Recent Representative Cases
Walnut Street Associates v. Brokerage Concepts (PA. Supreme Ct.)
Bazelon Less & Feldman attorneys A. Richard Feldman and Lisa Barton won a major victory for their client in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2011 in Walnut Street Associates v. Brokerage Concepts, Inc. 20 A.3d 468 (Pa.2011). The case involved a tortious interference claim that was based upon true statements in a letter. In a matter of first impression, the Supreme Court agreed with BLF’s client and ruled that truthful statements - even if made with the intent to harm - cannot form the basis for a claim of tortious interference with contractual relations.
Legal Malpractice Defense (Phila. Com. Pl.)
BLF lawyers Richard Bazelon, Noah Charlson, and Cary Joshi represented a large law firm and one of its senior lawyers in a legal malpractice action brought by the law firm's former client following an unsuccessful trial. The prior action had survived successive motions for summary judgment based on substantial constitutional defenses. In the malpractice action, BLF, on behalf of the law firm, asserted a counterclaim for unpaid fees. In 2011, after extensive depositions and discovery established that the malpractice case was meritless, the claims were voluntarily withdrawn with prejudice, and the client's counterclaim for unpaid fees was satisfied in full.
Interstate Realty Management Company v. Community Realty Management Company (N.J. Super. Atlantic Co.)
Bazelon Less & Feldman attorneys Jeffrey Less and Noah Charlson won a multi-million dollar plaintiff's verdict in this breach-of-contract case between two real estate management companies. This case concerned an agreement to share management commissions for five real estate projects developed by the plaintiff's owner. Although summary judgment was granted against plaintiff in 2007, BLF successfully appealed the decision to the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court, which reversed the summary judgment and remanded the case for trial. In 2009, the case was tried for nine days before an 8-member jury, which returned a unanimous verdict for the plaintiff.
401K Plans v. AIG (M.D. Tenn.)
BLF attorney Richard Bazelon represented fourteen 401(k) Plans in a case against the securities firm (AIG) whose registered agent had pleaded guilty to fraud and then filed for bankruptcy. Defendant counterclaimed against the Plan’s trustees for contribution and other relief. On behalf of the Plans and the Trustees, BLF moved to dismiss the counterclaims, which were based on state law, on the ground that they were preempted by ERISA. In January, 2011 the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee dismissed the counterclaims against the trustees, noting that there was no controlling authority supporting AIG's counterclaims. The Plans subsequently obtained a favorable settlement on their claims against AIG.
Capewell et. al. v. Ameriprise Financial, GunnAllen Inc., et. al. (FINRA Arbitration).
BLF attorneys Cord Clayton and Tina Reger successfully represented a group of 16 individual investors who were victimized in a Ponzi scheme run by their investment broker. After a multi-week consolidated arbitration proceeding, BLF obtained a plaintiffs' verdict in October 2010 against both of the brokerage houses that had employed the miscreant broker, holding them jointly and severally liable for losses suffered by most of BLF's clients, plus interest. BLF recovered damages against the first of the broker's two employers, Ameriprise, even as to funds the broker misappropriated many years after leaving its employ.
Law Professors v. West Publishing (E.D. Pa.)
In December, 2010, a federal jury awarded law professors David Rudovsky (University of Pennsylvania Law School) and Leonard Sosnov (Widener Law School) $90,000 each in compensatory damages and $2.5 million each in punitive damages, for a total damage award of $5.18 million in a defamation case against West Publishing Company. The jury found that West falsely represented that the plaintiffs were the authors of substandard publications that were not prepared by them. The District Court denied West’s post-trial motions as to liability and compensatory damages, but reduced punitive damages to $110,000 for each professor. Plaintiffs also obtained injunctive relief. The case is currently on appeal. Richard Bazelon, Noah Charlson and Michael Harris prepared and tried the case.
Oxford Valley Crossing v. PennDOT (Bucks Co. Com. Pl.)
On September 17, 2009, following a four-day jury trial, a verdict was returned in this condemnation case in favor of BLF client Oxford Crossing Associates in the amount of $1,050,000, representing condemnation damages as of the date of taking on June 12, 2001. The case involved issues concerning "severance damages," that is, the extent to which the taking of a portion of a property affects the value of the entire property. The award was very close to the amount which BLF's client was seeking. Richard Bazelon and Helen Heifets were the trial attorneys for the condemnee.
Trustees of Princeton University v. Skanska USA Building, Inc. et al. (N.J. Super. Ct. Mercer Co.)
BLF attorneys Jeffrey Less and Lisa Barton represented Princeton University in a major construction defect lawsuit in New Jersey involving a new building on the University's campus. The architect and five subcontractors were subsequently joined to the case, in addition to the construction manager. The case involved issues of both design and construction. After initial discovery and several lengthy mediation efforts, BLF obtained a very favorable settlement in 2010 for the University.
Construction Defect Claims
BLF attorneys Jeffrey Less and Lisa Barton represented a national real estate investment trust in asserting major construction defect claims against various companies with regard to a large new warehouse building in Wisconsin and separately with regard to a complete renovation and expansion of an office building in Washington, DC. After initial exchanges of information, and private mediation on the Washington, DC matter, both claims were settled on terms that were favorable for our client. In other matters, BLF attorneys Jeffrey Less, Helen Heifets, and Noah Charlson are currently representing a major university on several large construction defect claims involving different buildings, and also completed the representation in federal district court of another major university in defending against major cost overrun and delay claims.