The Firm successfully moved to dismiss an appeal taken by a Swiss trustee from a probate court decision holding that it had jurisdiction to hear a trust accounting petition. The court agreed with our arguments that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the appeal because the trustee was not aggrieved by the probate court’s decision merely to hear the matter. This decision conclusively preserves the probate court’s finding of jurisdiction in a case where the trustee had twice moved to dismiss claiming that the petition should be brought in an offshore jurisdiction. Charlie Pieterse, Richard Lawler, and Wyatt Jansen handled the matter.
The Firm is proud to announce that Jim Riley and Charlie Pieterse were nominated and approved as James W. Cooper Fellows of the Connecticut Bar Foundation. The Fellows is a collection of the State’s most outstanding lawyers, judges and law professors recognized for their accomplishments and service to the legal profession. The Fellows sponsor programs, projects and forums throughout the State of Connecticut that address matters concerning the administration of justice and the rule of law in society.
The Firm is proud to announce that Luke Tashjian has been named a partner in the Trust & Estates, Business Law and Tax Departments. Luke joined the Firm as an associate in May 2015, and his practice includes structuring tax efficient transactions; advising clients on the tax effects of proposed transactions; preparing estate planning documents; probating estates and preparing tax returns; formation of not-for-profit entities; and representing parties in tax controversies and collection matters.
The Greenwich Planning and Zoning Commission, after multiple hearings, denied an application to construct a 60-unit apartment building on a 1.1 acre tract of land on Sound Beach Avenue. Jim Fulton represented the neighborhood group in opposition to the project, which spoke for the interests of over 700 families in Old Greenwich who opposed the application.
Luke Tashjian presented for Halfmoon Education, Inc. regarding the Income Taxation of Trusts.
Margaret E. Conboy represented the seller of Sabine Farm, the Greenwich estate owned by billionaire trader Stanley Druckenmiller. The 12,200-square-foot manor on Round Hill Road in Greenwich sits on roughly 19 acres and has 20 rooms. The estate sold for $25 million, which to the date of the sale was the most expensive home to sell in Greenwich in 2017.
The Firm successfully resolved a dispute over a putative partnership to form a technology portal for value-added resellers around the globe. Our client initially commenced a lawsuit in Connecticut Superior Court seeking a declaration that no partnership had been formed and that the defendant had no ownership interest or rights in the business concept. The defendant asserted more than 2 dozen counterclaims and brought a parallel case in the Southern District of New York, both seeking millions in damages. After initially retaining a large international firm, our client came to us for a different approach. We aggressively defended the case, obtaining key orders including the dismissal of the defendant’s application for a $5 million pre-judgment remedy, the denial of his motion to add an additional counterclaim defendant, the repleading of his counterclaims, and the mandated disclosure of key information from defendant’s valuation expert. We also shepherded the case through complex discovery, including depositions across the country and in Asia. The case eventually resolved through private mediation. Rod Saggese, Thomas O’Connor, and Michael Battema handled the matter.
Luke Tashjian served as Moderator for a Panel at the Federal Tax Institute of New England regarding Ethics Issues for Tax and Estate Planning Attorneys.
The Firm successfully opposed a petition for certification to the Connecticut Supreme Court filed by a major European bank in a case seeking to impose individual liability on our client for a foreign judgment exceeding $300 million. The petition could have resulted in the dismissal for lack of jurisdiction of our own appeal, in which our petition for certification to the Supreme Court was granted. Charlie Pieterse, Thomas O’Connor, and Wyatt Jansen handled the matter.
Whitman Breed Partners and Associates have been named “Connecticut Super Lawyers®” for 2017. Connecticut selection information at http://www.superlawyers.com/connecticut/selection_details.html
Charles Pieterse (Trusts & Estates Litigation), Jim Riley (Business Litigation), Terry Coates (Estate Planning & Probate), Thomas O’Connor (Rising Star – Civil Litigation/Defense), Luke Tashjian (Rising Star – Estate Planning & Administration) and Kathryn O’Neill (Rising Star – Business/Corporate) were named Connecticut Super Lawyers.
The Firm successfully opposed a motion to dismiss a petition seeking an accounting of a trust and ancillary relief, the second such motion filed in the matter by the trust’s Swiss trustee. The motion argued that the trust’s protector and trustee had executed documents requiring that the petition be brought in the Cayman Islands. For a second time, we prevailed in arguing that the appropriate forum was Connecticut, where the trust’s property and beneficiaries are located. Charlie Pieterse, Richard Lawler, and Wyatt Jansen handled the matter.
The Firm negotiated a 7-figure settlement for our client in a trusts and estates litigation. The case involved a decedent who was obligated under the terms of a divorce agreement to provide his former spouse survivorship interests in various retirement accounts worth, at the time of death, nearly $4 million. The decedent instead gave those accounts to a companion and family member. We brought suit in U.S. District Court and ultimately resolved the dispute, along with parallel proceedings in probate court, through the court’s mediation program. The settlement figure was more than four times the defendant’s opening offer. Charlie Pieterse and Wyatt Jansen handled the matter.
The Firm successfully moved to dismiss a case against a client, who had acted as noteholder representative under a security agreement governing a private equity investment. The client had been sued by a private equity investor for allegedly improperly extending the maturity date of the investor’s note. The Firm filed motion to dismiss the case against our client, a non-resident, for lack of personal jurisdiction. The motion was granted, and the investor did not refile against the client in his home state, relieving him from any liability. The claims against the remaining defendant were later disposed of on summary judgment on many of the grounds set forth in a legal opinion that the Firm had drafted at the time that our client extended the maturity date. Rod Saggese and Michael Battema handled the litigation, while Kevin Walsh and Wyatt Jansen prepared the earlier legal opinion.
Rod Saggese was elected to the Board of Directors of the Silver Shield Association Education Fund (the “SSAEF”). The SSAEF is a 501(c)3 organization that provides post-high school educational financial assistance to the dependent children of the sworn members of the Police Department of the Town of Greenwich.