Caroline Petro Gately

Caroline Petro Gately is a general commercial trial lawyer with 25 years' experience and the Co-Chair of Venable's Washington Litigation Group, encompassing the Washington, Tysons Corner, VA, and Rockville, MD, offices. As a first-chair lawyer, she has tried numerous cases to verdict or judgment in the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Maryland courts and in arbitration, including breach of contract claims; fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and other business torts; commercial landlord/tenant disputes; landlords’ and creditors’ rights in bankruptcy proceedings; insurance coverage issues; and intellectual property and unfair competition claims.

Representative clients include high net worth individuals, pension funds, banks, institutional investment advisors, national asset and property management companies, entrepreneurs, closely held companies and partnerships, private equity investors, franchisors, and retailers with real estate holdings. Before joining the firm, Ms. Gately was a partner at DLA Piper US LLP and an associate at Swidler & Berlin, Chtd.

Representative Matters
General Business-to-Business Disputes

Obtained defense judgment in favor of trade association in action by former member alleging defamation and malicious civil prosecution and money judgment on counterclaim for sanctions for frivolous pleading.
Successfully resolved claim of international manufacturer of generic pharmaceuticals in breach of contract action against international branded manufacturer.
Obtained dismissal of substantially all claims in complaint in connection with wholesale purchase and sale of coal. A.T. Massey Coal Co., Inc. v. Rudimex GmbH, 2006 WL 44278 (E.D. Va. 2006).

Real Estate and Commercial Lending Litigation

Successfully represented numerous property owners, asset or portfolio managers, lenders, investors, developers, and commercial tenants in a broad range of real estate disputes, including lawsuits over title and easement issues, commercial landlord/tenant disputes and evictions, claims under purchase and sale agreements, landlords’ and creditors’ issues in bankruptcy court, real property tax sale foreclosures, commercial mortgage foreclosures, and receivership actions.
Represented lender in foreclosure of mortgage on shopping mall securing over $74 million debt.
Obtained summary judgment after one-day bench trial in favor of lender suing guarantor to collect loan defaulted by borrowers.
Favorably resolved participant bank’s claim against lead bank for breach of loan participation agreement arising from mismanagement of asset.
Obtained summary judgment in favor of seller of interest in apartment building against tenants’ association that claimed opportunity to purchase under D.C. Rental Housing Conversion and Sale Act, which was affirmed on appeal. Twin Towers Plaza Tenants Ass’n, Inc. v. Capitol Park Associates, L.P., 894 A.2d 1113 (D.C. 2006).
Obtained judgment in favor of D.C. real property tax sale purchaser, conveying title to real property, after three-year litigation against other stakeholders.
Collected 100% of principal due and accrued interest on unsecured business loan (total recovery over $5 million), as a result of fraudulent transfer action for diversion of company assets to insider.
Represented public pension fund in highly profitable liquidation of $500,000,000 portfolio of distressed assets in the mid-Atlantic region, involving litigation of broad range of commercial real estate and bankruptcy issues, including bad faith bankruptcy filing.

Intellectual Property and Unfair Competition Claims

Obtained jury verdict in favor of client corporation in its defense against former owners’ suit for unpaid purchase price, on the ground that former owners engaged in unfair competition and breached purchase agreement; judgment affirmed on appeal (unpublished).
Won motion to dismiss complaint for patent infringement of method patent known as “JPEG-on-a-Website,” which was affirmed on appeal. Global Patent Holdings, LLC v. Panthers BRHC LLC d/b/a The Boca Raton Resort & Club, 586 F. Supp. 2d 1331 (S.D. Fla. 2008), aff’d, No. 2008-1588, 318 Fed. Appx. 908, 2009 WL 886300 (Fed. Cir. 2009).
Obtained summary judgment on trademark infringement claim, which was affirmed on appeal. Dick’s Sporting Goods, Inc. v. Dick’s Clothing and Sporting Goods, Inc., 188 F.3d 501, 1999 WL 639165 (4th Cir. 1999).

Owner-to-Owner Disputes within Privately Held Entities

Representing company in lawsuit with former shareholders over disputes arising from redemption of shareholder interests.
Obtained award granting restitution and transferring control of partnership to minority partners in cogeneration project in arbitration against managing partner for breach of fiduciary duty and partnership agreement claims arising from diversion of company assets.

Throughout her career, Ms. Gately has been active in firm and community leadership. She has held various positions including Diversity Ombudsman, Chair of Associate Litigation Trial Skills Training and Development Program, Hiring Committee Member, Office Pro Bono Attorney Coordinator, Pro Bono Committee Member, Summer Program Coordinating Attorney. In addition to Co-Chair of the Washington Litigation Group, she currently serves in the following positions:

Co-Chair, Venable Academy Steering Committee
Member, Women Attorneys at Venable (WAVe) Steering Committee
Member, Partnership Selection Committee
Co-Chair, Trial Skills Academy
Member, Individual Lateral Hiring Committee
Co-Partner, Commercial Litigation Associate Professional Development

Ms. Gately’s professional activities outside the firm include the following:

The Fishing School, Inc., Board of Directors (2010-present)
Women’s Bar Association Foundation, President (2001-2002), Vice President (2000-2001), Board of Directors (1999-2002)
Office of the Inspector General for the DC Department of Corrections, Training instructor on sexual harassment and retaliation pursuant to consent decree entered by U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
Pro bono representation as guardian ad litem in child abuse and neglect proceedings, District of Columbia Superior Court.

Good to know

Areas of Practice 1) Commercial Litigation
Law School The University of Michigan Law School ( J.D., 1989)
Education Princeton University (A.B., 1986)
Bar Member / Association District of Columbia Bar Association, Maryland State Bar Association, Virginia State Bar Association
Most recent firm Venable LLP
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