Mr. Méndez focuses his practice on complex commercial arbitration and litigation, in areas such as antitrust, intellectual property, financial institutions, government regulation and securities law. He is the only Puerto Rico lawyer to have received a top ranking from Chambers Global in Dispute Resolution for eleven years in a row and one of only two lawyers with a top ranking for Dispute Resolution in the 2016 Chambers Latin America Guide. Described as the gold standard for litigation in the latter guide, he has been top ranked in the same since its inception. Mr. Méndez was also named Best Litigation Lawyer in Puerto Rico for 2016 by Best Lawyers of America, which also listed him as best lawyer in International Arbitration. He has also been appointed arbitrator in international disputes, including as panel chairman.
Mr. Méndez is President of the Foundation of the Federal Bar Association, Vice President of the Foundation of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court, and board member of Espacios Abiertos, an affiliate of Centro Para la Nueva Economía and of Open Society Foundations. He has co-chaired conferences with Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor, with First and Second Circuit Judges Juan Torruella and José Cabranes and organized various activities for the District Court for the District of Puerto Rico for the foundation of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court and for the Fellows Program of the Foundation of the Federal Bar Association, of which he is a Sustaining Life Fellow. He has taught antitrust, civil procedure and internet law at Puerto Rico law schools and been a frequent speaker at multiple conferences on a variety of legal topics.
- Multi-District-Litigation and Class Actions:Mr. Méndez has been lead or co-lead counsel in multiple class and putative class actions and multi-district litigations in the areas of antitrust, toxic tort, securities, financial institutions and telecommunications. He is currently lead or co-lead counsel in five class and putative class actions, including an MDL.
- Mr. Méndez was the only Puerto Rico lawyer in the lead counsel team that prosecuted the first Multi-District Litigation in the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico, an antitrust class action that settled for $65 million.
- Civil and Government Antitrust Enforcement Actions and Investigations: Mr. Méndez has successfully represented clients in the banking, securities, soft-drink, supermarket, food distribution, gasoline and gas industries, among others, in civil and criminal antitrust actions, including the dismissal of the largest Puerto Rico antitrust investigation and government enforcement action filed by the Antitrust Division of the Puerto Rico Justice Department.
- Mr. Méndez has also successfully represented clients before the Federal Trade Commission and the Puerto Rico Antitrust Division, in obtaining approval of the most significant mergers in the Puerto Rico market and in defending multiple investigation and claims filed before said agencies.
- Mr. Méndez was lead local counsel for the team that argued for and obtained the first determination by the FTC that food clubs are part of the Puerto Rico supermarket industry, establishing a precedent for mergers and acquisitions in the supermarket and food distribution business.
- Intellectual Property: Mr. Méndez has been local Trademark Counsel for major international companies since the firm’s foundation, representing his clients in administrative proceedings before the USPTO and the Puerto Rico Trademark office. He has also successfully prosecuted some of the largest trademark and copyright infringement actions in Puerto Rico Federal District Court, including seizures of counterfeit products in the soft-drink, software, clothing and book publishing industries.
- Government and Investigations: Mr. Méndez has regularly represented firm clients facing investigations by the Puerto Rico House of Representatives, the Senate of Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rico Department of Consumer Affairs, the Puerto Rico Office of Financial Institutions, the Public Service Commission and other government entities, in such varied industries as gasoline, gas, health, banking, food and agriculture, and has successfully argued against legislative initiatives affecting the firm’s clients, particularly as to proposed laws regulating price or profit margins, restricting product distribution or requiring clients to share facilities with competitors.
- Securities Claims in Civil, Criminal and Arbitration Actions: Mr. Méndez represented Morgan Stanley in defending dozens of private claims and government enforcement action, as a result of the largest securities fraud scheme undertaken in Puerto Rico, which was uncovered by the client. He also represented Morgan Stanley in ensuing investigations and enforcement actions by federal, state and industry regulators, including the Puerto Rico Commissioner of Financial Institutions and assisted the U.S. Attorney’s Office in its criminal action against a former Morgan Stanley employee and in obtaining meaningful restitution for his victims, including Morgan Stanley.
- Mr. Méndez has regularly defended most of the broker dealers in Puerto Rico from customer claims filed in court, before the Puerto Rico Commissioner of Financial Institutions, before the New York Stock Exchange, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the National Association of Securities Dealers and FINRA. He has also been lead counsel in various key decisions by the Puerto Rico Court of Appeals, the Federal District Court of Puerto Rico, and the First Circuit Court of Appeals in securities claims brought under both Puerto Rico and Federal Securities Laws.
- Financial Institutions: Mr. Méndez has successfully defended financial institutions, including obtaining the dismissal in state court of a $600 million class action claim involving publicly issued notes and the financial institutions’ role as trustee, and in obtaining dismissals before the First Circuit Court of Appeals of various multimillion dollars claims under the Trust Indenture Act, the Edge Act, Rico and the Federal Reserve Board’s Regulation.
- International Arbitration: In addition to acting as an arbitrator, including as Panel Chairman in international arbitration disputes, Mr. Méndez has successfully represented various clients in multiple international disputes, including recently obtaining an unusual preliminary injunction effectively setting aside an exclusive multi-year contract and a multi-million dollar award.
Significant published cases:
- César Calderón and Teresita Palerm Nevares a/k/a Tessie Calderón v. Banco Santander Puerto Rico, et al., Appeal No. 12-2128, before the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. 747 F.3d 1 (1st. Cir. 2014).
- César A. Calderón-Serra; Teresita Palerm-Nevares a/k/a Tessie Calderon v. Wilmington Trust Company; Banco Popular de Puerto Rico v. UBS Financial Services, Inc.; Insurance Company A, B, C, Appeal No. 11-2449. 715 F.3d 14 (1st. Cir. 2013).
- Cartagena v. Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, 2013-CV-04238 (S.D.N.Y. 2013)
- Citibank Global Markets, Inc. v. Rodríguez Santana, 573 F.3d 17 (1st Cir. 2009).
- In re Puerto Rican Cabotage Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 3:08-MD-1960 (2008).
- Ticket Center, Inc. v. Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, Civil No. 04-2062 (District of Puerto Rico, Nov. 6, 2008).
- Santos-Rodríguez v. Doral Mortg. Corp., 485 F.3d 12 (1st. Cir. 2007).
- Arroyo-Melecio v. Puerto Rican American Ins. Co., 398 F.3d 56, (1st Cir. 2005).
- Eastern Food Services, Inc. v. Pontifical Catholic University Services Ass’n, Inc., 357 F.3d 1, 2004-1 Trade Cases P 74,255, 184 Ed. Law Rep. 727 (1st Cir. 2004).
- Fresenius Medical Care Cardiovascular Resources, Inc. v. Puerto Rico and Caribbean Cardiovascular Center Corp., 322 F.3d 56 (1st Cir. 2003).
- Cooperativa de Ahorro y Crédito Aguada v. Kidder, Peabody & Co., 129 F.3d 222, Fed. Sec. L. Rep. P 99,564 (1st. Cir. 1997).
- Cooperativa de Ahorro y Crédito Aguada v. Kidder, Peabody & Co., 993 F.2d 269, 61 USLW 2780, Fed. Sec. L. Rep. P 97, 453, 25 Fed.R.Serv.3d 982, 37 Fed. R. Evid. Serv. 904 (1st Cir. 1993).
- Isla Petroleum Corp. v. Department of Consumer Affairs, 640 F. Supp. 474 (D. Puerto Rico Jun. 4, 1986). T
- Tenoco Oil Co., Inc. v. Department of Consumer Affairs, 876 F.2d 1013 (1st Cir. 1989).
- Puerto Rico Dept. of Consumer Affairs v. Isla Petroleum Corp.,485 U.S. 495, 108 S.Ct. 1350, 99 L.Ed.2d 582, Energy Mgt. P 26,600 (U.S. Puerto Rico Apr.19, 1988) (No. 86-1406).
- Isla Petroleum Corp. V. Puerto Rico Dept. of Consumer Affairs, 811 F. 2d 1151 (Em. App. Dec. 29, 1986), cert granted, 484 U.S. 814, 108 S.Ct. 65, 98 L.Ed. 2d 29 (U.S. Oct 5, 1987).
- Ready Mix Concrete v. R. Arellano & Co., 1981 JTS 38, 110 D.P.R. 869, (1981)