Robert M. Abrahams concentrates his practice in complex commercial litigation, including securities, real estate, employment, derivative actions, trusts and estates, partnership disputes, defending claims against lawyers and law firms, and director and officer liability matters. Bob’s many significant representations include a major interdealer broker in numerous regulatory investigations, arbitrations and civil litigations, including a five-month jury trial and related FINRA arbitration in which our clients recovered in excess of $140 million; 173 former Dewey LeBoeuf partners in the successful defense of a $200-million claim; one of the largest law firms in the world in a $100-million malpractice suit; and his recent successful defense at trial of a $500-million derivative action. Bob has tried more than 100 civil cases and arbitrations.

Listed in Benchmark Litigation: The Definitive Guide to America’s Leading Litigation Firms & Attorneys (“National Star in securities litigation), Best Lawyers in America, The Legal 500 US, New York Super Lawyers, Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World and rated “AV Preeminent” by Martindale-Hubbell, Bob is a longstanding member of the Trial Practice Committee of the Litigation Section of the American Bar Association, and has served on the Trial Practice and Real Property Sections of the New York State Bar Association. Bob is a New York Bar Foundation Fellow and a member of the Attorney Grievance Committee for the First Judicial Department of the Supreme Court of the State of New York. He recently served as an arbitrator appointed by the International Chamber of Commerce. Bob is the author of the “Commercial Real Estate” chapter of Business and Commercial Litigation in the Federal Courts (Thomson Reuters, 2010-2016) and the “Document Discovery” chapter of Commercial Litigation in New York State Courts (Thomson Reuters and the New York County Lawyers’ Association, 2011-2015). He received his B.A. from Hobart College and his J.D., with distinction, from Hofstra University School of Law, where he was editor-in-chief of the Hofstra Law Review.

Representations

Securities/General Commercial

Represented one of the largest law firms in the world in defense of $100 million malpractice claim. 104 A.D. 3d 190 (1st Dep't 2013).

Since 1995, has represented a major interdealer broker in regulatory investigations, arbitrations and civil litigation. Following a five-month jury trial and a related FINRA proceeding, recovered over $130 million for the client.

Represents the Government of Mexico in connection with claims brought against BP arising from the Macondo oil spill.

Successfully defended $500 million derivative action against director and officer defendants in four-week trial; successfully defended appeal. Syndicated Communication Venture Partners IV, L.P. v. Baystar Capital, L.P. et al. (2006).

Served as counsel to directors and officers of publicly held corporation in New York derivative action alleging option backdating; counsel to individuals in related SEC investigation.

Appointed as arbitrator in $100 million+ dispute before International Chamber of Commerce (2010).

Represents and counsels numerous lenders on bankruptcy, lender liability and other matters; obtained $100 million+ judgments on behalf of lenders; has successfully tried and defeated lender liability claims.

Served as counsel to managing members of several multi-billion dollar hedge funds and investment managers in partnership disputes and accounting proceedings.

Successfully defended major securities firm against $50 million arbitration claim and recovered significant award on counterclaim.

Successfully defended major U.S. law firm against RICO and breach of fiduciary duty claims. Coliseum Holdings v. Thelen Reid & Priest, LLP, 295 A.D. 2d 252 (1st Dep't 2002).

Successfully prosecuted first civil RICO case in the United States; after trial collected treble damages and attorney's fees.

Served as counsel to defendants in defense of first major RICO forfeiture brought against a securities firm.

Served as counsel to major foreign film companies in U.S. litigation involving intellectual property, distribution rights and M&A disputes.

Served as lead counsel to defendant underwriters and investment advisers in two securities class actions.

Represented several major broker-dealers in SEC and other investigations and proceedings.

Real Estate

Counsels numerous real estate lenders on bankruptcy, lender liability and other matters.

Has counseled numerous major real estate industry entities, including both developers and lenders such as Tishman Speyer Properties, Acadia Realty Trust, The Georgetown Company and The Municipal Art Society.

Served as counsel to ground lessors and lessees in “rent reset” proceedings for significant New York properties.

Successfully represented more than 170 former partners of Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP in defense of $220-million claim by former landlord.

Served as counsel to trustee appointed by U.S. District Court to liquidate $500 million real estate holdings of RICO defendant.

Other cases include:

Successfully defeated brokerage claim on $1 billion sale of major New York office tower. GFC Capital Group LLC v. Monday Properties Investments, LLC (2010), 92 A.D. 3d 554 (1st Dep't 2012).

Successfully represented commercial landlord in widely publicized claim against “Hot 97” radio station for security breaches and private nuisance. The New York City District Counsel of Carpenters Pension Fund v. Emmis Broadcasting Corporation of New York (2006).

Defeated claims by commercial tenant, and obtained attorneys fees for owner. Duane Reade v. 405 Lexington L.L.C. N.Y.L.J. 11/5/04 at p. 18 col. 1, aff'd 800 N.Y.S. 2d 664 (1st Dep't 2005).

Defeated attempt by tenant to enjoin installation of security systems. Cipriani Fifth Avenue, L.L.C. v. RCPI Trust, et al N.Y.L.J. 5/20/04 at p. 20 col. 1.

Obtained preliminary injunction and prevailed at trial for lessee owned by The Municipal Art Society. 457 Madison Avenue Corp. v. Amedeo Hotels Limited Partnership (S.D.N.Y., 2004). 

Obtained $77 million judgment on behalf of secured lender and defeated lender-liability claims. Citibank N.A. v. Nyland (CF8) Ltd., 878 F.2d 620 (2d Cir. 1989).

Obtained $150 million judgment on behalf of secured lender after trial, defeating lender-liability claims. Howard Savings Bank v. Lefcon Realty Inc. 

Trusts and Estates

Counsels executors, beneficiaries, trustees and other parties in major trusts and estates matters. 

Successful trial and appeal of contested guardianship proceeding in Supreme Court, New York County and resolution of parallel accounting proceeding in Surrogate’s Court. In re Anonymous, 41 A.D. 3d 346 (2009).

Successfully defended inter vivos gift to charitable foundation. Rudolph Nureyev Dance Foundation v. Noureeva-Francois, 7 F. Supp. 2d 402. 

Representation of JPMorgan Chase as executor of estate of murdered investment broker. Estate of R. Theodore Ammon.

Successfully defended executor/beneficiary against breach of fiduciary duty claims. Chasanoff v. Perlberg, N.Y.L.J. at p. 25, col. 1; aff'd 19 A.D. 2d 635 (2d Dep't 2005).

Represented numerous trustees of significant testamentary and inter vivos trusts in accounting proceedings.

Publications

“United States — New York” and “United States — Federal Law,” Getting the Deal Through – Dispute Resolution (Law Business Research Ltd.), 2013-2018 (co-author)

“Commercial Real Estate,” Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts (Thomson Reuters), 2011-2018

“Document Discovery,” Commercial Litigation in New York State Courts (Thomson Reuters and the New York County Lawyers’ Association), 2010-2018 (co-author)

“Let’s (Not) Go to the Videotape: The Problem with Taping Will Executions,” New York Law Journal, June 16, 1998 (co-author)

“Provisional Remedies Affecting Financial Institutions in the United States,” International Banking and Financial Law, December 1993

“Foreclosure Reform: A Necessity to Maintain the Availability of Commercial Credit in New York,” NYSBA Real Property Law Section Newsletter, April 1992

“Workouts and Foreclosures,” NYSBA Real Property Law Section Newsletter, 1990-91

“Real Estate Titles and Transfers,” NYSBA Real Property Law Section, 1986

“Civil Procedure,” New York Council of Law Associates, 1984-87

“Civil RICO,” PLI, 1984

Speaking Engagements

“Pleadings,” NYSBA Commercial Litigation Academy, June 2014

“Current Discovery Issues,” NYCLA Advice from the Experts: Successful Strategies for Winning Commercial Cases in New York State Courts, May 2012

“Venue Decisions: State Court vs. Federal Court vs. Arbitration,” New York State Bar Association Commercial Litigation Academy, May 2011

“Real Estate Litigation in New York,” Lorman Education Services, July 2007, July 2008

“Advice From Experts: More Successful Strategies for Winning Commercial Cases in Federal Courts,” New York State Bar Association, 2004

Lecturer, Nottingham Law School Centre of Advanced Litigation

Memberships

Professional

  • American Bar Association Litigation Section
    • Trial Practice Committee, 1984-present
  • New York State Bar Association
    • Trial Practice Section
    • Real Property Section

Civic

  • Village of Thomaston, New York
    • Chairman, Board of Zoning Appeals, 1982-97
  • Member, Mediation Panel, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1998-2018

Distinctions

  • Benchmark Litigation: The Definitive Guide to America’s Leading Litigation Firms & Attorneys (“National Star” in securities litigation)
  • Best Lawyers in America
  • The Legal 500 US
  • Martindale-Hubbell, AV Preeminent
  • New York Super Lawyers
  • Who's Who in America
  • Who's Who in the World
  • Fellow, The American Bar Association
  • Fellow, The New York Bar Foundation
  • Attorney Grievance Committee for the First Judicial Department of the Supreme Court of the State of New York

Prior Experience

  • Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, 1976-80