury verdict and remanded for further proceedings. 
  • Represented Compagnie de Saint‑Gobain as U.S. counsel on antitrust issues—including litigation brought by the FTC—in connection with the $2.2 billion sale of its Verallia North America business to Ardagh Group. Ardagh and the FTC ultimately reached a settlement, and the transaction closed in April 2014.
  • Represented Viacom International and Black Entertainment Television in an antitrust lawsuit brought by Cablevision in New York federal court alleging that Viacom engaged in illegal tying and block booking by coercing Cablevision into agreeing to distribute certain of Viacom’s allegedly less popular cable channels along with other of its more popular, “commercially critical” networks, including Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET and MTV.

M&A Litigation

  • Represented DHT Holdings in securing the dismissal of lawsuits filed in New York and the Marshall Islands against the company related to the rejected offer made by Frontline, one of DHT’s largest shareholders, to acquire the company.
  • Represented Integrys Energy Group, Inc. and its board of directors in purported class action lawsuits brought on behalf of Integrys shareholders in Wisconsin state court and Illinois federal court arising from the company’s $9.1 billion acquisition by Wisconsin Energy Corporation, which closed in June 2015. The state court action settled and the federal court actions were subsequently dismissed.
  • Represented First Citizens BancShares and its board of directors in obtaining a precedent‑setting victory in actions filed in the Delaware Court of Chancery that challenged First Citizens BancShares’s merger with First Citizens Bancorporation and sought to invalidate First Citizens BancShares’s forum‑selection bylaw—adopted on the same day that it entered into a merger agreement—requiring that shareholder disputes be litigated in North Carolina. The Chancery Court dismissed both actions.
  • Represented The Jones Group in litigation relating to its $2.2 billion sale to Sycamore Partners. A settlement was approved in February 2015.
  • Represented Zale Corporation and its board of directors in litigation relating to its $1.4 billion acquisition by Signet Jewelers. After defeating a motion for a preliminary injunction, the deal closed on schedule less than a week later. Claims against the Zale board were later dismissed, and the dismissal was affirmed on appeal.
  • Represented Kraton Corporation (formerly Kraton Performance Polymers, Inc.) in securing the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by LCY Chemical and LCY Synthetic Rubber for a termination fee after Kraton’s board decided to withdraw support for a proposed merger with LCY.
  • Represented the board of directors of Assisted Living Concepts, Inc. (“ALC”) in litigation brought on behalf of ALC shareholders arising from the proposed acquisition of ALC by affiliates of the private investment firm TPG. The litigation was settled and the transaction closed in July 2013.

Securities and Derivative Litigation

  • Representing Mylan and certain of the company’s directors and officers in securities fraud class action litigation regarding the company’s classification of the EpiPen under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program, alleged EpiPen exclusive dealing rebate arrangements, and certain other price‑fixing and market allocation allegations involving generic drugs.
  • Representing Palantir Technologies in litigation filed in the Delaware Court of Chancery concerning a shareholder’s books and records demand. Ms. Leraris is also currently representing Palantir in a Delaware Superior Court action alleging intentional interference with a proposed deal to sell $60 million in stock to a Chinese private equity firm. She recently represented Palantir as trial counsel in litigation concerning a shareholder’s books and records demand, which was tried in June 2017.
  • Represented Barnes & Noble, Inc. and certain individual defendants in securing the dismissals of a shareholder derivative lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court concerning the company’s internal controls and financial reporting and a related securities class action in New York federal court.
  • Represented Kathryn Mikells, the former CFO of The ADT Corporation, in winning dismissal of all claims against her in purported securities class action litigation in Florida federal court.
  • Represented Xerox Corporation in obtaining the affirmance of the summary judgment dismissal of a 13‑year‑old, $2 billion securities class action in Connecticut federal court alleging that Xerox violated federal securities laws by allegedly misrepresenting the success of Xerox’s 1998 global restructuring program.
  • Represented Credit Suisse as national coordinating counsel in as many as 50 lawsuits filed in state and federal courts across the country relating to residential mortgage‑backed securities.

Other Commercial Litigation

  • Representing A.J. Richard & Sons as plaintiff in a lawsuit filed in New York state court against Forest City Ratner Companies seeking to enforce Forest City Ratner’s obligations under an agreement relating to the Atlantic Yards redevelopment in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Represented INEOS Bio USA LLC and INEOS Bio Ltd., a developer of groundbreaking technology to convert waste products into fuel‑grade ethanol, in an action for misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of contract against Coskata, Inc. The parties settled on terms favorable to INEOS.
  • Represented Alcoa Inc. in an ERISA action filed in Tennessee federal court by a class of former Alcoa employees, seeking to undo portions of Alcoa’s Collective Bargaining Agreement with the United Steel Workers Union. Following a two‑week bench trial, a judgment was secured for Alcoa dismissing the case, which was affirmed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ms. Leraris was named a Law360 “Rising Star” for Competition in 2019. She also received Euromoney Legal Media Group’s 2019 Americas Rising Star Award for “Best in Antitrust/Competition,” as well as a “Case of the Year” award in recognition of her work on behalf of American Express in Ohio v. American Express. Ms. Leraris was also recognized in Benchmark Litigation’s “40 and Under Hot List” in 2017, 2018 and 2019 and was listed by the publication as a 2019 and 2020 “Future Star.” The Legal 500 US recommended her for M&A litigation in 2020, general commercial disputes in 2018 and 2020 and antitrust litigation in 2019. She was also recognized by Super Lawyers for her litigation work from 2014 through 2019.

Ms. Leraris was born in Boulder, Colorado. She received a B.A. magna cum laude in Psychology and Sociology from Amherst College in 2003, and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School in 2008, where she was a teaching assistant to Professor Gerald Rosenberg.

Ms. Leraris joined Cravath in 2008 and was elected a partner in 2016.

Ms. Leraris is admitted only in New York and New Jersey.

+1 (212) 474-1257
+1 (212) 474-3700