Alexander “Zan” Gormley is an accomplished litigator with extensive experience in several different practice areas. His current focus is primarily on commercial and construction litigation, but he also handles a wide range of other litigation, including professional liability, ERISA/employee benefits, torts (personal and products), land use and zoning, among other cases. He has also represented numerous clients as creditors in bankruptcy actions in a variety of jurisdictions.
Alexander "Zan" Gormley is an accomplished litigator with extensive experience in several different practice areas. His current focus is primarily on commercial and construction litigation, but he also handles a wide range of other litigation, including professional liability, ERISA/employee benefits, torts (personal and products), land use and zoning, among other cases. He has also represented numerous clients as creditors in bankruptcy actions in a variety of jurisdictions.
Zan spent the first decade of his career practicing in Washington D.C. at two highly regarded firms, and then relocated to North Carolina, where he joined Williams Mullen. He is licensed to practice in North Carolina, D.C. and Maryland, and handles cases in all three jurisdictions as well as other jurisdictions in the United States.
The types of commercial litigation that Zan has handled include contract disputes, loan defaults, business break-ups, shareholder disputes, and D&O claims. Zan has been one of the lead attorneys in the firm's representation of a group of insurance companies in matters involving the breach of over $2 billion in loan agreements.
In his construction practice, Zan has represented general contractors in large infrastructure and development projects, owners in disputes over payments and defective work, and subcontractors in change order claims. He also represented an owner's representative in a matter that went to a three-week trial and ended with judgment in favor of the owner and its representative.
In his ERISA practice, Zan has represented employee benefit plans and their fiduciaries in claims for denial of benefits, breach of fiduciary duty and prohibited transactions. He has also assisted ERISA-covered plans in complying with audits by the United States Department of Labor, and in resolving coverage and subrogation disputes. Zan also has significant experience with multi-employer plans and has litigated many issues that are unique to them, including claims for withdrawal liability, delinquent contributions, and overpayments.
In his professional liability practice, Zan has represented law firms, accounting firms, architects, insurance brokers, and real estate agents, with a significant focus on defending accountants and lawyers against malpractice claims. This has included handling several high-dollar malpractice claims for large national law and accounting firms, as well as many other matters for regional and local firms.
In short, Zan is a well-rounded litigator with a diverse set of skills that make him suited to handle many kinds of litigation in several different states. No matter the size of the client or the matter, Zan strives to provide consistently excellent service and cost-effective results.
Zan earned his Juris Doctor degree, summa cum laude, from the University of Maryland School of Law. He earned his bachelor's degree, summa cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in International Relations and earning a Certification in Hispanic Studies. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County.
THE CASES LISTED BELOW ARE ILLUSTRATIVE OF THE MATTERS HANDLED BY THE FIRM. CASE RESULTS DEPEND UPON A VARIETY OF FACTORS UNIQUE TO EACH CASE. NOT ALL CASE RESULTS ARE PROVIDED. CASE RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR RESULT IN ANY FUTURE CASE UNDERTAKEN BY THE LAWYER.
PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY & COMMERCIAL LITIGATION
- Defended welfare plans in lawsuit filed by an international shipping company in the District Court of Maryland, bringing claims for equitable restitution under federal common law and seeking over $2 million in claimed excess payments to the plans. Drafted a motion to dismiss which prompted the company to amend its claims, and drafted a motion to dismiss the amended complaint, which the court granted in full.
- Represented a national healthcare plan in a pre-suit dispute with the plan's pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) involving the PBM's negligent misrepresentation and breach of contract that resulted in substantial loss to the Plan. Conducted an internal investigation and drafted a demand letter to PBM setting forth the factual and legal basis for claims, which resulted in a favorable pre-suit resolution.
- Defended a national accounting firm in a lawsuit filed in the Delaware Court of Chancery by the Delaware Insurance Commissioner as the receiver of a defunct insurance company, claiming negligence, breach of fiduciary duty and aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty. Drafted a motion to dismiss, which the court granted as to all but one claim. Drafted the appellees' brief, which resulted in the Supreme Court of Delaware affirming the trial court's decision.
- Defended a manufacturer of industrial engines in a lawsuit filed in the District Court of Maryland by the subrogee of a custom yacht owner, claiming negligence and breaches of warranties under the UCC and maritime law. Drafted a motion to dismiss, which the court granted as to all claims.
- Defended an auditor in a lawsuit filed in the District Court of Maryland by a community bank, claiming negligence arising from preparation of audits. Drafted a brief in support of motion to dismiss, which was granted. Drafted a motion to dismiss in the subsequent suit filed in the District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia, which prompted the bank to dismiss the suit.
- Defended a Midwestern law firm in lawsuit filed in Maryland state court by medical experts retained by the firm, claiming breach of contract, legal malpractice and fraud. Drafted a motion to dismiss, which court granted based on lack of personal jurisdiction. Drafted a brief in support of motion to dismiss in subsequent suit filed in District Court of D.C., which the court granted as to all claims.
- Defended a regional accounting firm in lawsuit filed in D.C. state court by a medical practice, claiming over $6 million in damages arising from alleged negligence in failing to detect insider theft. Deposed several party witnesses as well as third-party accountants, coordinated review and production of ESI, and compiled analysis of multiple years of financial records to aid forensic analysis by accounting experts. Participated in mediating the matter to a favorable resolution.
- Defended a law firm in putative class-action filed in the District Court of Maryland by foreclosed homeowners, claiming violations of RICO and FDCPA arising from home foreclosure proceedings. Drafted a brief in support of motion to dismiss, which court granted. Drafted portion of joint appellees' brief that set forth the legal argument that the U.S. Fourth Circuit adopted in affirming dismissal.
- Defended an accounting firm in lawsuit filed in Maryland state court by a construction company, alleging malpractice and conspiracy to defame. Handled all of the aspects of case-management and discovery, including deposing plaintiff's accounting experts. Drafted and argued a motion for summary judgment, which was granted on the record after a two-hour oral argument.
- Defended a regional accounting firm in lawsuit filed in Maryland state court by a hedge fund, claiming over $150 million in damages arising from breach of fiduciary duty, negligence and fraud. Took or defended over 25 depositions, including depositions of accounting and financial-industry experts. Drafted a brief in support of summary judgment, and 10 pre-trial motions in limine. Prepared the direct and cross-examination outlines for 15 trial witnesses, and coordinated selection and integration of over 200 trial exhibits with testimony outlines. Participated in negotiating the matter to a favorable resolution before trial.
- Defended a national accounting firm in lawsuit filed in District Court of Maryland by former client claiming over $1 million in damages stemming from dispute over eligibility for income tax credits. Prepared for the analysis of financial records as applied to relevant provisions of tax code and IRS guidance, which was used as basis for negotiating matter to successful resolution.
- Defended the trustees of a short-term disability insurance plan in lawsuit filed by U.S. Department of Labor in the District Court of the Northern District of Ohio, bringing claims for breach of fiduciary duties and prohibited transactions under ERISA Sections 406 and 408, and seeking in excess of $10 million in damages. Handled all of the aspects of discovery, including deposing multiple party witnesses. Drafted the opposition to the DOL's motion for summary judgment, which led to the negotiation of a favorable resolution before trial.
- Represented the trustees of a pension plan in their appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals of decision overturning denial of participant's claim for retirement benefits under ERISA Section 502(a)(1)(B). Drafted the appellant's briefs and presented the oral argument.
- Represented a plaintiff-pension plan in a multi-million dollar claim for controlled-group liability under ERISA Section 4001(b)(1) against a real estate holding company in the District Court of Maryland. Handled all of the aspects of discovery, including deposing all witnesses. Drafted the summary judgment brief, which resulted in the court adopting novel theory of controlled-group liability under the applicable Treasury Regulations and denying the defendant's motion for summary judgment.
- Represented the retirement and health plans as creditors in a Chapter 11 proceeding filed by an international shipping company in the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. Drafted the briefs in support of opposition to the debtors' motions for payment of pre-petition claims that excluded pre-petition debts owed to the Plans, which resulted in the debtor's payment of pre-petition debts owed to the Plans.
- Represented a plaintiff-pension plan in a $120 million ERISA withdrawal liability claim against the City of New York Department of Education (DOE) filed in the District Court of the Southern District of New York. Drafted the brief in opposition to the DOE's request for $2.9 million in attorneys' fees under ERISA Section 502(g)(1), which resulted in the court's denial of DOE's request.
- Represented a plaintiff-retirement plan and participants in a claim against the trustees of a global telecommunications company filed in the District Court of New Jersey, alleging breach of fiduciary duty and prohibited transactions under ERISA Sections 406 and 408, based on the diversion of $1.2 billion in excess assets from a retirement plan for workers to a retirement plan for company management.
- Defended a pension plan in an ERISA withdrawal liability matter filed by a contributing employer in the District Court of the Southern District of Mississippi. Drafted the motion to dismiss, which the court granted as to all claims.
- On behalf of a health plan, negotiated a pre-suit settlement with a contributing employer going through a structured liquidation in lieu of bankruptcy, which resulted in the employer paying the plan's claims for delinquent contributions in full.