Litigation Departments of the Year

No Policy Too Great or Small

Pashman Stein makes an art of coverage claims for insureds of all sizes

New Jersey Law Journal

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Pashman Steins's litigation department
Left to right, Pashman Stein's Michael Stein, David White, Sean Mack, Dennis Smith, Samuel Samaro and Adam Schwartz

For 15 years, Pashman Stein has been developing and implementing strategies to assist businesses and individuals in obtaining insurance coverage for an ever-increasing range of liabilities and losses. Pashman Stein has represented not only large corporate policyholders, but also numerous midsize and smaller companies and their officers and directors in connection with insurance issues and insurance-related strategic concerns. Many policyholders in numerous industry groups have turned to the firm to address large and small issues.

Pashman Stein regularly advises clients who have received notice from an insurer of a denial or reservation of rights to deny coverage for a particular claim. Immediately upon retention, Pashman Stein performs an analysis of the prospects for obtaining coverage to develop the best strategy for clients. This initial analysis involves a written report reviewing the facts, the relevant policy language and the applicable law. Based on that review, attorneys recommend whether and how best to pursue insurance recovery for the claim.

The firm also has been retained by many clients that already have received adverse insurance coverage decisions at the trial level and are pursuing appeal.

Pashman Stein has a history of successful results in representing policyholders against insurance companies. Many cases have involved written decisions addressing issues of first impression in New Jersey, including coverage for Telephone Consumer Protection Act class-action claims under the advertising-injury and property-damage sections of a comprehensive general liability policy; coverage under the debris-removal provision of a comprehensive building owner's policy; the extraterritorial reach of Court Rule 4:42-9, which allows for the award of counsel fees in an action upon a liability policy in favor of a successful claimant; and indemnification for defense costs under corporate by-laws and Delaware statutory law for an attorney who also served as a corporate secretary after successfully defending a suit alleging libel and emotional distress claims against him by a former officer and director.

Pashman Stein attorneys also advise individual and corporate clients in connection with their rights and obligations under indemnification and advancement-of-legal fees provisions of corporate by-laws and operating agreements. While New Jersey's corporate laws require companies to indemnify corporate officers who successfully defend lawsuits against them, New Jersey companies also can provide, in their corporate governance documents, other conditions upon which they will advance defense costs or indemnify employees or officers prior to the conclusion of litigation. Attorneys advise clients on drafting and interpreting indemnification and advancement provisions, and represent clients pursuing coverage or defending against claims for coverage. Attorneys have litigated some of the only reported decisions on this important and often overlooked area of coverage.

The firm is best known for litigating in New Jersey Superior Court, particularly cases in the Chancery Division involving breach of fiduciary duty, shareholder oppression, enforcement of restrictive covenants, and other complex business issues. While the majority of clients are New Jersey-based companies from a variety of industries, many of the firm's largest lawsuits have been on behalf of national and regional Fortune 500 companies. The firm — and retired Justice Gary Stein in particular — is regularly retained to conduct highly publicized, as well as confidential, internal investigations into allegations of improprieties, conflicts of interest and other compliance issues.

Pashman Stein by the Numbers
  Firm-wide N.J. Office
Department Size 20 20
Department as percentage of firm (head-count) 75% 75%
Department as percentage of firm (revenue) 80% 80%

 

Major Litigators:

• Michael Stein (partner, Hackensack, admitted 1989) — co-founded the firm in 1995 and heads its litigation practice; specializes in general commercial litigation, chancery litigation, legal ethics and appellate advocacy; has substantial trial and appellate experience in both state and federal courts.

• Samuel Samaro (partner, Hackensack, 1988) — heads the firm's employment practice; has tried numerous cases to verdict in state and federal courts, and before administrative agencies; regularly advises on policy drafting and interpretation, workplace harassment and bullying, litigation avoidance and planning; certified civil trial attorney.

• Dennis Smith (partner, Hackensack,1988) — chairs the firm's policyholder practice; has obtained coverage for clients in environmental, toxic tort, class-action and director-and-officer liability cases, as well as in the related area of entitlement to indemnification pursuant to corporate bylaws, articles of incorporation and business corporation acts.

• Sean Mack (partner, Hackensack, 2000) — co-chairs litigation practice; litigates complex business disputes in state and federal courts in New Jersey, New York and other jurisdictions for clients in the medical device, healthcare and transportation industries.

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