Christopher D. Kercher is a seasoned litigator with experience in complex commercial litigation and arbitration relating to contract disputes, bankruptcy, corporate takeovers, securities, derivatives, employment matters, and debtor and creditor rights. Mr. Kercher regularly represents corporations, investment funds, high net-worth individuals, and officers and directors in major, often bet-the-company, litigation. He has extensive experience litigating on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants, and providing general legal advice to clients on a range of issues, including the analysis of potential claims. Mr. Kercher was recognized in 2016 by Law360 as a Rising Star in Banking and received the Legal Aid Society Pro Bono Award in 2007.
Mr. Kercher is a graduate of New York University School of Law and Cornell University.
- Represented the Official Creditors Committee of Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc. in several multibillion dollar lawsuits against JPMorgan Chase & Co., including litigation relating to JPMorgan’s demand for $8.6 billion in cash collateral in the last week before Lehman filed for chapter 11 (S.D.N.Y.), JPMorgan’s liquidation of billions of dollars of LBHI’s securities collateral (the largest such liquidation in U.S. history), and the calculations of close out amounts arising from the early termination of nearly 70,000 derivatives trades. JPMorgan agreed to pay LBHI $797.5 million to settle the matters. (Bankr. S.D.N.Y.)
- Represented the Official Creditors Committee of Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc. in a multibillion lawsuit against Citibank, N.A., including litigation over Citi’s calculations of close out amounts arising from the early termination of nearly 30,000 derivative trades. After almost five years of fact and expert discovery, multiple summary judgment, other pre-trial motions, and 42 days of trial, the parties reached a settlement that will return $1.74 billion to Lehman’s creditors. (Bankr. S.D.N.Y.)
- Lead counsel to Michael “Mickey” Gooch and Colin Heffron against securities fraud claims in a class action that was pending before Judge Pauley in the Southern District of New York. After the class was certified, we moved for summary judgement and obtained complete dismissal of all claims with prejudice, which the plaintiffs have appealed and is now pending in the Second Circuit.
- Representing a putative class of professional models in New York State Supreme Court against several of the largest modelling agencies alleging that the agencies have mischaracterized the models as “independent contractors,” systematically withheld payments due to the models, failed to advise the models of uses and re-uses of their images, and otherwise failed to abide by the terms of their agreements and New York Labor Law. (N.Y. Sup. Ct.)
- Represented AIG in an action brought by a counterparty seeking to walk away from its obligation under an interest rate swap worth in excess of $1.5 billion to AIG. (S.D.N.Y.)
- Represented the liquidators of a defunct Bermuda based hedge fund against claims brought by its former general counsel for unpaid compensation, prevailing on a motion to dismiss that was upheld by New York Appellate Division.
- Represented current and former officers and directors of Lukoil North Americas in a fraudulent conveyance and breach of fiduciary duty suit brought by creditors of its former subsidiary, Getty Petroleum Marketing, Inc. (Bankr. S.D.N.Y.)
- Represented G-I Holdings (f/k/a GAF) in chapter 11 litigation to estimate aggregate asbestos liabilities; obtained extensive discovery into the underlying merits of asbestos claims, leading to settlement with asbestos creditors. Tried and won contested plan confirmation hearing opposed by various federal government creditors. (Bankr. D.N.J.)
- Obtained orders granting Section 1782 discovery on behalf of UC Rusal from Bank of New York and Trafigura relating to Rusal’s investment in Norilsk Nickel. (S.D.N.Y. and D. Conn.)
- Represented MHR Fund Management in its successful defense of litigation brought by Carl Icahn as part of his hostile takeover bid for Lions Gate Entertainment. Won a trial in British Columbia defeating Icahn’s shareholder oppression claim (later affirmed on appeal) and won a preliminary injunction hearing in New York defeating his request to enjoin the voting of MHR’s shares. (Sup. Ct. NY Cty.)
- Represented VR Capital and HBK Investments in a lawsuit alleging fraud against Troika Dialog arising from investment in failed Russian factoring company, and obtained a successful settlement. (Sup. Ct. NY Cty.).
- Represented certain limited partners of a failed multi-billion dollar hedge fund that lead to a successful settlement with the fund, its management, and the other limited partners.
- Represented the largest customer of Refco, Inc., a $2 billion hedge fund group, in Refco's bankruptcy proceedings, including a successful trial to determine whether Refco's brokerage clients had a superior claim to customer assets against other creditors. (Bankr. S.D.N.Y.)
- Representing the former head of exploration and production of a "Big Five" energy company in investigations by the SEC, DOJ, and FSA, as well as civil class action proceedings, relating to its accounting for petroleum reserves. The investigations concluded without any action against the client.
- Represented the former general counsel of an S&P 500 technology company in connection with an SEC investigation, as well as class action and derivative suits, relating to allegations of the backdating of stock options. The investigation concluded without any action against the client.
- Represented the special committee of the board of directors of an S&P 500 internet company regarding allegations of the backdating of stock options.
- Represented a leading Russian energy company in a putative securities-fraud international class arbitration involving the application of Russian corporate and securities law and accounting standards. (AAA)
- Represented a private equity firm and one of its founding partners in an SEC investigation concerning the firm’s trading in certain securities. The investigation concluded without any action against the clients.
- Represented a founding partner of a private equity firm in an SEC investigation concerning his service as a board member of a portfolio company. The investigation concluded without any action against the client.
- Represented a publicly-traded biopharmaceutical company in an arbitration in connection with the termination of its former CEO. (AAA)
- Represented certain partners of a private equity firm in connection with a partnership dispute.
- Represented a New York City public official in connection with his sentencing, following a plea agreement with the Department of Justice relating to a corruption investigation. (S.D.N.Y.)
- Bankruptcy & Restructuring
- Class Action Litigation
- Domestic U.S. Arbitration
- Investment Fund Litigation
- Lender Liability & Other Banking Financial Institution Litigation
- Mergers & Acquisitions Litigation
- Securities Litigation
- Transnational Litigation
- Investigations, Government Enforcement & White Collar Criminal Defense Practice
- Shareholder Activist Litigation
- International Arbitration
- Corporate Governance Litigation
- New York University School of Law
- Annual Survey of American Law:
Article Editor, 2003-2004
- Annual Survey of American Law:
- Cornell University College of Arts & Sciences
(B.A., Government, Dean's List, Order of Omega Honor Society, 2001)
The State Bar of New York; United States District Court: Southern District of New York
- Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP:
- Associate, 2004-2009
Law360, Rising Star: Banking, 2016
Super Lawyers, Rising Star 2014-2016
- Recipient, Legal Aid Society Pro Bono Award, 2007