Crisis Management & Prevention

Representative Engagements

Criminal Investigations and Proceedings

  • Defended several mining companies in high-profile investigations of alleged criminal violations of the Mine Safety Act, including conducting the necessary internal investigations, managing subpoena responses and document productions, and defending the companies during resulting congressional inquiries and hearings and grand jury proceedings.
  • Conducted an internal investigation in Argentina and led the self-reporting to and negotiations with the SEC and DOJ on behalf of client Ralph Lauren Corporation concerning allegations of violation of the FCPA.  We successfully resolved the case through unprecedented non-prosecution agreements (NPA) with both the SEC and DOJ, including the first NPA provided by the SEC to an issuer in an FCPA matter.
  • Represent the former Director of Operations of a well-known fish processing company's international operations, who is alleged to be indirectly responsible for a workplace accident resulting in the death of an employee. Worked with authorities to come to a successful settlement agreement for our client.
  • Defended investigations by grand juries, the DOJ, FBI, SEC, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), congressional committees, independent and special counsels, federal agency inspectors general, and state attorneys general, as well as handled parallel and multinational investigations.
  • Represented a four-year state university system in connection with a crisis involving physician misconduct and the recently highly publicized Occupy movement protests that spread to many of its campuses.

Data Security Breaches and Privacy Issues

  • Represented multiple healthcare insurance companies in the HMO "industry attack" litigation that culminated with a multi-district litigation in Florida. We worked with a range of consultants to manage the crisis and media response.
  • Represented a transportation industry client in a breach involving sensitive employee information. Crowell & Moring coordinated the forensic investigation, reported to and assisted the FBI and local law enforcement in the criminal investigation, prepared notification to individuals and authorities, negotiated credit services and assisted with public relations issues. No enforcement actions were brought, and client received multiple letters from attorneys general praising its prompt and effective response to the situation.
  • Represented a major U.S. company operating as a Covered Entity in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA) context when an employee of a business associate stole and sold data regarding the client's employees. Crowell & Moring ultimately persuaded the business associate to pay for all costs related to investigation and notification and obtained a broad indemnity agreement.
  • Handled protest litigation in federal court and the U.S. Government Accountability Office involving cybersecurity requirements, adverse past performance due to security breaches, and failure to develop and maintain a compliant federal cybersecurity program. 
  • Represented a defense contractor whose vendor's system was accessed by a Hactivist group and employee travel information and personally identifiable information was compromised. Crowell & Moring assisted with the forensic investigation and coordinated notification to individuals and authorities with the vendor organization. We also assisted client with internal notifications and employee relations issues.
  • Advised a national retail chain on theft of millions of financial information records which involved extensive investigation involving federal and state law enforcement coordination and nationwide disclosures.  
  • Represented a Fortune 500 company in cyber-theft litigation including coordinating forensics efforts to track down and prove improper download of company computer files and addressed issues relating to computer management and inventory of data. 
  • Represented a major global consumer products trading company whose payment processing vendor inadvertently sent payment data to a third party. Crowell & Moring worked with the vendor to mitigate the situation and secure the data.

Consumer Product Issues and Recalls

  • Managed three of the largest recalls in motor vehicle history, dealing simultaneously with regulators, the media, associated litigation, and business and reputational concerns.
  • For more than 20 years, worked with a Fortune 100 company and various agencies to present the company's position on a nationwide alleged failure of plumbing products. The crisis response ranged from dealing with a 60 Minutes piece to one on Good Morning America. We also worked with the company for more than a decade on crafting its strategy in connection with lead paint litigation, involving highly publicized attacks by the attorney general community, including a trial brought by the Rhode Island attorney general, and full blown media attention to the issue. 
  • Helped client develop strategy in response to FDA recall demands following discovery of salmonella in the client's manufacturing facility. Crowell guided the company through meetings with FDA officials, including with the Director of FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, to arrive at a reasonable recall plan to ensure consumer safety.
  • Guided a client's market withdrawal of food items distributed to franchise stores after discovery that a mechanical failure during manufacturing may have dispersed foreign objects into the articles of food.
  • Advising several international consumer product manufacturers and retailers with regard to upgrading compliance and crisis management plans, including its call center processing and data collection efforts, to enhance safety and compliance programs and ensure timely reporting of safety-related matters to the CPSC, FDA, and NHTSA.

Environmental and Toxic Tort Cases

  • Represented a Fortune 100 company faced with a billion-dollar-plus environmental pesticide crisis stretching nationwide and led a multi-disciplinary team to manage the crisis, keeping the company's name out of the headlines, working closely with federal and state enforcement officials, and establishing a claims process to provide customers with an immediate means to seek remediation and redress without need to resort to enforcement agencies or the courtroom.
  • Worked with an oil company to overhaul their emergency response and crisis management plan after a major refinery explosion. This included revitalizing a neighborhood watch program, drafting an entire PR directive on press releases, and developing a protocol for a health emergency that authorized the managers at any refinery to immediately pay for doctor visits to mitigate damages in the event of a catastrophe.
  • Represent the operator of a national lab under contract to the Department of Energy following a release of hazardous material. We assisted with the internal investigation and advised regarding multiple state and federal investigations, potential self-reporting obligations, subcontract and prime contract issues, and remedial measures.
  • Worked on plans and issue management to address lawsuits over climate change and attacks on the coal industry. These efforts include components that involve media and government relations and activist groups.
  • Handled a community-wide class action case involving allegations of contaminated groundwater. We worked with a range of outside agencies to manage the crisis in the community and the media attention.