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One of the region’s largest, most experienced groups of commercial trial lawyers, our Litigation Department has achieved success in hundreds of trials in state and federal courts.  Throughout New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Texas and Florida we are recognized as a “bet the company” litigation team.  We frequently arbitrate and mediate as alternatives to litigation.  We also counsel our clients on how to avoid litigation.  First and foremost, our clients see us as problem solvers.

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Litigation Representative Matters

  • Successfully obtained a reversal in the Appellate Division and then decision from the New Jersey Supreme Court, in favor our client in an eminent domain matter where our clients’ property was taken from them, as the Court determined, without constitutional just compensation, based on the valuation date used by the trial court and advocated by the municipality taking the property.

  • Recovered a substantial judgment on behalf of a surety client against the State of New Jersey after a 10-day bench trial and a 175-page written decision.  The Court found that the State had improperly terminated our client from the renovation of a state building after our client had funded substantial work, refusing to pay our client for such work, and rejecting the State’s counterclaims based on the work performed by the State’s substitute completion contractor.

  • Represented a national retailer of fine jewelry, in a breach of contract action relating to the production of a line of jewelry allegedly licensed by a celebrity.  We defeated a motion by the manufacturer seeking to prevent our client from selling that jewelry, and the matter settled shortly thereafter favorably to our client.

  • Obtained a judgment for a client declaring the non-infringement and invalidity of a real estate tax patent owned by another company, which determination we were able to successfully defend on appeal before the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

  • Represented a New Jersey state authority against a multi-million dollar claim that it had negligently failed to require that a payment bond be posted under the New Jersey Bond Act for a particular major development project.  We obtained dismissal of the claim by written decision based on numerous grounds, including a lack of jurisdiction by the trial court, the inapplicability of the Bond Act and immunity under the Tort Claims Act.

  • On behalf of an employer client, we obtained a temporary restraining order preventing its former employee from (1) violating his non-compete agreement by working for one of the client’s competitors; (2) disclosing any of our client’s confidential and proprietary information to any other person or entity; (3) soliciting or communicating with any of our client’s competitor’s clients; and (4) ordering that the former employee immediately return all confidential and proprietary information to our client.  This decision led to the negotiation of a settlement on very favorable terms.

  • Successfully represented an individual removed as a Director of a non-profit corporation for alleged misconduct.  Following an eight-day bench trial, our client prevailed and obtained all of the relief requested in the Complaint, which led to our client’s reinstatement as a member of the Board of Directors and as a Trustee, and the by-laws and member list advanced by our client were declared to govern.

  • Concluding nine years of litigation, the New Jersey Supreme Court affirmed the prior decisions we obtained in the Appellate Division, trial court and in arbitration in favor of our client, the majority owner of an automobile dealership chain, against the minority owner who was ousted.

  • At trial, we succeeded in establishing equal ownership for our client in a group of large, closely held businesses and obtained a judgment directing the forced sale of the opposing shareholder's interests.  Then, on appeal, we obtained favorable valuation rulings, as the Appellate Division recognized a key man marketability discount in the first reported New Jersey case applying such a discount.

After nearly two years of litigation, and following several days of trial, Cole Schotz litigators Michael R. Yellin and Patricia C. Schiraldi secured the dismissal of all 12 counts asserted against USA Interiors LLC, a general contractor headquartered in Hackensack, New Jersey. The plaintiff, a former subcontractor, sued USA Interiors alleging, among other things, that the company violated billing agreements and otherwise engaged in fraudulent billing practices. The Court held that Cole Schotz established its client’s full compliance with the terms of the parties’ agreements and that the plaintiff was not entitled to any form of recovery—a complete victory.

After over five years of hard-fought litigation and a twenty day arbitration evidentiary hearing, Cole Schotz obtained a $63 million arbitration award on behalf of its private investment fund client. Through the arbitration, our client sought enforcement of its security interests against a defaulted borrower, payment under an insurance policy designed to mitigate the loss resulting from such a default, as well as recoupment of its collateral misappropriated by the borrower’s attorneys.

By way of background, our investment fund client provided a $25 million loan to a borrower to support a patent infringement litigation program protected by comprehensive security interests in all of the borrower’s assets. An insurance policy covering the potential loss of the loan principal in the event the borrower defaulted further secured the loan. When the patent enforcement program failed to generate sufficient revenues to timely repay our client’s loan, the borrower defaulted. In addition, the law firm representing the borrower misappropriated the only recoveries obtained from the patent litigation program, paying those funds to itself for claimed outstanding legal fees, instead of surrendering those funds to our client pursuant to its security interests.

After three years of state court litigation in New York (Supreme and Appellate Division) followed by two additional years of arbitration proceedings, the Cole Schotz litigation team scored a sweeping victory on all of our client’s claims, securing an award for the full amount of the damages caused by the borrower, insurance company, and the law firm, totaling over $63 million. In addition, Cole Schotz further obtained reimbursement of our client’s arbitration expenses, as well as 65% of its attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in connection with the arbitration.

The team procuring the win for our client included Michael Sirota, Steven Klepper, Victoria Cioppettini, Lauren Manduke, Barry Schwartz, Neoma Ayala, Rachel Mongiello, and paralegals Kathleen Sermabekian and Karen Chiandusse. When the borrower filed for bankruptcy protection in Virginia in an attempt to evade the arbitration process, David Bass, G. David Dean, and paralegal Fran Pisano assisted the litigation team in procuring a full dismissal of that Chapter 11 proceeding.


A New Jersey Tax Court judge ruled that the State of New Jersey is obligated to act with integrity and comply with its deliberate representations that lottery winnings were not subject to income tax, therefore barring them from taxing annuity payments of our client’s $46 million lottery winnings.

On June 9, 2000, our client, Melvin Milligan won the top prize in the Big Game Drawing totaling approximately $46 million. When Mr. Milligan won and claimed his New Jersey Lottery prize, winnings from the New Jersey Lottery were specifically excluded by statute from taxable income under the New Jersey Gross Income Tax Act, N.J.S.A. § 54A:l-l, et seq. After consulting with counsel, and in reliance on the State tax laws in existence at that time, Mr. Milligan opted to receive his prize in 26 annual installments of approximately $1,769,000 each.

Mr. Milligan received the agreed-upon installments without issue until 2009, when the State of New Jersey amended the law to subject New Jersey Lottery winnings over $10,000 to the New Jersey Gross Income Tax. This amendment was enacted on June 29, 2009, but made effective retroactively as of January 1, 2009. As a result, beginning tax period 2009, and every year thereafter, Mr. Milligan and his wife, Kimberly-Lawton Milligan, began reporting the New Jersey Lottery winnings as income and paying the applicable tax in excess of $133,000 each year. The Milligans disputed New Jersey’s right to collect income tax on their prize money – a prize won over nine years before the change in the law – and filed a lawsuit against the State of New Jersey, Division of Taxation and State of New Jersey, Division of Lottery. The Milligans alleged breach of contract, violations of both the United States Constitution and New Jersey State Constitution, violations of the common-law “manifest injustice” and “square corners” doctrines, and sought reversal of their denied refund claims.

On September 26, 2016, the Honorable Judge DeAlmeida granted the Milligans partial summary judgment based on the square corners doctrine which states, in essence, that in dealing with the public the government must act with integrity and “turn square corners”. Reversing the final determinations of the Division of Taxation, the Court concluded that the State is prohibited from imposing gross income tax on the Milligan’s winnings from a 2000 New Jersey lottery prize received in installments in 2009 and later years. The Court further explained that although the 2009 amendment allows for gross income taxes on lottery prizes, the retroactive extension of state income tax to our client’s winnings is barred by such doctrine because it is indisputable that in 2000 state lottery officials actively and intentionally represented to the public that winnings were not subject to New Jersey gross income tax. These representations “became part of the contractual agreement” between the State and Milligan, who elected to receive his winnings in installments over a 26 year period with the understanding that the payments would not be subject to income tax.

In addition to the Milligans, this firm represents over two dozen other plaintiffs who are similarly challenging the State’s retroactive taxation on their lottery winnings. The Court’s ruling in Milligan applies across the board to our other clients.

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The DOL Adopts New FMLA Protections for Same-Sex Couples

Employment Law Monitor March 3, 2015

Wage-Based Claims: Employer Liability After 'Ryan'

New York Law Journal February 23, 2015

2014 Year in Review: Litigation

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Analytics Could Change How We Litigate

New Jersey Law Journal October 3, 2014

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Courts Reverse Trend on Interpretation of § 303(b)(1)

American Bankruptcy Institute October 2014

Increasing Stat Analysis in Lower Courts

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Maintaining Electronically Stored Information Forever Is Risky Business

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Information Governance: The Institutional Hot Potato

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Jenny Yampolsky, Comment, New Criminal Defense Tools Leveling the Playing Field: Wanted Posters on the Internet

32 N.E.J. on Crim. & Civ. Con. 279 (2006). August 11, 2013

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New Jersey Law Journal May 21, 2012

Social media considered a digital smoking gun in emerging legal cases

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Facebook competition has Broward school suing other schools

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Many Florida claims in BP oil spill are denied, others slowed

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$500,000 Facebook contest fuels school feud

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Will Cutting State of Emergency Hurt Claims

Daily Business Review September 7, 2010

Hollywood Center Retains Title to Facility for Domestic Violence Victims

Sun-Sentenel February 21, 2010

Anti-Takeover Measures in Ebay vs. Craigslist: How Much Is Too Much?

Corporate Counselor February 2010

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New York Law Journal January 4, 2010

Retaining Lien: A Useful Tool in Uncertain Economic Times

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Testing the Validity of Assignments

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'No Fault' Removal of an LLC Member

New Jersey Law Journal April 10, 2006

Discovery, Retention and Spoliation of E-evidence

New Jersey Law Journal April 28, 2003

Complex Litigation: Attorney-Client Privilege,

New Jersey Law Journal March 3, 2003

FAA Noise Regulations: Spurring Innovation in Supersonic Flight

New York City Bar Association Aeronautics Newsletter November 2017

LLC Dissolution: A More Demanding Process

New York Law Journal July 13, 2015

Can a Debtor Force a Secured Creditor To Accept "Dirt for Debt"?

The Practical Real Estate Lawyer July 1, 2015

e-Discovery: Not Just for Litigators

Women Lawyers in Bergen Spring 2015 Newsletter May 19, 2015

The DOL Adopts New FMLA Protections for Same-Sex Couples

Employment Law Monitor March 3, 2015

Wage-Based Claims: Employer Liability After 'Ryan'

New York Law Journal February 23, 2015

2014 Year in Review: Litigation

Texas Lawyer December 15, 2014

Analytics Could Change How We Litigate

New Jersey Law Journal October 3, 2014

Mediation Strategies and Considerations

Today's General Counsel October 2014

Courts Reverse Trend on Interpretation of § 303(b)(1)

American Bankruptcy Institute October 2014

Increasing Stat Analysis in Lower Courts

Texas Lawyer September 24, 2014

The Importance of Selecting the Best Fiduciary

New Jersey Law Journal July 24, 2014

How to Finance the Future

Ski Area Management Magazine, March 2014 Issue March 10, 2014

Maintaining Electronically Stored Information Forever Is Risky Business

Law Technology News March 6, 2014

Information Governance: The Institutional Hot Potato

Corporate Compliance Insights September 11, 2013

Jenny Yampolsky, Comment, New Criminal Defense Tools Leveling the Playing Field: Wanted Posters on the Internet

32 N.E.J. on Crim. & Civ. Con. 279 (2006). August 11, 2013

Collecting Electronically Stored Information

New Jersey Law Journal May 21, 2012

Social media considered a digital smoking gun in emerging legal cases

South Florida Business Journal December 23, 2011

South Florida's 'proximity' to oil spill lies in tourist perceptions

Daily Business Review May 24, 2011

The do's and don'ts of filing BP oil spill claims

Daily Business Review February 9, 2011

Facebook competition has Broward school suing other schools

Sun-Sentenel November 30, 2010

Facebook competition has Broward school suing other schools

Sun-Sentenel November 30, 2010

At Risk for Incarceration: Women in Poverty, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Medicaid

32 Women’s Rts. L. Rep. 81 Fall, 2010

Many Florida claims in BP oil spill are denied, others slowed

South Florida Business Journal November 5,2010

$500,000 Facebook contest fuels school feud

Daily Business Review October 14, 2010

Will Cutting State of Emergency Hurt Claims

Daily Business Review September 7, 2010

Hollywood Center Retains Title to Facility for Domestic Violence Victims

Sun-Sentenel February 21, 2010

Anti-Takeover Measures in Ebay vs. Craigslist: How Much Is Too Much?

Corporate Counselor February 2010

Contracting Party Acting in Bad Faith?

New York Law Journal January 4, 2010

Retaining Lien: A Useful Tool in Uncertain Economic Times

New York Law Journal December 16, 2009

Testing the Validity of Assignments

Construction Executive December 2009

'No Fault' Removal of an LLC Member

New Jersey Law Journal April 10, 2006

Discovery, Retention and Spoliation of E-evidence

New Jersey Law Journal April 28, 2003

Complex Litigation: Attorney-Client Privilege,

New Jersey Law Journal March 3, 2003

 

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