Litigation & Dispute Resolution

F&E’s litigators have extensive experience before judges, juries and arbitrators in high-stakes cases across a broad range of business disputes. We represent both plaintiffs and defendants in trial courts and ADR proceedings around the country, and our accomplished appellate lawyers achieve success in cases we handled at the trial level and those matters F&E inherits from other firms after trial.

We keep our clients’ ultimate business goals in mind at every step in the litigation process. We evaluate threatened or filed lawsuits to quickly determine whether a prompt resolution or dismissal is feasible. If not, we litigate the case in an aggressive but cost-effective manner. We work collaboratively with clients to determine what resources should be devoted to any given matter and we use our case management skills to always strike the right balance of staffing, experience, seniority and skill sets.

Construction Disputes

Real estate owners, developers and lenders, as well as prime and sub- contractors, engage F&E for their construction litigation and AAA arbitrations because we understand that dispute resolution is a way of achieving important business goals—it is not an end in itself.

With a wide range of industry clients, we have worked on different sides of most construction issues and our broad base of experience gives us an advantage in the ADR and litigation matters we handle.

We partner with our clients to provide business-oriented, practical solutions to disputes involving:

  • Commercial lease build-outs
  • Mechanics’ liens
  • Structural failures and site collapses
  • Insurance coverage
  • Bid protests
  • Product and material deficiencies
  • Differing site conditions and changed conditions
  • Design errors
  • Specifications
  • Construction delay and disruption
  • Change orders

With professionals well versed in commercial litigation, real estate, and creditor’s rights, we provide representation, counseling and advice to F&E clients in the various phases of project development from inception through completion and occupancy disputes.

Debtor/Creditor

F&E’s commercial litigators handle a wide range of debtor and creditor matters on behalf of businesses and financial institutions of all sizes.

We advise on all facets of financial distress, both in and outside of formal proceedings, including:

  • Chapter 11 debtor and creditor matters
  • Restructurings
  • Workouts
  • Debt refinance
  • Distressed M&A
  • Creditor-debtor litigation
  • Asset recovery and collateral preservation
  • Asset dispositions and recapitalizations
  • Reorganizations
  • Liquidations

When acting for creditors, our lawyers have efficiently collected hundreds of millions of dollars in loans. With lawyers on our team with prior experience managing banks and other financial institutions, we also counsel business clients on compliance issues relating to consumer protection laws.

Environmental Consultant Liability

When a building or other real property is not compliant with environmental laws, the fines and remediation expenses can be significant and the liability reaches far and wide. Current and prior owners can be liable and, depending on the circumstances, the developers, contractors, lenders, tenants can be legally responsible or incur damages from the contamination.

F&E’s litigators handle cases involving professional negligence claims against environmental consultants when they fail—or are alleged to fail—to uncover current or potential problems at a site during an environmental assessment (either a Phase 1 or other investigation).

We represent the purchasers, owners, developers and lenders who are damaged by negligent consultants and we also defend consulting firms who are battling such claims.

F&E’s extensive work representing the parties to construction and other real estate disputes, as well as the firm’s experience with transaction due diligence, makes us well suited to provide practical, business-oriented advice to both plaintiffs and defendants in these high-stakes claims.

Closely-Held Business Disputes

F&E represents private business owners and equity holders in shareholder and partnership rights disputes, management and fiduciary responsibility issues, and conflicts arising from a proposed sale of the business.

Our capabilities allow us to advise closely-held businesses through their entire lifecycle, from formation to succession planning. This deep understanding of our clients’ operating issues and business goals helps to guide our approach when disputes arise.

In addition to the disputes that all enterprises have from time to time, closely-held businesses sometimes face unique challenges including:

  • Management and financial conflicts among a small group of partners, members or shareholders
  • Minority equity holder oppression
  • Accounting disputes
  • Breach of fiduciary duty claims
  • Disagreements about valuations (e.g., if a participant wants to sell an interest in the business)
  • Family conflicts among participants or heirs to a business
  • Corporate governance issues

F&E’s corporate lawyers leverage their wide-ranging experience in business governance, formation, tax, valuation, private wealth planning and litigation to find innovative solutions to the disputes that private and family businesses encounter. We often craft creative settlements or resolutions that stop short of expensive, winner-take-all litigation and consider the specific needs and dynamics – both financial and personal – of all parties.

Pre-litigation counseling can often be an effective way for closely-held businesses to avoid or minimize disputes. F&E represents many clients early in the life cycle of their business in connection with:

  • Buy-sell agreements
  • Voting trust agreements
  • Ownership transfer or succession agreements
  • Compensation plans

Our lawyers use their extensive knowledge of these issues to counsel clients in an effective litigation avoidance strategy.

FINRA Arbitration

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) oversees the activities of brokers and broker-dealers around the country. F&E represents financial advisors, managers and other financial professionals in regulatory investigations and disciplinary actions by FINRA. We handle all aspects of regulatory defense, including:

  • Answering FINRA inquiry letters
  • Producing documents and information
  • Preparing advisors to testify before regulators
  • Defending disciplinary hearings
  • Negotiating settlements such as FINRA Letters of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent

With deep experience navigating the regulations affecting the banking and securities industries, F&E’s litigators provide securities professionals with the knowledgeable and strategic defense they need to achieve a successful result when regulatory and compliance issues arise.

Lanham Act, Unfair Competition, Trademark Infringement, and False Advertising

Any challenge to your marketing is a challenge to your products and brand, and, ultimately, a threat to your bottom line. F&E’s litigators understand our clients’ businesses as well as the legal issues that define their ability to aggressively advertise their products, prevent their competitors from falsely advertising competitive products, and protect and enforce their trademark rights.

The goodwill and market recognition that our clients have developed in their brands are the result of significant investments of time and money. F&E aggressively represents clients to protect these important business assets. We have handled matters for clients that produce products, provide services, and market products across a broad range of industries.

F&E’s litigators have extensive experience with high-stakes trademark cases for businesses of all sizes. Representing both plaintiffs and defendants, we have successfully handled temporary restraining orders, preliminary injunctions, seizure orders and recalls, to full bench and jury trials on the merits.

Franchise Disputes

As a franchisee or dealer, your ability to succeed depends on your franchisor’s conduct and performance. When a franchisor misrepresents a franchise opportunity, violates antitrust laws, breaches the terms of a franchise agreement or files an unjust lawsuit, a franchisee’s investment in the franchisor’s system and the brand’s goodwill is at risk.

F&E has the experience and resources to help franchisees challenge bad franchisor behavior and defend against franchisor-initiated litigation. We regularly represent franchisees and dealers in disputes relating to:

  • Royalties, advertising fees, and other payments
  • Protected and exclusive territories
  • Post-termination issues, such as trademark infringement and breach of restrictive covenants

Many franchisors do not live up to their promises or meet the expectations they set in their franchise disclosure documents and marketing materials. When our franchisee clients believe the franchisor may have violated state or federal law, or is in breach of the franchise agreement, F&E takes swift and aggressive action to enforce our clients’ rights. We have experience with a broad range of franchise claims, including:

  • Antitrust violations
  • Breach of franchise agreement
  • Disclosure violations
  • Discriminatory practices
  • Franchisor fraud
  • Territory encroachment
  • Wrongful termination

Truth in Lending/Fair Debt Collection Act

With a team of lawyers that include practitioners with prior experience as senior executives of banks, F&E brings a unique perspective to the complex regulatory environment faced by financial institutions in today’s consumer marketplace.

F&E advises its bank, lender and collection agency clients on TILA and FDCPA regulatory matters, assists in the design and documentation of credit products and collection processes, and represents clients in regulatory enforcement proceedings and other litigation around the country.

Our clients span the industry, from commercial banks to smaller enterprises and internet-based providers.

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