Commercial Disputes

Appellate Court Victory Barring Arbitrator from Modifying Original Award
Herrick secured an important victory before the Appellate Division, Second Department, obtaining a ruling affirming the trial court’s decision to overturn a Bet Din arbitration in which the arbitrator issued an additional award against our client after having already rendered a final award.  The plaintiff had argued that the arbitrator’s first award of $425,000 was only an interim judgment and that the agreement vested the arbitrator with continuing authority to issue another award against our client, two years later and involving the same general subject matter, for an additional $3.75 million.  Although courts rarely overturn arbitration awards, the appellate court agreed that the arbitrator lacked the authority to expand the previous award and affirmed the decision on the grounds that the arbitrator was "Functus Officio."

Residential Brokerage – Raiding Dispute Favorably Resolved
Represented a major residential brokerage firm in a high-profile raiding dispute involving the improper recruitment of a former manager of one of our client’s key regional offices by a venture capital-backed competitor. This litigation was resolved favorably under a settlement agreement which imposed restrictions on any future recruitment of our client’s executives by the competitor in addition to certain financial terms.

Specialty Finance Company – Summary Judgment Upheld on Appeal
Herrick secured an appellate win for a specialty finance company, successfully defending the trial court's decision granting our motion for summary judgment and awarding money damages with costs. The underlying dispute involved a borrower’s failure to pay a multi-million dollar participatory interest - a percentage of the collateral’s appreciation - in addition to a fixed interest monthly payment under the terms of a $16 million credit arrangement to finance the purchase of taxi medallions. The Appellate Division, First Department affirmed the trial court’s decision, rejecting the borrower’s counterclaims that the participatory interest provision to which it had agreed violated New York law and the federal Small Business Investment Act of 1958.

DataTreasury and Company Executives – Defense of $185 Million ‘Pay to Prosecute’ Lawsuit
Herrick and co-counsel negotiated a favorable settlement for DataTreasury and two of the company's executives, bringing to an end a $185 million dollar lawsuit filed by Long Island attorney Robert Del Col and his client Ted Doukas against multiple defendants, including our clients and former Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice. The complaint, filed by plaintiffs who had been involved in a dispute over patent royalties with DataTreasury, alleged that the plaintiffs' arrest and indictment for grand larceny had been motivated by campaign contributions made by the company to the Nassau County District Attorney's office. Following the court's dismissal of several of the plaintiffs' claims, this litigation was settled in an agreement that contemplated no admission or finding of wrongdoing by any defendant and for a small fraction of the damages claimed.

Inter-Dealer Brokerage Firm – $500 Million Raiding Case
Represented the affiliate of a billion-dollar inter-dealer brokerage firm in a large "key employee raiding case" brought by a competitor whose stock market valuation declined 24% (approximately $450 million) on the day following our client’s hire of approximately 20 of its credit derivatives brokers and employees. Following an intense oral argument by Herrick and other firms aligned with our client, a New York Supreme Court denied the plaintiff’s motion for a temporary restraining order and later denied a motion for preliminary injunction in rulings which allowed the subject employees to work for our client. The dispute then moved to a FINRA arbitration where we defended hundreds of millions of dollars in claims. After more than 240 hearing sessions, the matter was fully settled and all claims withdrawn.

Residential Brokerage Firm – Restrictive Covenant Employment Litigation
Represented a leading residential real estate brokerage firm in connection with a high-profile employment dispute in New York's competitive residential brokerage industry between a star broker recently hired by the client and the broker's former employer.

Successful Challenge to Arbitration Award in $42 Million Dispute
Herrick successfully argued for the overturning of an arbitration award in a $42 million dispute over the proper distribution of an estate - an especially notable win for our client as arbitration awards are so difficult to vacate. Based on the arbitrator's violation of a little-known New York state law that invalidates arbitration proceedings held on a Sunday, the court ruled that the arbitration proceedings and award were void, and also found that the arbitrator had exceeded the scope of its power when it imposed a legal fee penalizing any party challenging the award when the parties had never agreed to such a provision. Additionally, the court found that the award involved distribution of estate assets which can only be distributed by the Surrogate's Court.

Taxi Medallion Financing Company – $27.5 Million Judgment
Represented a large specialty financing company in enforcing a series of agreements that provided the company with an interest in the appreciation of the underlying collateral. Following extensive briefing on a summary judgment motion, the court rejected defenses based on usury and the Small Business Investment Act and issued a $27.5 million judgment in favor of our client.

DataTreasury – Appellate Court Upholds Dismissal of Complaint Seeking $15 Billion in Damages
Secured a victory for DataTreasury and its officers before the Appellate Division, Second Department, obtaining a ruling affirming the trial court's dismissal of a complaint seeking $15 billion in damages filed by a purported joint venture partner claiming fraud and the alleged breach of an oral joint venture involving a patent for check imaging technology. In affirming the dismissal, the appellate court held that the breach of contract claim was time barred, and that the fraud claims lacked the requisite specificity and were duplicative of the breach of contract claims.

DataTreasury Corp. – $100 Million Dispute with Former COO
Successful defense of DataTreasury Corp. in a 41-day bench trial arising from claims by the company's former Chief Operating Officer that he was entitled to exercise certain stock options granted to him during his tenure. We helped obtain a decision dismissing all of the former executive's claims, based on his disloyal conduct in trying to usurp business opportunities coupled with his failure to properly exercise the options, defeated the plaintiff's multiple post-trial motions, and successfully defended those decisions before the New York State Appellate Division, Second Department which unanimously affirmed.

Technology Company – Licensing Dispute
Represented the developer of an innovative insurance product in litigation filed in New York State court arising from the alleged breach of a licensing agreement which gave our client exclusive access to certain data that serves as the foundation for the new product. All claims were voluntarily dismissed under a settlement agreement, and the parties entered into a new, more favorable, licensing agreement.

Educational Institution – Breach of Contract Dispute
Representing an educational institution in a breach of contract dispute with a local college over the termination of an agreement that allowed the two institutions to collaborate.

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.

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))

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.

Tire Manufacturer – Antitrust Litigation
Represented a tire manufacturer in successfully defending an antitrust suit brought by an authorized dealer claiming that the manufacturer failed to make a tire available to the dealer that it made available to other authorized dealers.

New York City Restaurant – Employment Issues and Audit
Representation of a famous New York City restaurant in employment issues and a Department of Labor audit.

Manufacturing Company Executive – Internal Investigation
Representation of the former Executive Vice President of a large manufacturing company in an internal investigation of alleged materials theft.

Religious Corporation – Control Dispute
Representation of the interests of an heir to the leadership of a major religious corporation in fending off a challenge from a rival faction for control of the community's institutions and organizations. In the Matter of Congregation Yetev Lev D'Satmar Inc., 31 A.D.3d 541 (2d Dep't 2006), aff'd, 9 N.Y.3d 282 (2007) and Congregation Yetev Lev D'Satmar of Kiryas Joel, Inc. v. Congregation Yetev Lev D'Satmar Inc., 31 A.D.3d 480 (2d Dep't 2006).