The firm successfully defended Marshall Strabala from a federal lawsuit filed by his former employer, Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill (“SOM”). Marshall specializes in the design of super-tall skyrises. He worked as a studio head under Adrian Smith on the designs of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and the Nanjing Greenland Financial Center in Nanjing, China. He left SOM to work for Gensler. There, he worked on the design of the Shanghai Tower. He eventually left Gensler to start his own firm, 2DEFINE Architecture, where he continues to work on the Shanghai Tower at the behest of the client.
SOM and Gensler were not happy that Marshall started his own architectural firm, so they filed coordinated lawsuits in different states to harass him. SOM sued him in New York on June 8, 2011, and Gensler sued him in Chicago on June 9. We represented Marshall in New York, and moved to dismiss the action because he had nothing to do with New York—in fact, he has not been here since 2007.
The Court in Chicago dismissed Gensler’s lawsuit against Marshall, so we had a tough act to follow. The New York Court allowed SOM to take discovery into Marshall’s ties to New York. After discovery turned up no new evidence tying Marshall to New York, Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum issued an Order Transferring Case to Chicago, Illinois.
The case was captioned Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP v. Strabala, 11-cv-3906 (MGC). William Chuang was lead counsel for Marshall Strabala.