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Covington Second Circuit Victory Named Most Important Case of the Year by GIR

Firm Ranked Among Top 15 Investigations Practices

September 20, 2016

WASHINGTONGlobal Investigations Review has named the Microsoft warrant access case as the winner of the “Most Important Court Case of the Year.” Covington served as co-counsel to Microsoft and helped secure a landmark win in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. GIR also ranked Covington among the top 15 investigations practices in the world in its annual “GIR 30” survey. 

Microsoft challenged a U.S. warrant seeking customer emails stored in Ireland arguing that the warrant—issued under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA)—could not be used to obtain emails stored abroad because it would violate the presumption against extraterritoriality. In a decision authored by Judge Susan Carney, the Second Circuit embraced Microsoft’s position, holding that ECPA does not authorize warrants to reach customer emails that U.S. technology companies store outside the country. The court found the government’s argument in support of the warrant “stands the presumption against extraterritoriality on its head.” In a separate concurrence, Judge Gerard Lynch recognized the need for Congress to create a new statutory framework addressing law enforcement’s access to data across borders.

Working closely with Microsoft’s in-house litigators and co-counsel at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, Covington’s team was led by Jim Garland and included Alex Berengaut, Kate Goodloe, Nancy Kestenbaum, and Claire Catalano Dean.

Additionally, in naming Covington to the "GIR 30," the publication recognizes the firm as having one of the world’s best investigations practices. GIR focuses on the “depth and breadth of investigations” when compiling its list of the top 30 law firms.

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