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Reuters: How an O’Melveny discovery sleuth saved the day

July 20, 2021

Reuters hailed O’Melveny counsel Megan Smith as a “discovery sleuth who struck gold” in this article pinpointing how meticulous attention to detail, even in the most innocuous documents, can pay dividends for complex cases. It was Smith’s recognition of a familiar signature hidden within a form authorizing an attorney substitution that would completely unravel a qui tam case against O’Melveny’s client Lennar Corporation and link it to a feud spanning 25 years.

O’Melveny partner David Marroso spoke with Reuters regarding Smith’s vital discovery confirming the team’s suspicion that Nicolas Marsch III was behind Citizens Against Corporate Crime, the entity that filed the qui tam action against Lennar. Marroso shared that the feud between Nicolas Marsch III and Lennar began as a regular commercial dispute after the pair worked together on Bridges, a luxury home community in Santa Fe, 25 years ago. 

Marroso told Reuters that Marsh was relentless in his pursuit of his client, likening him to “a litigation Terminator.” So when a mysterious Wyoming-based entity called Citizens Against Corporate Crime filed the qui tam case, the team had an instinct it was Marsch. There was no proof, however, until Smith’s astute observation delivered the critical piece of evidence they needed. A single signature allowed the team to link Marsch to CACC, based on a release signed by Marsch in 2008, which in turn allowed O’Melveny bankruptcy partner Evan Jones to convince the Delaware court to enjoin the entity directly with Marsch and prevent the qui tam suit.

“Don’t take shortcuts” and follow your instinct, Marroso said, reflecting on the takeaways. Smith’s discovery was like “finding a needle in a haystack – but we knew what the needle looked like.”

Reuters also noted the firm’s prior successes for Lennar, including a US$1 billion jury verdict Marroso and O’Melveny trial practice chair Daniel Petrocelli obtained in an extortion and defamation case following the release of the Minkoff Report.

Read the full article here.