Chinese banks escape $150 mln sanctions at 2nd Circ. in Nike counterfeiting case
31 Aug 2021

Six Chinese banks weren’t liable for a potential $150 million in sanctions for failing to freeze the assets of hundreds of Nike counterfeiters, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday.

Next Investments LLC, which bought the rights to the $1.8 billion default award from Nike Inc, had failed to seek enforcement of the freeze against the banks for nearly six years before asking the court to hold them in contempt, U.S. Circuit Judge Michael Park wrote for a unanimous three-judge panel.

Next Investments and its attorney Robert Weigel of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Sandy Weisburst of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, who represented five of the banks, said they were pleased with the decision.

Nike and its Converse Inc unit won the default judgment against more than 600 Chinese entities and individuals in 2015 in Manhattan federal court. U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin also issued orders restraining the defendants and “all persons acting in concert or in participation” with them from transferring their assets.

Nike sold its interest in the judgment to Next Investments LLC, a Houston-based unit of litigation finance firm Tenor Capital Management LP, in 2017. Next subpoenaed six Chinese banks with New York branches where the counterfeiters allegedly had accounts, and filed in 2019 to hold them in contempt for failing to comply with the asset restraining orders, requesting $150 million in compensatory damages.

By Blake Brittain, Reuters, 30 August 2021

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