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Rory A. Leraris

Partner, Litigation

Rory A. Leraris is a partner in Cravath’s Litigation Department. Her 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, CSC Sugar, First Citizens Bancshares, IBM, INEOS, Integrys Energy, The Jones Group, Kraton, Palantir Technologies, Sabre, Saint‑Gobain, Time Warner, Viacom, Xerox and Zale, among others.

Ms. Leraris’s current and recent matters include:

Antitrust Litigation

  • Representing American Express in a civil lawsuit filed by the DOJ and 17 state attorneys general in which, in September 2016, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s determination in February 2015 that American Express’s merchant acceptance rules violated federal antitrust law and remanded the case with instructions to enter judgment in favor of American Express.
  • Representing 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. She is also representing 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. The case is ongoing following the court’s August 4, 2015 denial of final settlement approval.
  • Representing Palantir Technologies in litigation filed in the Delaware Court of Chancery concerning a shareholder’s books and records demand. The case was tried in June 2017.
  • Representing CSC Sugar in connection with possible antitrust claims relating to renegotiations of a trade agreement with Mexico.
  • Representing Sabre in its 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.
  • 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 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

  • 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 summary judgment dismissal, affirmed on appeal, 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 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 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.

In 2017, Ms. Leraris was named to Benchmark Litigation’s “Under 40 Hot List.” She was also recognized by Super Lawyers for her litigation work from 2014 through 2017.

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 became a partner in 2017.

Ms. Leraris may be reached by phone at +1‑212‑474‑1257 or by email at rleraris@cravath.com.

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