Protecting reputations and righting wrongs
David Soward worked for 11 years as the investment manager for Cisco Systems founders Len Bosack and Sandy Lerner. During that time, he more than doubled their fortune. When it appeared that his contract would not be renewed with Bosack and Lerner, Soward approached Crowell & Moring to help him collect past-due compensation. Bosack and Lerner, however, believed erroneously Soward had taken advantage of them and filed a public lawsuit in Seattle, Washington, accusing Soward of fraud and other acts of malfeasance that threatened to ruin his professional reputation.
We mounted a comprehensive defense for our client. We conducted an audit of Soward’s contractual rights as well as his work performance. Where we found innocent conduct by Soward that could be mischaracterized as a breach, we fixed it before approaching Bosack and Lerner. When they filed the lawsuit, we obtained a stay, and forced Bosack and Lerner to bring all their claims in private arbitration in San Francisco. To further assist Soward through the process, we negotiated an alternative fee arrangement that allowed for the deferral of our fees and a stake in the outcome.
The arbitrators found in Soward’s favor on all of his claims, awarded the full past-due compensation he had requested, and imposed substantial punitive damages on Bosack and Lerner, resulting in a total recovery of over $27.5 million. Bosack and Lerner unsuccessfully sought to overturn the arbitration award in the Ninth Circuit and even the U.S. Supreme Court, which resulted in a published decision.