On September 6, 2022, President Biden nominated Arun Subramanian to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York to the seat vacated by Judge Alison Nathan who was elevated to the United States Circuit Court of Appeal for the Second Circuit. If confirmed, Mr. Subramanian will be the first South Asian judge in the Southern District of New York.
Arun Subramanian was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1979. His parents immigrated to America from India in the early 1970s with little money and no connections in the country. His father served as a control systems engineer at several companies and his mother worked several jobs, including as a bookkeeper. In 2001, he graduated summa cum laude from Case Western Reserve University. He then attended Columbia Law School where he was a James Kent Scholar and a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. While in law school, he also served as a judicial extern for Hon. Sidney H. Stein in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. He graduated from law school in 2004.
After law school, Mr. Subramanian clerked for Hon. Dennis Jacobs on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Hon. Gerard E. Lynch on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the United States Supreme Court. In 2007, he joined Susman Godfrey LLP as the firm’s first litigation associate hired in the New York office. Four years later, in 2011, he became the firm’s youngest partner at age 31. Mr. Subramanian serves as a member of Susman Godfrey’s executive committee, where he supervises junior attorneys in all aspects of litigation and coordinates pro bono activities. In 2021, he created the firm’s first pro bono committee, of which he now serves as Chair. Since 2007, Mr. Subramanian has spent hundreds of hours on pro bono work, including briefing and arguing appeals as court appointed counsel and representation of indigent clients in litigation.
In his practice at Susman Godfrey, Mr. Subramanian has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in a range of cases and specializes in complex civil litigation at both the trial and appellate level. He has litigated state and federal False Claims Acts, commercial and employment contract disputes, shareholder and founder disputes, tort claims, securities law claims, federal and state anti-trust law violations, fraud cases, and federal anti-sex trafficking claims.
The following cases are representative of Mr. Subramanian’s legal career:
A class of entities, including the City of Balitmore and Yale University, sued several banks alleging they conspired to suppress the London Interbank Offered Rate in the case In re LIBOR Financial Instruments Antitrust Litigation. Mr. Subramanian represented the plaintiffs in this ongoing case. The London Interbank Offered Rate is the benchmark interest rate at which global banks lend money to each other. The plaintiffs allege that the defendants manipulated the financial benchmark during the 2008 financial crisis to set loan rates and other financial markets. Last year, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed a district court order, finding that the plaintiffs can bring the case in federal court because they can establish personal jurisdiction through defendants’ participation in a conspiracy within the United States. Mr. Subramanian has secured $590 million in settlements to date as co-lead counsel for the over-the-counter direct purchaser class, which was the only class certified by the District Court in 2018.
In Harris v. Miller, Mr. Subramanian was appointed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to represent a formerly pro se appellant. The appellant alleged that a forced body cavity and strip search conducted by a male corrections officer violated her constitutional rights under the 4th Amendment and the 8th Amendment. While imprisoned, a male corrections officer and three female corrections officers entered her cell and removed cotton the appellant had taken from her mattress and put in her windows. The male officer then forcibly “threw her to the ground” and conducted a cavity search for any additional cotton while the female officers held her legs open. This occurred despite the appellant telling the officers she had no cotton other than what on the windows. The appellant appealed a district court’s grant of summary judgement to the defendants, which was ultimately vacated by the appellate court due to a dispute of material fact. Mr. Subramanian conducted discovery, prepared the case for trial and handled mediation with defendants. The case was settled for a payment of $75,000 to the appellant.
Mr. Subramanian represented the plaintiff in BML Properties Ltd. V. China Construction American Inc., a contract dispute involving breach of contract, fraud, and unjust enrichment. The plaintiff, BML Properties, was the former owner a multi-billion-dollar resort in the Bahamas. The company alleges that the construction manager of the defendant, a Chinese state-backed company, breached their obligations and defrauded the resort’s owner, which forced the plaintiff to file for bankruptcy after losing nearing $845 million. More specifically, they allege that the construction company and its affiliates fraudulently delayed the building process and increased construction costs to extort more money. As a result, the plaintiff claims that the defendant owes them over $1 billion in damages. Trial in the case is set to begin in 2023. Mr. Subramanian has prepared witnesses for depositions and overseen the drafting of pleadings, motions briefs, and response briefs. The lawsuit is one of the largest construction-based frauds in the northern hemisphere.
Notably, in United States ex rel. Kester v. Novartis Mr. Subramanian, working with attorneys for United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, represented a whistleblower against Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. and other specialty pharmacies. The whistleblower accused the pharmaceutical giant of defrauding Medicare and Medicaid by paying pharmacies to recommend six of Novartis’ specialty medications to doctors and patients. Such practices, which creates unnecessary and false demand for certain drugs to increase the profit for the drug manufacturer, are illegal and violate federal anti-kickback statutes, the False Claims Act, and state false claims acts. Mr. Subramanian drafted pleadings, briefed motions to dismiss, and managed fact and expert discovery. The case reached settlement before trial with defendants paying over $450 million to state and federal governments, one of the largest recoveries ever awarded for kickback violations.
In a high-profile case, Rich v. Fox News Network LLC, Mr. Subramanian represented DNC staffer Seth Rich’s parents in a suit against Fox News alleging that the network’s promotion of conspiracy theories regarding the death of their son intentionally caused them emotional distress. Mr. Rich was murdered during a robbery outside his home, but shortly after his death uncorroborated conspiracy theories about what happened began to circulate in far-right circles. Mr. Rich’s parents alleged that a Fox News reporter and a Fox News correspondent pressured them to hire a private investigator to give credence to the conspiracy theories around the murder. Mr. Subramanian has rebutted multiple motions to dismiss from the defense, all of which have been denied. Eventually, the parties settled with Mr. Rich’s parents receiving an undisclosed amount from Fox News.
In Jane Doe v. MindGeek USA Incorporated et al., Mr. Subramanian represents victims of trafficking in child pornography in a class action lawsuit against PornHub and its parent company, MindGeek. The case alleges that the defendants posting, enabled the posting of and profiting from thousands of pornographic videos featuring persons under the age of 18 in violations of federal sex trafficking and child pornography laws. The case is ongoing.
Professional Activities and Accolades
Mr. Subramanian serves on the Board of Directors for South Asian Youth Action (SAYA) Inc., a non-profit that provides opportunities and resources to underserved South Asian youth in New York City. Additionally, he is on the Board of Directors for the Fund for Modern Courts, Inc., a non-partisan group which advocates for an independent and equitable judiciary in New York. He has also served as a Director of the Columbia Law Review Association since 2008. Last year, United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts appointed Mr. Subramanian as a member of the Advisory Committee on Evidence Rules, which considers changes to the Federal Rules of Evidence.
Mr. Subramanian’s dedication to justice, equity and to the legal profession has not gone unnoticed. He has already been named a Litigation Star of 2023 by Benchmark Litigation. He was named a Leading Litigator in Commercial Litigation by Chambers and Partners in 2020 and the Legal Aid Society awarded him with the Pro Bono Publico Award in 2018. That same year, the New York Law Journal named him a Rising Star. Mr. Subramanian was also awarded the Tamil American Pioneer Award in 2014 by the Federation of Tamil Sangrams of North America.