In a widely watched case, a Manhattan judge ruled on April 1, 2016, that former partners cannot be held personally liable for the remainder of the office lease of Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, which had filed for bankruptcy in 2012. The landlord had sued hundreds of former partners of the law firm and its Dewey Ballantine predecessors to hold them individually liable for rent until the office lease expired in 2020 — up to $220 million. The court granted motions to dismiss the lawsuit based on the language of the lease and the criteria for personal liability of partners in a limited partnership. The decision is important for the lease obligations of law firm partners.
ECBAWM partner Dan Kornstein successfully represented 44 former Dewey Ballantine partners in the case.
ECBAWM lawyers Dan Kornstein and David Lebowitz recently won summary judgment for $195,000 plus interest for ECBAWM’s client Schlesinger & Company, LLC as plaintiff in a suit against WWP Office, LLC. The case, in Supreme Court, New York County, was for breach of a commercial real estate brokerage agreement by which our client was to receive additional commissions if the tenant exercised options to renew its lease. Defendant, which was not the original party to the brokerage agreement, argued it had not assumed the obligations to pay the commission. We submitted proof it had. The parties made cross-motions for summary judgment. Judge Cynthia Kern granted our motion in full.
On February 17, 2016, ECBAWM partner Dan Kornstein delivered a talk on Shakespeare at a program at the New York City Bar on “Litigation and Literature in the New York Courts: Shaw, Shakespeare & Sherlock” presented by the Historical Society of the New York Courts. The focus of Dan’s talk was Shakespeare Workshop v. Robert Moses, 8 A.D. 2d 343, 187 N.Y.S.2d 683 (1st Dep’t 1959), in which the Appellate Division unanimously reversed a lower court ruling that had dismissed an Article 78 proceeding by Joseph Papp to review NYC Parks Commissioner Moses’s refusal to permit free performances of Shakespeare in Central Park.
ECBAWM won an important victory on January 27, 2016, in a partnership dispute that is pending in New York Supreme Court, NWM Capital v. Mark Scharfman, et al. ECBAWM represents the defendants in the case, the general partners in four real estate partnerships, and the managing agent of apartment buildings in Washington Heights, among others. Plaintiff is a limited partner in the partnerships. The Court granted ECBAWM’s clients’ motion for summary judgment on the most significant claims in the complaint, finding that there was “no basis for these claims.” The Court also denied plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment in its entirety. The value of the dismissed claims, according to plaintiff, was tens of millions of dollars. ECBAWM attorneys Dan Kornstein and Sam Shapiro represent the defendants.
ECBAWM is pleased to announce that Daniel J. Kornstein has joined the firm as a partner. Mr. Kornstein is a distinguished and experienced trial lawyer and appellate advocate. In his 42 years practicing law, he has conducted over 100 trial-type proceedings (including 20 jury trials) and argued more than 70 appeals. His varied litigation practice spans many subject areas, including First Amendment, securities, commercial, banking and finance, trusts and estates, employment, product liability, family law, and international matters. Mr. Kornstein comes to ECBAWM from the prominent litigation boutique Kornstein Veisz Wexler & Pollard, LLP, which he founded. In addition to his primary focus on commercial litigation, Mr. Kornstein will be bringing defamation and constitutional law cases with him to ECBAWM.