Edgar G. Sargent
I cannot say enough about Edgar’s skill at trial, from his presentation to his insight and anticipation of the opposition’s thoughts he is the complete trial lawyer. Indeed one rarely experiences the intelligence that Susman Godfrey’s trial lawyers possess. If I find myself at trial in a bankruptcy case or any other high stakes litigation, Edgar and Susman Godfrey will be at the top of the list.
--Michael Willingham, Chair of Washington Mutual Equity Committee
Sargent represents clients in complex, high-stakes lawsuits in courts throughout the United States. He served as litigation counsel to the estate or to major claimants in a number of the largest bankruptcies in the country over the past ten years. In addition to his bankruptcy-related work, Sargent has represented plaintiffs and defendants in a wide range of commercial disputes, from patent infringement to breach of contract and business torts. Sargent has been with Susman Godfrey since 2000 and has been a partner since 2005. He was named a “SuperLawyer” by Washington Law and Politics in 2014.
Sargent brought one of the first significant lawsuits in the United States involving the digital currency Bitcoin when he was hired by the Seattle company CoinLab to sue the Japanese exchange MtGox. In the suit, CoinLab seeks to enforce a $50 million liquidated damages clause in a contract it entered into with MtGox. Under the contract, CoinLab was to serve as the exclusive exchange agent for MtGox in the United States and Canada. The dispute is ongoing.
In 2014, the City of Seattle retained Sargent to defend the City’s new minimum wage law from a Constitutional challenge. The case was filed by former United States Solicitor General Paul Clement on behalf of a franchise trade organization and several franchise businesses. In the Complaint, these businesses allege that Seattle’s minimum wage law violates the Equal Protection Clause, the Dormant Commerce Clause, and several other provisions of the United States and Washington State Constitutions. The suit is currently pending in Federal Court in Seattle.
Bankruptcies in which Sargent has represented significant parties include Washington Mutual (representing the Equity Committee), Hostess (the baker’s union), Tom Petters’ Ponzi scheme (major creditors), Chrysler (the estate), Lehman Brothers (Lehman’s European brokerage), Metropolitan Mortgage/Summit Securities (the estate), and Boston Chicken (D&O insurer).
Sargent’s successful representation of Washington Mutual’s Equity Committee was widely reported in the press, including Reuters, Blooomberg, and the Wall Street Journal. In two multi-week plan-confirmation hearings, Sargent served as co-lead trial counsel, opposing plans that would have wiped out shareholders. Although both plans were supported by the debtor and by all major creditors, the Court rejected both plans after the trials. Sargent then negotiated terms of a new plan that distributed over $100 million in value to shareholders, including 90% ownership of the reorganized debtor.
Sargent has represented bankruptcy estates in litigating audit malpractice, fraudulent conveyance, officer and director liability, and breach of contract claims. He has led investigations by estates into potential claims in each of these areas as well as securities violations and other causes of action. He has litigated matters in bankruptcy courts across the United States, including Arizona, Washington State, Delaware, and the Southern District of New York.
Sargent is based in Seattle but he represents clients in courts across the United States. A more complete list of Sargent’s cases is available below.
Yale University (B.A. in philosophy, 1986)
University of Washington (J.D. with high honors, 1998)
Clerked for Judge John C. Coughenour, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington.
- Named a “Super Lawer” by Washington Law And Politics (Thomson Reuters), 2014
- Fraternities: Order of the Coif
- Editor in Chief, Washington Law Review, 1997-1998
- Law Clerk to the Honorable John C. Coughenour, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, 1998-2000
- Part-time lecturer, University of Washington School of Law, summer term 2000
- Named "Rising Star" by Washington Law & Politics (Thomson Reuters), 2006
State Bar of Washington
- Represents Coinlab Inc. in case against Japanese Bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox. The suit alleges that Mt. Gox breached a contract granting Coinlab exclusive rights to perform Bitcoin exchanges for Mt. Gox customers in the United States and Canada.
- Represents Washington Mutual Liquidating Trust in investigation into potential claims against third-parties, including claims against major brokerage firms for short-selling Washington Mutual Stock and claims against auditors and others for professional malpractice.
- Represents Internet marketing firm Selling Source in arbitration concerning valuation of acquired businesses and implementation of contractual earn-out provision.
- Represented Equity Committee in the Washington Mutual bankruptcy in two successful challenges to reorganization plans and negotiation of confirmed plan awarding equity ownership of reorganized company and other assets.
- Represents Liquidating Trustee for several investment funds that lost money in the Petters Ponzi scheme in claims against U.S. Bank for aiding and abetting breaches of fiduciary duty by the funds’ former managers.
- Represented mortgage broker in confidential arbitration against bank that had agreed to underwrite and acquire mortgages from broker.
- Represented Baker’s Union in Hostess Bankruptcy in opposition to sale terms in proposed plan of reorganization.
- Represents Mexican manufacturing company in dispute with competitor over assertion of intellectual property rights in Mexico.
- Represented Chrysler bankruptcy estate in multi-billion dollar fraudulent conveyance claims against Chrysler's former parent, Daimler, and several former directors.
- Represented SuperSpeed Software in patent infringement claims agains IBM. The case settled on confidential terms favorable to Mr. Sargent's client three months before trial was scheduled.
- Represented the bankruptcy estate of Metropolitan Mortgage, a formerly $2 billion financial company from Washington State, in claims against auditors and other professionals. Claims against PricewatershouseCoopers settled for $30million on the eve of trial. Claims against a second audit firm were resolved in a confidential arbitration.
- Counsel for ACE Insurance Ltd. in coverage claims brought by the Boston Chicken, Inc. bankruptcy trustee under a Directors & Officers policy.
- Counsel for Forgent Networks in patent infringement claims against over thirty defendants, including Microsoft, Apple, Kodak, and Hewlett Packard, related to the JPEG image compression algorithm.
- Represented SuperSpeed Software, Inc. in a patent infringement claim against Oracle Corporation. The case was settled on confidential terms in December 2005, shortly after the Court issued a claim construction ruling highly favorable to SuperSpeed.
- Counsel for Gateway Computers in developing antitrust and related claims against Microsoft. After extensive negotiations in which Gateway was represented by Susman Godfrey attorneys Parker Folse, Mr. Sargent, and Brooke Taylor, Gateway's released its antitrust claims against Microsoft as part of an agreement under which Microsoft will pay Gateway $150 million.
- Counsel for Seattle-based software company in confidential contract and intellectual property dispute with a prominent East-Coast technology company. The case settled on terms favorable to Mr. Sargent's client after a mediation.
- With a team of Susman Godfrey attorneys led by Steve Susman, Mr. Sargent represented a consortium of eighty financial institutions in claims against a big-four accounting firm. Mr. Sargent's clients had loaned $2.1 billion to fund a merger and later learned that the borrower's financial statements had been inaccurate. The case settled the day before jury selection was to begin on terms favorable to Susman Godfrey's clients.
- Successfully defended major manufacturer of building materials in trademark, trade dress, and related claims by competitor claiming that product patterns had been copied.