CONSIDER WHAT'S AT STAKE. OBJECTIVES MATTER. RESULTS MATTER. YOU NEED A BALLPLAYER WHO’S BEEN THERE BEFORE, SOMEONE WHO CAN READ THE SIGNALS AND MAKE THE PLAY.
WHAT IS THE MACKIEWICZ LAW DIFFERENCE? It’s your business, your life. Facing legal questions may be overwhelming, paralyzing even. Lawyers can be expensive, and you may feel you’re just a revenue stream for posh law office space. I get it. That’s why I keep my overhead low and why I take the time, have a conversation, offer ideas and will consider billing alternatives other than hourly. I make the law work for clients. Having years of general counsel experience in transactions and lawsuits lets me bridge the gap between speaking like a lawyer and thinking like a businessperson. Whether a lawsuit or transaction, I’ve seen it. Examples of transactions are buy/sell deals, employee handbooks, member rights appreciation agreements, condominium documentation, representing lenders or borrowers with collateral such as land leases, third party stock accounts or even workouts where the security is as diverse as jet fuselages and engines, to name a few. As to lawsuits, below is a sample of my taking a unique tact:
REPRESENTING BUSINESS IN CONTRACT SUIT BY POWERFUL ADVERSARY
TASK AT HAND: Stymie claw back claim by international financial services firm’s CEO.
STAKES: $70,000 in alleged overpayment and unquantifiable exposure to client’s reputation.
THE UNIQUE APPROACH: Robert Greifeld, then CEO of NASDAQ, sued to recover 10% of bill on an uber elaborate vacation. Greifeld had a choice: Being financially knowledgeable and lose, or feign ignorance in hopes to win. I exploited this. On cross examination, he chose the latter testifying to having an MBA from NYU’s Stern School but did not know how to calculate gross profit margin. This testimony, the Times of London later observed in its business section, was “humiliating” and “embarrassing”.
OUTCOME: Following trial Court entered judgment denying request to claw back any sums.
REPRESENTING BANK WHEN INSURANCE COMPANY DENIED COVERAGE
TASK AT HAND: Establish that labor and delivery for a pregnant mother is not an injury.
STAKES: Multimillion dollar exposures to bank.
THE UNIQUE APPROACH: 6-month pregnant bank teller fell off chair and that evening went into premature labor delivering newborn with cerebral palsy. She and daughter sued Bank for injuries and a year into that case Bank’s insurer filed lawsuit claiming insurance did not exist because the policy excludes coverage where a parent’s injury injures a child. I framed Bank’s defense on the point labor and delivery to a pregnant mother is never an injury to her, though premature birth may injure the infant. Posed this way there was no injury to the mother that injured the infant.
OUTCOME: Court granted bank summary judgment and awarded Bank all its attorney fees.
REPRESENTING FRANCHISE RESTAURANT IN DISCRIMINATION CHARGE
TASK AT HAND: Avoid liability for dismissing employee who revealed being HIV positive.
THE UNIQUE APPROACH: Restaurant owner was charged with discrimination for dismissing employee who informed was HIV positive. Claim brought before EEOC in Connecticut. I demanded mediation and demonstrated claim was not only unfounded but from a public safety standpoint there was a larger issue.
OUTCOME: Claim resolved in mediation for payment of negligible costs.
REPRESENTING BUSINESS OWNER WHERE BANK OVERREACHED
TASK AT HAND: Make lender know you can’t take business owner’s wife.
THE UNIQUE APPROACH: Default judgment had been entered against business, as well as on personal guarantees of owner and his wife. Because of my extensive experience in banking I immediately recognized the lender violated Regulation B applicable to banks by having required the loan be guaranteed by a nonowner spouse.
OUTCOME: Vacated default judgment against husband and wife, caused suit against wife to be dismissed and crafted a successful workout payment plan for business and husband.
REPRESENTING STOCK SELLER IN AAA COMMERCIAL ARBITRATION
TASK AT HAND: From documenting a transaction, to lawsuit, to arbitration and then victory.
THE UNIQUE APPROACH: Client with substantial public works contract was selling business to competitor. Purchaser refused to pay up front and required payment over time be tied to payments to come from public works contract. I negotiated and obtained clause that if ever a payment is made on public works contract and proportionate payment to seller is not made then full amount is accelerated. Payment default occurred. In proceedings that followed I streamlined process by using New York procedure of summary judgment in lieu of complaint which brought forward arbitration.
OUTCOME: Three-member AAA arbitration panel awarded full sum as well as all attorney fees and thereafter successfully defended outcome against claim of arbiter misconduct.
ADVISING BUILDER IN WAYS TO COMPLETE CONSTRUCTION
TASK AT HAND: Recognizing that when neighbor goes low client must go high.
STAKES: Multimillion dollar pending sales on all condominium units.
THE UNIQUE APPROACH: Condominium developer could not complete sales because one side of exterior was not complete since adjoining property owner refused to let scaffolding on his land. Other attorneys told client a law suit was necessary and it could take months or longer. After doing some research I recognized that under New Jersey law trespass does not occur when crossing over air rights. I recommended that unfinished side be completed by using hanging scaffolding suspended from building being sure not to touch the ground since, though over neighbor’s property, by not touching there was no trespass.
OUTCOME: In less than two days, and despite neighbor calling the authorities and local politicians, the siding was installed, closings of unit sales occurred and a lawsuit was averted.
REPRESENTING COMPANY SUED OVER HIRING EMPLOYEE
TASK AT HAND: Letting adversary’s attorney’s aggressiveness do the work.
STAKES: Cessation of new business and damages with legal fees.
THE UNIQUE APPROACH: Client chose to expand and hired employee from competitor to jump start campaign. Competitor instituted emergent application in Southern District of New York to enjoin employee from proceeding. I coordinated matter with attorney for employee and focused on the lack of unique qualities of competitor’s customer list and supposed trade secrets. Also learned employer’s attorneys may have intimidated witnesses which was exploited and raised ire of the District Court Judge causing claim to be withdrawn.
OUTCOME: Case dismissed, employee hired and business flourished.