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MitchKatz

Partner

"I help clients maximize their return on investing in legal counsel by using my decades of litigation experience to find creative solutions to their business disputes."

Overview

Biography

With over 30 years of experience focused on litigation and trial practice, Mitch has handled an extensive number of business disputes concerning secured transactions and loan enforcement for traditional and non-traditional lenders, ranging from national banks to private lenders, as well as a variety of contract disputes between businesses, including supply contracts, software licenses, and commercial leases. He is the firm's Commercial Litigation Practice Group leader.

In state and federal courts, Mitch represents clients involved in expedited discovery proceedings and the enforcement of agreements containing restrictive covenants, including noncompetition, nonsolicitation, and confidentiality clauses, which have almost uniformly included applications for temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions.

Mitch has also been lead trial counsel in adversary proceedings and contested matters in Chapter 11 cases for creditors and debtors, working closely with the firm’s restructuring, bankruptcy, and creditors’ rights attorneys.  As a Northern District of New York mediator, he guides numerous parties in business disputes to resolution and has attracted businesses to retain him as mediator outside of the court- directed program.

With an extensive background handling trials before the bench and juries as well appellate advocacy, Mitch offers legal counsel on strategic business operations ranging from day-to-day management issues to real-time contract disputes. He is respected by clients for his ability to foresee and negotiate complex corporate issues at all stages of the litigation process and for his proactive awareness of cost-benefit analyses that businesses must confront when making decisions concerning commercial disputes.

Outside of his practice, Mitch serves as chair of the firm's Alternate Fee Arrangement Committee.

Bar Associations

  • New York State Bar Association, Membership Committee Co-Chair; Former Commercial and Federal Litigation Section Chair and Former Section Committee on the Commercial Division Co-Chair
  • Northern District of New York Federal Court Bar Association, Immediate Past President
  • Onondaga County Bar Association

Selected Memberships & Affiliations

  • New York Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • Chief Judge of the State of New York Advisory Council on the Commercial Division, Permanently Appointed Member
Experience

Representative Experience

  • Represents siblings in breach of fiduciary duty litigation stemming from the co-trustee siblings' misuse of family assets for over two decades.
  • Served as lead counsel in representing a foreign corporation in arbitration arising from a Delaware LLC operating agreement, resulting in a $350,000 award after a four-day evidentiary hearing.
  • Served as lead counsel in a six-day trial representing a disaster-remediation contractor against a building owner, resulting in a $1.29 million judgment.
  • Served as lead counsel for a general contractor in a bankruptcy-court trial that determined the general contractor had an ownership interest in construction equipment claimed by a Chapter 11 debtor.
  • Served as lead counsel in a hotly contested “business divorce” between owners of a limited liability company, in which a successful motion for summary judgment forced a desirable sale transaction.
  • Served as lead counsel for a former employee of an international specialty manufacturer who was sued by the former employer to enforce restrictive covenants in an employment agreement and stockholders’ agreement. The court denied the preliminary injunction and allowed the parties to resolve the dispute.
  • Served as lead counsel in a federal-court action involving rights under trust indenture and related loan documents concerning the financing of several hydroelectric facilities, resulting in two favorable decisions by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and ultimate favorable disposition for the clients in a companion bankruptcy case.
  • Represented a manufacturer-distributor in a dispute involving a professional-services agreement related to the development of commercial property and, due to the small amount in dispute, successfully counseled the client through mediation to reach a business solution.
  • Successfully concluded an arbitration involving a business dispute between professionals.
  • Successfully represented a vendor in an Article 78 proceeding against a school district involving the letting of a public contract.
  • Secured a defense verdict and judgment in a jury trial concerning a $1 million lease-finance dispute.
  • Successfully represented a county in an Article 78 proceeding against a village concerning a public-works project.
  • Appeared as litigation counsel in several Chapter 11 proceedings to handle evidentiary hearings and trials.
  • Represented the City of Watertown in a lawsuit from Ives Hill Country Club seeking to invalidate a public-property lease the client had entered into with a for-profit enterprise on the basis of statutory and constitutional grounds. The firm cross-moved for judgment, successfully obtaining a denial of Ives Hill's motion with the court granting the City of Watertown's cross-motion and dismissing the case.
  • Represented an animal-health business in a lawsuit seeking immediate injunctive relief regarding control of manufacturing acquired by an industry competitor. Identified mediation as the best route to restore the client's supply, and, following 20 hours of mediation, reached an approved creative resolution that achieved the client's objectives.
  • Represented a fashion manufacturer in a partnership dissolution arbitration against a former design-related business partner, obtaining a $350,000 judgment. The matter also included litigation surrounding a breach of contract for violating a noncompetition clause, breach of fiduciary duty, and piercing the corporate veil claims, which have not yet been finally determined by the court, but withstood the test of an early motion to dismiss. 
  • Represents an out-of-state business in staying the enforcement of judgment and ultimately vacating the entry of judgment on grounds of breach of contract and improper business practices after the merchant advance lender improperly entered the judgment by confessing against an out-of-state defendant.
  • Represented a former telecommunications services provider in a six-day trial seeking to collect payment for telecommunications services provided and accepted under the terms of a services contract. The matter involved various breach of contract claims, resulting in damages in excess of $1.5 million to the client, plus statutory interest at 9 percent per annum.

Prior Experience

  • Menter, Rudin & Trivelpiece, P.C., Shareholder
  • Hiscock & Barclay, LLP, Partner
  • Hiscock & Barclay, LLP, Associate

Selected Community Activities

  • Onondaga County Volunteer Lawyers Project, Inc., Board of Directors Member
  • Syracuse Habitat for Humanity, Former Board of Trustees President

Selected Honors

  • The Best Lawyers in America®: Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Litigation/Banking & Finance, and Litigation/Real Estate, 2017 and 2019-2020
  • Selected to Super Lawyers Upstate New York: Business Litigation, 2007-2019
  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Syracuse Lawyer of the Year: Litigation/Banking & Finance
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated for Very High to Preeminent Ethical Standards and Legal Ability
Knowledge

Selected Speaking Engagements

  • Northern District of New York Federal Court Bar Association Fireside Chat With the Judiciary, Moderator
  • New York State Judicial Institute Summer Seminars, “Current Issues in Alternate Entity Litigation”
  • New York State Judicial Institute, “Effective Management of Small Business Divorce Cases"
  • Northern District of New York Federal Court Bar Association, “Socially Distant Depositions” CLE

Selected Publications & Media

  • NYLitigator, “The Business Theory of Diversity: How Diversity Improves Law Firms’ Bottom Lines”

Featured Media

Alerts

NYS Legislature Approves Changes to Power of Attorney Law

Alerts

COVID-19: SBA Releases Interim Final Rule Outlining Procedure to Appeal PPP Loan Review Decisions

Alerts

NYS Health Care Providers Can't Charge Extra for COVID-19-Related Costs

Alerts

Second Circuit Rejects Bright Line Rule for CERCLA Statute of Limitations

Alerts

NYS Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation Limiting Immunity for COVID-19-Related Health Care Services

Alerts

COVID-19: SBA Releases Additional FAQs on Paycheck Protection Program Forgiveness

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