We are proud of the results we have obtained for our clients. Here is just a sampling of some of significant reported decisions in cases handled by Arthur Lehman.
- In Fit and Fun Playscapes, LLC v. Sensory Path, Inc., No. 19-Civ-11697(NSR), 2022 WL 118257 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 12, 2022), our client, Sensory Path, had commenced an action in Mississippi for trademark infringement and for a declaratory judgment of non-infringement on Fit and Fun’s copyrights. The Mississippi Court dismissed the declaratory judgment action for lack of jurisdiction over an individual defendant, and Fit and Fun commenced a copyright infringement action in New York. We moved before the New York federal court to transfer the New York action to Mississippi under the “first filed” rule. The New York Court granted our motion and held that two cases were similar enough that they should be resolved in a single proceeding, and that Fit and Fun should assert its copyright claim as a counterclaim in the Mississippi action. The New York action was transferred, and the entire case settled shortly thereafter.
- In Lessin v. Piliaskas, 136 N.Y.S.3d 67, 188 A.D.3d 859 (2d Dept. 2020), our client was a co-owner of a corporation. The governing shareholders’ agreement provided that if either shareholder left the corporation, they would be paid an amount equal to one-half of the prior year’s profit. Our client left and sought his payment. The remaining shareholder insisted that the amount of the payment be determined only by reference to the corporation’s tax return, but our client argued that the profits of the corporation were actually greater. The Supreme Court held that our client was bound by the tax returns, but the Appellate Division reversed and held that our client was entitled to submit additional proof that might contradict the tax return. The action settled shortly after the reversal.
- In Cushman & Wakefield of Connecticut, Inc. v. Access Private Duty Services at HJDOI, Inc., et al., 60 N.Y.S.3d 826(Mem), 154 A.D.3d 826 (1st Dept. 2017), the Appellate Division affirmed the order of the Supreme Court granting our client summary judgment on its claim for breach of an exclusive broker’s agreement. The Court held that our client was entitled to its commission despite the fact that it was not involved in the subject transaction because the defendant had conducted direct negotiations with the landlord but failed to involve our client, although contractually bound to do so.
- V. M. Producoes, Publicidade e Participacoes, Ltd. v. Songs of Universal, Inc. (reported with consolidated case Jobim et al. v. Songs of Universal), 732 F.Supp.2d 407 (S.D.N.Y. 2010). We represented the plaintiff, the successor of the rights of a songwriter of several famous songs, in a contract dispute with its publisher. In its decision, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York granted in part our motion for partial summary judgment with respect to issues of liability, paving the way for the action to proceed with discovery on the issue of damages.
- In Simpson v. Cushman & Wakefield, Inc., et al., 128 A.D.3d 549 (1st Dept. 2015), the Supreme Court ordered that the plaintiff, who was the defendant’s former employee, was required to arbitrate his dispute with our client. In addition, the Supreme Court made certain orders concerning the conduct of the arbitration that were inconsistent with the parties’ arbitration agreement. The Appellate Division affirmed our position that the plaintiff was required to arbitrate his claims, and could not instead pursue remedies in court. In addition, the Appellate Division agreed with our argument on appeal and modified the order of the Supreme Court, and held that because the arbitration agreement governed, the plaintiff was not entitled to call and cross-examine witnesses.
- RMED International, Inc. v. Sloan’s Supermarkets, Inc., 185 F.Supp.2d 389 (S.D.N.Y. 2002). We represented the plaintiff class in a securities fraud class action. In this decision, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York denied part of the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, thereby permitting the action to go forward to trial on plaintiffs’ principal claims for securities fraud.
- RMED International, Inc. v. Sloan’s Supermarkets, Inc., Fed. Sec. L. Rep. 90,926, 2000 WL 310352 (S.D.N.Y. 2000), aff’d 2000 WL 420548 (S.D.N.Y. 2000). We represented the plaintiff class in a securities fraud class action. In this decision, the Magistrate Judge denied the defendants’ Daubert motion to bar testimony by plaintiffs’ expert witness on the issues of materiality and the damages suffered by the class. The decision of the Magistrate Judge was affirmed by the District Court.
- Odegard, Inc. v. Costikyan Classic Carpets, Inc., 963 F.Supp. 1328 (S.D.N.Y. 1997). We represented the plaintiff, the owner of three copyrights for designs used in hand-knotted Tibetan rugs. After a full trial on the merits, the Court found in favor of the plaintiff on the issue of copyright infringement, and awarded statutory damages, a permanent injunction, and attorneys’ fees in favor of the plaintiff.
- Howe v. The Readers Digest Association, 686 F. Supp. 461 (S.D.N.Y. 1988). We represented a defendant collection agency hired to collect debts owed to the defendant magazine by subscribers who failed to pay for their subscriptions. Plaintiff brought the action as a class action. We successfully obtained an award of summary judgment dismissing all of the plaintiff’s claims, brought under theories of RICO, violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Postal Reorganization Act, the New York General Business Law, and common law fraud.
- Harden v. Warner Amex Cable Communications, Inc., 642 F. Supp. 1080 (S.D.N.Y. 1986). We represented the plaintiff, a former chief financial officer of the defendant corporation, in an action seeking damages for breach of employment contract. We obtained an award of damages for the plaintiff that included lost salary, lost pension rights, vacation pay, insurance benefits, and an amount of accrued discretionary bonus, as estimated by the Court.
- Kinstler v. Saturday Evening Post Co., 507 F. Supp. 113 (S.D.N.Y. 1981). We represented the plaintiff, the owner of a copyright on a portrait of the actor John Wayne. The plaintiff had sued the parent corporation of the defendant magazine (which published the infringement) as well as the editor, a resident of Indiana. The Court denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss, on jurisdictional grounds, the parent corporation and non-resident editor. The case settled shortly after the decision.
Business and Commercial Litigation
Our client was a founder, director, and minority shareholder of a privately-held corporation. The applicable shareholders’ agreement gave our client certain supermajority rights with respect to operation of the corporation. When the majority shareholder locked our client out of the offices, denied him access to the corporation’s books and records, negotiated a new office lease and formed a new subsidiary without our client’s approval, and in other ways exceeded his powers, we obtained a preliminary injunction in New York State Supreme Court barring further violations of the shareholders’ agreement and restoring all of our client’s rights.
A large multinational corporation hired our client, a company experienced in web design, to develop a web site for the corporation. After our client completed a substantial amount of the work, a dispute arose concerning some of the technical and creative aspects of the project, and the corporation withheld payment on nearly $1 million worth of our client’s invoices. Our client commenced a lawsuit. Because of the large number of witnesses involved, discovery promised to be very expensive in relation to the amount at issue, so the parties agreed to mediate their dispute. After a one day mediation, our client received a settlement of more than 85% of the amount of its claim.
A high level officer of our client, a $75 million private company, claimed that he had an agreement under which he was entitled to an equity share in the company and a share in the profits. He sued our client, the sole owner of the company, in federal court on a variety of theories, including RICO and breach of contract. After discovery, we obtained an order of summary judgment dismissing the complaint on several grounds, and no appeal was taken.
A financial officer of one of our clients, an international not-for-profit corporation, made an unauthorized and highly speculative investment of nearly $2 million in response to a high-pressure cold canvass call from a disreputable securities firm. After a lengthy negotiation, but without filing a public lawsuit, we recovered 100% of the investment for our client.
Our client, a public company engaged in the baby diaper business, purchased a component made in a chemical process developed by a large chemical company. After completely designing a new diaper based on the component, our client learned of undisclosed safety concerns related to the chemical process. Our client immediately issued a product recall, and lost its investment of more than $3 million in its new product. We filed a lawsuit in California on behalf of our client, and, on the day of trial, negotiated a settlement in which our client recovered its entire lost investment.
Our client, a wealthy individual investor, agreed to purchase a company. As the closing approached, the seller refused to consummate the transaction, and insisted on a purchase price increase. We commenced a lawsuit, and, after a trial, obtained an order directing the seller to transfer the company to our client at the original purchase price.
The owner of a prominent commercial building in Manhattan, together with its real estate broker, negotiated with the broker of a potential tenant for a lease of space in the building. When the transaction failed to close, the tenant’s broker sued the owner and its broker for a commission, claiming that bad faith actions of the defendants resulted in the deal failing to close. After discovery, we obtained summary judgment in favor of both the owner and its broker, and the entire case was dismissed.
A regional convention and visitors bureau was dominated by the owners of a large modern hotel; as a result, the most lucrative conventions were steered to that hotel. Our client, an owner of several hotel properties and a member of the convention and visitors bureau, brought a lawsuit in federal court under the antitrust laws and other laws regarding competition. We negotiated a settlement before trial that included adoption of procedures designed to spread convention business fairly among all of the members of the convention and visitors bureau.
Our client, a foreign engineering firm, submitted a bid to construct one component of a large power plant in Asia. Our client’s former business partner contacted the general contractor of the power plant project and made disparaging comments about our client, and our client lost the contract. We instituted an action in federal court in Florida for trade disparagement and tortious interference with business relations, and, after depositions throughout the United States, England, India, and Malaysia, settled the action for more than the entire amount of the profit lost by our client.
Our client, a German real estate advisory services company, identified a potential acquisition target for a large German manager of real estate investment funds. The investment fund consummated the acquisition, but refused to compensate our client. We commenced an action in New York, arguing that German law (which was more favorable) governed the transaction. The investment fund commenced its own action in Germany. Both actions were resolved together in a manner that was favorable to our client.
One of our clients from a Central American country borrowed a substantial amount of money from a Japanese bank with an office in New York for his business in Central America, and provided certain personal guarantees. When a dispute arose regarding repayment of the loan and threatened suit on the personal guarantees, we worked closely with our client’s counsel in Central America and advised our client on liability of individuals for the acts of the corporation under American law, jurisdiction of American courts over foreign nationals, and enforcement of judgment issues. Based on this advice, our client negotiated a favorable settlement of all of the outstanding claims.
When our Kenyan client borrowed money from a Kenyan branch of a New York bank, the principal owner of the Kenyan client gave a personal guarantee of the obligation in the form of a letter of credit drawn against his bank account in Switzerland. After the Kenyan bank drew on the Swiss letter of credit based on a disputed interpretation of the Kenyan loan agreement, we were engaged by the Kenyan company to commence an action against the bank in New York. We worked with our client’s lawyers in Kenya and Switzerland and reviewed all of the relevant loan documents, and determined that an action could be maintained in Kenya, Switzerland, or New York. Based on our conclusions, we recommended that our client bring its lawsuit in Kenya or Switzerland, where the substantive law was more favorable
A key employee of our client, an advertising company, left our client’s employ and started up a competing company. When he left, the former employee took images of completed advertising campaigns from our client’s files and posted them to the web site of the new competitive company that he started, falsely suggesting that the images portrayed the activities of the former employee. We quickly commenced an action in federal court asserting violations of the laws respecting copyright, trademark, false advertising, and unfair competition, and obtained a resolution in which the images were removed from the web site.
Our client registered a domain name in 1996, but never used the name on a web site. In 2007, another company brought proceedings to acquire the name for its own use. We commenced an action under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act alleging reverse domain name hijacking. After a period of intensive discovery, the parties terminated the lawsuit pursuant to a confidential settlement, to our client’s satisfaction.
A competitor of one of our clients in the wedding favor business brought a declaratory judgment action seeking a ruling that our client could not obtain copyright protection for its picture frames, wedding candles, and other wedding favors. On behalf of our client, we asserted counterclaims for copyright infringement and unfair competition. We resolved the action in a manner to our client’s satisfaction that upheld the validity of our client’s copyrights.
We represented a fruit beverage manufacturer. One of the officers of the company left the company and began distributing a competing product using labels that were similar to the labels on our client’s product. We commenced a lawsuit in federal court alleging trademark and trade dress infringement and unfair competition, and obtained an immediate injunction barring our client’s former officer from using the similar product labels and designs.
A competitor of one of our clients, a public manufacturing and sales company, distributed a competing product in packaging that contained unsupported health and environmental claims. We commenced an action in federal court in Connecticut under the false advertising provisions of the Lanham Act, and negotiated a settlement in which the competitor completely removed all of the offensive health and environmental claims from its packaging and advertising.
Our client was the president of a division of a well-known public company who was recruited to become the president of another public company. In order to accept the new position, our client was forced to give up $2 million in vested benefits with his old employer, so the new employer agreed to provide a comparable benefit. When the new employer reorganized and tried to change our clients title and reporting relationships, we sued. After four days of trial in federal court in Manhattan, and on the morning of summation to the jury, the new employer agreed to make a substantial payment to our client to settle the case.
Our clients, two high level employees in an Internet business, who were not bound by any contractual restrictions, left their employer and started up a competing company. Shortly thereafter, the former employer sought an injunction barring our clients from continuing in their new business. We defeated the motion for a preliminary injunction, and our clients went on to build a successful business.
Our client, a large privately-held advertising agency, hired two employees from a competitor, and the competitor sought an injunction in Illinois barring the employees from working for our client. After defeating the motion for preliminary injunction, we established in discovery that the employees did not use their former employer’s trade secrets while working for our client and most of the alleged trade secrets were available from public sources. The competitor voluntarily discontinued the action against our client, and our client did not pay anything in settlement.