Our Litigation Department is one of the most comprehensive in the state. Our clients range from entrepreneurial companies to multinational corporations. The matters we have handled range from routine cases to cases where a company's total value is at stake. While we have the big firm resources to commit to "bet the company" litigation where cost is not an issue, we also have the experience and efficiency to handle the more ordinary case, where cost is a key element of the over-all result.
In all matters, we believe effective representation starts with an understanding of the client's goals, expectations and needs. Some cases are best resolved through negotiation. Others must be litigated to a conclusion. Recognizing the difference is not simply a matter of legal analysis. It is a matter of the client's business objectives, personal circumstances, financial considerations, budgetary constraints and all of the other factors that make each case and each client unique.
Risk Management for Institutional Clients
A significant portion of our litigation practice involves the representation of institutional clients for which litigation is a regular and unavoidable cost of doing business. We understand the need of such clients to manage the risk and expense of litigation. We believe that the key to establishing and maintaining enduring relationships with such clients is the recognition that we are a player on the client's litigation team and it is necessary to learn and perform our role in order to meet the client's overall objectives in risk management.
Banking and Creditors' Rights
We represent banks in all areas of general banking, including financial and bank fraud litigation, litigation involving commercial paper and electronic funds transfers, defense of consumer fraud claims and class actions, inter-bank disputes and disputes with commercial and individual depositors. Our banking litigation practice also includes the representation of banks as fiduciaries in disputes arising out of the management of trust and estate assets.
As a part of banking practice, we represent banks and other institutional lenders and creditors in connection with the restructuring of troubled commercial and real estate loans, enforcement of loan documents and of corporate and personal guarantees, in commercial collection litigation, and in insolvency and bankruptcy proceedings.
Bankruptcy and Reorganization
We provide extensive expertise in the representation of debtors and other stakeholders in complex and sophisticated insolvency proceedings and financial restructurings. Our attorneys in this area are well versed in the intricacies of the Bankruptcy Code and Chapter 11 practice.
Commercial and Business
Our business litigation practice encompasses all varieties of disputes involving commercial entities and their owners, including shareholder and partnership disputes, contract disputes, unfair competition and business interference claims, antitrust, intellectual property and restrictive covenant litigation. We have substantial experience in obtaining injunctive relief, which is often the first and decisive step in such litigation, and in structuring and documenting the final resolution. One of our partners is the author of New Jersey Business Litigation and co-author of Guidebook to Chancery Practice in New Jersey, which are two of the leading New Jersey references in this area of practice.
Our Construction Litigation Practice is one of the most significant in New Jersey. We have handled construction defect cases on behalf of major builders and developers, as well as condominium associations. We have successfully tried cases involving hundreds of millions of dollars in both state and federal courts. One of our partners is a former Chairman of the Construction Litigation Section of the American Bar Association and has also served as an arbitrator and mediator in complex, multiple party construction cases.
Our Employment Law Practice Group primarily represents management in the defense of employment related claims such as wrongful discharge, discrimination and whistle blower claims. We have a practice concentration in public sector labor law, and in school and university employment, representing local school districts, community colleges and major public and private universities in New Jersey. In our employment law practice, we also consult with clients regarding employment policies and handbooks and the negotiation of employment contracts, non-competition agreements and restrictive covenants.
The Environmental Practice Group has broad experience and multi-disciplinary knowledge that transect departmental lines, including the firm's distinguished real estate, land use, redevelopment, litigation and corporate practices. Our wide range of services includes: guiding clients through the ever-changing federal, state and local environmental, health and safety (EHS) regulations; negotiating clean up and permitting requirements with government agencies; providing sophisticated advice in the context of virtually every type of business transaction; and aggressively representing clients in complex federal and state litigation, enforcement actions, and administrative proceedings.
In addition to tax and estate planning, our Tax, Trusts & Estates Department, in conjunction with the Litigation Department, provides representation to fiduciaries, as well as beneficiaries in litigation involving will contests, will and trust construction and administration and asset management. One of our partners was a co-author of New Jersey's 1990 and 2001 Principal and Income Acts and of the New Jersey Prudent Investor Act.
Our Family Law Practice is one the largest in the state. We have handled some of the most significant divorce cases in New Jersey, including obtaining for our client the single largest equitable distribution award in New Jersey history. Our attorneys in this area deal on a daily basis with business and asset valuation, equitable distribution, and divorce and child custody, as well as premarital and separation agreements and domestic actions. Our lawyers are equipped to provide comprehensive advice on the tax aspects and implications of all forms of settlement agreements.
Our Insurance Coverage Practice Group regularly represents carriers in connection with complex environmental matters, often involving claims well in excess of $100 million. In addition, we have represented major New Jersey builders and developers in connection with construction litigation and construction defect claims.
A company's most valuable asset may be its intellectual property. We have successfully represented clients in federal and state courts in trademark, copyright, trade secret and other confidential business information lawsuits. In these cases, time is of the essence. Our firm has the resources and experience necessary for the aggressive pursuit or defense of temporary restraining orders and other forms of preliminary injunctive relief that often determine the ultimate success or failure of IP litigation. In addition to attorney involvement in bar association groups related to intellectual property, our firm is an Associate Member of the International Trademark Association (INTA).
We limit our personal injury practice to cases involving significant injuries and complex liability issues that require a commitment of resources that smaller firms are often unable or unwilling to devote to such cases. One of our partners obtained the largest personal injury verdict in New Jersey in 2006.
We represent a large range of industrial manufacturing clients. Our concentration is in the automotive field, in which we represent manufacturers and distributors of cars, trucks, motorcycles, and motor vehicle component parts.
We have significant trial experience in defending claims of professional negligence against accountants, insurance brokers, lawyers and physicians. In addition, our Construction Practice Group has extensive experience in architect's and engineer's malpractice, and in builder's negligence.
In addition to our practice in land use and land use litigation, we handle all types of real estate related disputes, including real estate tax appeals, commission disputes, title litigation, partition actions, and actions for specific performance.
White Collar Defense and Corporate Compliance
In addition to representing individuals who are under investigation or the subject of federal or state criminal prosecution, our White Collar Group handles internal investigations by corporations, and recommends strategies for compliance with federal and state regulations. Our practice includes the management of regulatory investigations and prosecutions, as well as the defense of civil proceedings brought by federal and state regulatory agencies.
Strength in Numbers and Experience
In our firm of 100+ lawyers, over half are full-time litigators. We have among our lawyers, former federal and state prosecutors, as well as lawyers who are leaders in bar associations, authors of legal treatises, editors of practice journals, and elected members of national and international trial lawyer associations. Three of our partners are Fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers. The professional standing of our lawyers often translates to being called upon to act as expert witnesses by other law firms.
We provide clients with peak levels of litigation support, integrated with other practice areas to ensure broad coverage of all points of a dispute. We also take the lead in developing and incorporating new litigation support techniques in our practice areas and have become commentators on their usage.
Representative Matters: Litigation
- The firm represented the defendant, the exclusive licensee of certain patent rights, wherein the plaintiff/licensor sought to terminate the license. After prevailing on the application for temporary restraints and for a preliminary injunction and following a lengthy bench trial, the plaintiff license holder’s claims were dismissed in toto with prejudice.
- The firm represented the plaintiff corporate president in a seven month trial involving certain stockholder claims, specific performance claims and claims of constructive termination of the company president. The firm prevailed on all issues, including an award of punitive damages.
- The firm represented the primary defendant, a privately held company, in a construction case wherein plaintiff sought damages in excess of $200 million. At the conclusion of a six month trial, the jury dismissed or hung on the majority of claims. The matter was subsequently settled.
- The firm represented the defendant vehicle manufacturer in a matter where plaintiff alleged that she sustained significant head injuries as a result of a single vehicle roll over accident caused by alleged defects in the design of the vehicle. The jury found that the defendant was not liable.
- The firm represented an auto dealer franchisor in an action brought by a franchisee pursuant to the Motor Vehicle Franchise Practice Act. During the course of the trial, the matter was resolved permitting an additional franchise.
- The firm represented the defendants in an action involving a claim for cancellation of the sale of substantial real estate and for damages. Our motion to dismiss was granted and the trial court decision was affirmed by the Appellate Division.
- The firm represented the wife of the decedent where his Estate alleged that because the document conveying certain real property to the decedent and his wife failed to contain the language “husband and wife,” the property should be deemed held by the parties as tenants in common and not held as a tenancy by the entireties. We prevailed at the trial level on a motion for summary judgment that was affirmed by the Appellate Division.
- The firm represented the Twin Rivers Homeowners’ Association, from trial through appellate levels to the New Jersey Supreme Court, in a matter where the central issue concerned the applicability of the constraints of the New Jersey Constitution to the rules and regulations of homeowners’ associations. The New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously held on July 26, 2007 that the internal membership rules and regulations of private homeowners’ associations must be reasonable, and are generally not subject to scrutiny under the state Constitution. Committee for a Better Twin Rivers v. Twin Rivers Homeowners’ Association, Supreme Court of New Jersey, A-118-122-05.
- The firm represented a New Jersey member of a Florida joint venture whose purpose was to distribute trucking parts in the southern United States. We obtained a judgment for our client in excess of $800,000.
- The firm represents the owner of a commercial property located in Monmouth County that was contaminated by the operations of a tenant service station operator. The cleanup costs are estimated to be millions of dollars. We are suing to recover possession of the property and cleanup costs under the New Jersey Spill Act. After eight years of contentious litigation, the matter is scheduled for trial in Federal Court.
- In United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, the firm served as counsel for the plaintiff, a media company, in a complex copyright infringement matter. We were able to achieve a successful settlement for our client.
- In United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, the firm represented the defendant in a multi-party trademark infringement matter. We were able to achieve a successful settlement for our client.
- In United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, (S.D.N.Y. 2000), affirmed by the Second Circuit, the firm was successful in achieving an award of summary judgment in favor of its defendant client in this trademark infringement.
- In the Superior Court of New Jersey, the firm represented plaintiff, a media company, in an action involving theft of trade secrets. Judgment was entered in favor of our client.
- The firm represented numerous defendants in three cases in which each of the plaintiff corporations alleged, among other things, fraud in connection with the creation, marketing and sale of thousands of corporate owned life insurance policies. Each of these highly complex cases was favorably settled. Eastman Kodak Company v. Hartford Life Insurance Co., et al., Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Morris County; American Greetings Corporation, et al. v. Hartford Life Insurance Company, et als. United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Civil Action No. 1:04-cv-0634; Trans World Entertainment Corporation, et als v. Hartford Life Insurance Company, et al., United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Civil Action.
- The firm represented a beneficiary of a Charitable Lead Trust regarding disputes in connection with the construction of the trust instrument. After a full trial, the trial court ruled in favor of our client. The trial court’s decision was affirmed by the Appellate Division (2006 WL 2370133 (App. Div. 2006)), and the matter was successfully decided for our client before the New Jersey Supreme Court on April 3, 2008. In the Matter of the John Seward Johnson 1961 Charitable Trust, Supreme Court of New Jersey.
- In the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Probate Part, Atlantic County, the firm defended a large financial institution against allegations of negligence in the management and administration of a trust. Plaintiff alleged damages in excess of $10-20 million dollars. The matter settled favorably on the eve of trial.
- In the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Camden County, the firm represented a large financial institution in defense of a class action matter. The matter settled favorably.
- Gallenthin v. Borough of Paulsboro, Supreme Court of New Jersey. The firm appeared as amicus curiae on behalf of the New Jersey League of Municipalities in this significant redevelopment matter.
- In the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Atlantic County the firm represented the plaintiff trustee of a liquidating trust alleging breach of a real estate contract concerning the sale of the Atlantic City racetrack. The matter involved issues of contract construction and the interpretation of the statutory provisions governing thoroughbred horse racing and off track betting. Following a bench trial, our client prevailed and was awarded a judgment in excess of $2,500,000.
- The firm represents Consolidated Edison in connection with the destruction of 7 World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. This case is pending. Consolidated Edison v. 7 World Trade Center Properties, et al. United States District Court, Southern District of New York.
- In the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the firm represented a university against a claim that it had violated the federal Family and Medical Leave Act by terminating the plaintiff for failing to provide a substantiating certification from her health care provider. We successfully moved for summary judgment on behalf of the university, and the District Court’s decision was affirmed by the Third Circuit.
- The firm represented the Township of North Brunswick on the issue of whether the Township was estopped from refusing to provide certain compensation and benefits that the Mayor promised to Director of Public Safety. Though the trial court granted the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment, we successfully appealed to the Appellate Division. Maltese v. Twp. of North Brunswick, Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County, Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division.
- In the Superior Court of New Jersey, Essex County, the firm represented a university against an age discrimination claim stemming from its failure to promote a faculty member from associate to full professor. Although our client ultimately prevailed on summary judgment, the noteworthy aspect of this case is that we successfully appealed the issue of whether a university is a public agency for purposes of the venue rule to the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
- In the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, the firm represented a university against claims of disability discrimination, gender discrimination, and retaliation under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. After moving for summary judgment, the litigation settled on terms very favorable to the university.
- In the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Burlington County, the firm represented a licensor against an employment claim by an employee of its licensee. We settled this litigation on terms favorable to our client.
- In the Superior Court of New Jersey, Monmouth County, Law Division, the firm represented the employer in a case in which the plaintiff alleges he was wrongfully terminated because of a disability. The case was favorably settled.
- In the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Somerset County, the firm represented the employer's law firm which had conducted a sexual harassment investigation and was sued for aiding and abetting a violation of the Law Against Discrimination. The issue was one of first impression in New Jersey and a motion to dismiss was granted. The matter settled prior to appeal.
- In the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, the firm represented the defendant employer in a retaliation case brought pursuant to the Law Against Discrimination. Partial summary judgment was granted and the case settled prior to trial.