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Across International Borders
Krasnoyarsk Airlines (KrasAir) is Russia's third largest commercial airline, headquartered three time zones east of Moscow in the middle of Siberia. With escalating fuel costs, KrasAir set out to lease more fuel-efficient aircraft, negotiating leases for three Boeing 737 planes from Chicago lessor BCI Aircraft. KrasAir made a very significant initial payment to BCI. Although the deal never closed, BCI refused to return KrasAir’s initial payment.
Schopf & Weiss was hired through the recommendation of the London office of its Moscow law firm based on our reputation. We brought suit in federal court in Chicago, with discovery taking place in Chicago, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Moscow. We defeated BCI's motion for summary judgment and persuaded the court to conduct a videoconference mediation, with the judge, the defendants and all counsel attending in the courthouse in Chicago while our clients connected by a video telephone connection in Moscow.
The cross-border settlement conference moved the litigants towards a resolution but did not settle the case. So, we prepared for trial. On the eve of trial, BCI capitulated, agreeing to drop its claims against KrasAir and to pay back almost all the money it had received from our client.
This was not an easy case for our Russian client. Though sophisticated in business, it was unaccustomed to litigation in the United States. With determination, the help of co-counsel in Moscow and London, and our readiness for trial, however, we prevailed.