Clay J. Pierce handles high stakes litigation and arbitration matters in jurisdictions throughout the United States. He represents a broad array of clients – from Fortune 100 companies in the financial, technology, energy and health care industries to individual entrepreneurs, bond holders, fund managers, project developers, trustees and liquidators.
Clay has prosecuted and defended a number of complex financial and securities suits relating to failed businesses and investment funds. In addition, he has handled multiple disputes involving renewable energy projects, defended numerous consumer class actions (in the FDCPA, RICO, Lanham Act, securities and antitrust areas) and represented several national law firms in malpractice and firm partnership disputes.
Clay has handled numerous financial litigation cases for high profile clients, including the following representative matters:
- Prosecuting suit by secured bondholder Trustee against Norske Skogindustrier based on disputed €110 million exchange offer transaction. Transaction withdrawn after Court ruling on preliminary injunction motion that transaction would breach secured bondholders’ rights under Indenture.
- Prosecuting suit by unsecured bondholders against Caesars Entertainment Corporation based on violations of the Trust Indenture Act and governing indenture agreements.
- Defending Fair Debt Collection Practices Act class action claims against leading credit card issuer arising from alleged misleading statements concerning credit card issuers’ obligation to file 1099 forms with the Internal Revenue Service.
- Defending $50 million fraud suit by two offshore CDO funds (each controlled by Patriarch Partners) against the CEO and Chairman of a failed Chinese media conglomerate (Xinhua Sports & Entertainment Ltd.). Obtained order dismissing negligent misrepresentation claim on the pleadings and striking all references in complaint to parallel criminal proceedings. Order affirmed after interlocutory appeal.
- Obtained dismissal on the pleadings of class action claims for negligence and breach of fiduciary duty brought against indenture trustee by holders of $160 million in municipal bonds. Claims arose from alleged failure to properly invest trust assets following the 2008 financial crisis.
- Obtained dismissal on the pleadings of federal RICO class action claims against leading commercial finance company based on alleged improper late fees.
- Defended national data management provider against $100 million suit brought by mortgage lenders based on allegedly erroneous computerized home appraisals. Favorable settlement prior to decision on client’s motion for summary judgment.
- Prosecuted fraud and negligence claims by liquidators of off-shore hedge fund against fund’s investment advisers and accountants. Favorable settlement against all defendants.
- Prosecuted interpleader claims by institutional investor for payment of $150 million in commercial paper notes issued by failed structured investment vehicle (Victoria Finance, Ltd.). Favorable settlement following discovery against SIV’s collateral trustee, investment advisers and transaction counsel.
- Prosecuted contribution, indemnification and fraud claims on behalf of leading consumer finance company arising from patent litigation commenced by affiliate of client’s data storage vendor. Favorable settlement of vendor claims as well as underlying patent suit.
- Advised nation's largest commercial lender regarding $150 million worth of potential contract and tax claims arising from acquisition of middle market lending business. Also advised regarding potential contribution and indemnification claims against seller.
- Defended nation’s largest commercial lender against $125 million fraudulent conveyance/leveraged buyout suit by unsecured creditors of national home improvement chain. Obtained judgment in favor of client after bench trial in the District of Delaware. Subsequently prevailed on appeal.
Clay has litigated multiple disputes involving renewable energy projects, including:
- Prosecuting suit by Indiana wind energy producer against the country’s largest utility based on breach of 20-year purchase power agreement. Suit arises from utility’s effort to curtail wind producer’s energy output based on falling market price for electricity.
- Defended arbitration claims against equity investors in renewable energy project based on dispute over the calculation of internal rate of return thresholds. Obtained final award for clients after multiple rounds of briefing and discovery.
- Defended power transmission company in declaratory judgment action brought by two wholesale power marketers. Obtained dismissal of all claims pursuant to doctrine of primary jurisdiction.
Clay has defended many clients in false advertising and labeling cases. His successes include:
- Defending nation’s leading health care company against state Attorney General suit based on alleged false marketing of leading anti-psychotic medication.
- Defended leading health care company against multiple false advertising claims related to nation's leading no-calorie sweetener. Included litigations in multiple jurisdictions commenced by industry competitors and consumer class action plaintiffs. All class actions dismissed after denial of class certification. Competitor claims settled after five-week jury trial in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Clay has represented several national law firms in malpractice and firm partnership disputes.
- Defended national law firm against alleged malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty claims arising from client’s representation of federal qui tam relator.
- Defended international law firm against breach of fiduciary duty claims asserted by senior departing partner. Involved contested transfer of high-profile litigation and white collar practice.
- Prosecuted fiduciary duty claims against major law firm on behalf of two departing partners. Involved challenges to the law firm's partnership agreement's treatment of departing partners under New York ethics rules.
- Defended law firm against attorney malpractice claims arising from Continental Airlines bankruptcy.
- New York
- Fordham University School of Law, J.D., 1995, Order of the Coif, Fordham Law Review
- Columbia University, B.A., 1990
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
- Association of the Bar of the City of New York
- Federal Bar Council Inn of Court