Commercial Disputes. Because few people admit that they are breaching a contract, such breaches are often shrouded in deception. Following are a few examples of this type of commercial dispute that the Firm has handled:
· A young musician who co-created an off-Broadway production and co-composed its iconic musical score. was assured by his older and more experienced collaborators his share of royalties would be fair if not
generous by industry standards. After many years, he learned that they had been paying him only a fraction of the amount he deserved for his creative contributions. His former friends categorically denied liability and for more than 2 years, engaged in “scorched earth” litigation to beat our client into submission. Three days into a jury trial,defendants finally capitulated and paid our client the full amount of
royalties they had surreptitiously diverted from him for a quarter of a century.
· Acting on behalf of minority shareholders,
the Firm wrested control of the famed Chelsea Hotel from majority
shareholders and incumbent management. After a 16-day Arbitration Hearing, our
clients were awarded substantial monetary damages, control of the Board of
Directors, and reimbursement of all their attorneys’ fees.
· A middle-market investment bank engaged
the Firm after it learned that its intended merger partner was simultaneously
pursuing an alternative business combination. By that time, however, our client had already discontinued critical service areas that were to be filled by its merger
partner. After litigation began against both the intended merger partner and its new suitor, our client was made whole financially and was able to develop another
Disputes Involving Financial Services These disputes often involve highly complex
financial instruments, significant dollar (or other currency) amounts and, in
some cases, existential threats.
Following are a few examples:
· In the latter part of 2007 and throughout
2008, trillions of dollars of wealth evaporated as the value of
residential real estate plummeted, the mortgage-backed securities products that
were packaged around that real estate became worthless, and the entire global
banking system and financial markets crumbled. The Firm’s lawyers became deeply involved in
the litigation that exploded in the wake of this economic crisis. In one particularly noteworthy case, we represented a Hedge Fund seeking nearly $200 million in damages from a foreign global bank for reneging on its agreement to sell our client the riskiest, so-called “equity,” tranche of a $1 billion
mortgage backed CDO-squared. After
signing the contract, the foreign-bank counterparty belatedly realized that the
market would soon turn against it and so kept postponing the closing to avoid
the consequences of its error. This effectively deprived the Hedge Fund of the
enormous financial benefit to which it was entitled under the contract. The Firm was able to develop strong evidence in discovery establishing that if the counterparty
had closed on the transaction when it should have done so according to industry
standards, the investment would have yielded an enormous profit for our client. As a result, shortly before trial,the foreign bank made our client an “offer it couldn’t refuse.”
· We helped a dot-com billionaire avoid massive
losses arising out of his investment in a complex equity derivative
he discovered that the bespoke investment contained an undisclosed value-adjusting trigger that was enormously
disadvantageous to him.
· The Firm represented several prominent affiliated
hedge funds in 18 related federal and state court class actions and individual
litigations, as well as in NASD and AAA arbitrations, arising out of criminal
conduct of a rogue portfolio manager that resulted in the liquidation of the
Employment Disputes The Firm regularly advises both companies and executive-level employees regarding employment matters and, where appropriate, represents them in arbitrations and litigations. Following are a few examples.
· A senior executive of a well-known multinational in the luxury/fashion industry engaged the Firm when the general manager of his division told him that the geographic and functional scope of his responsibility would both soon be reduced significantly, notwithstanding what had until then been stellar reviews and a fast-track career path of rapid advancement. Our client refused to accept the demotion, and was fired. Relying on New York law’s strong presumption of “at will” employment in the absence of a contract specifying a fixed term of employment, the employer claimed that its unfettered right to terminate his employment included the right to demote him. After a vigorously contested arbitration proceeding culminating in three days of Hearings, the three-member Panel of Arbitrators unanimously accepted the Firm’s advocacy of our client’s position, restored all back pay and benefits and awarded him compensatory damages and attorneys’ fees.
· A frequent source of controversy between employers and employees involves attempts to enforce post-employment non-competition agreements. Under New York precedents, the question of enforceability is highly nuanced, and the outcome is far from predictable. The Firm has successfully litigatied both sides of the issue by presenting the facts and arguments that enabled the court or arbitrator to strike a balance between promoting fair competition and protecting confidential information that was more favorable to our clients' positions
Intellectual Property Disputes. Prompt legal action is required in situations where a business faces the potential loss of the exclusive use of its intellectual property or when an individual is unfairly deprived of just compensation for her creations. The Firm has extensive experience on both sides of these disputes. For example:
· The Firm has successfully represented numerous luxury goods and fashion apparel manufacturers in trademark infringement, gray market and counterfeiting disputes.
· We defeated a claim that a manufacturer was misappropriating trade secrets which, if successful, would have forced the closure of one of its principal lines of business.
· We successfully prosecuted and defended claims on behalf of a bus manufacturer relating to one of its novel designs that enabled transportation and tour companies to enjoy enormous cost savings with no loss of revenue.
Professional Negligence Claims. When lawyers, accountants, architects, engineers and other service providers make mistakes, the economic consequences can be