Laura Ferguson specializes in appellate litigation and resolving complex litigation matters through dispositive motions. She has won dismissals in a dozen cases on motions to dismiss or for summary judgment and has won numerous appeals, including a unanimous decision from the Supreme Court. Ms. Ferguson is skilled at finding the winning argument and crafting clear, readable, accurate, persuasive briefs that get results for her clients. She also regularly submits amicus briefs at the Supreme Court and Courts of Appeals on behalf of clients on a wide range of issues.
With more than 20 years of experience as a litigator, Ms. Ferguson has extensive experience in all aspects of civil litigation, including managing the fact and expert discovery process (including foreign discovery) and preparing the case for trial. In managing the discovery process, her approach is to stay focused on the issues that matter to her client, being strategic in when to bring issues to the court and to avoid being drawn into costly, needless sparring with opposing counsel. Her representations often involve high stakes, multi-year litigation involving issues of first impression. Her engagements have spanned a variety of subject areas, including the creditability of foreign taxes, whether non-sovereign foreign governmental organizations can be sued under various human rights statutes, the extra-territorial reach of U.S. patent laws, the constitutionality of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) administrative claims resolution process and the scope of Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) preemption.
- Moon v. Family Federation for World Peace and Unification International, District of Columbia Court of Appeals Nos. 20-cv-714, 20-cv-715 (represent Plaintiffs-Appellees in appeal seeking to overturn DC Superior Court removal of directors of a DC non-profit corporation and surcharge them approximately $500 million for breach of fiduciary duty, where appellants are raising First Amendment ecclesiastical abstention defense).
- Valero Marketing & Supply Company v. United States, Fifth Circuit No. 21-50492 (represent Valero in tax refund suit involving the Alternative Fuel Mixture Credit under Internal Revenue Code § 6426(e)).
- United States, ex rel. Fadlalla v. DynCorp International LLC., D. Md. No. 8:15-cv-01806 (represent Alaska Native Corporation owned business in False Claims Act (FCA) suit arising out of provision of linguists to the U.S. Army to support Operation Iraqi Freedom).
- Highmark Inc. v. United States, No. 1:17cv-00898-EHM (Fed. Cl.) (represent insurance company in tax refund litigation).
- Dawes v. Syrian Arab Republic, D.D.C. No 1:21-cv-02730 (represent U.S. national wrongly imprisoned and tortured by Syria in suit brought under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act's (FSIA's) state sponsor of terrorism exception to immunity).
Appellate and Trial Court Wins
- Mohamad v. Palestinian Authority, 132 S. Ct. 1702 (2012) (won unanimous Supreme Court decision holding that corporations and other organizational defendants cannot be sued for international human rights violations under the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA)).
- De Almeida v. Western Digital Corp., 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 190694 (N.D. Cal. June 25, 2021) (represented Western Digital in a successful 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss a suit brought by a former employee under the Dodd-Frank Act anti-retaliation provision, 15 U.S.C. § 78u-6).
- Moon v. Moon, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 220105 (Dec. 19, 2019) (won motion to dismiss a multi-count complaint on ecclesiastical abstention grounds).
- Feller v. Feller, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48666 (D. Md. Mar. 20, 2020) (won motion to dismiss Section 1983 case).
- FFWPUI v. Moon, No. 2011 CA3721, Superior Court, District of Columbia (Mar. 28, 2019) (won motion for summary judgment on breach of fiduciary duty claim).
- Azadeh v. Gov't of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150597 (D.D.C. Sept. 5, 2018) (secured $36 million judgment against Iran for wrongful imprisonment and torture of U.S. national in suit brought under the FSIA's state sponsor of terrorism exception to immunity).
- Cantu v. United States, 565 Fed. Appx. 7; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 12886 (D.C. Cir. 2014) (won reversal of dismissal for lack of standing in Equal Protection Clause case against USDA).
- Shafi v. Palestinian Authority, 642 F.3d 1088 (D.C. Cir. 2011) (secured affirmance of dismissal of Alien Tort Statute lawsuit for failure to satisfy state action requirement).
- Estate of Ahuva Amergi v. Palestinian Authority, 611 F.3d 1350 (11th Cir. 2010) (secured affirmance of dismissal of Alien Tort Statute lawsuit for failure to establish violation of the law of nations).
- Gilmore v. Palestinian Interim Self-Government Auth., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 102093 (D.DC July 28, 2014) (won motion for summary judgment in suit brought under U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act).
- Estate of Klieman v. Palestinian Auth., No. 04-1173, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25167 (D.DC Mar. 3, 2015) (won dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction on a motion for reconsideration for a case that had been pending for 10 years).
- Ungar v. Palestine Liberation Organization, 599 F.3d 79 (1st Cir. 2010) (obtained reversal of district court decision denying Rule 60(b)(6) relief from $116 million final default judgment).
- Edwards v. Vannoy, 114 S. Ct. 1547 (2021) (prepared amicus brief for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) arguing that the jury anonymity rule announced in Ramos v. Louisiana should apply retroactively on federal collateral review).
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan v. Hi-Lex Controls, Inc., Supreme Court No. 14-168 (prepared amicus brief for Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and others in support of petitioner regarding what constitutes control of plan assets for purposes of determining whether an entity is an ERISA fiduciary).
- California Physicians' Service dba Blue Shield of California v. Harlick, Supreme Court No. 12-457 (prepared amicus brief for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association in support of petitioner regarding whether ERISA plan administrator waives the right to invoke a basis for denial of benefits not raised during the administrative review process).
- United States v. Coughlin, D.C. Cir. No. 11-3113, 527 Fed. Appx. 3, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 12162 (D.C. Cir. June 14, 2010) (prepared amicus brief for the NACDL on the evidentiary component of double jeopardy issue preclusion).
- District of Columbia
- United States Supreme Court
- United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
- United States District Court for the District of Columbia
- United States District Court for the District of Maryland
- United States Tax Court
- United States Court of Federal Claims