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LEONARD F. LESSER

Partner: llesser@simonlesser.com

Biography

Len specializes in complex commercial and tort litigation.

Len prosecutes and defends business litigation in federal and state courts around the country, and arbitration tribunals administered by JAMS, AAA, ICDR, FINRA, and other ADR providers.  He focuses on copyright, trademark, trade secret and unfair competition litigation; fraud, fiduciary duty and business tort claims; partnership, joint venture, shareholder, and LLC member disputes; corporate transaction, post-closing, and busted deal disputes; contract and UCC disputes; banking and financial services litigation; securities litigation; insurance disputes; real estate disputes; and employment litigation.  He also prosecutes and defends toxic tort, product liability, premises liability, personal injury and property damage claims.

Len is AV-Preeminent® rated by Martindale-Hubbell, and has been recognized and selected for inclusion in New York Metro Super Lawyers® for the years 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. This survey, published by Thomson Reuters, honors the top five (5%) percent of New York City-based attorneys.  Len was recognized by Global Law Experts as Copyright Lawyer of the Year in New York in 2013; by ACQ (Acquisition Finance) Magazine as Copyright Lawyer of the Year in New York for 2014 and 2015; by Corporate Int'l Magazine Global Awards as Copyright Lawyer of the Year in New York in 2014 and 2015; and by Corporate LiveWire as Copyright Lawyer of the Year for 2015 and 2016.

Notable Representations

  • L&R Exploration Venture v. Grynberg, 927 N.Y.S.2d 816 (NY Sup. 2011), aff’d, 90 A.D.3d 538, 934 N.Y.S.2d 707 (1st Dep’t 2011); L&R Exploration Venture  v. Grynberg, 2009 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 3949 (NY Sup. 2009); L&R Exploration Venture v. Grynberg, 804 N.Y.S.2d 286 (1st Dep’t 2005).  Successfully defended oil & gas joint venture participants against claims asserted by managing partner, and obtained multimillion dollar Court confirmed arbitration award against managing partner for breach of fiduciary duty. Also obtained contempt judgment and attorney fee award against managing partner for violation of anti-suit injunction. Following the New York judgments entered against the tycoon, Len successfully tried an alter-ego and fraudulent conveyance case in Colorado against the tycoon’s businesses, resulting in another multimillion dollar judgment and attorney fee award, affirmed on appeal.  L&R Exploration v. Grynberg, 2014 Colo. App. LEXIS 175 (Colo. App. Jan. 30, 2014), cert. denied, 2014 Colo. LEXIS 1153 (Colo. Dec. 22, 2014). See Tycoon Held in Contempt for Failure to Honor Judgment; Ordered to Pay Fine, Attorney's Fees, NYLJ Apr. 27, 2011. Click to view NYLJ article.

  • Successfully represented the seller of telecommunication product businesses in defense of post-closing claims asserted by the buyer, including claims that seller misrepresented the value of inventory as part of the sale. After defeating the buyer's claim for fraud based rescission of the entire transaction, as well as the agreement's arbitration provision (Asset Mgmt. Assocs. v. Emerson Telcom. Prods. LLC, 08-CV-2506, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9434 [E.D.N.Y., Jan. 25, 2011]), the dispute was arbitrated in 2013 before a forensic accounting examiner. The Arbitrator ultimately rejected the buyer's claims for $3.9 million and found in favor of seller on its claims for a post-closing adjustment. On January 9, 2014, the Court entered Judgment against the buyer for $1.9 million. (Asset Management Associates of New York, Inc. v. Emerson Telecommunication Products, LLC, 08-cv-2128 [U.S.D.C., E.D.N.Y.]); see also Asset Mgmt. Assoc. of N.Y., Inc. v. Emerson Telecom. Prods. LLC, 2014 NY Jury Verdict Review LEXIS 5 (E.D.N.Y., Jan. 9, 2014). More recently, in 2015, following a separate federal court trial in a related breach of contract action, Len obtained another Judgment and attorney fee award of $2 million for his client against the buyer. Emerson Electric Co. v. Asset Management Associates of New York, Inc., 08-cv-1489, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98401 (E.D.N.Y., July 28, 2015). Click to view Jury Verdict Reporter article.
  • Obtained defense verdict after jury trial in May of 2014 on behalf of a global developer, manufacturer, and distributor of plastic joining, industrial cleaning, and ultrasonics processing equipment. The plaintiff claimed she suffered traumatic brain injuries and other damages resulting from an accident on the defendant's property. After trial, the Court granted directed verdict to the defense on 3 of 5 counts, and the jury then rendered a defense verdict on the two remaining counts. Click to view article.
  • Barnes v. Countrywide Home Loans, Index No. 27734/00 (N.Y. Sup. 2004).  Obtained dismissal after trial on behalf of a national mortgage lender on fraud and deceptive trade practices claims in connection with the sale of FHA-financed homes.

  • Boyd v. Loeb Partners Corp., 97-cv-03970 (S.D.N.Y. 1999).  Obtained defense verdict after trial on behalf of a premier New York City investment firm on claims for fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and unfair competition in connection with the acquisition of a British technology company.

  • Corneroli v. Borghi, 783 N.Y.S.2d 572 (1st Dep’t 2004).  Obtained dismissal after trial, affirmed on appeal, for prominent New York City art dealer against claims for fraud and conversion.

  • Christopher v. PharmaStem, Inc., 824 N.Y.S.2d 761 (N.Y.Sup. 2006):  Successfully prosecuted action for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and deceptive business practices against umbilical cord blood preservation company which issued communication to obstetricians around the nation threatening claims for patent infringement if they collected cord blood for patients who intended to preserve with competitors.  Click to view AAJ article.

  • Nimir v. Nassau Health Care, Index No. 8943/08 (NY Sup., Nassau Co. 2012).  Successfully represented estate of a 15-year old boy who, while remanded for in-patient psychiatric treatment and evaluation at a New York area hospital pediatric psychiatry ward, and on suicide observation, was left alone in the boy's shower room wearing and carrying hospital pants with drawstrings which he used to strangle himself.  Click to view Jury Verdict Reporter article.

  • Spielman v. Grace Gospel Church of Suffolk, Inc., 77 A.D.3d 816, 910 N.Y.S.2d 105 (2d Dep't 2010), leave denied, 2011 N.Y. LEXIS 1479 (2011).  Obtained appellate reversal of denial of motion to dismiss claims asserted against a Church in connection with alleged sexual misconduct by a pastor.  See Half-Sisters Lose Bid to Sue Church Over Affair with Pastor, NYLJ, Oct. 25, 2010. Click to view NYLJ article.

  • Robinson. v. Viacom Int’l, 663 N.Y.S.2d 817 (1st Dep’t 1997).  Obtained summary judgment, affirmed on appeal, on behalf of Viacom and MTV Networks dismissing claims for copyright infringement and alleged theft of an idea for a television sitcom.

  • R.C. Layne, Inc. v. Stratton Oakmont, Inc., 651 N.Y.S.2d 973 (1st Dep’t 1996). Obtained landmark decision from the First Department reversing lower court and upholding punitive damages awarded in a securities fraud arbitration.  See Panel Permits Punitive Award in Arbitration, NYLJ Dec. 30, 1996. Click to view article.

  • Egar v. Congregation Talmud Torah, 885 N.Y.S.2d 711 (NY Sup., Queens Co. 2009). Obtained summary judgment dismissing traumatic head injury claim involving a hospital patient's trip and fall allegedly caused by a downed synagogue's "eruv" wire located on hospital property. See Court Says Temple Had No Notice of Fallen Eruv, Dismisses Trip Suit, NYLJ, May 5, 2009. Click to view article.
  • Ehrens v. Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, 385 F.3d 232 (2d Cir. 2004).  Obtained summary judgment, affirmed on appeal, on behalf of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod on claims based on an alleged sexual assault upon a minor by a retired pastor.

  • Kruse v. Wells Fargo, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26092 (E.D.N.Y. 2006).  Obtained summary judgment dismissing putative class action alleging overcharges and mark ups for mortgage settlement services in violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA).

  • Successfully represented financial services companies in defense of several putative class action claims based upon: alleged violations of the Fair Debt Collection Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692; alleged deceptive business practices in connection with the servicing of sub-prime mortgage loans; and in connection with the alleged overcharging of mortgage payoff statements.

  • Priya Hospitality LLC v. Patel, 2011 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 2768 (N.Y. Sup. 2011):   Successfully represented members of limited liability companies that develop and operate hotel properties in connection with claims against former managing member for embezzlement, conversion, fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.

  • Thermo Wisconsin v. Langbein & Engelbracht GmbH, 99-CV-165 (Wisconsin Circuit Court, Outagamie Co.):  Obtained a TRO on behalf of Fortune 500 industrial products corporation against its former senior managers that left the company for a competitor and then hired former employer’s senior sales staff.

  • Zapolski/Rudd, LLC v. The Setai Group, LLC, 08 Civ. 5445 (S.D.N.Y. 2008).  Obtained and collected substantial judgment against hotel developer on breach of contract claims involving financing agreement for hotel and commercial development property.

  • Successfully represented national newspaper and sports publication business in complex price reset arbitration in connection with a perpetual license agreement.

  • Successfully represented international infrastructure consulting firm in connection with claims against publicly traded global investment and diversified banking and financial services company for breach of a consulting and fund placement fee agreement in connection with the establishment of a foreign infrastructure fund.

  • Successfully defended national media distribution company against copyright infringement claims concerning sale and distribution of rap music film.

  • Successfully represented global pharmaceutical company in complex international arbitration proceeding concerning termination of multi-product joint venture, development and marketing agreements.

  • Successfully defended international freight forwarder against multimillion dollar claim for damages; obtained dismissal of affirmative claims and judgment for attorney’s fees on defendant’s counterclaims.

  • Successfully represented British-based multinational specialty chemical manufacturer in connection with multimillion dollar purchasing dispute.

  • Successfully represented famous Italian wine maker against claims by U.S. importer for breach of distribution agreement.

  • Successfully defended a global pharmaceutical company in connection with UCC breach of contract disputes with its distributors.

  • Successfully defended British software developer against claims involving the licensing of software for investment products.

  • Successfully represented European distributer of fashion products in connection with claims against famous design house.


Other reported decisions include:  Gray v. Denny's Corp., 535 Fed. Appx. 14 (2d Cir. 2013); Stein v. KPMG, LLP, 486 F.3d 753 (2d Cir. 2007); Freedom Card, Inc. v. JP Morgan Chase & Co., 432 F.3d 463 (3d Cir. 2005); Berkovitz v. Home Box Office, 89 F.3d 24 (1st Cir. 1996); Emerson Electric Co. v. Asset Management Associates of New York, Inc., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39442 (E.D.N.Y. 2012); First Roumanian American Congregation v. GuideOne Mutual Ins. Co., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33447 (S.D.N.Y. 2012); Wilson v. Austin, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123067 (E.D.N.Y. 2012); Asset Mgmt. Assocs. v. Emerson Telecom. Products, LLC, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9434 (E.D.N.Y. 2011); Gary Friedrich Enterprises v. Marvel Enterprises Inc., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30685 (S.D.N.Y. 2011); Leibowitz v. Aternity, Inc., 10-cv-2289, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70844 (E.D.N.Y. 2010); Kruse v. Wells Fargo Home Mortg., Inc., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26092 (E.D.N.Y. 2006); United States v. Stein, 452 F. Supp. 2d 281 (S.D.N.Y. 2006); Pitts v. Allied Interstate, Inc., 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22646 (S.D.N.Y. 2004): Freedom Card, Inc. v. JP Morgan Chase & Co.,333 F. Supp. 2d 239 (D. Del. 2004); Axcelis Technologies, Inc. v. Applied Materials, Inc., 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9908 (D. Mass. 2003); Baxter Diagnostics, Inc. v. Novatek Med., Inc., 1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15093 (S.D.N.Y. 1998); State Wide Photocopy, Corp. v. Tokai Fin. Servs., 909 F. Supp. 137 (S.D.N.Y. 1995); Brown v. General Instrument Corp., 1995 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5472 (S.D.N.Y. 1995);Braun v. Abbott Laboratories, 895 F. Supp. 530 (E.D.N.Y. 1995); In re GT Brands Holding LLC, 2005 Bnkr. LEXIS 2807 (Bnkr. S.D.N.Y. 2005); Young v. Brown, 113 A.D.3d 761, 978 N.Y.S.2d 867 (2d Dep't 2014); Flores v. Velez, 111 A.D.3d 599, 974 N.Y.S.2d 134 (2d Dep't 2013); Lisbey v. Pel Park Realty, 99 A.D.3d 637, 952 N.Y.S.2d 882 (1st Dep’t 2012); East Midwood Jewish Ctr. v CNA Ins. Co., 72 A.D.3d 877, 898 N.Y.S.2d 662 (2d Dep’t 2010); Desena v. Federated Dept. Stores, Inc., 65 A.D.3d 662, 884 N.Y.S.2d 765 (2d Dep’t 2009); Hernandez v. Bethel United Methodist Church of N.Y., 49 A.D.3d 25, 853 N.Y.S.2d 305 (1st Dep’t 2008); Thompson v. Steuben Realty Corp., 31 A.D.3d 746, 820 N.Y.S.2d 285 (2d Dep’t 2006);Dowd v. Alliance Mortgage Co., 32 A.D.3d 894, 822 N.Y.S.2d 558 (2d Dep't 2006); L&R Exploration Venture v. Grynberg, 22 A.D.3d 221, 804 N.Y.S.2d 286 (1st Dep’t 2005); Simon v. Mehryari, 16 A.D.3d 664, 792 N.Y.S.2d 543 (2d Dep’t 2005); Corneroli v. Borghi, 11 A.D.3d 409, 783 N.Y.S.2d 572 (1st Dep’t 2004); Robinson v. Viacom Int'l, 242 A.D.2d 481, 663 N.Y.S.2d 817 (1st Dep’t 1997); R.C. Layne Constr. v. Stratton Oakmont, 228 A.D.2d 45, 651 N.Y.S.2d 973 (1st Dep’t 1996); Amico v. Graphic Arts Leasing, 231 A.D.2d 596, 647 N.Y.S.2d 815 (2d Dep't 1996); Tierney v. Frey, 2012 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 4056 (N.Y. Sup. 2012); Priya Hospitality LLC v. Patel, 2011 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 2768 (N.Y. Sup. 2011); Egar v. Congregation Talmud Torah, 23 Misc. 3d 1111A, 885 N.Y.S.2d 711 (N.Y. Sup. 2009).

Professional Experience

Len was formerly a partner of Goodwin Procter LLP, and a partner of Schneck Weltman & Hashmall LLP.

Len interned with the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva, Switzerland; Hon. Terry M. Lewis, Member of British Parliament; and United States Senator Alfonse M. D’Amato.

Bar and Court Admissions

Len is admitted to the bar in New York State; the State of Connecticut; the United States District Courts for the Eastern, Northern, Southern and Western Districts of New York; and the United States Court of Appeals for the First, Second and Third Circuits.

Education

J.D., American University Washington College of Law, 1991
(Member, American University Journal of International Law and Policy).

B.A. (Political Science), George Washington University, 1988

Professional Activities

Member, American Bar Association
Member, New York City Bar
Member, Association of Trial Lawyers of America

Interests

Len has been an avid surfer for over 30 years, and is a member of the ASL, Association of Surfing Lawyers.

 

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