Brooklyn Bridge Park Developers – Dismissal of Lawsuits Seeking to Halt Construction
Successfully defended the developers of a $320 million Brooklyn Bridge Park hotel and condominium project, defeating two lawsuits filed by activists seeking to halt construction of the project. In a decision of significance to the New York real estate industry, Herrick secured an order in New York state court denying plaintiffs’ motions for both an injunction and a declaratory judgment that the planned buildings exceeded height limitations specified in the project’s governing documents. The court found that the development complied with the law and further ruled the legal challenge barred by the statute of limitations for bringing an Article 78 proceeding. Herrick then defeated a second lawsuit claiming to assert a different land use violation, securing dismissal of the complaint on the grounds of failure to exhaust administrative remedies, statute of limitations and res judicata. Herrick continues to represent the clients on the plaintiffs’ appeal.
New York City Water Board Bill Credit Lawsuit
Represented the Rent Stabilization Association and individual building owners in high profile litigation challenging a proposal by New York City Water Board, and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection to subject landlords of large residential properties to a water bill rate hike in order to fund a one-time credit for the owners of smaller, one-to-three-family homes. In both the trial court, and before the Appellate Division, First Department, Herrick secured rulings blocking the levying of an estimated $76 million in rate hike charges which, we argued, would set a dangerous precedent of instituting arbitrary bill credits and rate hikes, made regardless of economic need and without any rational water-related purpose. Notwithstanding that we convinced two separate courts and a majority of the total judges that heard the case (6 out of 11, including the Chief Judge of the State’s highest court) of the merits of our position, a divided New York Court of Appeals overturned the lower court decisions and declared that the appellants may implement the bill credits and rate increase. Shortly after the decision was delivered, however, the appellants issued a public notice proposing to implement the bill credits, while repealing the planned rate increase. Accordingly, this case demonstrates that although it’s difficult to challenge the rationality of determinations by public agencies, even an ultimately unsuccessful legal challenge can cause public agencies to reexamine their conduct.
The Republic of Turkey’s New York Consulate
Representing the Republic of Turkey in the development and construction of a new and expanded consulate at 46th Street and 1st Avenue across from the UN's General Assembly; a signature project as it expands its diplomatic footprint around the world. Our work includes advice on government relations, real estate development and construction, leasing, land use and zoning.
Condominium Developer – Dispute with Borough of Jamesburg Favorably Resolved
Successfully represented the developer of 42 newly completed residential condominium units located in Monroe Township, NJ in challenging the Borough of Jamesburg’s refusal to accept attempts to register the units as rentals, an issue critical for the closing of a pending sale of the property to a third-party buyer. This dispute was resolved amicably soon after filing suit in the Superior Court of New Jersey under an agreement that will allow the client to receive rental unit licenses after resubmitting applications to the Borough along with all applicable registration fees.
Clear Channel Outdoor – Victory in MTA Signage Zoning Dispute
Herrick won an important decision for client Clear Channel Outdoor in litigation challenging New York City's attempt to enforce local zoning laws and regulate signage on MTA property. In a ruling covering three separate cases, a New York state court judge found that certain MTA facilities are not subject to the jurisdiction of the City of New York, and the city may not enforce its zoning resolution as to certain outdoor signs located on MTA property. The ruling vacated the NYC Department of Buildings' 2012 rejection of the plaintiffs' requests to register 13 signs that would go up on railroad rights-of-way, trestles or overpasses owned or controlled by the MTA - a decision based on newly adopted city restrictions on outdoor advertising signs within 200 feet of arterial highways.
International Residential Developer – Regulatory Investigations
Advising one of the world’s largest residential developers with respect to regulatory investigations relating to the removal of deed restrictions on a Manhattan property.
Outlet Mall Developer – Regulatory Investigation
Representing the developer of a New York City outlet mall in an investigation into whether New York State Empire Development Corporation’s financial support for economic development projects has been influenced by developer political contributions.
Rent Stabilization Association of NYC – Litigation in New York State Supreme Court
Representation of the Rent Stabilization Association of NYC, the largest trade association in New York City dedicated to protecting and serving the interests of the residential housing industry, in litigation filed in New York state Supreme Court challenging the legitimacy of the state's Tenant Protection Unit and a set of new rent regulations that violate rent regulated owners' rights.
Verizon Wireless – Appellate Victory in Cell Phone Tower Zoning Dispute
Represented Verizon Wireless in the company's successful appeal of a New Jersey township's denial of a variance allowing for the construction of a 140-foot cell tower. The victory followed a more than seven year effort to obtain approval for the project which aimed to provide service in a "dead zone" affecting the Princeton, NJ area. In a unanimous decision, the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division reversed a lower court's ruling, agreed with our argument that the township's zoning board had acted improperly and ordered the board to reconsider the application.
Construction Firm – NYC Department of Buildings Investigation
Negotiated a highly favorable settlement on behalf of a construction firm to resolve an investigation by the NYC Department of Buildings into the alleged filing of a false affidavit with a governmental agency.
Affordable Housing Developer – Resolution of Breach of Contract Claims against NYCHA
Negotiated a favorable settlement on behalf of a national developer of affordable housing, resolving a breach of contract litigation against the New York City Housing Authority related to a high-profile and long-stalled project to redevelop a large New York City public housing complex.
Consumer Products Manufacturer – Paraguayan Litigation
Represented an international consumer products manufacturer in a legal action brought against it in Paraguay. We are working with the U.S. State Department to deal with the unusual legal rulings involved.
Bio-Reference Labs – Congressional Hearings
We helped Bio-Reference Laboratories, a genetic testing company, convince the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property to hold hearings on October 30, 2007 on the adverse impact of gene patenting on genetic testing by laboratories and on clinical research. Bio-Reference Laboratories' CEO was a key witness. We are working closely with Representative Xavier Becerra of California, a member of the House leadership, as well as with the chair of the Judiciary Committee and Subcommittee for a positive outcome for Bio-Reference.
Library for the Blind – Government Appropriations
Representation of an international library for the blind in soliciting government appropriations for charitable use. The library provides the visually impaired, blind, physically handicapped and reading disabled with books, magazines and cultural programs in audio, in large print and in Braille.
Assisted Living Facility – State Approval for Expansion
Representation of an assisted living facility in Far Rockaway, New York, in obtaining Congressional and local elected official support for its application for state approval for the expansion and beautification of its facility.
Asian Government NYC Headquarters Acquisition
Represented the government of an Asian nation in the acquisition of its main headquarters in Manhattan, including a cultural center.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney – Sexual Assault Investigation Legislation
Assistance to Rep. Carolyn Maloney in drafting H.R. 2874 (107th Congress) to assess the extent of the backlog in DNA analysis of rape kit samples and to improve the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault cases with DNA evidence. As part of the "Justice for All Act," the legislation was passed overwhelmingly by the House of Representatives and unanimously by the Senate. The Debbie Smith Act, named for a rape survivor whose attacker was identified through DNA evidence, was signed into law by President Bush in October 2004.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney – Declassification of Nazi War Crimes Files
Assistance to Rep. Carolyn Maloney on the strategy and drafting of H.R. 4007 (105th Congress) for the declassification of the U.S. government's secret Nazi war crimes files. The legislation was passed in 1998 as Senate Bill 1379, and signed by President Clinton that year.
9/11 Families and Victims – Compensation Fund Assistance
Pro bono assistance to victims and their families in recovering funds from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.
Private Company – Political Misuse Investigation
Representation of a private company in connection with a state Attorney General's investigation into whether a former governor improperly used the company to engage in "dirty tricks" against a political rival.
New York State Judiciary – Budget Litigation
Trial counsel for the New York State Judiciary in its litigation against the Executive and Legislative branches for violation of the separation of powers doctrine in the under-funding of the judicial budget.
Second Avenue Subway Development Transaction
Represented an apartment corporation in a complex transaction involving the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's condemnation of portions of the property to make way for the construction of the Second Avenue subway.
Major International Technology Company – Government Procurement Assistance
Assistance to a multi-billion dollar technology company which provides automated time and attendance systems in its dealings with the City of New York's technology officials.
Wells Fargo N.A. – Landmarks Advice
Represented Wells Fargo, N.A. in obtaining approval from the City's Landmarks Preservation Commission for signage at its new consolidated headquarters on 42nd Street.
New York Racing Association – Integrity Counsel
Representing New York Racing Association (NYRA), as Integrity Counsel, in assisting NYRA’s Board of Directors and management in ensuring that NYRA, its officers, employees and operations comply with all the applicable laws and regulations of New York Racing, Pari-Mutuel Wagering and Breeding Law §206(5), and AML and Patriot Act concerns. NYRA holds the exclusive right to conduct racing and pari-mutuel wagering at Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Courses. We are also assisting NYRA on general corporate and tax-related matters.
Severodonetsk Azot – Stopping Improper Government Seizure of Privatized Plant in Ukraine
Representation of a U.S.-based chemical company in a hard-fought dispute over the massive chemical plant, Severodonetsk Azot, in Eastern Ukraine. Corrupt political forces in Ukraine took control of our client’s plant through the commencement of a bogus lawsuit in Kiev and the outright seizure of the plant by a private militia. Herrick argued an appeal in Kiev’s court of appeals and also met, in Kiev, with Ukrainian ministries and the U.S. Embassy as part of a concerted effort to exert political pressure on the Ukrainian government to end the illegal actions.
As part of these efforts, Herrick alerted the New York Times to situation and the Times, in investigating the story, uncovered that the political dispute over the Severodonetsk Azot plant had led to Ukrainian President Yushchenko dismissing his prime minister and the rest of her government. See Deal for Ukraine Company Renews Charges of Abuse (The New York Times, Sept. 15 2005). The Ukrainian Supreme Court ultimately reversed the Kiev court and upheld our client’s ownership of the plant.
New York Fire Alarm Association – Opposition to New Fee Rules
Representation of the New York Fire Alarm Association, a trade organization comprised of companies who monitor fire alarm systems in New York City, in government relations matters. The New York City Fire Department recently published its intent to adopt new rules—which are unduly onerous and would be a major headache for the industry—regulating the fees that these companies would have to pay the city. Thanks to Herrick’s efforts, the FDNY agreed to postpone adoption of the new fee rules for a year. It also agreed to work with the industry over the next year to promulgate rules that are reasonable.
Former Government Official – Conflict of Interest Investigation
Representation of a former senior official of New York City's Economic Development Corporation before the city's Conflict of Interest Board in connection with publicly reported allegations of improprieties.
342 East 72nd Street Corporation – Second Avenue Subway Entrance Relocation
Represented 342 East 72nd Street Corporation in fighting the relocation of a new subway entrance. The original plans called for the entrance to be embedded in the basement of a building at the corner of 72nd Street and Second Avenue, but the MTA announced a new plan to move the entrance to the middle of the block on 72nd Street between First and Second Avenues—directly in front of residential buildings. Herrick helped the local building owners fight this plan.
New York State Association for Affordable Housing – Challenge to Local Law 44
Representing the New York State Association for Affordable Housing and individual developers in litigation seeking to invalidate Local Law 44 - which requires any developer receiving city funding to submit quarterly wage reports - as unconstitutional, pre-empted by New York state law, and imposing an unreasonable economic burden on small businesses competing for affordable housing work.
Asphalt Contractor – Post 9/11 Reconstruction Bidding Dispute
Representation of an asphalt contractor in challenging the bidding procedure used by New York City and utility companies to award significant street reconstruction work near the World Trade Center site after the September 11th terrorist attacks. We obtained several temporary stays on the grounds that the bidding procedure violated public procurement laws. The city cancelled its invitation to bid and used a different procurement procedure.
Telecommunications Equipment Company – New York City Comptroller Investigation
Representation of a major telecommunications company in a high-profile investigation by the Comptroller of the City of New York into the sale of two-way radio equipment. We obtained full payment of multi-million dollar invoices for the company.
Telecommunications Company – NYC Fiber Optic Franchise
Representation of a major new telecommunications company in negotiating and obtaining approval for New York City franchise to install fiber optic cable throughout the City of New York.
Developer – Seeking in Excess of $50 Million in Dispute with the City of Long Beach
Representing a real estate owner/developer in a high-profile dispute with the City of Long Beach, New York over zoning ordinances relating to a planned four tower residential project. In what has become one of the longest-running land use litigations in the country, Herrick helped to secure significant appellate wins, including an order permitting our client to seek damages in excess of $50 million, including interest and legal fees, against the City, and a judgment declaring it entitled to a building permit that would allow completion of the ocean front development as originally approved. In more recent rulings, the Appellate Division, Second Department held that the City had defaulted in serving an amended answer to our suit and failed to proffer a legally sufficient excuse for its default. The court further held that the individual City defendants named in our complaint should not have been dismissed from the litigation by the trial court and can therefore be held liable for damages.
Challenge to New York State’s Charter School Funding Law
Represented the plaintiffs in Brown v. New York, and initially secured a winning ruling in New York State Supreme Court denying a motion to dismiss our lawsuit challenging New York State's method of funding public charter schools. Our clients, five “representative” families whose children attend charter schools in the state and a Charter School advocacy organization for its member New York charter schools (Northeast Charter Schools Network), argued that New York's practice of providing charter students with as little as three-fifths of what district students receive in the same community, violates the state Constitution and disproportionately affects children of color and lower incomes. While we ultimately lost on appeal, the ruling was particularly important as similar claims raised by charter school parents in four others states – North Carolina, New Jersey, Arizona and Texas – all failed to survive lower court defense motions to dismiss.
Trade Group – City of New York Legislation
Advising a trade group that represents companies that do significant construction work in New York City, in government relations matters. The City of New York recently introduced new legislation aimed at improving safety by promoting rule changes regarding licensing of trade members. Herrick is working with the industry to promulgate legislation that is reasonable and insure the public's safety.
Staten Island Retail Center Complex Development
Representing the Alpert family in connection with the development of a large shopping center complex in Staten Island. Our work includes a significant Uniform Land Use Review Process application involving street mappings, special permits, government relations activities and an environmental impact statement.
New York City Union – Healthcare Software License
Representation of a major New York City union and its benefits fund in negotiating software license and maintenance agreements and an ASP agreement with a large, publicly traded health care technology provider.
Bio-Reference Labs – Gene Patenting Legislation
Representation of Bio-Reference Laboratories, Inc. in providing legislative advice and governmental solutions to help enable it to conduct diagnostic tests currently prevented by laws allowing owners of gene patents to grant exclusive licenses for those tests.
Land Use Counsel on World Trade Center Complex
Land use counsel to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in connection with the development of the new World Trade Center complex.
Private Club – MTA East Side Access Construction Issues
Represented a private club in its negotiations with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on a mitigation plan to address concerns related to the impact of the MTA's $10.2 billion East Side Access project on the organization's landmark designated clubhouse.