TransPerfect Will Appeal Certain Court Findings on Summary Judgment
NEW YORK and SAN JUAN, PR, June 20, 2022 – TransPerfect, the world’s largest provider of language and technology solutions for global business, today announced that the Southern District of New York has denied a motion filed by Defendants H.I.G. and Lionbridge to recover $11.6 million in attorneys’ fees and costs. In denying the motion, the court cited the Defendants’ failure to meet the standard for fee shifting under the Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”).
A bedrock principle in United States law, the “American Rule” presumes that each litigant pays their own attorneys' fees, unless a statute or contract provides otherwise. In this instance, the Court flatly rejected the Defendants’ claim for attorneys’ fees for lack of credible evidence as required by law.
TransPerfect sued H.I.G. and its subsidiary company Lionbridge in April 2019, alleging theft and misappropriation of company trade secrets during a controversial court ordered sale process, in which TransPerfect Founder and CEO Phil Shawe emerged victorious.
This suit followed roughly 15 months after H.I.G. knowingly bid too low in the auction, and then attempted to upset the auction result with a losing effort to intervene in the Delaware Chancery Court. In one email sent at the time Shawe was declared the auction winner, an H.I.G. executive suggested to others in the firm that H.I.G. should proceed to intervene in the Delaware proceedings “to agitate.” As the federal judge assigned to the case recognized, this executive-level edict was “evidence to support [TransPerfect’s] theory of interference and delay [by H.I.G].” That same day, H.I.G.’s advisors at Houlihan Lokey took measures to ensure that the Defendants had as much of TransPerfect’s information as possible and directed staff to “download the whole Data Room!” even though H.I.G. had lost the auction and was no longer a viable participant.
This recent defeat with respect to attorneys’ fees is only one of a series that the Defendants suffered related to fees in the TransPerfect case. In the first instance, Lionbridge’s insurer, Valley Forge, denied coverage of fees in part based on the vast amount of unnecessary duplication by two large law firms. Lionbridge sued Valley Forge in January 2020 to recover what it alleged was $7.3 million in legal expenses. In August 2021, Lionbridge lost that attempt to recover its fees, and has since appealed to the First Circuit. Oral argument occurred on April 4, 2022, and a decision is forthcoming.
Martin Russo, one of TransPerfect’s attorneys, noted that, “The motion for fees appeared to be a legal Hail Mary made by the Defendants on the heels of denied insurance coverage. Everything about it was weak and based on supposition instead of evidence. It was remarkable in many ways, but most notably because the Defendants chose to spin the arguments as if there was no evidence of their misconduct during the auction.
With respect to the events giving rise to these fee disputes, TransPerfect plans to appeal its summary judgment defeat, and will file its notice of appeal this month. TransPerfect is represented by Martin P. Russo and Robert Sidorsky of Russo PLLC and Andrew J. Goodman and Malcolm Seymour of Foster Garvey. Lionbridge and H.I.G. are represented by Aaron Marks, Julia Harper, and Kristin Rose of Kirkland & Ellis LLP.
TransPerfect is the world’s largest provider of language and technology solutions for global business. From offices in over 100 cities on six continents, TransPerfect offers a full range of services in 200+ languages to clients worldwide. More than 6,000 global organizations employ TransPerfect’s GlobalLink® technology to simplify management of multilingual content. With an unparalleled commitment to quality and client service, TransPerfect is fully ISO 9001 and ISO 17100 certified. TransPerfect has global headquarters in New York, with regional headquarters in London and Hong Kong. For more information, please visit our website at www.transperfect.com.