Comprehensive Benefit Consultants, Inc. v. Spitz,, 2014 N.Y. Slip Op. 07321 (2d Dep’t. Oct. 29, 2014)
Our client was sued by his former employer for allegedly violating a covenant not to compete. The former employer filed a motion for a preliminary injunction. While our client was being represented by other counsel, the Supreme Court (Suffolk County) granted, not only the injunction, but also summary judgment against him and in favor of his former employer. If the Supreme Court’s order were not immediately stayed and reversed, our client would have been prevented from working in his occupation for a year. Upon being hired, we filed an appeal to the Appellate Division, Second Department, obtained an immediate order staying the Supreme Court’s grant of summary judgment (so that our client was able to return to work) and ultimately, obtained a reversal of the lower court’s decision, plus an award of costs.
A link to the decision may be found here.
Successful Prosecution of Claims for Sums Due Under $1.75 Million Promissory Note and Guarantee
Rosenthal v. Ben-Zion, Index No. 654340-2012 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co. 2013)
When a borrower refused to repay a loan that our client, a generous benefactor, had made, we had no choice but to file an action to recover the money. We moved for summary judgment in lieu of a complaint, obtained a judgment in the full amount, plus pre-judgment interest and attorney’s fees and recovered all of the sums due.
Successful Defense of Claim for Monies Alleged to be Due Under Promissory Note
Soriano v. Wise, Index No.: 650918/2012 (Sup. Ct.. N.Y. Co. 8/2/12)
Successfully defeated plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment in lieu of a complaint. The plaintiff argued that our client’s execution of a promissory note required entry of judgment in plaintiff’s favor; however, we persuaded the Court that, because the note was signed contemporaneously with an agreement, the note was inextricably intertwined with it, requiring denial of summary judgment
Successfully Dismissing Partnership Dissolution Action
Greenbaum v. Schain Leifer Guralnick, Index. No.: (106069/2011) (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co. 10/24/12)
Action by former employee seeking dissolution of partnership by claiming an equity interest therein, dismissed.
Preventing Freeze Out in Law Firm Break Up
L——- v. A———-, Index No. —— (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co.)
Our client, a personal injury lawyer, returned from a trip to find that his law partners had changed the locks to the firm’s office, removed his name from the firm’s moniker, and contacted all of the firm’s clients, inviting them to join another firm in which our client was not a member. We obtained a preliminary injunction, following which the parties entered into a full settlement agreement. This action is subject to a confidential settlement agreement.
Obtaining Injunction Against Corporate Freeze Out
Gruning v. Ortega (Sup. Ct. Westchester Co.) (Index No. 20021-05)
Our client was a 50% shareholder in a business that owned a restaurant. Our client discovered that his co-shareholder had made arrangements to sell all of the assets of the business, but retain the proceeds for himself. We obtained a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, preventing the sale or any other transactions outside the ordinary course of business. Thereafter, the parties entered into a settlement by which our client recovered his entire investment plus interest.
Defending Our Clients Against Frivolous Corporate Freeze-Out Claims
Baldwin v. Postworks (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co.) (Index No. 60014-06)
Our client was sued by a business partner who alleged that he had been fired and frozen out of the business, depriving him of any opportunity to obtain a return on his investment. In point of fact, our clients had made virtually all of the investments in the business whereas it was our clients’ contention that the plaintiff had contributed virtually nothing. The Court expedited the case and ordered immediate document production and depositions. After two days of grueling cross-examination, the plaintiff agreed to drop the suit in exchange for a buyout of his interest that was substantially less than the amount he demanded prior to or during the lawsuit.
Defending and Obtaining Insurance Coverage for Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims Against Co-op Board of Director
Health-Loom Corp. v. Soho Plaza Corp., et al. (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co.) (Index No. 127938-93)
Our client was the President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of a New York City residential co-op. He and the other directors were sued for alleged breaches of fiduciary duty and tortious interference with contract by one of the commercial tenant-shareholders of the building. We obtained insurance coverage, defended our client in the action, obtained payment of attorneys’ fees by our client’s insurance carrier and ultimately won dismissal of the action against him.
Defending Our Clients Against Frivolous Dissolution Proceedings Under BCL 1104-a
Peker v. Dylan et al., (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co.) (Index Nos.: 604981/2001 and 120375/2001)
Our clients’ former business partners filed two 1104-a proceedings, seeking to dissolve the company and obtain restitution and other damages. They also sued our client in Federal Court for alleged violations of the RICO Statute. After we filed multiple orders to show cause to dismiss, for attorneys’ fees and for contempt, leading the other side to change attorneys three times, the Court ultimately granted our client summary judgment, dismissing the case.
Avoiding Litigation and Repelling Product Recall Demands by Licensor
C——- v. D———
Our client telephoned us on a Sunday night after being threatened by one of the world’s largest and most powerful corporate licensors. The licensor had demanded what amounted to a product recall, the cost of which would have exceeded $1.4 million. Having already been adversely affected by a severe recessionary trend, our client lacked the resources to pay for the product recall, but even worse than the cost was the message that a product recall would have had on our client’s public image. Accordingly, we sent several letters to the licensor disputing its claims and rejecting its demands. Although we were prepared to litigate the issue if necessary, the licensor, following a conference call with its general counsel, finally relented, withdrew its demands for product recall and the issue was resolved without payment of any money by our client.
Prosecuting and Quietly Settling an Embezzlement Claim
T——- v. G———
Our client discovered that a former employee had engaged in systematic embezzlement over a period of approximately 10 years. After engaging an outside accountant to perform an audit, we learned that the employee had stolen in excess of $500,000. Concerned that the theft and eventual prosecution would result in unwanted publicity to our client’s company, we prepared a complaint, but did not file it; instead we provided a copy of the complaint to the former employee who immediately requested that we enter into a confidential settlement agreement. After extensive negotiations, the former employee signed the agreement and then paid our client for all of the losses of which we were aware at the time, plus interest and attorney’s fees, all in exchange for a release. Because we wanted to ensure that our client retained the flexibility to bring a lawsuit against the former employee in the event that we discovered further thefts, we included a provision in the agreement that reserved the right of our client to opt out of the release, keep the settlement monies and sue. Several months later, we uncovered further misconduct and instituted legal action to recover the balance of what was owed. This action is currently pending.
Fighting for New Pier Lease by Prosecuting Claims Under the Shipping Act
American Stevedoring, Inc. and American Warehousing of New York, Inc. v. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (F.M.C.) (Index Nos. 04-09, 05-03)
After we successfully obtained dismissal of use-and-occupancy claims seeking millions against our client, the Port Authority attempted to evict our clients from the Brooklyn Piers. Because the Piers represented the only appropriate waterfront space available at the time, eviction would have destroyed our clients’ businesses. Accordingly, we prosecuted a claim under the Shipping Act, arguing that the Port Authority discriminated against our clients and owed a duty to negotiate a renewal following expiration of their leases. After we successfully opposed several motions to dismiss and conducted a lengthy trial, the Port Authority finally relented and offered our clients a deal which included a new 10-year lease and grant money with which to fund our clients’ rental payments.
Reviving Old Claims for Recovery of Artwork and Non-Payment of Installment Note
Luce v. Schad (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co.) (Index No. 102265-95)
Our client came to us with a list of artwork missing for more than 10 years and a promissory note executed in 1983. Defeating laches and statute of limitations defenses, we moved for summary judgment, and ultimately reached a settlement which paid our client the full amount of the outstanding payments on the promissory note, plus compensation for the missing artwork.
Recovery of Damages for Property Damage Caused by Radiant Heating System
North Fourth Roebling, LLC v. A Real Good Plumber, Inc. (Sup. Ct. Kings Co.) (Index No. 41659-04)
Our client’s building was damaged as a result of faulty installation of a radiant heating system by the defendant. After the defendant defaulted in answering, we moved for and obtained a judgment. Thereafter, the defendant moved to vacate the judgment, challenging it on jurisdictional grounds. Following a hotly contested traverse hearing, the Court agreed that service was proper and reaffirmed the judgment. The defendant promptly settled the action in the amount of $730,000, much to our client’s satisfaction.
Successfully Defeating Use & Occupancy Claims
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey v. American Warehousing, Inc., (Civ. Ct. N.Y.C.) 020153-04/021541-04
In 2005, our client, prior to our retention, had been directed to appear at a hearing on use and occupancy of one of Brooklyn’s piers. The case had been pending for well over a year and threatened to expose our client to millions in damages. Within days, we discovered a defect in jurisdiction and moved for a stay and for dismissal. Two months later, the case was over, with the Court fully accepting our argument that there was no subject matter jurisdiction and that the case should immediately be dismissed.
Representing Our Clients in RICO Litigation
Horizon Steel Products, Inc. v. Lauer, et al. (E.D.N.Y.) (97 Civ. 4888)
Our client’s company was the victim of a massive fraud by a conspiracy operated through hundreds of small corporations throughout the United States. We immediately obtained a motion for a writ of attachment, temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, tying up bank accounts all over the country. After obtaining judgment, we pursued the defendants as they fled from state to state, avoiding collection. Eventually, we arranged to have one of the defendants arrested by Federal Marshals and transferred from Florida to New York City, after which, our client collected hundreds of thousands in damages.
HPC Successfully Defends Arbitration Arising Out of the Alleged Violation of a Non-Compete
N———————- v. D————————-
Our lawyers arranged for the discontinuance of an arbitration commenced against one of its clients – an accountant – arising out of the alleged violation of a covenant not to compete contained in a partnership agreement. The settlement included a full release from the covenant not to compete, expressly granting our client permission to continue working for his clients. And, most importantly, our client was not required to pay any money to the claimant. Today, our client works for the same clients he had prior to signing the covenant.
Comprehensive Benefit Consultants, Inc. v. Spitz (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co. 2027-2012)
Before hiring our firm, our client was subjected to preliminary injunction, enforcing the terms of an all-compassing covenant not to compete, which threatened to prevent him from practicing in his profession. We assumed control of the case, filed a notice of appeal, obtained a stay of enforcement pending appeal (which allowed our client to continue conducting business), and perfected the appeal. Rather than oppose the appeal, our client’s former employer simply abandoned the litigation.
Business Litigation Emergencies
Lifting Vacate Orders and Obtaining Injunction Against Fire Department
Ekistics, Inc. v. City of New York (Sup. Ct. Kings Co.)
Our client’s children’s gymnastic facility (“kiddie gym”) was closed by the New York City Fire Department apparently based upon a set of outdated plans. The timing of the closure coincided with registration for the following semester at the kiddie gym. Consequently, the Fire Department’s action threatened to destroy our client’s business. After the Fire Department and Office of Legal Counsel refused to inspect the facility or lift the vacate orders voluntarily, we moved for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. Just prior to the hearing, the Fire Department finally agreed to our request, traveled with us from the courthouse to our client’s facility, and lifted the vacates.
Helping Our Client Protect Its Reputation Against HBO and “Sex and the City”
MNM Properties v. HBO, Sex and the City, et al.
Late on a Thursday evening during the summer of 2003, we were approached by the owners of a tavern in downtown Manhattan who had been informed that an upcoming episode of “Sex and the City,” scheduled to air nationally just three days later, was going to depict their ale house as a drug-invested, dump. By Friday morning, we had already filed suit and prepared our motion for a temporary restraining order. By the end of the day, the case was over. There was no expensive discovery or motion to dismiss. Although the terms of the settlement are subject to a confidentiality stipulation, it is well known that Sex and the City changed the episode in question and omitted any disparaging references to our clients’ tavern.
Bringing Derivative Actions to Stop Insider Transactions
S————– v. P ————-, et al., (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co.) (Index No.: —–/2005)
In May 2005, our client, a member of a limited liability company, woke up to find that her partner had cut her out of the business, changed the bank accounts, and locked the doors to the business. Our client had developed cutting-edge software for the company and was deeply concerned that her former partner would sell the business or her invention. We immediately sued, obtained a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. The case ultimately settled with the defendant-business partner buying our client out of her interest, returning her invention, and paying all of our client’s legal fees. The settlement is subject to a confidentiality agreement which prohibits us from disclosing the identities of the parties.
Bringing Derivative Actions to Recover Breaches of Fiduciary Duties Lavinger v. Maarouf, (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co.)(Index No.: 99-605211).
On November 16, 1999, our client’s business partner decided to quit the business and simply “take” for himself, what he described as, his half of assets. With the police looking on, the business partner emptied our client’s place of business and drove off in a large moving truck. By the next morning, we had filed a lawsuit and obtained a temporary restraining order, directing the defendant to return all of the assets. Later that evening, the case settled pursuant to an agreement by which the other side was forced to sell his interest in the company and return all of the assets he took.
L——— v. U———-., et al., (E.D.N.Y.) (2:02 ———
Our client was covered under a group disability insurance policy. After several heart attacks and other cardiac incidents relating to coronary artery disease, he requested monthly benefits for his total disability. Upon receiving the news of Unum’s denial of his administrative appeal, our client promptly suffered another heart attack and was hospitalized. We filed a lawsuit in Federal Court, demanding damages, not only for our client’s disability benefits, but also attorneys’ fees, interest, and punitive damages for violation of the RICO Statute. In response to our complaint, Unum immediately settled the entire dispute, including payment of past and future benefits, attorneys’ fees, costs, and additional money damages. The identity of our client and specific terms of the settlement are subject to a confidentiality stipulation.
Weisel v. UnumProvident Corp., 2006 WL 624900 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co.)
UnumProvident terminated our client’s benefits and policy after he had been receiving benefits for more than a decade. We filed a complaint, seeking damages, not only for bad faith and repudiation, but also for treble and punitive damages under the RICO Statute (Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act). After intensive briefing and oral argument, the Court sustained our claims and refused to dismiss, issuing the first reported decision in New York establishing a policyholder’s right to maintain a RICO claim for bad faith misconduct under an insurance policy
Danish Consulate v. Browne, (Sup. Ct. Westchester Co. 2003) (6494-02) State Farm v. Browne, (Sup. Ct. Westchester Co. 2003) (13763-02 )
Our client was sued by the Danish Consulate which had rented her Westchester house. The Consulate alleged that the house developed a lead-paint problem. When our client asked her insurer, State Farm, to defend and indemnify her in accordance with general liability policy, State Farm sued her, seeking a declaration that there was no coverage for her. We immediately defended our client against the lawsuit by the Consulate, countersued State Farm, and won summary judgment, forcing State Farm to:
- defend our client in the suit by the Consulate;
- pay all of her damages in the suit by the Consulate;
- pay all of her attorneys’ fees, both in defending the lawsuit by Denmark and the claims against State Farm; and
- provide lost rent coverage to which our client was separately entitled under her policy.
Dr. Lawrence Harris v. Travelers, Index No. 23155-2008 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co.)
Our client’s patient sued him for personal injuries allegedly sustained in the vestibule of his office building. His general liability carrier disclaimed coverage and refused to defend or indemnify him, arguing that he had provided late notice of the claim. We sued his insurance carrier, while simultaneously defending the underlying personal injury action, and forced a settlement of both that included the payment of our client’s attorney’s fees.
Weisel v. UnumProvident Corp., 2006 WL 624900 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co.
UnumProvident terminated our client’s benefits and policy after he had been receiving benefits for more than a decade. We filed a complaint, seeking damages, not only for bad faith and repudiation, but also for treble and punitive damages under the RICO Statute (Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act). After intensive briefing and oral argument, the Court sustained our claims and refused to dismiss, issuing the first reported decision in New York establishing a policyholder’s right to maintain a RICO claim for bad faith misconduct under an insurance policy.
E—- with ———— Mutual Ins. Co.
Our client suffers from pulmonary emboli, thrombosis, and a myriad of other ailments and conditions. Two years after filing his disability claim with the insurance company, he still had received no response. We appeared on his behalf, completed and filed the appropriate papers, and obtained the full amount of his insurance benefits. The identity of our client and specific terms of the settlement are subject to a confidentiality agreement.
Green with The Hartford
Our client was diagnosed with emphysema and an untreatable gastrointestinal disorder which resulted in gross abdominal dystension. Unfortunately, his physicians were unable to ascertain the cause of his dystension disorder, leading the insurance carrier to question the claim. After submitting voluminous medical literature and reports from experts in the field, the insurer placed our client on claim. Our client received the full amount of benefits under his policy ($1.5 Million).
HPC Negotiates Buyout of Insurance Policy from Unum
Our client suffers from severe mental and physiological deficits resulting from a mishandled lap-band surgery. We persuaded Unum to offer our client a buyout of the policy in the amount of $860,000.
HPC Successfully Prosecutes Claim Against Life Insurance Trustee for Lapse of Policy R
———— v. C————-
Our clients were the grantor and beneficiary under an irrevocable life insurance trust which held a $7.5 Million Policy. The trustee inadvertently permitted the policy to lapse, resulting in the loss of the entire policy. After instituting legal action against the trustee and the broker who issued the policy, we obtained a multi-million dollar (confidential) settlement.
HPC Obtains $1.190 Million Settlement Against Lloyds of London
Green v. Combined Life Ins. (Lloyds Affiliate), Index No. TS-300577-2007 (N.Y.C. Civ. Ct.).
We successfully prosecuted our client’s disability claims against Lloyds of London. After six years of litigation, during which Lloyds took a no-pay position and refused to consider even the possibility of settling, we obtained disability proceeds representing more than 80% of the value of the policy paid in lump sum.
HPC Persuades Unum to Reinstate Disability Insurance Benefits in Response to Administrative Appeal
Our client suffers from fronto-temporal Dementia. The disability insurance carrier terminated his benefits, arguing that his condition was actually a form of depression which was treated and fully remediated. After our client’s wife unsuccessfully filed a first administrative appeal, we took over the process, filed a requested for reconsideration, submitted affidavits from our client’s physicians and persuaded the carrier to reinstate the benefits, including more than $360,000 in back benefits. Today, our client receives more than $22,000 a month in benefits.
HPC persuades The Standard to pay disability benefits to client suffering from Meniere’s Disease
Our client was unable to persuade his insurer to pay him disability benefits. His doctors had provided conflicting information to the carrier. HPC contacted the client’s doctors, obtained a clarification of their records, wrote a demand letter to the insurer and won the benefits for him. Today, our client is receiving more than $15,000 a month in disability benefits.
$800,000 Lump-Sum Disability Insurance Settlement for Our Client Suffering From Depressive and Personality Disorders
P————– v. M ————-, (N.Y. Sup. Ct.) (Settled 2010)
Our client suffered from Bulimia, Major Depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Order. The defendant insurance carriers denied his claim. When he sued, the insurers alleged that he defrauded them and sued his insurance broker for misrepresentation. After demonstrating that the fraud and misrepresentation claims would be dismissed and that the denial of benefits could not be defended, the insurers succumbed and bought out our client’s policy for $800,000.
HPC Forces Unum to Reverse its Determination Without Resorting to Litigation
S————– with Unum Life Insurance Co. (client placed on benefit)
Our client was a veterinary pathologist, spending most of his workdays looking into a binocular microscope until he developed color blindness and a condition known as cone dystrophy. Rather than launching into litigation, we contacted and convinced the insurance company to change its determination and pay immediate benefits. Our client is now on benefit and the entire matter was concluded in a matter of months.
Helping Our Clients Through the Claims Process
K————- with Unum Life Insurance Co. and New York Life Ins. Co
Our client was diagnosed with primary biliary cirrhosis of the liver. Both of her insurance carriers were initially skeptical of the claim, ostensibly because their claims examiners erroneously thought her condition was caused by excessive drinking. In fact, PBC is a congenital condition completely unrelated to consumption of alcohol. We arranged for our client’s physicians to provide the insurance carriers with detailed information, supplemental reports and medical literature concerning her condition. Shortly thereafter, both carriers agreed to pay our client’s benefits in full. Because the claim did not result in litigation, our client’s name is withheld. She continues to receive benefits to this day.
Assisting Clients with Individual Disability Benefits
Wurm v. First Unum Life Ins. Co., (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co.) (602270/96)
Our client sustained spinal fractures, herniated discs, bulging discs, and degenerative disc disease in a horseback riding accident and sought to recover total disability benefits under her individual disability policy. Although Unum’s own employees determined that she was totally and permanently disabled, Unum engaged in “expert shopping” to find a physician to provide a report indicating she could return to work. We filed suit in New York State Supreme Court and obtained what was, at the time, the largest verdict ever against a disability insurer in New York. We also established, for the first time in New York, a policyholder’s right to recover attorneys’ fees and future damages for an insurer’s bad faith, and repudiation of the policy.
Helping Clients with Group/ERISA Benefits
L——— v. UnumProvident, Inc., et al., (E.D.N.Y.) (2:02 ———)
Our client was covered under a group disability insurance policy. After several heart attacks and other cardiac incidents relating to coronary artery disease, he requested monthly benefits for his total disability. Upon receiving the news of Unum’s denial of his administrative appeal, our client immediately suffered another heart attack and was hospitalized. We filed a lawsuit in Federal Court, demanding damages, not only for our client’s disability benefits, but also attorneys’ fees, interest, and punitive damages for violation of the RICO Statute. In response to our complaint, Unum immediately settled the entire dispute, including payment of past and future benefits, attorneys’ fees, costs, and additional money damages. The identity of our client and specific terms of the settlement are subject to a confidentiality stipulation.
Assisting Our Client Defeat Counterclaims for Fraud in a Disability Insurance Case
A—— v. The Guardian Life Ins. Co. of America, et al., (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co.) (Index No.: 04–)
Our client requested benefits for her total disability arising from fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, undifferentiated connective tissue disease, vulvadynia, hemaplegic migranes, and depression. In response, Guardian, like so many other disability insurance carriers, threatened to sue her for fraud. We filed suit, and alleged bad faith and repudiation. Guardian immediately settled without even answering, placing our client “on claim.” Two years later, our client is still receiving her monthly benefits. The identity of our client and specific terms of the settlement are subject to a confidentiality agreement.
Helping Our Client With Her Life Insurance Claim
D——- with ———- Annuity Co.
Losing a loved one can be a terrible heartbreak. Being forced to fight with your spouse’s life insurance company can make the situation immeasurably worse. That’s what happened when our client filed her claim with Protective Life & Annuity Co.; even though the insurer admitted that the policy existed and that our client was entitled to the benefits she demanded, the insurer refused to pay the claim, demanding a copy of the policy which our client was unable to find. Following service of our demand letter, we forced the insurance company to pay the claim, including all life insurance benefits, plus interest and our attorneys’ fees. The identity of our client and specific terms of the settlement are subject to a confidentiality agreement.
Assisting Clients Obtain Defense and Indemnity Coverage/General Liability
370/CPW Owners Corp. v. Simon, Index No. 27538-2007 (Sup. Ct. Kings Co.)
Our client was sued by a laborer who suffered personal injuries while renovating her apartment. The general contractor had promised to purchased the required insurance and list her as an additional insured, but he failed to do so. And our client’s own insurer disclaimed coverage, asserting that she had provided late notice of the claim. Ultimately, prior to our retention, a $500,000 judgment was obtained against her. We took over her case, obtained a stay of enforcement of the judgment, sued her insurance carrier, sued her prior lawyers for legal malpractice, and forced a settlement that included payment of her legal fees.
HPC Forces UnumProvident to Turn Over Previously Confidential Documents in Disability Insurance Litigation
Weisel v. Provident Life & Cas. Ins. Co., (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co. 600759-05) (J. Gische 11/5/08)
In response to a motion to compel by W&H, Justice Judith Gische of the New York State Supreme Court ordered a UnumProvident affiliate to produce more than 20,000 pages of confidential documents and deposition transcripts relating to allegations of bad faith claims practices. The case in which the decision was issued, Weisel v. Provident Life & Cas. Ins. Co. (a UnumProvident affiliate), arises out of allegations that a policyholder’s benefits were terminated in bad faith pursuant to a UnumProvident nationwide scheme to deprive insureds of their rights under their disability policies.
Preserving National and New York City Landmarks/Protecting New York’s Libraries
Citizens Defending Libraries v. Marx (President of the New York Public Library)
Index Nos. 652427-2013, 100436-2014, 153760-2014
HPC commenced three separate litigations to stop the New York Public Library and its Board of Trustees from disfiguring the Central Branch of Fifth Avenue, removing more than 3 million books, and closing two satellite branches. We obtained a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to preserve the status quo while the litigation continued. Ten months after we started the lawsuits, the Library abandoned its plan, discontinued construction, and agreed to retain the satellite branches and restore the books back to the Central Branch. The lawsuit was brought on behalf of a citizen group with more than 20,000 members, Pulitzer Prize winning authors, National Book Award winners, eminent scholars and academics, and several of New York’s most prominent preservationists. In restoring the Central Branch to its greatness and preserving one of world’s most iconic institutions – a National and New York City Landmark – HPC achieved an outcome which cements its position as one of New York’s most successful land-use, zoning and environmental law firms.
Stopping Large University from Using Our Client’s Property to Stage Construction Work
C——- v. N———–
Our clients’ apartment rear yard fronted a large university building. When the university decided to perform a substantial renovation, our clients’ residential co-op wrongfully agreed to grant the university access to our clients’ property for use as a staging area for the construction work, all without our clients’ consent. Worse, performance of the work would have resulted in the destruction of our clients’ custom fence-work, damage to their trees and patio, and loss of our their entire rear yard for an extended period, including all of Spring. Coordinating with an architect and professional engineers, we sent demand letters to the co-op and university, threatening litigation unless wholesale changes to the plans were made. We also testified before the Landmarks Preservation Commission (“LPC”), urging changes in the university’s proposal. As a result of our efforts, the LPC required substantial modifications to the university’s plan. Thereafter, the university agreed to make further changes to its proposal and entered into an agreement to eliminate any work performed on or around our clients’ property.
25 Garfield Sparta, LLC v. Fuentes, Index No.: 11396/2010 (Sup. Ct. Kings Co.)
The owner of an adjacent property filed a proceeding to require our client to permit use of our client’s townhouse as a staging area for nearby construction. We opposed the application and obtained dismissal, based upon evidence that, among other things, the adjacent property owner did not actually need to use our client’s townhouse as a staging area and that the adjacent property owner caused damage to our client’s home during a prior construction phase. We then required the adjacent property owner to pay for all repairs and the legal fees incurred in connection with defending the proceeding.
Bathgate 1, LLC v. Bathgate Ave., et al (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co.) (Index No. 102093-07
Our client arrived at his building one morning to find a real estate developer and a group of contractors using a jackhammer to penetrate our client’s foundation. The neighbor had also removed approximately 50 square feet of brickwork from our client’s building and caused other damage. We immediately filed a motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. Within hours, the developer agreed to repair all of the damage caused and to pay our client’s attorneys’ fees. When the defendants later attempted to contest the amount of legal fees, the court bound the matter over for trial and awarded more than $67,000 to the plaintiffs
Protecting Adjacent Properties from Out-of-Control Development
Red Hook/Gowanus Chamber of Commerce v. Board of Standards and Appeals, et al. (Sup. Ct. Kings Co.) (Index No. 2308-04)
When a group of developers obtained approval to convert a manufacturing building, located in a manufacturing zone, into luxury residential condominiums, our client, the Red Hook/Gowanus Chamber of Commerce was naturally concerned. The Chamber’s 85 constituent businesses recognized that the creation of luxury condos in the middle of their 85 businesses would likely place them out of business and their more the 3,000 employees out of work. After the Chamber’s first lawyer failed to name the developers as party respondents — once thought (prior to this litigation) to be a fatal defect to their case — we moved in to repair the damage, obtained a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to stop the $100 Million project. After the developer and City appealed, we took the case all the way to New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, and obtained a precedent-setting victory, making it easier for community and business groups to challenge municipal action and over-development.
Helping Our Client Fight Large Institutional Defendants
Metropolitan Museum Historic District Coalition v. de Montebello, (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co.) (Index No. 119635/03)
When asked by a group of New Yorkers to sue the Metropolitan Museum of Art, we were, like many, initially skeptical. But, when we learned that the Met intended to eliminate the world-famous Fifth Avenue Fountains and expand the size of the museum by more than 320,000 square feet into the green space of Central Park, we recognized the importance of the fight. Accordingly, we filed an Article 78 petition on behalf of 2,500 residents on New York’s east side to reduce the size of the Met’s planned expansion. In the end, the Met agreed to: (i) reduce its expansion from 320,000 to 40,000 square feet, (ii) eliminate plans to expand into Central Park’s green space and (iii) preserve the Fifth Avenue Fountains.
R—————- v. B—————–
Our client, an organization of New York businesses, sued an attorney for failing to commence a proceeding within the applicable statute of limitation. We persuaded in the professional liability carrier for the law firms involved to mediate the case and then obtained a settlement, recovering the entirety of our client’s damages.
Legal Malpractice Claim Settled for $2.25 Million
T——————– v. L—————— (Sup. Ct. Kings Co. 2009)
We settled a legal malpractice action arising out of the botched handling of a personal injury action for a lump-sum payment of $2.25 Million.
Surrogate Court Litigation
In re Clark, Index No.: 2086/2009 (Surr. Ct. N.Y. Co. 8/8/12)
Successfully obtained dismissal of compulsory accounting proceeding brought against executor by disgruntled ex-spouse.
In re Lichtenstein, Index No.: 01698-2002 (Surr. Ct. 6/13/12)
Our client is the beneficiary and co-trustee under a certain QTIP Trust. Our client’s co-trustee, Bank of New York-Mellon, was refusing to distribute funds to him in accordance with the trust document, such that BNY-Mellon was paying itself nearly as much in annual fees as our client was receiving in distributions. We successfully moved to replace BNY-Mellon as co-trustee and disgorged payment of monthly fees retroactively.
Fauls v. Cirque du Soleil
Our client was terminated by his employer without notice in violation of Canadian law. We commenced an action through our office in Montreal and, prior to discovery, obtained a settlement that provided our client with 18 months’ severance, plus attorney’s fees and other damages.