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Litigation/Alternative Dispute Resolution

We are equally adept at trying cases and settling them.

We represent individuals, publicly and privately-held companies of all sizes, and fiduciaries in a wide range of commercial cases and appeals nationwide.  We help our clients achieve their objectives within the context of actual or potential litigation through rigorous analysis, creative thinking, and aggressive action.  We also work closely and collaboratively with our clients to learn their businesses, identify the issues that are most relevant to obtaining optimal results, and develop negotiation and litigation strategies that incorporate not only their purely legal concerns, but also their broader business needs and sensitivities.  We prepare to try every case to a final judgment; but we do so while constantly evaluating possible cost-effective solutions for resolving cases when that is in our clients’ best interests.  Our clients seek our advice and representation in a variety of business matters and disputes, including:

  • Commercial Contracts
  • Intracompany Founder/Partner/Shareholder Disputes
  • Complex Fraud 
  • Employment Litigation
  • Restrictive Covenants and Trade Secrets
  • Real Estate Litigation
  • Trusts & Estates/Probate/Guardianship Matters 
  • Article 78 Proceedings/Administrative Law
  • Bankruptcy & Restructuring Litigation
  • Post-Closing Acquisition Disputes 
  • Responding to Third-Party Subpoenas 

For clients who are bound to arbitrate their disputes, we are familiar with and experienced in the rules and customs of all of the various arbitral forums, domestic and international, and have arbitrated cases to a final award through confirmation of our victories by the court system. Some of our lawyers also act as mediators and arbitrators, which gives us the advantage of seeing the process from both sides.

Collectively, our attorneys have many decades of trial and appellate experience.  Some have clerked for judges, others were prosecutors, and almost all began their careers in the litigation departments of large, globally-renowned law firms.  We are often hired by clients to turn around problem cases, and routinely tackle matters adverse to some of the most recognized firms in the country.  We staff leanly and efficiently, assembling litigators with the most appropriate experience in the relevant industries and areas of law.  We also frequently serve as the firm of choice for out-of-state law firms that wish to engage local counsel because of our vast experience and in-depth knowledge of the New York legal system and community.

Through past and current engagements since our founding over 40 years ago, our adversaries know that we are sophisticated, formidable, and professional.  We fight hard for our clients, but our approach is always guided by our utmost respect for the legal process.  This combination of attributes helps us obtain excellent results for our clients, whether through crafting advantageous settlements or winning at trial or on appeal.

 

Corporate Advice 

Our experience representing a range of corporate clients is a valuable asset to our litigators, particularly with disputes involving middle-market private corporations, public companies, private equity firms, venture capital firms, individual investors, and entrepreneurs.  The attorneys in our Corporate practice and our litigators work closely together, informing each other of ongoing industry trends that affect how transactions are structured and how best to develop and pursue strategies in resolving disputes.  Our litigators are seasoned and are familiar with a number of industries, giving them a clear idea of what is “market” in a potential business dispute.

Food, Beverage & Hospitality

Our extensive experience representing many types of parties who own, manage and invest in the hospitality sector gives our litigators an edge when disputes arise.  Our clients benefit from our market savvy and deep understanding of their changing market.  We bring our considerable experience to resolving disputes involving restaurant and retail leases, as well as purchase agreements, ground leases, and the negotiated purchase of properties out of bankruptcy.  We also represent clients in disputes involving contracting, employment and human resource and technology licensing— all of which are key in the hospitality arena.

Intracompany Founder/Partner/Shareholder Disputes

Intra-company disputes involving shareholders, limited liability company members and business partners often involve complicated issues relating to fiduciary and contractual duties among the business partners, as well as complex issues relating to the companies’ financial affairs and management.  Further complicating such disputes is that they often involve close friends and even family members disputing the ownership, management and operation of jointly owned business enterprises.  Our attorneys have extensive experience resolving such disputes, whether through mediation, litigation or buyout.  In doing so, they have developed a deep understanding of the issues, such as breach of fiduciary duty, self-dealing, executive compensation, non-compete and restrictive covenants, and waste or mistreatment of company assets.

Complex Fraud

Our Complex Business Fraud Litigation Group takes a proactive, prosecutorial, and strategic approach to a broad range of business and professional misconduct matters, focusing on investment fraud and Ponzi-type schemes that result in business insolvencies.

Whether representing a fiduciary or private party, we focus on using our multi-disciplinary experience in litigation, criminal law, bankruptcy, and securities to investigate and, when necessary, litigate, in order to achieve the highest recovery possible for the victims of the fraud, or to help defend parties being accused.  Our background in law enforcement enables us to work cooperatively with regulatory and criminal authorities to pursue all avenues of recovery, or to help defend or negotiate resolutions with authorities as appropriate.  Our bankruptcy experience enables us to effectively navigate the bankruptcy process.

Employment Litigation

We understand the intricacies of Employment Litigation, as we both defend employers and executives against claims and represent employees in pursuing them.  We defend employers and executives facing a range of claims, including harassment, equal pay, overtime and off-the-clock work, tip pooling, meal/rest periods, employee misclassification, employment discrimination, leave interference, and benefits.  Each litigation and class action brings its own challenges and unique facts, but the basic defense strategies are the same:  defeat class certification (both procedurally and substantively), and obtain summary judgment or resolve the case (including through alternative dispute resolution methods) whenever appropriate.  In addition to avoiding or minimizing liabilities, we aim to help avoid adverse publicity, eliminate business interruption, minimize damage to morale and employee relations, and reduce costs and attorneys’ fees in the process.

We also represent executives and employees with strong cases of employment discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation.  We handle such cases confidentially and behind the scenes, or publicly in court cases, as fit our clients’ objectives and is appropriate given the situation.  We have achieved significant recoveries for our clients using both strategies, enabling them to pursue their career goals without compromising their integrity.

Restrictive Covenants

Our Non-Compete & Trade Secrets practice counsels companies and individuals about the legal issues surrounding post-employment restrictive covenants and trade secrets when individuals or groups of individuals move from one employer to a competitor.  We help our clients nationwide, across all industries, to develop protective policies, procedures and agreements, to identify and minimize the risks of litigation from a contractual and data perspective when hiring new personnel, and to protect their human and intellectual capital when employees leave.

We also pursue and defend against damages claims arising from the alleged post-employment breach of post-employment restrictive covenants, theft or misuse of sensitive competitive information and trade secrets, and other faithless conduct by former employees, whether committed alone or with participation by new employers or ventures.  We work closely with our clients to compile evidence, conduct briefing and discovery, and prepare for arguments and evidentiary hearings on an expedited basis in order to obtain or defeat motions for temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctive relief – something we have done successfully on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants in various jurisdictions around the country.

Trusts & Estates/Probate 

We work closely with our seasoned Trusts & Estates department to serve clients involved in Surrogate’s Court proceedings and other probate and estate litigation.  We represent administrators, trustees, and beneficiaries in a wide range of challenges to and defenses of wills and estates.  Because of our close collaboration with our Trusts & Estates department, we are able to counsel clients effectively not only within such litigation but also with respect to overarching trusts and estate concerns that inevitably are intertwined with litigation concerns.

Article 78 Proceedings/Administrative Law

We are well versed in Article 78 special proceedings, which are used to take action against regulators and other governmental bodies and personnel in New York.  We represent our clients (such as unions, trade associations and individuals) in challenging proposed regulations as unduly onerous, lacking in jurisdiction, or otherwise improper or unenforceable, or to require court judges to take certain actions.  As needed, we obtain emergency injunctive relief to facilitate our efforts, such as to stay imposition of the regulation while the case is heard

Real Estate Litigation

We bring our considerable experience in the real estate industry to advocate for the rights of property owners, landlords, and tenants, including in disputes involving leases, construction deficiencies, purchase agreements, and New York “good guy guaranties.”  We are often called upon to act swiftly and aggressively to protect our client’s interests, such as securing Yellowstone injunctions to prevent the termination of a lease, obtaining attachments on real property to secure an eventual judgment, and prosecuting and defending other emergency applications relating to the preservation of interests in real property.  We also maintain an in-depth understanding of the continually changing regulatory landscape, including during the pandemic, which allows us to advise our clients on how applicable regulations may affect their rights in a dispute so that informed financial decisions can be effectively made.  Many of our cases, including intercompany partnership disputes, arise in the context of entities that own or operate real estate, and we are experienced in the complex litigation issues that arise under partnership and operating agreements, as well as the practical aspects of business resolutions that result in the transfer of property interests.

Bankruptcy & Restructuring Litigation

Our lawyers have significant experience representing the full spectrum of key parties in restructuring matters, including debtors, indenture trustees, investors, asset purchasers, chapter 11 trustees, liquidation trustees, committees, landlords, secured and unsecured creditors, lenders, and boards of directors.  We represent our clients in investigations, contested matters and adversary proceedings on bankruptcy as well as common law claims throughout the bankruptcy process.

Post-Closing Acquisition Disputes 

We assist our clients in navigating post-closing disputes, including entitlement to earn-outs, purchase price adjustments, and indemnification rights.

Responding to Subpoenas

We have a wealth of knowledge in helping our clients minimize the burden and expense of responding to third-party subpoenas.  We also examine the circumstances of the case, and help identify and avoid the risk of getting dragged into a litigation that at the outset was between others.

Case Study

Complex Business Fraud Litigation, Litigation/Alternative Dispute Resolution

ATM Ponzi Scheme

Ponzi Scheme fraudsters  purported to sell non-existent machines to investors and then lease them back from those investors in exchange for monthly “lease” or “rent” payments.

The Situation

Ponzi Scheme fraudsters  purported to sell non-existent machines to investors and then lease them back from those investors in exchange for monthly “lease” or “rent” payments.  However, in general, the machines did not exist, and fraudsters used the money from new investors to pay earlier investors monthly returns.

The Solution

GEABP, led by partner Michael Devorkin, brought a putative class action in New York federal court on behalf of certain victims, and worked with attorneys in California, who brought separate class action, and with SEC Receiver to prosecute claims against financial institution that allegedly aided and abetted the scheme.

The Result

GEABP, working with other firms and the Receiver, negotiated and obtained court approval of final settlement of $33.55 million, enabling victims to  recover approximately 46% of their losses, in what the Court considered “meaningful relief for investors who lost money,” which is “exponentially more than the typical result” in similar cases.