Dear Clients, Colleagues, and Friends:
During these unprecedented, challenging times with the Coronavirus pandemic affecting our personal and business lives, we want to convey our prayers and good wishes for your health and well-being.
As this year ends, we wanted to share our thoughts on the state of the New York economy because our representation of Manhattan-based businesses gives us an insider’s view of the local economy. The statistics on the filing of new lawsuits in the last quarter of 2020 provides an interesting data point to explain what is happening in Manhattan.
As we explained in our last newsletter, when the pandemic roiled New York in March, the State Supreme Court, in an unprecedented move, suspended the filing of all new cases, and the federal courts had a precipitous decline in the filing of new cases. Litigation grounded to a halt in March and April. Since the summer, the filings of labor and employment litigation cases have normalized. For example, a comparison of the number of Fair Labor Standards Act cases filed in the Southern District of New York in the last quarter 2019 and 2020 show a trend towards normalization:
The numbers do not tell the whole story and are not indicative of a return to business as usual. Many of the cases filed in the last quarter are legacy cases that would have been filed earlier had it not been for the delays occasioned by the Coronavirus pandemic. While the data reveals a marked improvement since the second quarter of 2020, when the filings of new cases plummeted, it is still too early to extract the true extent of the fall-out of the Coronavirus pandemic from the legal data.
There are signs of hope on the horizon. It appears that the federal government is finally close to another round of stimulus that would provide sorely needed financial relief to small businesses in the form of new forgivable loans under the Paycheck Protection Program. Our firm counseled many clients on the obtainment of relief under the Paycheck Protection Program.
Given the challenges over the last year, we are especially pleased to share with you some highlights for Levin-Epstein & Associates, P.C. in 2020. Once again, Joshua was selected for inclusion in the 2020 New York Metro Super Lawyers List as a "Top Rated Business Litigation Attorney," a distinction awarded to only 2.5 percent of lawyers practicing in the New York metro area. Several of the firm’s cases were featured in the New York Law Journal’s column titled Decision of Interest, covering significant, precedent-setting legal cases.
The firm’s Litigation Achievements in 2020 include:
- Bankruptcy Litigation. The firm obtained settlement of favorable and allowed claims in several high-profile bankruptcy cases.
- Commercial Contingency. The firm obtained a favorable settlement of claims in the Commercial Division of the Supreme Court of New York in a breach of contract case.
- Employee-Side Fair Labor Standards Act Cases. The firm favorably settled several FLSA actions on the employee-side in the Southern District of New York and the Eastern District of New York.
- Contingency Start-Up Company Founder Dispute. The firm favorably settled claims on behalf of a founder of a start-up company.
- Management-Side Fair Labor Standards Act Case. The firm favorably settled several FLSA actions on the employer-side.
- Americans with Disabilities Act Case. The firm obtained a full dismissal, with prejudice, of all claims brought against our hotel operator client that its website violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The firm’s Corporate Achievements in 2020 include:
- Severance and Termination Negotiations. The firm assisted several executive clients with negotiating severance agreements and exit packages.
- Commercial Lease Terminations. The firm assisted clients with invoking early termination rights under commercial leases.
- PPP and Cares Act Legislation. The firm assisted clients with navigating the Congress’ legislative regulatory and stimulus efforts.
- Pro Bono Work. The firm assisted several pro bono clients with reviewing lease provision, bankruptcy considerations, and PPP and Cares Act legislation.
In the New Year, we hope that you continue to refer clients to us and continue to be part of our success. You know us, you know our experience, and you know the quality of our work. We would be most grateful to be retained in these areas, among others:
- litigation before trial or appellate courts or administrative bodies, especially matters involving real estate, partnership disputes, and creditors' rights;
- litigation avoidance - the crucial effort to negotiate agreements to resolve disputes before they cross the threshold of the courthouse;
- domestic and international arbitration and mediations;
- bankruptcy litigation and creditors' rights work, including avoidance actions, preference actions, discharge and dischargeability actions;
- employment litigation in all aspects of employment law, including issues involving restrictive covenants and trade secrets, wage-and-hour issues, Fair Labor Standards Act issues, and breach of contract issues;
- business divorce litigation, including contested stock valuations, derivative actions and other disputes between owners of closely held business corporations;
- counseling and strategic planning that defy easy categorization, requiring a deep understanding of the pertinent legal issues and also of the business (and sometimes personal) considerations that must be taken into account to reach a favorable outcome; and
- representing investors, restauranteurs, restaurant management companies, and chefs in New York City's hospitality sector.
With heartfelt good wishes for a healthy, happy and productive year, we remain,
Josh Epstein and Jason Mizrahi