Matters

Construction Management Company – Wrongful Termination

Representation of a construction management company in a dispute with NYU Hospitals Center regarding the termination of a multi-million dollar renovation contract. After a trial in Federal Bankruptcy Court, the court held in favor of our client on all counts, entitling them to payment of its outstanding requisitions and dismissal of all claims against them.

Distressed Debt Investor – Mezzanine Loan Foreclosure

Represented a distressed debt investor in foreclosing and conducting UCC secured party sale of portfolio of mezzanine loans securing repo line of credit obligations. One of the mezzanine loan borrowers sought to enjoin the sale; we defeated the TRO application and conducted the sale successfully over the borrower's objection.

International Insurance Company – Breach of Contract

Represented a major international insurance company in breach of contract dispute.

Title Insurance Companies – Class Action Defense

Representation of two title insurance companies in two class actions alleging overcharges on premiums for policies sold to consumers in New York. After extensive litigation, we settled on terms favorable to our clients.

Large Asset Manager – Discrimination Case

Represented a large asset manager in a national origin case based on disability and religion.

Multinational Tire Manufacturer – Consumer Fraud Class Action Defense

Successful defense of the North American subsidiary of a multinational automotive parts manufacturer in national consumer fraud class actions involving allegations that an innovative tire design was more susceptible to road hazard damage than regular tires. The firm’s successes on behalf of the client include obtaining an important, precedent setting decision from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals that vacated the lower court’s certification of a limited New Jersey sub-class of plaintiffs, and then later securing the dismissal of all but one of the claims asserted in a copycat class action, effectively precluding the plaintiffs from further pursuing the litigation.

Product Manufacturer – Class Action

Represented a product manufacturer in a federal class action involving claims of consumer fraud and product liability.

Telecommunications Company – Class Action Dismissal

Represented a major telecommunications company in a New Jersey class action lawsuit alleging overcharges for telephone services.

Real Estate Development Company – Land Purchase Dispute

Representation of real estate development company in an appeal arising from its $3 million purchase and development of 7.5 acres of land from Hebrew Huntington Congregation. A faction of the congregation challenged the court's order that permitted our client to purchase the land under the Religious Corporations Law. The Second Department upheld the order and dismissed the appeal as moot, recognizing that our client was a bona fide good faith purchaser.

Las Vegas Conference Center Real Estate Investors – Arbitration Victory

Represented one of three investor groups in an existing five million square foot conference and exhibit center in Las Vegas in a seven-week, three-panel arbitration over each investor group's rights and ownership in the project. The panel found that all parties to the transaction, except Herrick's clients, had engaged in wrongful conduct. The conference center, at its completion, will cost more than $1 billion to build and is planned to expand to 12 million square feet.

New York Residential Brokerage Company – Successful Mediation

Representation of a prominent New York residential brokerage company in a successful mediation against a civil rights suit alleging conspiracy with building owners to steer families with children away from apartments.

Title Insurance Company – Agent’s Fraud Imputed to Lender

Representation of a title insurance company against a lender whose agent committed a fraud that caused the loss of the insured mortgage. Our client successfully argued that since the agent acted on behalf of the bank, the fraud could be attributed to the bank and therefore fell under the policy’s exclusion for “acts of the insured.” The court’s ruling will have ramifications in the title insurance and mortgage lending industry since many sub-prime lenders relied upon unscrupulous agents to close their loans, and to the extent any frauds committed by those agents lead to a title loss, the lenders cannot look to the title insurers for indemnification.

Joseph Kahan – Arbitration Award Vacated

Representation of Joseph Kahan in successfully petitioning the Kings County Supreme Court to vacate a rabbinical court's arbitration award regarding competing claims to real properties in Brooklyn and other assets. The arbitration agreement provided that the parties could proceed only with counsel acceptable to the arbitrators. Kahan participated in the arbitration even after the arbitrators rejected his proposed counsel and insisted that he could proceed only with counsel they would select for him. Initially, Kahan proceeded without counsel at all, but as the matter progressed, he realized that the arbitrators' procedures were unfair and he withdrew from the arbitration before the panel ruled. Describing its ruling as one of first impression under New York law, the court agreed that the arbitrators had denied Kahan the right to counsel of his choice, and overturned the award. This case was featured in the November 24th 2009 edition of the New York Law Journal. (26 Misc.3d 615, 889 N.Y.S.2d 839 (2009))

Real Estate Investment Management Companies – Construction Litigation

We defended a large industrial real estate investing entity and its investment management firm in a $90 million construction defect litigation with an industrial tenant in New Jersey. We succeeded in getting most of the plaintiff’s case dismissed on summary judgment, and then settled the rest of the dispute case before trial. The settlement included the plaintiff turning over escrowed back rent to our client and entering into a favorable lease extension.

Real Estate Company – Management Agreement Litigation

Represented a real estate services company in a $20 million lawsuit brought by former customers. The former customers, owners of two large New York City office buildings, claimed that our client, which managed the buildings, had committed numerous acts of wrongdoing over several years, including breaching contracts, fraud, and breaching fiduciary duties. The customers sought to recover all the fees they’d paid our client over the years under New York’s “faithless servant” doctrine. The District Court granted our summary judgment motion, dismissing all of the higher-damage tort and equity claims, and we then settled the remaining breach of contract claim. The former customers lost their appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, bringing the case to a successful conclusion for our client.

Red Rock Services Trustee – Appellate Victory in Bankruptcy Litigation

Herrick secured an appellate victory for the chapter 7 trustee of bankrupt demolition subcontractor Red Rock Services, affirming a judgment of almost $1 million won in a bankruptcy adversary proceeding in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. On behalf of the trustee, Herrick sued a general contractor for breach of its obligations under subcontracts with Red Rock in a pair of multimillion dollar construction projects in Baltimore and Boston. After eight days of trial, the trustee was awarded a judgment of almost $1 million, including attorneys' fees. Herrick defended the judgment on appeal to the district court, where it was affirmed, and went on to successfully defend the ruling on the defendant’s second appeal to the Third Circuit, which affirmed the judgments of the bankruptcy court and district court in their entirety.

NYSE Company – Internal Investigation

Representation of the Audit Committee of a New York Stock Exchange listed company to conduct an internal investigation of whistleblower claims brought by a former officer alleging that certain officers and directors had committed accounting fraud and violated the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Former Corporate Officer – Successful Defense of Fraud and Unjust Enrichment Claims

Successful defense of a former corporate officer in suits filed in New York and Wisconsin state courts arising from an investor’s claims of fraud and unjust enrichment in connection with alleged misrepresentations about the sales, revenues and future prospects of a business in which the plaintiff had invested.

Successful Defense in Multi-Plaintiff Litigation Alleging Fraud, FLSA and Civil RICO Violations

Defended individuals and related corporations affiliated with a global network of yoga studios in a highly publicized lawsuit in Arizona federal court in which more than two dozen plaintiffs asserted claims including fraud, undue influence, unfair and deceptive business practices, emotional distress, FLSA violations and civil RICO violations. Following a ruling dismissing the majority of claims, this litigation was ultimately terminated when all remaining causes of action asserted in an amended complaint were either dismissed by the court or withdrawn by the plaintiffs.

Robert W. Seavey – Victory in $500 Million RICO Case

Representation of Robert W. Seavey, real estate developer and owner, in obtaining a U.S. District Court summary judgment dismissing a $500 million RICO case. The suit also named members of his family, the management company and accounting firm. The court found that the plaintiffs and their forensic accounting firm had failed to find any evidence supporting their claims. The decision appears to be the first New York decision that found that the federal bank fraud statute cannot serve as a predicate act in a RICO case when the plaintiff is not a financial institution. All state court claims were dismissed.

Appellate Victory for Special Servicer

Representation of a special servicer in a suit against a borrower and three individual guarantors after the borrower procured subordinate financing in violation of a non-recourse carve-out provision. Our client was the special servicer for the lender. In a case of first impression, the New Jersey Appellate Division enforced the non-recourse carve-out provision and imputed personal liability to the borrower and guarantors. It concluded that the disputed clause fixes liability rather than damages and, therefore, does not constitute an unenforceable penalty as the borrower had argued. The Appellate Division also held that the borrower's efforts to “cure” the triggering event did not vitiate personal liability. As a result, the lender properly obtained a $5 million+ deficiency judgment against the borrower and guarantors.

Senior Executive – U.S. Attorney/SEC Investigation

Representation of a senior executive of a national retail brokerage firm in a joint U.S. Attorney/SEC investigation relating to market timing activities. No charges were instituted against the executive.

Madoff Litigation – Filings Against the SEC

We represent a number of victims of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme. In January of 2009, we filed notices of claim with the Securities & Exchange Commission alleging negligence under the Federal Tort Claims Act. The SEC rejected our claims six months later, and on Wednesday, October 14, 2009, we filed the historic and first known lawsuit against the SEC seeking monetary damages under the FTCA, Molchatsky and Schneider v. United States. We were lead counsel on the Molchatsky case and filed two additional cases against the United States on behalf of other Madoff victims. While the Second Circuit ultimately dismissed the action, essentially saying that the SEC had absolute immunity, the case sent a message that Herrick will leave no stone unturned on behalf of its clients. The firm continues to defend Madoff victims in clawback actions initiated against them by the Madoff bankruptcy trustee.

Foreign Insurance Company – Wrongful Discharge Claim

Representation of a foreign insurance company in connection with the wrongful discharge claim from the managing directors of a U.S. subsidiary.

Employees – SEC Investigation

Representation of multiple employees from a public company in an SEC investigation alleging misstatements in the company’s public filings. No charges were instituted.

Hedge Fund Managers – SEC Investigation

Representation of two hedge fund managers in an SEC investigation relating to market timing activities. No charges were instituted.

National Retail Brokerage Firm – Civil Litigation

Representation of a national retail brokerage firm in a state court action alleging sales practice violations.

Executive – SEC Investigation

Representation of an executive of a national retail brokerage firm in a joint U.S. Attorney and SEC action alleging fraud in connection with securities lending.

Stock Brokers – FINRA Investigation

Representation of multiple stock brokers of a national retail brokerage firm in a FINRA investigation into various sales practice violations.

Investor Group – Fraud and Misrepresentation Claims

Represented an investor group in connection with fraud and misrepresentation claims against an investment manager in various private investments.

Regional Brokerage Firm – Investor Claims

Representation of a regional brokerage firm in multiple investor claims alleging fraud and misrepresentation in connection with a failed private placement.

Medical Device Company Executive – Grand Jury and Regulatory Investigations

Represented a medical device company's former Vice President of Sales in parallel federal grand jury and Health and Human Services Department investigations of alleged pay-offs to doctors.

Financial Services Company – Arbitration

Defense of a pre-eminent financial services company in an arbitration involving numerous brokers who left a competitor to work for our client. The competitor claimed breach of non-solicitation and confidentiality provisions in the brokers' contracts.

Securities Trader/Broker-Dealer – Investigations

The principal of a securities trader/broker-dealer in connection with investigations by the New York State Attorney General and the SEC into mutual fund trading practices including market timing and late trading.

Former Government Official – Conflict of Interest Investigation

Represented 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.

Telecommunications Equipment Company – New York City Comptroller Investigation

Represented 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.

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.

Subsidized Housing Project Sponsor – Market Rate Conversion

Represented a sponsor in settling a litigation involving the sponsor's effort to convert one of New York City's largest Mitchell-Lama subsidized housing projects (1,200 units on Manhattan's Upper East Side) to market rate housing. The settlement involved the creation of entirely new subsidy programs by the city and by the sponsor, and an approximately $550 million condominium conversion.

Housing Authority Risk Retention Group – Pollution Exclusion Coverage Litigation

Represented a risk retention group in litigation against a housing authority over whether an insurance policy excluded a judgment against the housing authority for exposure to pollution. In a case of first impression under Illinois law, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of our client, holding that the absolute pollution exclusion excluded coverage for an underlying $10 million judgment against the insured based upon exposure to pollutants, even though the insured did not actively cause the pollution, and even though the pollution originated off-site and migrated to the insured's property. (Housing Authority Risk Retention Group, Inc. v. Chicago Housing Authority, 378 F.3d 596 (7th Cir. 2004))

Estate Trustee – Removal Litigation

Representation of the trustee of an estate in litigation with the trust's settlor. The settlor sued to remove the trustee, whom he had appointed, alleging conflict of interest and failure to account. The trial court dismissed the suit, and Herrick represented the trustee in successfully defending the appeal.

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.

Financial Media Company – Lease Dispute

Represented a multi-billion dollar financial media company in a lease dispute involving approximately 180,000 sq. ft. of office space.

Title Insurer – Frivolous Claim Defense

Defended a title insurer in an action by a property owner seeking title insurance coverage. The court found the owner's damages to be attributable to its own actions, and impressed sanctions against the owner and its counsel, which included attorneys' fees, for prosecuting frivolous litigation.

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.

Manufacturer – Sexual Harassment Mediation

Represented a manufacturing company in the successful mediation of claims for sexual harassment and constructive termination.

Wholesale Food Company – Wrongful Termination Litigation

Represented a family-owned wholesale food company against claims for wrongful termination and constructive discharge asserted by a family member/principal.

Talent Management Services – Former Employee/Shareholder Litigation

Represented a global recruitment and talent management services provider in litigation commenced by a former employee/shareholder claiming wrongful termination, fraud and damages in connection with the sale of the company subsequent to the employee's departure.

General Contractor – Lien Foreclosure

Representation of a general contractor in a lien foreclosure action against the Metropolitan Transit Authority and the owner of 2 Broadway, New York, the MTA's headquarters. After a trial on the merits, the New York State Supreme Court awarded our client damages in excess of $1 million.

Mezzanine Lender – Term Sheet Breach

Representation of a mezzanine lender in an action in New York State Supreme Court against a borrower for breach of a term sheet. The court granted our motion for summary judgment and awarded damages.

Jury Dismisses Subcontractor’s Discrimination and Breach of Contract Claims

Representation of a real estate developer and general contractor in an action by a minority subcontractor pursuing multi-million dollar discrimination and breach of contract claims. All claims were dismissed after a two week jury trial in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.