Fishkin Lucks and local Texas counsel secured a voluntary dismissal today of product liability claims brought in the District Court of Travis County, TX against our client, a leading manufacturer of integrated exterior wall systems and products. Plaintiff, the owner of the Hotel Van Zandt in Austin, Texas, had asserted claims against the architect and general contractor, alleging that they negligently designed and constructed the hotel, seeking over $10M in damages. The general contractor brought third-party claims against numerous subcontractors alleging faulty construction; and against our client, which manufactured the stucco products applied to the hotel’s exterior building envelope, asserting claims for contribution/indemnity and also alleging that our client had breached a materials warranty. Following discovery that stretched over 2 years, which included the production of hundreds of thousands of construction documents, numerous depositions, and a lengthy mediation, the Firm and local counsel moved for summary judgment on the ground that the evidence against our client was legally insufficient. Shortly after receipt of the motion, the general contractor voluntarily agreed to dismiss all claims against our client.
The United States District Court for the District of New Jersey (Arleo, J.) granted today the Firm’s motion to dismiss on behalf of its insurance carrier client. The case arose out of a premium dispute between the insured, a trade subcontractor, and different carrier,which issued the insured workers compensation insurance. That other carrier brought suit against the insured, alleging to be owed $1.4M in premiums. The insured argued in defense that the other carrier was improperly taking into account payroll for which workers’ compensation insurance was provided under an Owner Controlled Insurance Program (“OCIP”). The insured filed a third-party complaint against the Firm’s client, an alleged OCIP carrier,claiming that the Firm’s client failed to report that payroll. The District Court determined that the insured’s pleading failed both to state a cause of action against the Firm’s client or “specify what rights the Court must determine between the parties.”
Fishkin Lucks secured a voluntary dismissal today of all claims brought in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Cape May County, against our client, a leading designer and manufacturer of exterior wall systems and products. Plaintiff, the homeowners association of The Grand at Diamond Beach, a twelve-story, 125 unit ocean-front condominium complex located in Wildwood, New Jersey, brought claims against a developer, several contractors, a manufacturer of roofing/waterproofing membrane and flashings, and our client, seeking $1.75M plus costs and fees to remediate alleged systemic water infiltration issues throughout the complex. After rejecting requests for contribution toward a global resolution of the matter, we illustrated for the homeowners association how our client bore no responsibility for the alleged water infiltration, leading to the voluntary dismissal. Several weeks later, each of the remaining defendants contributed funds toward a global resolution of the matter.
Fishkin Lucks obtained complete dismissal of civil RICO and fraud claims in a pair of cases brought in the New Jersey Superior Court, Ocean County against the Firm’s client, a prominent real estate developer. The companion cases brought by the client’s former employee and contractor involved a 28-acre piece of industrial property in the Bronx, New York that the client purchased out of bankruptcy and developed over the course of 15 years. After extensive briefing and hearings, the Court agreed with the Firm’s arguments that the RICO counts failed due to plaintiffs’ inability to allege the existence of an enterprise, a pattern of racketeering activity, or causation, and that the fraud counts failed due to plaintiffs’ inability to allege any material misrepresentations of existing fact upon which they relied.
The Firm successfully opposed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit it brought on behalf of its client, a world-renowned jazz and R&B recording artist, to recover his copyrights in several of his seminal recordings. The Firm’s lawsuit, pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, seeks to settle a matter of first impression, specifically, whether “gap grants”—pre-1978 agreements to convey copyrights in works that were not created until after 1978—such as the ones its client made to defendant, a global music conglomerate, are terminable under section 203 of the Copyright Act. The Court permitted the Firm to proceed with its lawsuit in the face of a motion by the defendant arguing that gap grants are not terminable pursuant to the relevant statute, and thus, that it ought to be able to continue to extract profits from the intellectual property of the Firm’s client and countless other similarly situated recording artists.
Fishkin Lucks won a complete victory today for its client, a life insurance company, in a litigation concerning two lapsed $5 million life insurance policies that had been owned by a trust. The lawsuit, brought in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County, was actually the second litigation between the parties concerning the same policies. In the first litigation, the court had ordered that the trust did not need to pay premiums that came due while that action was pending. Once that first lawsuit was resolved,however, the trust never paid the hundreds of thousands of back premiums that it owed. After giving the trust every opportunity to cure its failure to pay, the life insurance company canceled the policies for non-payment.The trust then brought an action for declaratory judgment, arguing that it was not obligated to pay those back premiums but should still be entitled to keep the policies in effect. It also sought a setoff for amounts it paid to a different life insurance company to obtain replacement coverage during the pendency of the first action. On behalf of its client, the Firm counterclaimed for a declaratory judgment that the policies had lapsed due to non-payment. The parties submitted competing motions for summary judgment. Adopting in full the arguments the Firm had advanced, the court denied the trust’s motion and granted the life insurance company’s motion,finding that the policies had lapsed for non-payment and that the trust was not entitled to any setoff for its replacement coverage. As a result, the action was dismissed in its entirety and the Firm’s client is no longer obligated to provide coverage under the lapsed policies.