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Dominican Republic > Dispute resolution > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

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The ‘excellent’ five-partner department at Biaggi & Messina Abogados is led by name partner Gustavo Biaggi, who acts in primarily civil, commercial and real estate cases, as well as arbitration. Recommended partner Edward Veras handles criminal and administrative litigation, and the ‘principled’ team is praised for its ‘extensive knowledge of the market’. The practice has numerous high-profile clients, and is currently representing the Dominican state in a real estate dispute involving the recovery of 60 million square metres of protected public land in Jaragua National Park. Biaggi acted for bottling group BEPENSA in a lawsuit brought by a party claiming ownership of the client’s premises in the country; and, on the tax side, represented Asociación de Industrias de la República Dominicana in a dispute regarding the constitutionality of municipal taxes on advertisements placed in vehicles.

The team at TAG Law-member firm Headrick Rizik Alvarez & Fernández is led by Francisco Alvarez, Tomás Hernández and Mary Fernández. It has a substantial high-profile client roster and, with some 700 cases, one of the largest litigious portfolios in the market. In recent work, the team represented the Central Bank of the Dominican Republic in the prosecution of a $34m fraud at Banco Peravia; the case constitutes the fourth time the practice has been hired by the CBDR to handle fraud matters. In other finance sector work, the practice advised the Commercial Banking association (ABA), the Association of Credit and Savings Banks and Credit Corporations (ABANCORD) and the Dominican League of Savings and Loans Associations (LIDAAPI) in a constitutional claim against Law No.140-15 (August 2015), which regulates public notaries. On the corporate side, the team successfully defended Nynas in a $34m case brought by AES and a local insurance company regarding the failure of an electricity transformer (the case has now gone to appeal). Key partner Luisa Nuno is also recommended. Clients include Isla Dominicana de Petróleo, Corporación Habanos, Dominicus Americanus Group and CLARO.

Jiménez Cruz Peña’s practice is directed by name partner Marcos Peña, and represents clients in a variety of commercial and civil litigation matters, as well as having a particular niche in administrative representation before entities such as telecoms regulator INDOTEL, IP office ONAPI and consumer protection agency, Proconsumidor. The team also handles local and international arbitration, particularly in sectors such as energy, infrastructure and hospitality, and has experience of cases under AAA/ICDR, ICC and UNCITRAL rules. The team also advises high-net-worth individuals. Tax disputes, real estate litigation, civil liability, contentious labour and employment issues and consumer protection claims are all areas of expertise for the practice.

Practice head Lucy Objío and Vitelio Mejia Ortiz (who was recently promoted from of counsel to partner), are the key figures at Pellerano & Herrera’s ten strong contentious practice, which handled disputes with an aggregate value of over $700m during 2015. The department counts Jet Blue Airways among its standing clients specifically for lawsuits filed by passengers, customers or employees; and recent mandates saw Objío successfully represent the company in a $500,000 unfair dismissal suit, and also defend it against a $12.5m lawsuit filed by a group of Dominican businessmen whose luggage was lost in transit (the two parties settled). Other matters saw Mejía, who – in addition to his high profile for litigation – has niche expertise in the sports and aviation sectors, advise both the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Mets on two similar and precedent-setting labour cases concerning whether participation in training camps constituted de facto employment. Founding partner Juan Manuel Pellerano is also active in the sector.

Founding partner Andrés Bobadilla Fernández is the key figure at Bobadilla Abogados; he, along with María Del Mar Rodríguez, and associates Andres Lopez Bonnelly and Ernesto Bournigal, are all active in the commercial litigation sector. The firm handles administrative and constitutional litigation as well as arbitration; its sector focuses include asset and estate planning, infrastructure, telecoms and energy.

With a strong reputation for its litigation prowess, Castillo y Castillo’s dispute resolution department is praised for its ‘immediate responses’, ‘excellent industry knowledge’, ‘very high standard of advice’ and value for money. Senior associates José Battle and Juan Alejandro Acosta lead the practice, and Práxedes Castillo is also recommended. The team litigates in specialist areas including IP, labour and tax, as well as handling the full range of commercial, civil and administrative litigation. The team’s clients include Banco Popular, Orange Dominicana, Hoteles Iberostar and Gulfstream Petroleum Dominicana.

With eight offices around the country, Guzmán Ariza is in a strong position to deal with contentious real estate matters. Its dispute resolution team is led by Fabio Guzmán Ariza, and was bolstered recently by the arrival of a criminal and civil litigation specialist, of counsel Stanly Hernández. In one recent headline matter – indeed, it was broadcast live on national television – senior counsel Manuel Bonnelly successfully defended Soraida Abreu Martínez, the former wife of Dominican senator Félix Bautista, against corruption and money-laundering allegations brought by the Attorney General’s office. The firm is also particularly active in contentious labour cases, and recently assisted the former CEO of Grupo Roco Ki to rebuff an extraordinary appeal brought by former employers to have his substantial severance payments revoked. Other matters include representing Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort in both labour and civil litigation.

The team at Medina Garrigó Abogados is led by Fabiola Medina, with support from Luz Díaz, Aristides Trejo Liranzo and Jesús Francos Rodríguez. Recent mandates include advising Cemex on a $20m action brought by the City Council of Quisqueya for settlement of a city tax allegedly payable for using municipal public real estate, and assisting the client with appealing a ruling that established the legality of said $20m claim. In other matters, the team advised Grupo Ramos on the termination of a loan agreement for the construction of a gym, and of lease agreements with Pro Fit. Also on the real estate side, Banco Agrícola instructed the firm on the recovery of 28 million sqare feet of land currently being occupied by the Cisneros Group. Other clients include DVK Corporativo, Claro, Banco de Reservas and Asociación Nacional de Alguaciles Unidos.

OMG’s dispute resolution team is active in several sectors, particularly healthcare, entertainment, transport, finance and food. It is led by Lucas Guzmán, with key support coming from Natachú Domínguez and Tristán Carbuccia. Recent matters include advising Pollo Cibao in litigation against Carlomagno González and Alimentos del Caribe, a mandate that included obtaining the annulment of an arbitration award that had favoured the counterparties. Guzmán also led advice to Banco del Progreso on various matters, including preventing a third party from attempting the foreclosure of a property on which the bank held the primary mortgage; and Altice Hispaniola, which the team successfully assisted in a number of high-profile litigation cases against leading competitors which questioned Altice’s acquisition of two leading local telecoms companies on competition grounds and also sought to overturn the results of the first auction of the country’s telecoms spectrum. Other clients include Aircraft Maintenance Solutions, Macao Beach Real Estate and the World Bank; Baxter International is a recent panel appointment.

Georges Santoni, María Esther Fernández and José Maldonado are the key dispute resolution partners at Russin, Vecchi & Heredia Bonetti, and of counsel Jonathan Russin, who divides his time between Washington DC and Santo Domingo, also participates in contentious matters. The ‘highly responsive’ department has been particularly active in relation to the country’s onerous Ley 173, which governs distribution contracts: defending Zoetis against actions brought by Veterinaria del Norte, demanding both $10m in damages and a termination of its distribution agreement; and defending Robert Bosch against a $20m claim by JOCASA based on the alleged de facto exclusivity of its distribution role. The team is also active in the aviation sector, advising Delta Air Lines on its prosecution of an alleged fraudster accused of credit card cloning for approximately $400,000; it also defended United Parcel Service against a $345,000 torts compensation claim brought by Aerotim Cargo. Other clients include Almacenes Sema, Isla Dominicana de Petroleo Corporation and Bayer.

Despite being an international firm, Squire Patton Boggs nevertheless has ‘a good reputation with the local courts’, and is praised for its ‘responsiveness, clear recommendations and realistic expectations’; its recent contentious case load includes mandates from Earthbound Holdings, Fluke Corporation and US Aviation Insurance Group. Practice head Pedro Gamundi leads the dispute resolution team, with support from recently made-up partners Raúl Mañón, Carolina Soto Hernández (who is commended for her ‘experience and great knowledge’ and her ‘confident litigation’) and Stephen Adell; Mañón and Adell spend half of their time in Paris and Miami respectively. Gamundi and Soto Hernández are currently representing Owens Illinois in two insurance cases worth $133m and $90m; and are also defending consumer goods corporation Diageo Dominicana against a $17m commercial claim filed by its former local re-seller. Alejandro Peña-Prieto is also recommended; he is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution of the Chamber of Commerce and Production of Santo Domingo.

InterLaw member Pereyra & Asociados has over 25 years in the market and counts foreign corporations and high-net-worth individuals among its clients. Name partner Luis Miguel Pereyra is the key contact for disputes work and, in addition to his extensive litigation experience, has considerable knowledge of arbitral matters – both as counsel and as arbitrator – under ICC and AAA rules, principally at the Centre for Arbitration and Alternative Conflict Resolution of Santo Domingo’s Chamber of Commerce and Distribution. Partners Emma Mejía and Gregorio García are also active on contentious matters. Clients of the department include Bank of Nova Scotia, McDonalds, Mitsubishi and Verizon.

Troncoso y Cáceres celebrated its centenary in 2015 and has considerable experience among its ranks. Key contacts for contentious matters include managing partner Jesús María Troncoso, who has over 40 years’ litigation experience; Ana Isabel Cáceres, who has particular expertise in relation to contentious banking and finance matters, and also handles distribution disputes; and Maria Felix Troncoso, who undertakes all aspects of IP litigation. Recent headline matters saw the team represent Eccus in multiple legal actions against Corporación Corpa, including litigation resulting in a sentence requiring it to pay $28m in pledges (currently on appeal); asset seizures and debt collection against the company, and obtaining a favourable $2.7m arbitral award. In other work, client Nestlé Dominicana instructed the team on filing a collection lawsuit against H&M Alimentos in a case that eventually led to the seizure of the latter’s assets to settle a $2m debt. The department also advises Cisneros Group on contentious labour matters, and counts Hewlett-Packard, Swatch and Apple Inc among its active clients. The firm is also a member of the Terralex network.

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