Diversity & Inclusion
Litigation and International Arbitration
Jonathan L. Frank joined Skadden in 1999 after years as an executive assistant district attorney, special prosecutor and homicide prosecutor in Brooklyn, N.Y. As a prosecutor, Mr. Frank successfully tried numerous high-profile murder cases and was nationally recognized for his work.
Mr. Frank, likewise, has been nationally recognized for his commercial litigation work at Skadden, being listed in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers For Business where he is described as “wicked smart.” He also is named in the Legal 500 U.S. as one of only 14 attorneys in the U.S. who are “leading lawyers” in commercial litigation. His practice at Skadden is focused on a variety of complex commercial disputes, including real estate, bankruptcy and securities litigations, as well as related white collar criminal matters, emphasizing the creation and execution of litigation strategies and tactics; trial, international and U.S. arbitral proceedings; the assessment of claims; and settlement negotiations. He has acted as counsel in numerous high-profile business litigations and arbitrations.
Mr. Frank recently co-led the bankruptcy trial team that successfully secured a complete victory on behalf of NextEra Energy, Inc. against the Adelphia Recovery Trust in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court against fraudulent transfer action, and then secured an affirmance, based on a de novo review, in the Southern District Court of New York. Employing a novel argument that combined analysis of two traditionally independent concepts — solvency and access to capital — the team convinced both courts that the plaintiff failed to carry its burden of establishing that Adelphia was insolvent or would have been unable to raise adequate financing to continue its operations at the time of the alleged fraudulent transfer, notwithstanding the undisputed facts that Adelphia (i) had committed $400 million of financial fraud; (ii) exceeded the permissible leverage ratios in its loan documents; and (iii) had no unencumbered assets.
Mr. Frank was a lead member of the trial team that won a defendant’s verdict on all claims in favor of DaimlerChrysler AG against Tracinda Corporation, owned by Kirk Kerkorian. The trial in the U.S. District Court of Delaware involved securities fraud claims of more than $1 billion, making it the largest securities case ever tried in federal court. The National Law Journal awarded the team the “2005 Top Defense Win of the Year.”
In the fall of 2008, Mr. Frank parachuted in as part of the team hired two weeks before trial to defend Freedom Communications, following the court’s determination to instruct the jury that Freedom and its newspaper The Orange County Register had willfully destroyed relevant documents. The class action lawsuit, which alleged violations of California labor laws, threatened to put the Register out of business with the loss of hundreds of jobs. After eight weeks of trial, the matter was successfully settled, keeping the newspaper in business, with no admission of liability.
In the international arbitration arena, among other successes, Mr. Frank co-led the trial team that obtained a complete victory for Anglo Irish Bank in its arbitration against Peninsula Real Estate Fund I GP. The arbitration stemmed from a real estate development partnership the bank funded. Following weeks of factual and expert testimony from more than two dozen witnesses, extensive post-hearing briefing and a day of closing arguments, the tribunal awarded the bank removal of the general partner and denied the general partner’s claims for more than $75 million in damages. Mr. Frank also co-developed the litigation strategy, together with Irish counsel, that led to the bank’s successful defense against related fraud claims brought in the Irish Commercial Court by a group of investors in the partnership.
In a domestic arbitration, Mr. Frank represented Deutsche Bank in its claims against General Electric Capital Corporation and obtained a successful settlement in the midst of the arbitral hearings.
Mr. Frank has conducted more than 30 jury trials, briefed and argued more than 30 appeals, and directly supervised dozens more of each. In addition to his Chambers and Legal 500 listings, Mr. Frank has been profiled in the New York Law Journal for his skills and persuasiveness, both as a trial lawyer and as an appellate advocate. Mr. Frank also was selected by the Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals as a member of his Advisory Council on the Commercial Division of the New York Supreme Court.
Other representative clients have included:
J.D., Boston University School of Law, 1983
B.A., University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1979
Co-chair, Practising Law Institute Seminar, “Current Developments in Federal Practice,” Practising Law Institute, Annually 2007-2015
Federal Bar Council Committee on Bankruptcy Litigation