The joint venture partner of our client Western Digital and SanDisk threatened to sell its joint-venture interests to the highest bidder without seeking their consent. The sale would have thrust a new partner on our clients, violated the parties’ agreements, and disrupted one of the most successful joint ventures in the technology industry. These threats “sent shockwaves” through the organization, ultimately resulting in high-stakes litigation in two continents.
We met with key stakeholders to develop a multipronged litigation plan, involving multiple arbitrations in the ICC International Court of Arbitration, successful requests for injunctive relief that were upheld on appeal to counteract retaliations against our clients, and even a whirlwind press tour to Asia in order to counteract the misinformation in the global media.
Client counsel recalled, “From top to bottom, the whole team was ready to go at a moment’s notice—not just to trial, but to the ends of the earth to get the results we needed.”
The dispute was closely followed in the global media. As one market analyst commented, “SanDisk/Western Digital has ultimately won the courtroom battle not once, not twice, but on every occasion both parties have had a legal dispute.”
With multiple arbitrations before the ICC International Court of Arbitration; litigation in the California trial and appellate courts; and litigation in Tokyo, Japan, the parties ultimately were able to negotiate a favorable out-of-court resolution.
“In one of Western Digital’s most important legal matters in recent years, Hueston Hennigan partnered with us to craft and implement a creative, multi-staged litigation strategy that delivered repeated victories in both court and international arbitration. Hueston Hennigan has a very deep bench of legal talent who are our trusted counselors for our most important cases.” —Michael Ray, chief legal officer and secretary, Western Digital Corp.
“Toshiba must allow Western Digital access to joint-venture assets,” The Register, August 16, 2017
“Toshiba settles fight with Western Digital that imperiled a major deal,” The New York Times, December 13, 2017
“U.S. Court orders Toshiba to notify partner Western Digital of any deal to sell chip unit,” The Japan Times, July 29, 2017