Attorneys with The Law Offices of Neal Brickman, P.C., have more than 60 years of combined experience in all facets of securities law. One of our attorneys has a background as a general counsel of a public company whose market capitalization exceeded $3 billion when it was sold. As a result of this background, we have first-hand experience with registered and exempt offerings of securities, including initial public offerings, mergers, periodic SEC filings, proxy contests, tender offers, and compliance with the short-swing profit rules.
Our securities-related experience also includes preparing submissions in responses to SEC Wells notices, preparing and filing Schedules 13D and amendments, representing companies in NASD delisting proceedings, defending witnesses in IRS investigations, and advising on the regulatory risks of potential transactions.
FINRA Sales Practice Arbitration
Our attorneys have very extensive experience in customer-initiated cases against registered broker-dealers and their employees. Over the years, we have represented both the brokers and the customers in these proceedings. Indeed, prior to joining this firm, one of our attorneys worked in-house for Merrill Lynch for a period of five years (2003-2008), during which time he defended Merrill Lynch in approximately 35 matters that resulted in a final determination by the arbitral panel. In the great bulk of these cases, Merrill Lynch prevailed. More recently, the firm has concentrated its efforts on pursuing worthy claimants’ cases, whether to settlement or hearing. Typically, these cases involve claims for unsuitable recommendations of securities, churning and excessive trading, failure to adhere to a written investment plan, unauthorized trading, and other forms of fraud or breach of fiduciary duty.
Other FINRA Proceedings
We also regularly represent brokers against whom claims have been lodged by their former employers. These claims run the gamut, from allegations of fraud and self-dealing to claims for non-payment on promissory notes. We have also represented brokers on informal inquiries, formal investigations and disciplinary actions filed by FINRA.
Hedge Fund Litigation
Recently, we represented a limited liability company in an arbitration conducted under the auspices of the American Arbitration Association over a loss of more than $75 million on an investment of $100 million. After five days of hearings, we were able to obtain a settlement for our client from insurers of the managing partner of the hedge fund. In addition, in the same case, we won a motion under which the hedge fund management was forced to make an in-kind distribution of approximately $14 million in securities to our client even before the hearing was held. The case was defended by several of the leading law firms in the United States.
In addition, since the December 11, 2008, arrest of Bernard Madoff, we have also been very active in advising clients with respect to claw-back claims filed by the Madoff trustee, the sale of claims against the Madoff estate in the secondary market, and in advising clients with claims against the Madoff feeder funds.
We have been particularly active in pursuing claims against J. Ezra Merkin, who ostensibly managed several of the largest Madoff feeder funds, including Ascot Partners, L.P., Ariel Fund Limited and Gabriel Capital, L.P., between 1992 and 2008. Thus far, we have been successful in every one of our arbitrations against Mr. Merkin. As has been publicly reported, we have thus far won a $1.7 million award for a New Jersey pediatrician, a $7.0 million award for a New Jersey businessman, and a $2.3 million award for an executive of a U.S. greeting card company and former Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Yeshiva University. Copies of press reports relating to these victories are available on this website. Those cases include:
Wiederhorn v. Merkin. In this matter, we won a $1.7 million award for violation of the New Jersey Securities Act and breaches of fiduciary duty by Merkin. In an extensive reasoned award, the neutral arbitrator wrote that both Wiederhorn and Merkin had been victimized by Madoff, but that Merkin had violated New Jersey statutory and common law by deliberately misrepresenting how Ascot conducted its business. In a $700 million case filed against Merkin, the Attorney General of the State of New York relied extensively on the award we obtained for Dr. Wiederhorn in arguing that Merkin was collaterally estopped to re-litigate the issues he had lost in the Wiederhorn case. The Wiederhorn award was confirmed in an extensive opinion issued by the New York Supreme Court and is currently on appeal in the Appellate Division.
Straus v. Merkin. In this matter, we won a $7.0 million award for violation of the New Jersey Securities Act by Merkin. In an extensive reasoned award, issued by a retired Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division in New Jersey, a majority of the panel found that we had proven Merkin’s breaches of duty, not merely by clear and convincing evidence, but by overwhelming evidence. The presiding arbitrator wrote in his award: “The arbitrators wish for all courtesies directed to the panel and each other.” (Award at 2.) Mr. Merkin was ably represented in this matter, as well as in other of our cases against him, by Andrew J. Levander, Esq., Chairman of the 800-lawyer Dechert, LLP, one of the leading white collar and general litigation attorneys in practice today.
Weiss v. Merkin. In this case, we won a $2.2 million award for the Chairman of American Greetings Corporation, Inc., the world’s largest publicly traded greeting card corporation. Mr. Weiss, a major philanthropist, was also President of the Board of Trustees at Yeshiva University, where Mr. Merkin was Chairman of the Investment Committee for many years (1993-2008).
We have also represented the American Committee for Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem in a $7 million avoidance action brought in U.S. Bankruptcy Court by the Trustee in the Madoff bankruptcy proceedings, Irving Picard. At this writing, we are actively engaged in efforts to settle this case, on terms that would be very attractive to the Committee, which is a major fundraiser for, among others, the oldest major hospital in Jerusalem.