During its first 40 years, THE FURTH FIRM LLP has developed a highly integrated team of lawyers working on a relatively small number of matters in order to provide high quality services to all of its clients. While other firms have devoted their attention to growth, THE FURTH FIRM LLP has focused its energies on maintaining complete attention to its clients' needs. This focus helps maintain and strengthen the aggressive philosophy underlying our approach to litigation—a philosophy developed during the firm's formative years and sustained for over three decades. When circumstances warrant, the firm is also very capable of achieving alternative dispute resolutions. THE FURTH FIRM LLP routinely represents clients in mediations and in international and domestic arbitrations.
The firm was founded in 1966 by Frederick P. Furth. Mr. Furth's entrepreneurial spirit had pushed him quickly through experiences at a Wall Street law firm, a Fortune 500 company, and a stint with Joseph Alioto, Sr. in his commercial litigation firm. Intent on developing a team of lawyers capable of handling even the most complex cases, yet maintaining strict control over quality, Mr. Furth has joined with his partners to create a firm engaged in a wide variety of business litigation, corporate counseling, and general corporate work.
Mr. Furth's first significant case brought both a major victory and early widespread recognition. As counsel for a class of gypsum wallboard purchasers, Mr. Furth successfully tried and settled one of the first major antitrust cases brought solely by a private plaintiff without the benefit of any prior Justice Department action. In the process, the firm was instrumental in creating innovative procedures to manage class actions. Federal district court Judge Alfonso Zirpoli, who handled that case, applauded the role the Furth office played: "[W]ithout one iota of governmental assistance, counsel, and in particular the Furth office, by diligent and unrelenting application of their skills and their labors achieved an astounding settlement of $67,640,000 ... Mr. Furth ... has been the chief architect of this entire litigation. His success in the ‘dealer' cases and his exceptional leadership, patience and steadying influence thereafter as liaison counsel for all plaintiffs let to the settlement of these cases."
Through the seventies, eighties and nineties, THE FURTH FIRM LLP participated in numerous class actions on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants. In one massive nationwide price-fixing case, the firm received a similar accolade for its role as lead counsel from Judge Carl A. Muecke: "[M]embers of Mr. Furth's firm were involved in virtually every aspect of plaintiff's discovery efforts ... In all of these activities, the highest caliber of legal skill was evidenced."
The firm has developed a unique blend of the aggressiveness needed by a plaintiff with complete knowledge of the law and facts of a case to serve all of its clients, whether plaintiff or defendant. The firm's first major defense cases involved the Federal Trade Commission's attacks on Kellogg Company. In these cases, the firm once again took the offensive, filing federal court actions against the agency. In one of the cases, the FTC had accused Kellogg of a "shared monopoly" with the other major breakfast cereal manufacturers and sought the breakup of the company into four parts. The case had been pending for years, and a huge record had been created. The firm mastered that record, including the testimony of dozens of expert witnesses, and convinced the administrative law judge that the FTC's case should be thrown out. The firm has represented Kellogg in a variety of intellectual property, regulatory and corporate matters.
A 1980 lawsuit arising out of Kirk Kerkorian's attempt to take over Columbia Pictures demonstrated the diversity of the firm's skills. Representing Columbia Pictures, the firm, in just over a month, reversed a series of setbacks encountered by previous counsel, and secured several procedural victories which led to Kerkorian's abandonment of his two-year effort to acquire control of Columbia.
The firm's ability to temper its aggressive style with a scholarly knowledge of the law was demonstrated in its next large antitrust defense case. Three large plywood manufacturers, having lost a trial and an appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, turned to FURTH LEHMANN LLP. The verdict, if upheld, was estimated to have a $2 billion value. After the firm successfully petitioned the Supreme Court for certiorari, won a partial summary judgment on damage claims, and began extensive scrutiny of the remaining damage claims, the case settled in 1982 for a small fraction of the estimated value of the judgment.
The firm's proven ability to handle the most complex of cases was again tested in antitrust cases for Southern Pacific Company and Santa Fe Pacific Corporation. In 1983, the firm was retained to handle the private monopolization claim filed by Sprint against American Telephone & Telegraph Co., paralleling the government suit which led to the divestiture of AT&T's local operating companies. The firm quickly developed a thorough understanding of the telecommunications industry, and effectively put that knowledge to work in arguing the case. After the Sprint cases settled, Santa Fe Pacific Corporation brought the firm in to defend it in a multibillion dollar antitrust action. The action resulted in one of the largest and most innovative trials ever conducted in the federal courts. The case settled while an appeal was pending.
The firm's flexibility with regard to any legal problem enabled it to respond quickly to the call from producers Jon Peters and Peter Guber when Sony hired them to run Columbia Pictures. With the studio facing a preliminary injunction motion filed by Warner Bros., the firm mobilized the resources necessary to begin discovery and position the case for a quick settlement. THE FURTH FIRM LLP also expeditiously mastered complex issues involved in a representation of Chrysler Corporation. The dispute concerned Lee Iacocca's alliance with Kirk Kerkorian in alleged corporate control matters, as they related to litigation concerning Mr. Iacocca's Chrysler stock options. Shortly after FURTH LEHMANN LLP filed its complaint against Mr. Iacocca, the case settled.
The Kellogg and Chrysler matters exemplify THE FURTH FIRM LLP's proficiency in successfully working with in-house counsel. The firm is also adept at working as a team with other lawyers representing similarly situated or identical clients. The firm served as co-counsel for plaintiffs at the Sullivan v. National Football League trials involving a former football franchise owner's antitrust claims, and in the first trial, for example, the jury returned a verdict for plaintiffs of $114 million, after trebling. THE FURTH FIRM LLP served on the steering committee of lawyers in In re Brand Name Prescription Drug Antitrust Litigation, a case in which the major pharmaceutical companies paid $716 million in settlement for the class of pharmacist plaintiffs.
Economics usually plays a useful role in both the liability and damages sides of these cases. THE FURTH FIRM LLP is quite experienced in organizing and presenting expert testimony, particularly that of economists and accountants, as well as complex analyses of adversaries' complicated documents and arrangements. Such analyses are individually tailored, whether for massive pharmaceutical industry materials or those required for THE FURTH FIRM LLP's representations of lawyers, including the late Melvin Belli, who were in litigation concerning dissolution of a law firm. The firm prides itself on its capacity to handle a wide variety of matters in industries as diverse as telecommunications, food processing and movie making.