A Davis Polk team led by partner and Civil Litigation practice co-head Paul Spagnoletti received a shout out in AmLaw Litigation Daily’s “Litigator of the Week” column for securing the Second Circuit’s unanimous affirmance of the dismissal of a federal RICO lawsuit filed against Apollo co-founder Josh Harris by fellow co-founder and former Apollo CEO Leon Black. The case stems from Black alleging a fraudulent scheme to force him to resign from Apollo by leveraging allegations of sexual abuse by his former romantic partner.

On appeal, Black did not dispute the merits of the district court’s 62-page decision granting defendants’ motions to dismiss. Rather, he claimed that the district court erred by denying him leave to file a second amended complaint during the pendency of the case and later by dismissing his first amended complaint with prejudice because the RICO claims were “glaringly deficient in fundamental respects.” The Davis Polk team argued that the district court acted well within its discretion when it (i) refused to allow Black to file a second amended complaint in the middle of briefing on defendants’ pending motions to dismiss, against the district court’s prior instructions, and then (ii) determined the first amended complaint was futile without addressing in detail the allegations in the previously rejected proposed second amended complaint. 

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit unanimously upheld the district court’s rulings in a summary order that endorsed the arguments made by Davis Polk in favor of affirmance.

Litigator of the Week Runners-Up and Shout Outs,” AmLaw Litigation Daily (March 10, 2023) (subscription required)