John A. Herfort is a partner in the New York office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Mr. Herfort is a member of the Gibson Dunn Litigation Practice Group and focuses on antitrust litigation and counseling and complex commercial litigation.
Mr. Herfort has a significant practice in the area of antitrust and complex litigation, antitrust investigations, including merger investigations and grand jury investigations.
Mr. Herfort has represented and counseled such clients as Schlumberger Limited; CCC Holdings, Inc.; Aetna; Unilever; Northrop Grumman Corp.; BLDG Management Co., Inc.; the Peninsula Hotel; Fidelity National Financial; First American Title Insurance; Star Markets; Random House, Inc.; Merrill Lynch; Bear Stearns; Chase Manhattan Bank; Money Station Inc.; First Interstate Bank of Hawaii; Central-National Gottesman Inc.; Union Carbide; Veeco Instruments, Inc.; the Title Insurance Rate Service Association (New York); St. Paul Travelers; Madison Avenue Leasehold LLC; MortgageIT, Inc.; 3D Systems Corp.; Yankee Candle; and CRH plc.
He is co-author of the ABA’s Antitrust Section Monograph, “Merger Standards under U.S. Antitrust Laws” (1981), a contributor to the ABA volume “Antitrust Law Developments” published in 1984, and co-author of articles on merger enforcement, predatory pricing and patent antitrust issues published in the 1990s and 2003. Mr. Herfort has lectured on various antitrust issues at American Bar Association Antitrust Section annual meetings (on mergers and Robinson-Patman Act issues) and at the Practising Law Institute (on vertical restraints). He has also spoken at the National CLE Antitrust program in Steamboat Springs on the Microsoft litigation. Mr. Herfort is routinely ranked as one of New York’s leading antitrust lawyers by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, and by The Best Lawyers in America© and Best Lawyers© New York. In Chambers, Mr. Herfort is described as a “tremendous lawyer” who is “brilliant both substantively and strategically” and “thinks several steps ahead – a very talented individual.” Mr. Herfort is a member of the American and New York State Bar Associations, and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.
Mr. Herfort joined Gibson Dunn in 1984 as a partner. He had previously practiced law in New York for 10 years, and prior to that he clerked for the U.S. Circuit Judge J. Skelly Wright of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Mr. Herfort also served as an assistant to U.S. Attorney General Elliot Richardson.
Mr. Herfort graduated from Harvard College, magna cum laude, in 1968 and from Harvard Law School, cum laude, in 1972, and he served as the Supreme Court Note and Note Editor for the Harvard Law Review in 1971–72.
Representative cases or matters on which Mr. Herfort was lead counsel, trial counsel, or in which he argued the appeal include:
- Northrop Grumman: A lengthy class action trial in 1997-98 on securities law and ERISA issues on behalf of Northrop Grumman arising out of Northrop’s takeover of Grumman that settled after trial on favorable terms.
- Schlumberger: A complex antitrust case in the Northern District of California for Schlumberger that was won in 1997 before trial.
- Pacific Resources, Inc.: Antitrust merger preliminary injunction trials on behalf of Pacific Resources, Inc. (now owned by Broken Hill Proprietary), Union Carbide, and in 2009, on behalf of CCC Holdings, Inc.
- K&F Industries: Represented K&F Industries in Department of Justice and U.K. Office of Fair Trading investigations and decisions not to challenge aerospace acquisition by Meggitt PLC in 2007.
- Schlumberger: Represented Schlumberger in the antitrust reviews of the Schlumberger-Smith International proposed merger (2010).
- Schlumberger: Represented Schlumberger in Department of Justice investigation and decision not to challenge WesternGeco seismic joint venture.
- Consent decrees: Consent decrees with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission resolving on favorable terms merger investigations of the First Interstate Bank of Hawaii/First Hawaiian Bank merger, the Pacific Resources/Shell acquisition, the Oldcastle/Northeast Tilcon acquisition, the Shaws/Star Markets supermarket acquisition, the Fidelity National Financial/Chicago Title acquisition, the 3D Systems/DTM Corp. acquisition and the Itron/Schlumberger Electricity acquisition.
- BLDG Management Co., Inc.: Two successful appeals (in 2001 and 2003) for BLDG Management in the Appellate Division, First Department and United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on real estate contract and federal fair housing issues, respectively.
- Madison Avenue Leasehold LLC: Represented Madison Avenue Leasehold in environmental-law federal litigation that led to requested changes in Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s East Side Access Project building on East 50th Street.
- Six major publishers: The Federal Trade Commission price-discrimination case in the 1990s against six major publishers (including his client Random House, Inc.), which the Commission dropped before trial.
- Veeco Instruments, Inc.: Represented Veeco Instruments in defense and favorable settlement in 2007 of securities law class action in Southern District of New York.
- Unilever: Consent decree with New York State resolving allegations of antitrust violations including “couponing” against Unilever.
- Northrop Grumman: Represented Northrop Grumman in Department of Justice investigation of subsequently abandoned Lockheed Martin/Northrop Grumman merger.
- Peninsula Hotel: Represented the Peninsula Hotel in two trials on real estate contract and fraud issues in the 1990s for the Peninsula Hotel in New York State Supreme Court, New York County.
- Money Station: Represented Money Station in challenge in Federal Reserve Board and D.C. Circuit to Electronic Payment System’s acquisition of National City Corporation’s ATM business.
- Merrill Lynch: Represented Merrill Lynch in recent successful defense of Friedman v. Salomon Smith Barney antitrust case (involving “flipping”) in the Southern District of New York and the Second Circuit.
- Bear Stearns: Represented Bear Stearns in successful defense of Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC v. Billing antitrust case decided in the Supreme Court in 2007.
- Texaco: Trial counsel for Texaco in successful Robinson-Patman Act jury trial in U.S. District Court for District of New Jersey.
- Cooperative Theatres: Trial counsel for defendants in United States v. Cooperative Theatres, a Section 1 criminal antitrust case in the Northern District of Ohio in which the lead client was acquitted.
- Aetna Inc.: Represented Aetna in investigations of insurance industry.
- Title Insurance Rate Service Association, Inc.: Represented Title Insurance Rate Service Association in investigations of title insurance industry in New York.
- MortgageIT, Inc.: Counsel at arbitration hearings for MortgageIT, Inc. involving intellectual property and corporate law contractual issues, in which the opposing party’s claims were dismissed after trial-type hearings.