Liddle & Robinson Attorneys at Law New York City

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On June 13, 2014, a Miami, Florida based FINRA arbitration Panel issued an Award in which it found Schroder Fund Advisors LLC and Jason Barger jointly and severally liable in the amount of $1,044,753, for tortiously interfering with Jorge Gutierrez’s business and professional relationships, and further ordered them to pay all forum and filing fees ($9,850). Mr. Gutierrez, L&R’s client, is an offshore wholesaler who previously worked at Schroder Fund Advisors LLC, and for Mr. Barger, and the case stemmed from their wrongful interference with his relationships with both his new employer, and a key client.

Subsequently, Schroder Fund Advisors LLC and Mr. Barger filed a Petition to Vacate the Award in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. L&R argued to that Court that it was an improper forum, and was selected to avoid controlling law in the proper District – the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida – that precluded the Petition to Vacate. On July 31, 2014, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York issued an Order in which it agreed to transfer the action to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Thereafter, Schroder Fund Advisors LLC and Mr. Barger paid the entirety of the Award, plus interest.

(FINRA Dispute Resolution No. 13-00793; Case 1:14-cv-4746-GHW)

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On June 26, 2012, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the trial court’s dismissal of Forest Park Pictures’ claim for breach of contract. In this case, the Appellate Court decided that the Federal Copyright Act did not preempt a breach of contract claim stemming from allegations that USA Network used Forest Park Pictures ideas to create and produce “Royal Pains” without compensating Forest Park Pictures. This article from The National Law Journal discusses the Second Circuit’s decision. : "Second Circuit: Suit over idea for 'Royal Pains' not pre-empted by copyright law"

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Liddle & Robinson L.L.P. won an arbitration award in favor of Colonial Oil Industries for breach of contract for the sale and delivery of two tankers of fuel oil (approximately 570,000 barrels of oil). The arbitration panel found that Masefield America intentionally breached the contract without justification by failing to deliver two cargos in September and October 2004. Although Colonial was able to cover the two missed deliveries, the price of oil had risen significantly, and Colonial was forced to pay a higher price for the replacement cargos. The panel awarded damages in the amount of (1) $3,503,795.30 for the additional cost that Colonial paid for the replacement cargos, (2) $98,799.42 for part of Colonials legal fees and costs, and (3) $85,000 for the cost of arbitration, together with 9% interest from November 17, 2004 until the award is paid.
On February 6, 2008, the Supreme Court of the State of New York confirmed the arbitration award, and on March 20, 2008 entered a judgment in favor of Colonial Oil Industries in the amount of $4,742,611.65.
Our firm served as co-trial counsel in representing First National Bank of Maryland in this lawsuit over a whether the plaintiff, Lazard Freres, was entitled to a residual fee in a leveraged lease transaction. Lazard brokered a leasing transaction under which four investors, including the First National Bank of Maryland, purchased a Boeing 747 and simultaneously leased the airplane to Philippine Airlines. Following a trial, the New York State Supreme Court dismissed Lazard's claims, primarily because the court accepted the bank's defense that no residual fee agreement had ever been negotiated. Lazard appealed, and the Appellate Division, First Department, upheld the lower court's dismissal of its claims.
In this groundbreaking case, our firm represented Drexel in pursuing a claim against two West German individuals for a margin debit balance of $230,000 in their securities account. Following the October 1987 stock market crash Drexel made several margin calls on the Ruebsamens options account, and the result of the various margin calls was a $230,000 debit balance. Drexel sought an order of attachment in New York State Supreme Court to set aside $250,000 in a separate brokerage account, pending the outcome of an arbitration concerning the margin balance that was to take place in Germany. The Court held that in order to obtain an attachment in aid of an arbitration proceeding, under Section 7502(c) of New Yorks Civil Practice Law and Rules, the party need only establish that an arbitration award would be rendered ineffectual absent an order of attachment or an injunction. This standard is significantly less difficult to meet than under circumstances where a litigant is seeking an attachment or injunction where no arbitration is involved. Thus, the decision added an important chapter to the law of arbitration by making available a significant remedy: a mechanism to preserve funds from which an award would be satisfied under circumstances where the award might otherwise be rendered meaningless, such as where the defendant is close to insolvency or resides outside the country. The Court ultimately denied Drexels request for an injunction, because an international convention, the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, precluded the pre-arbitration attachment sought by Drexel.

Lawyer(s): Jeffrey L. Liddle

In this novel case involving New York City's Rent Stabilization Law, our firm represented a cooperative corporation, its sponsor and a major shareholder, who owned a commercial building in New York City and who had invested large sums to renovate the building for use as a residential cooperative. The tenants asked the New York State Supreme Court to reform their commercial leases in order to encompass residential use, as well as a declaration that they were protected by the New York City Rent Stabilization Law, under which they argued they were entitled to remain in possession of the property under mandatory renewal leases. The Court concluded, after a lengthy and detailed analysis, that the tenants' claims were meritless. With a flourish, the Court stated [T]his is a classic case of tenants attempting to establish a legal basis for a more or less possessory interest in premises they do not own, while the owner tries to distinguish the housing accommodations from those for which the law mandates automatic renewal leases, the objective being handsome profit from cooperative conversion if he succeeds. Both sides are motivated by economic gain and characterized by opportunism; each side seeks to construe the law to its own advantage. In this instance, our clients, the property owners prevailed.

Lawyer(s): Jeffrey L. Liddle

In one of our earliest cases representing an individual, we defended the legendary fund manager David Solomon in an unfair competition/trade secret lawsuit First Investors filed against him in 1983. Mr. Solomon joined First Investors in 1973, and managed two of its mutual funds, including its equities First Investors Discovery Fund and its junk-bond mutual fund, the First Investors Fund for Income. In April 1983, Solomon decided to leave First Investors and form his own money management firm. A number of First Investor's employees also decided to leave and join Solomon's new firm. Sixteen days after Solomon left, First Investors sued him in federal court, seeking, among other things, an injunction barring him from competing with it. Discovery was conducted on an expedited basis between April 29, 1983 and May 8, 1983. United States District Court Judge Henry F. Werker conducted a two-day preliminary injunction hearing on May 9 and 10,1983. After First Investors rested its case-on-chief, Solomon asked the Court to deny the motion for an injunction. In a decision that permitted Solomon to continue in his business, Judge Werker denied First Investors' request for an injunction. A trial was held 8-years later before a different judge on First Investors' claim for monetary damages. Although the Court held that it was entitled to some damages, the damages awarded were but a fraction of the amount Solomon was able to earn in the interim, thanks to our efforts in 1983 to defeat the request for a preliminary injunction.

Lawyer(s): Jeffrey L. Liddle

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