John M. O’Connor was a shareholder at Anderson Kill's New York office. He practiced with the firm's Business Litigation Department and has extensive experience in federal and state litigation. Mr. O'Connor was also a member of Anderson Kill's Financial Services Industry Group. Over the course of several decades of litigation, he has accumulated many months of trial experience, as well as handling numerous factual hearings in court and in arbitrations. He has also successfully argued numerous appeals in the federal Courts of Appeal, the New York Court of Appeals, and the New York State Appellate Divisions.
Mr. O'Connor was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York and a law clerk for Judge Samuel Rabin of the New York Court of Appeals. A founding editor of New York Health Law Update, a monthly newsletter on federal and state health law developments, Mr. O'Connor has been an Adjunct Professor of Law at Cardozo Law School, and has published articles in the fields of litigation and health law. Mr. O’Connor has served on Sections and Committees concerning both litigation and health law, including Commercial and Federal Litigation, Trial Lawyers, Health Law Litigation, Construction Law, Business Torts Litigation, and Bioethical Issues.
Mr. O'Connor has been recognized by Super Lawyers for General Litigation since 2011. He is also rated "AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated," the top rating, by his peers as listed in Martindale Hubbell.
American Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York
American Health Lawyers Association
Trials & Hearings; Appeals
Over the course of several decades of litigation, Mr. O’Connor has accumulated many months of trial experience, as well as extensive experience involving factual hearings in court and in arbitrations. Several of the more extensive trials are noted in the following representative cases. He has also successfully argued numerous appeals in the federal Courts of Appeal, the New York Court of Appeals, and the New York State Appellate Divisions.
Business and Contract Disputes
- False Claims Act. Represented organization in investigation by federal government with respect to use of federal grant funds. No claim brought by United States.
- False Claims Act. Representation of defendant organization in action under federal False Claims Act and federal and state whistleblower" statutes.
- Internal Investigation, Compliance With Trade Regulations. Conducted internal investigation in response to employee query to corporate “hotline.”
- Internal Investigation, Fiduciary Duty. Represented not-for-profit organization in internal investigation concerning former employee’s allegations, which suggested a possible breach of fiduciary duty by board of directors and officers.
- Criminal Investigation. Represented manufacturing company in criminal investigation by United States Attorney’s office concerning alleged unlawful diversion of product further down line of distribution. No indictment resulted.
- Uniform Commercial Code (“UCC”). Represented plaintiff in claim alleging that bank honored a forged check and allowed funds to be placed in forger’s personal account. Claim against bank satisfactorily settled, as was claim against plaintiff’s insurance company. Dominican Fathers v. JP Morgan Chase.
- Unfair Competition. Represented client manufacturing company in action against former employee and new employer, alleging improper use of client’s proprietary information. Matter satisfactorily settled.Unfair Competition. Representation of plaintiff in claim of unfair competition involving development of a technological advance. Settled. International Manufacturing and Engineering Services, Ltd. v. Eastman Kodak Company.
- Unfair Competition. Represented defendant pharmaceutical company and principals. Plaintiff alleged departing employees took proprietary information when joining defendant company.
- Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). Represented art gallery in action involving painting placed on consignment with Michelle Cohen, subsequently a fugitive, and improperly transferred by him to a third-party. Matter settled.
- Rico, Fraud, Contract, UCC. Represented defendant wholesale company in action alleging violation of RICO statute, fraud, and asserting contract and UCC claims.
- Bankruptcy Litigation. Represented state government in bankruptcy litigation involving “late” filing of claim and dispute as to proper service of the Notice of the Bar Date deadline for filing claims. Client’s multi-million dollar tax claim satisfactorily settled following discovery. In re GST Telecom, Inc., 2002 WL 1737445 (D. Del. 2002).
- Arbitration and Appeal. Represented foreign corporation in successfully obtaining confirmation in federal court of arbitration award of monetary and injunctive relief, and successfully obtaining affirmance of District Court judgment on appeal.
- Contempt Proceedings Anti-Suit Injunction. Representing foreign corporations in proceeding alleging contempt of federal court judgment containing an anti-suit injunction. (Pending)
- Appellate Strategy. Retained to act as co-counsel to advise manufacturing company with respect to litigation options following several adverse rulings in the Appellate Division. Settled.
- Appeals. Represented third-party defendant corporation on appeal involving issues of res judicata and collateral estoppel. Parada v. City of New York v. Peter Van de Wetering and Park Avenue Malls Planting Project, et al., 283 A.D. 2d 314 (1st Dep’t 2001).
- “Headhunter” Contract. Represented hospital in trial alleging breach of “headhunter” contract.
- Trademark. Represented pharmaceutical company in action alleging improper use of trademark. Satisfactorily settled.
- Professional Licenses. Represented client architect in proceeding before New Jersey professional board.
- Professional Licenses. Represented physician in proceedings before New York Office of Professional Medical Conduct.
- Contract Claims. Represented art Authentication Board defending against breach of contract claim that alleged that Board had erroneously failed to acknowledge that plaintiff’s painting was done by Jackson Pollack. Motion for summary judgment dismissing complaint was granted and court awarded sanctions for frivolous complaint. LaRiviere v. Thaw and Pollack-Krasner Authentication Board, 2000 WL 33965732 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. June 26, 2000).
- Preliminary Injunction. Represented the plaintiff People-to-People in dispute involving its competition in the Americas Cup yacht race. Preliminary injunction obtained in favor of client. Courageous Syndicate Inc. v. People-to-People Sports Committee, Inc., 112 A.D. 2d 916 (2d Dep’t 1985).
- Contract, Copyright. Representation of plaintiff in trial of contract and copyright dispute. Favorable verdict.
- Defamation. Represent corporation as plaintiff in a defamation action concerning statements made in an email message to potential customers. (Pending)
- Customer Lists. Represented organizational client on its claim that former employee-contractor had improperly taken and used client’s proprietary customer list.
- “Cause Related” Marketing. Provided advice to multi-national company concerning the laws, regulations, and practices of the numerous states that regulate marketing that involves donations or promotions of charities and social causes.
Real Estate and Zoning Related Litigation
- Zoning: Reversal on Appeal. Brought in to represent real estate developer on appeal of trial court decision that overturned a zoning change required for the development of the client’s planned adult home. Obtained a reversal of the trial court decision and reinstatement of the zoning change, which allowed the development to successfully move forward. Stone v. Scarpato, et al., 285 A.D. 2d 467 (2nd Dep’t 2001).
- Commercial Leases. Represented Hospital as landlord in lease dispute concerning commercial tenant’s attempt to exercise option to renew lease. Client-landlord refused to renew lease citing late rent payments during lease term. Tenant claimed waiver by landlord by acceptance of tenant’s rent after violations of lease were known. Highest court in New York, the New York Court of Appeals, held in favor of client-landlord that there was no waiver of right to refuse renewal term by acceptance of rent during lease term. Court of Appeals reversed the Appellate Division, First Department, and reinstated trial court’s decision. Jefpaul Garage v. Presbyterian Hospital.
- Cooperative Apartments. Represented co-operative owners of apartments in opposing expansion of a restaurant on the premises. Commercial tenant sought preliminary injunction and summary judgment in connection with alteration of commercial space to increase size of restaurant. Both preliminary injunction and summary judgment were denied, leading to satisfactory settlement. Cromwell Associates v. Oliver Cromwell Owners, Inc.
- Landlord-Tenant. Represented plaintiff College in litigation and 6 week trial of landlord-tenant dispute concerning conditions in leased dormitory space, including issues of warranty of habitability, constructive eviction, acceptance of surrender, and other lease issues. Settled on cross-appeals after trial. Marymount Manhattan College v. 57th Street Operating.
- Mitchell-Lama Breach of Contract. Represented public benefit corporation in action alleging that commercial tenant had improperly raised sub-tenants’ residential rent, despite commercial tenant’s proper withdrawal from New York State’s Mitchell-Lama program (subsidized housing). Branch v. Riverside Park Community LLC and New York City Education Construction Fund, 24 Misc. 3d 1226(A), 899 N.Y.S.2d 57 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2009), aff’d, 74 A.D.3d 634 (1st Dep’t 2010).
- Environmental. Represented public benefit corporation in New York State Article 78 in proceeding alleging that corporation had violated of New York’s SEQRA statute. Motion to dismiss petition was granted.
Branch v. Riverside Park Community LLC and New York City Education Construction Fund, 24 Misc. 3d 1226(A), 899 N.Y.S.2d 57 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2009), aff’d, 74 A.D.3d 634 (1st Dep’t 2010).
- Real Estate Lease Expenses. Represented not-for-profit organization in lease dispute with landlord concerning proper allocation under lease of building expenses.
- Government Taking. Represented owner of property taken by State in condemnation proceedings. Dispute over valuation of property settled just prior to trial for amount greatly exceeding original offer by State. Presbyterian Hospital v. New York State.
- Real Estate Violations. Represented Limited Liability Company, owner of Manhattan buildings, in proceedings involving alleged violation of fire department regulations.
- Real Estate. Represented hotel in dispute with New York City concerning location of air shaft during construction.
- “Delay” and “Extras” Claims. Represented governmental agency in multi-week trial of action alleging “extra” work and damages for delay. Settlement satisfactory to client reached after several weeks of trial. Martin Mechanical Corp. v. Mars Associates, Inc. v New York City Educational Fund.
- “Delay” Indemnification. Represented defendant Fund, the owner, in a construction contract dispute with the general contractor and subcontractors. The Appellate Division reversed, upholding client’s position that the jury verdict, entered after multi-week trial, was inconsistent, and necessitated a new trial. The Appellate Court also upheld the Fund’s arguments that the trial court should have granted the Fund’s motion to dismiss claims by the general contractor against the Fund for indemnification of claims by the subcontractors. Mars Associates, Inc. v. New York City Educational Construction Fund, 126 A.D. 2d 178 (1st Dep’t 1987).
- Defective Materials. Represented owner of apartment development containing 894 units in obtaining jury verdict against general contractor for defective floor tiles installed in apartments throughout the development. Bellevue South Associates v. HRH Construction Corp., 78 N.Y. 2d 282 (1991).
- Construction Arbitration. Represented owner of Manhattan townhouse in arbitration concerning owner’s claims that contractor failed to perform properly and contractor’s claims that owner did not make full payment. Settled satisfactorily to client after several days of arbitration testimony.
- “Delay,” “Extras,” and “Liquidating Agreement.” Represented owner of housing development in Manhattan in dispute concerning claim by subcontractor for “extra” work and for damages for alleged delay. Matter settled in arbitration following determination in litigation of owner’s rights in connection with “liquidation agreement” between general contractor and subcontractor. Bellevue South Associates v. Heckler Electric Co., Inc., et al., 62 N.Y. 2d 873 (1984).
Closely Held Financial Interests
- Arbitration. Represented closely-held corporation engaged in wholesale jewelry business in dispute involving shareholders and court challenge to arbitration decision.
- Mediation. Represented two of three joint venturers in dispute involving new restaurant. Satisfactory settlement following mediation.
- LLC Dispute. Represented member of LLC in dispute among members of LLC. Motion for preliminary injunction successfully defeated and partial summary judgment granted in favor of clients.
- Spouses. Representation of defendant-spouse, complainant in foreign divorce proceedings, who was sued in New York in multi-count complaint implicating couples' status as shareholders in closely held corporation. New York complaint dismissed on ground of forum non-conveniens.
- Discrimination. Obtained summary judgment for defendant Not-for-Profit Home, dismissing claims of racial discrimination in employment, hostile work environment, and disparate pay. Dorrilus v. St. Rose’s Home, 234 F. Supp. 2d 326 (S.D.N.Y. 2002).
- Age Discrimination Trial. Represented not for profit in trial of age-discrimination claim. Complaint was dismissed.
- Banks, Early Redemption. Represented plaintiff state agency in obtaining judgment against defendant bank, an indenture trustee. Court upheld client’s position that the bank had breached its contractual obligation under the indenture by failing to notify the client of an early redemption call on bonds it held on behalf of the client. The exculpatory language relied upon by the bank was held inapplicable. New York State Medical Care Facilities Finance Agency v. Bank of Tokyo, 216 A.D. 2d 126 (1st Dep’t 1995).
- FDA Litigation. Represented distributor of generic pharmaceuticals in dispute with the Food and Drug Administration. United States v. Articles of Drug, 825 F.2d 1238 (8th Cir. 1987).
- Hospital Payment. Represented health insurance company in action against a “fiscal intermediary” of the United States Government under the Medicare program. Group Health Incorporated v. Blue Cross Association, 793 F.2d 491 (2d Cir. 1986); 587 F. Supp. 887 (S.D.N.Y. 1984); 625 F. Supp. 69 (S.D.N.Y. 1985); 793 F.2d 491 (2d Cir. 1986); 662 F. Supp. 753 (S.D.N.Y. 1987).
- U.S. Supreme Court. Petition for Review. Represented provider of health services on petition for Supreme Court review of decision by federal government to disallow payment of claim previously allowed by government’s fiscal agent. Group Health Inc. v. Schweiker, 742 F. 2d 1434 (2d Cir. 1983), cert. denied, 467 U.S. 1225 (1984).
- Hospital Payment. Represented the United States in class action brought by the hospitals of New York State to challenge Medicaid payment plan approved by federal health officials. Following trial of over one month, involving competing testimony of experts on hospital economics, court sustained federal approval in most respects. Hospital Association of New York State, Inc. v. Toia, 473 F.Supp. 917 (S.D.N.Y. 1979); 438 F. Supp. 866 (1977).
- Appeal, Habeas Corpus. Represented federal officials in habeas corpus petition involving allegation of denial of due process. Court of Appeals upheld dismissal of petition. Shelton v. Taylor, 550 F.2d 98 (2d Cir. 1977).
Wills, Trusts & Estates
- Amicus Brief. Filed Amicus brief in support of the position, which was adopted by the Court, that the defendant Trust had abused its discretion in exercising its variance power to terminate bequests that had specifically named the Community Service Society. The Amicus brief was submitted on behalf of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy and The National Network of Grantmakers. In re Application of the Community Service Society v. The New York Community Trust, 275 A.D. 2d 171 (1st Dep’t 2000).
- Will Contest. Represented Executor/beneficiary of relative’s estate in will challenge initiated by other relatives. Matter satisfactorily settled following discovery and motion practice.
- Will Contest. Represented charitable beneficiaries in an action brought by family beneficiaries to overturn distribution proposed by executor. Issue concerned financial crisis of 2008 and dramatic drop in value of estate assets between decedent’s death and date of distribution. Matter settled satisfactorily to clients following deposition of attorney that drafted the will.
Civil Rights & Pro Bono
- Race Discrimination; Police Conduct. Pro bono representation of minority teenagers in case against Manalapan Township, New Jersey, and two of its police officers, alleging racial discrimination, unlawful search and seizure, and flawed and discriminatory internal affairs investigation by police department. Satisfactorily settled following discovery and depositions. Yorker v. Township of Manalapan.
- Constitutional Claims; Federal Civil Rights Statute. Represented federal officials, including high-ranking Department of Justice officials, in defense against section 1983 claim alleging violation of civil rights, and represented United States in related claims. Allegations concerned revelation in 1975 that United States had secretly supplied the drug that was administered to plaintiff’s father twenty years earlier, in 1953, and that United States had secretly paid one-half of 1954 settlement. Section 1983 claims were dismissed against federal officials. (Claims against United States, initially dismissed, later reinstated on appeal.) Barrett v. Hoffman, et al. and Barrett v. United States, et al. and Barrett v. Arthur, et al., 521 F.Supp. 307 (S.D.N.Y. 1981).
- Housing Discrimination. Represented the United States in action alleging housing discrimination against minority applicants. Matter satisfactorily settled following extensive discovery. United States v. Orlofsky, 538 F.Supp. 450 (S.D.N.Y. 1981).
- International Human Rights. Member of litigation team representing plaintiffs, residents of southern Sudan, in action alleging genocide and other violations of international law. Presbyterian Church of Sudan v. Talisman Energy, Inc. and Government of Sudan.
- Asylum cases. Pro bono representation of various persons seeking asylum on grounds of fear of political persecution. (All were allowed to stay in United States on various grounds).
- Housing discrimination cases. Pro bono representation of claimants in proceedings before the New York City Commission on Human Rights.