Harry W. Lipman has been a member of RLR since January 2002, having joined the firm in October 2000 after practicing for two of New York City’s premier law firms.
For almost 30 years, Mr. Lipman has represented public and private companies, as well as individuals, in a wide variety of disputes in both state and federal courts, before the SEC and in arbitration, including before FINRA. His varied experience includes contract and partnership disputes, professional malpractice, allegations of fraud and breach of fiduciary duty, bankruptcy-related litigation, real estate and cooperative- and condominium-related issues, construction law, securities and regulatory actions, trademark and copyright matters, restrictive covenant, severance, and other employment-related disputes, art law, estates law, and entertainment law. With deep experience in the finance industry (encompassing quantitative trading, broker-dealers, investment advisors, banks, private equity firms, and hedge funds), management consulting, and consumer products, Mr. Lipman regularly advises firms and employees across the country regarding their respective rights and obligations, and handles all aspects of related litigation and arbitration as well. Mr. Lipman has argued in the New York State Court of Appeals (New York’s highest court) and authored a brief amici curiae to the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Lipman has also written numerous articles on alternative dispute resolution law and procedure, and on class action litigation. Recent significant matters include the following:
- In a ruling widely reported in the press, Mr. Lipman (with of counsel Robert Freilich) obtained an important declaratory judgment from Supreme Court, Manhattan, that RLR’s client, the Board of a large luxury condominium in Manhattan, could change the signage on the façade of its building without violating a certain license agreement. Among other reasons, the case is notable for having lasted less than four months, from the filing of the complaint, in January 2018, to the final decision, in May 2018.
- Mr. Lipman is currently representing several hedge funds, portfolio companies and executives in two investigations being conducted out of the Atlanta and New York regional offices of the Enforcement Division of the Securities & Exchange Commission.
- In March 2016, following a six-day arbitration before a FINRA panel, Mr. Lipman (with Stacy Ceslowitz) won $1,335,000 in compensatory damages for defamation in favor of quantitative trader Kieran Fitzgerald against his former employer Sun Trading LLC, a high-frequency trading firm. The three-member panel also recommended full “expungement” from Mr. Fitzgerald’s industry record of Sun’s false statements concerning his termination from the firm. A copy of the Award can be found here.
- Representing a long-time hedge-fund client, Mr. Lipman (with partner Richard Rosberger) defended the client and one of its employees in Chicago, Illinois against claims brought by a competitor relating to the fund’s hiring of the employee and allegations of breach of restrictive covenants and misappropriation of trade secrets. In a related case in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Messrs. Lipman and Rosberger represented the same hedge-fund client in a lawsuit against the same competitor, providing a “hedge” of sorts against the Chicago case; the claim was for breach of a confidentiality agreement by the competitor, who commenced the Chicago case based on information covered by that agreement. Both cases settled in May 2015.
- On behalf of a former associate attorney of a New York-based law firm, Mr. Lipman (with partner Thomas Chase) brought sexual harassment claims in Manhattan federal court, culminating in a four-week jury trial in early 2015, which resulted in a plaintiff’s verdict that included punitive damages.
- In federal court in Manhattan, Mr. Lipman (with partner Thomas Chase) defended a private-equity firm against ERISA and state-law claims by a former employee that he was owed severance payments.
- Mr. Lipman (with partner Thomas Chase) represented a consortium of banks and other financial institutions that had been secured lenders to ethanol plants in the Midwest, in bringing accounts-receivable claims purchased out of bankruptcy in a credit swap; the claims were against a large supplier to the plants and resulted in a significant settlement on the eve of the evidentiary hearing after Messrs. Lipman and Chase achieved a successful result on a motion for summary judgment.
- As special litigation counsel to an assignee for the benefit of creditors of a prominent executive search and placement firm, Mr. Lipman (with partner Thomas Chase) brought claims in New York state court against, and recovered a significant settlement from, that firm’s former outside law firm for failing to advise the firm that its CFO was siphoning millions of dollars from the firm.
- In the Commercial Part of the Supreme Court, Manhattan, Mr. Lipman (with partner Bertrand Sellier) brought claims for a private equity firm client under the Lanham Act against a competitor for false and misleading advertising stemming from the competitor’s use of the firm’s “track record” and obtained a temporary restraining order directing the competitor to remove the track record from its advertising. The case settled with the defendant agreeing not to use the track record for any purpose.
- Mr. Lipman successfully represented one the nation’s preeminent processors of contaminated soil in an arbitration that centered on the meaning of certain pricing language in a soil- and debris-removal contract.
- Representing the owner of an iconic event space in Atlantic City, Mr. Lipman conducted a 5-day arbitration against the general contractor responsible for the installation of a special stretch-fabric ceiling, which was failing; the arbitration settled based on the general contractor’s payment of the estimated cost of replacing the ceiling.
- Manhattan- and Brooklyn-based real-estate developers frequently seek Mr. Lipman’s advice and creative litigation strategies regarding issues ranging from routine contract disputes, to complex construction and ownership matters.
- A public technology company with a number of inefficiently defended litigations hired Mr. Lipman as outside counsel to take over the cases and, if possible, get them resolved, which he succeeded in doing in all but one case, which has remained dormant for years.
- Mr. Lipman has acted as outside litigation counsel to several broker dealers, and also has represented scores of registered representatives, who regularly call on him to initiate and defend claims involving employment matters, contract disputes and FINRA arbitrations.
- For almost 20 years, Mr. Lipman has represented a New York-based independent television program distributor, in matters ranging from breach of contract to copyright infringement, in federal courts in New York and Dallas, Texas, in New York state court, and in arbitration.
Mr. Lipman serves on the board of Ramapo for Children, a non-profit that runs a summer camp in Rhinebeck, New York, for children with cognitive and behavioral challenges, and other special needs, and conducts programs throughout the tri-state area and beyond for parents, teachers, and youth-service professionals who interact with such children.
Mr. Lipman received his B.A. degree, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Columbia College in 1986, having spent a year toward that degree at Oriel College, Oxford, England. He received his J.D. degree from Columbia Law School in 1990, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. He returns to Columbia often to judge moot court, having served as director of the First-Year Moot Court Program while in his third year as a student. Mr. Lipman is admitted to practice in both New York and Connecticut, including the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York and the District of Connecticut.