In representing commercial enterprises and not-for-profit organizations in a variety of sensitive and complex internal investigations, the Firm uses forensic accountants, private investigators, and sophisticated computer tools to discover, analyze, and report misconduct, and to pursue it vigorously on behalf of clients. Such matters have included:
- Representation of a not-for-profit and charitable organization whose executive director embezzled over a million dollars over a period of three years. The Firm conducted a full investigation and reported its findings to the New York Attorney General. The perpetrator was convicted of a felony and sent to State prison.
- Assisting a professional service firm victimized by a member of the support staff who falsified client financial documents and embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars. The Firm worked closely with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office to obtain a criminal conviction and full restitution of all stolen funds. A parallel civil action resulted in recovery of the client’s investigation costs.
- Advising a financial services firm whose key administrative assistant engaged in extensive theft through massive abuse of computer technology. After being terminated for such misconduct, the employee sued. The Firm investigated and reported the matter to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. The staff member withdrew the lawsuit and pleaded guilty to the theft.
- Responding to the concerns of several major international banks and brokerage firms who suspected that members of their staffs were committing regulatory violations and related misconduct. The Firm’s investigations and reports led to the discipline and termination of culpable individuals and the revision of procedures to minimize the danger of recurrent violations.
Defamation, Privacy, and the Internet
The Firm has been active in defamation and privacy cases since its founding. With the dramatic increase in potential for defamation liability associated with the rise of email and the Internet, the Firm has been increasingly involved in this area.
In addition to sustaining the largest defamation award to a terminated doctor in New York in one federal case, Purgess v. Sharrock and Hospital for Special Surgery, 33 F.3d 134 (2d Cir. 1994), and establishing the validity of the Libel-Proof Plaintiff doctrine in New York in another federal case, Jones v. Trump, 1997 WL 277375 (S.D.N.Y. 1997), the Firm has been involved in a number of cases that deal with defamation, privacy, and the use of email and the Internet.
Such matters have included representation of numerous employees accused of violating email and Internet policies at work. In each of these instances, the Firm was able to achieve favorable results through litigation, arbitration, or negotiation.
Defamation, privacy, and Internet matters have also included representation of individuals who have been defamed and harassed by email, blogs, and other means. In each of those instances, the Firm has worked with employers and prosecutorial personnel to defend and vindicate the rights of the victims of this misconduct.
Entertainment and Sports Law
The firm has been involved in a wide range of entertainment and sports matters since its inception, representing a variety of individuals and entities. Such matters have included:
- Representation of theatrical producers in connection with negotiations over rights to intellectual property, grievances, and other disputes involving actors, designers, choreographers, and other members of guilds and unions.
- Advising record companies, artists, and managers involved in royalty, copyright, and contract disputes.
- Counseling athletes and sports management companies in contract negotiations and dispute resolution proceedings related to endorsements, personal service contracts including broadcasting and celebrity appearances, and other issues unique to sports.
The practice of family law ranges widely, from matrimonial matters to paternity proceedings, and from elder care issues to parent-child disputes and beyond. The Firm has represented a variety of clients at all stages of such matters. Representation has included response to criminal and administrative investigations and proceedings, conduct of contested evidentiary hearings, and negotiation, mediation, and other forms of dispute resolution.
Examples of family matters have included:
- Representation of a young entertainer who was being stalked and harassed by an absentee father in his attempt to reestablish their relationship and to obtain publicity for himself. After obtaining a temporary order of protection from the court, the Firm negotiated a permanent order of protection on consent, providing the client with significantly more protection than would have been available under the statutory scheme.
- Representation of a student wrongly accused of cheating on the college boards on the basis of what the testing company claimed was an unusual increase in scores and a strong statistical similarity to another student's answers. Cancellation of the questioned scores would have gravely imperiled the student's right to remain at a top university that had accepted the student based in large part on those scores. After all internal appeals failed, the matter went to arbitration. Under the testing entity's standard form agreement, the student had no right to an evidentiary hearing. Moreover, the testing entity was not required to prove cheating, but was only required to show that it had acted reasonably and in good faith in deciding to cancel the scores. The Firm persuaded the arbitrator to hold an evidentiary hearing, at which the Firm presented uncontradicted evidence of the student's native intelligence, excellent grades, and intensive test preparation. The arbitrator ruled conclusively in the student's favor. The student remained at the university with an unblemished reputation.
Commercial and Real Estate Transactions
The Firm has been involved in significant commercial real estate transactional matters, involving a wide variety of issues. Such matters have included:
- Representation of start-up and established companies in financial services, publishing, energy, entertainment, food service, and other industries, including incorporation, preparation of partnership and shareholder agreements, creation of employment manuals, compliance with regulatory and licensing requirements, and assistance in marketing and promotion.
- Advising commercial and real estate entities, including asset and stock sales, purchases and sales in equity interests, and dissolution.
- Counseling one faction of the members of the second generation of a family sharply divided over the disposition of a valuable Manhattan real estate parcel left to them by the founding generation. Although the other family members originally proposed to sell the parcel for $5 million, the Firm successfully persuaded the feuding family members to resolve their disputes and remarket the parcel, resulting in a sale price of over $15 million.
- Assisting a family-owned business in negotiations involving multi-use commercial space. After several weeks of negotiation, the Firm was able to secure a multi-tiered option that allowed the family to retain its interest in the premises for another generation of its members.
- Representation of a restaurant owner whose premises were destroyed by fire. Although the landlord claimed the right to demolish the building without compensation for the tenants, the Firm obtained an injunction and later renegotiated a buyout of the Tenant’s lease for over $1 million.
- Representation of a woman in a divorce, where her husband offered unacceptable low maintenance and child support. Following a trial, the court ordered the husband to pay more than six times the amount of maintenance and child support he had previously offered.