Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

STRATAGEM DEVELOPMENT v. HERON INTERN.

January 31, 1991

STRATAGEM DEVELOPMENT CORP., PLAINTIFF,
v.
HERON INTERNATIONAL N.V. AND HERON PROPERTIES, INC., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kram, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Defendants in this case, involving claims of breach of a real estate joint venture agreement, have moved for disqualification of Epstein, Becker & Green ("Epstein Becker" or the "Firm") as plaintiff's counsel, because of alleged dual representation.*fn1 Epstein Becker has taken certain steps to withdraw as counsel in other legal matters in which it represented a subsidiary of the defendants in this case; but there remains a question about the effectiveness of the Firm's withdrawal as counsel in the other matters.

BACKGROUND

The Parties

Epstein Becker represents plaintiff Stratagem Development Corporation in the instant action, involving an alleged breach of a joint venture agreement to develop certain properties. The real estate in question comprises buildings in midtown Manhattan known as "Heron Tower I" and "Heron Tower II,"*fn2 and the present dispute involves Heron Tower II. Plaintiff Stratagem's role in the venture was to acquire parcels of land for real estate development. The role of the defendants, Heron International N.V. and Heron Properties, Inc. (hereinafter "Heron entities") was to develop the sites for the joint benefits of the participants in the venture. Complaint ¶¶ 12-19.

The "Bevona Matters"

During the same time period, plaintiff's counsel, Epstein Becker, also represented a wholly-owned subsidiary of defendant Heron Properties.*fn3 That representation is in the context of a labor lawsuit and a related labor arbitration involving the security guards at Heron Tower I, and is essentially unrelated to this action. The subsidiary is known as Fidelity Services Corporation ("FSC"),*fn4 and the labor matters are referred to by the parties as the "Bevona matters."*fn5 Affidavit of Peter K. Kompaniez, dated October 16, 1990 (hereinafter "Kompaniez Moving Aff."), at ¶ 3; Affidavit of Jerrold F. Goldberg, dated October 24, 1990, ¶¶ 8, 10. The Bevona lawsuit is currently on the suspense docket of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit pending settlement discussions; the related labor arbitration is in the discovery phase, with Epstein Becker, until recently, assisting in the union's audit of FSC's books and with document production. Kompaniez Moving Aff. at ¶ 8.

The Present Action

On November 10, 1989, Jerrold F. Goldberg, a member of Epstein Becker, wrote to Kathleen Panciera, an officer of Heron, to review the status of the Bevona matters. Goldberg-Panciera letter of 11/10/89, attached as Exhibit A to Kompaniez Moving Aff.

On June 27, 1990, Heron terminated the agreement between it and Stratagem relating to Heron Tower II. Letter from Gerald Ronson to Simon Shane, dated June 27, 1990, annexed as Exhibit B to Kompaniez Moving Aff.

Just over two weeks later, Goldberg again wrote to Panciera. After listing the active matters in which his firm represents FSC "and other Heron Entities," he stated:

  In light of the recent unfortunate developments
  between Heron and Stratagem Development Corp., of
  which I am sure you are aware, we must raise the
  question of our continued representation of

  Fidelity Services Corporation in connection with
  this labor matter.

Goldberg-Panciera Letter of 7/13/90, attached as Exhibit C to Kompaniez Moving Aff., at 1-2.

Kenneth J. Kelly, Esq., of Epstein Becker, followed up with a letter, dated August 3, 1990, to Ms. Panciera. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.