Alexander “AJ” Merton is a Partner in Quinn Emanuel’s Washington, D.C. Office. AJ’s practice focuses on white collar/government investigations, tax controversies/tax allocation agreement disputes, and complex commercial litigation. AJ is a seasoned trial lawyer that regularly represents companies, high-level executives, and individuals in domestic and cross-border criminal investigations; senior government officials and c-suite executives under investigation by the Office of Inspector General, U.S. Office of Special Counsel, and Congressional investigations; public companies in multi-billion and multi-million dollar tax disputes against the IRS/DOJ and private companies; companies and individuals navigating parallel criminal and civil enforcement proceedings; as well as companies seeking redress for damages arising from RICO allegations, theft of trade secrets, breaches of fiduciary duties, and fraud.
Prior to joining the firm, AJ was a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, Tax Division, where he began through the Attorney General’s Honors Program. While there, AJ was twice awarded the U.S. DOJ Tax Division’s Outstanding Attorney Award and represented the United States throughout multiple U.S. District and Bankruptcy Courts in tax controversy matters including aerospace asset and joint-venture valuation disputes, transferee liabilities, and government enforcement against attempts to evade or defeat federal taxes. Before law school, AJ taught 7th through 12th grade argument and debate at a college preparatory school in San Jose, California, as well as owned and operated a wholesale and distribution company specializing in women and infant supplemental healthy foods.
- Boeing 737-MAX Investigations. Counsel to current and former Boeing executives and engineers in connection with the U.S. DOJ, FAA, DOT, SEC, and Congressional investigations into the Boeing 737-MAX program.
- PPG Industries, Inc. Trade Secrets Dispute. Lead counsel to PPG Industries, Inc.—a leading U.S. based manufacturer of specialty glass, fiberglass, and synthetic transparencies that are used for civil and military aviation applications—in a trade secret case against a Chinese competitor in which the court found that the Chinese competitor engaged in “a long-running scheme to steal and cheat” from PPG, such that “PPG makes a persuasive case that it is well past time for Defendants to pay up.” This civil case paralleled a federal criminal trade secrets case brought by the U.S. Department of Justice in United States v. Rukavina.
- Tax Refund Litigation (Foreign Tax Credits). Counsel to an international insurance company successfully resolving a tax refund litigation against the IRS/DOJ regarding a potential $3 billion liability, including issues that involved the substance-over-form doctrine and whether the company was entitled to certain foreign tax credits that it claimed in various cross-border financing transactions.
- Tax Allocation Dispute (Section 338(h)(10) Dispute). Counsel to an international insurance company successfully resolving a private tax allocation dispute arising from a Section 338(h)(10) sale, the settlement resulted in a tax refund to the client of over $50 million, more than the client’s initial value of the claim.
- Tax Indemnity Disputes (Various Disputes, including Section 965 Liability). Counsel to a spun-off multinational public company involved in a tax indemnity agreement dispute with its former parent regarding the proper calculation and allocation of tax liabilities arising from: the Section 965 Transition Tax, Foreign Tax Credits, Research and Development Credits, and certain historical Transfer Pricing transactions.
- Odebrecht Multilateral Development Bank Matters. Counsel to the Odebrecht Group, the largest construction conglomerate in South America, in what the U.S. Department of Justice has described as “the largest-ever global foreign bribery resolution,” including unprecedented and favorable settlements with various multilateral development banks.
- “Lava Jato” Investigations. Counsel to a former CEO of a multinational corporation specializing in offshore & marine, property, and infrastructure/asset management that was involved in a cross-border investigation regarding potential bribery of Brazilian politicians and government officials in the Lava Jato investigation conducted by Brazilian, U.S., and Swiss law enforcement authorities.
- First Amendment / Defamation Matters. Counsel to a prominent celebrity and spouse involved in multiple highly-publicized defamation actions brought throughout the United States.
- University of Southern California
- Loyola Marymount University
(B.A., magna cum laude, communications, 2005)
- The State Bar of California
- The District of Columbia Bar
- United States District Court:
- Central District of California
- The United States Tax Court
- United States Department of Justice:
- Trial Attorney, Tax Division, 2011-2015
- U.S. Dept. of Justice, Tax Division, Outstanding Attorney Award, 2014
- U.S. Dept. of Justice, Tax Division, Outstanding Attorney Award, 2013
- The Creep of Legislation Targeting Private Corruption, The Guide to Corporate Compliance, Second Edition, Latin Lawyer, July 2021.
- Litigators of the Week: The Quinn Emanuel Duo Who Scored a $26.4M Trade Secret Win Against a Chinese Glass Company, The AmLaw Litigation Daily, Law.com, June 11, 2021.
- New “Beneficial Owner” Requirements Under the Corporate Transparency Act, Firm Memoranda, January 2021.
- What’s New—Key Updates to the DOJ and SEC’s FCPA Resource Guide, Firm Memoranda, July 2020.
- Taxing Times – A COVID-19 Tax Update as of April 7, 2020, Firm Memoranda, April 2020.
- Lessons From Historical Crises: Compliance Pitfalls To Avoid During The Coronavirus, Firm Memoranda, March 2020.
- Expatriation Tax Next On IRS Crypto Enforcement List, Law360. Portfolio Media Inc. (October 28, 2019).
- Employee Rights 2019 United States, Global Investigation Review, May 2019.
- Employee Rights 2018 United States, Global Investigation Review, May 2018.
- Member, American Bar Association
- Member, Board of Governors, Irvine Valley College Foundation