Selendy Gay Elsberg

Global

Review

United States (National)

Dispute resolution

Founded in 2018 and operating out of a single location in New York, Selendy & Gay is a litigation boutique that spans well beyond the city’s borders and has generated buzz among fellow litigators from all corners of the country. This is undoubtedly due to the star power of its personnel; partners Philippe Selendy and Faith Gay were both “dynamos” at their former firm  Quinn Emanuel before decamping to forge what peers now address as “one of the most talked-about litigation shops.” The firm’s compact size and lack of bureaucracy allows it freedom to experiment with “cases that fall outside the boundaries of the ‘traditional’ cases that bigger firms deal with” as well as greater flexibility on rates. “They have been taking on some interesting work, like public interest cases, which they couldn’t have done before,” observes a peer.
     Gay, known for a diverse practice that combines commercial and white-collar matters, is representing a class of public servants in a sweeping federal class-action suit against the student loan servicer Navient for misleading borrowers as to their eligibility for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, a federal program adopted in 2007 to help bridge the gap between the cost of higher education requirements for public service positions and the lower salaries those positions offer. Since then, 28,000 public servants have applied under the program, but only 96 people have actually received loan forgiveness. Effectively, according to recently released data, 98% of borrowers who submitted applications for this program have been rejected since October 2017.

     Selendy, who generated celebrity status through his nearly uninterrupted series of eye-popping settlements with a “who’s who” of banks while at his former firm, has continued to enjoy a strong profile as a “creative and forward-thinking securities and commercial litigation star,” particularly on the plaintiff side of the “V.” Supporting this claim is Selendy’s prominence in the burgeoning cryptocurrency area, a field in which he  is engaged in several cases. In one, he represents National Public Finance Guarantee against eight major banks to hold them accountable for alleged inequitable conduct in Puerto Rico's municipal bond market, which  contributed to Puerto Rico's economic collapse. The clients, bond insurers that have been presented with, and fully honored, over a billion dollars in claims after the municipal debt underwritten by the banks became unsustainable on their terms for the Commonwealth and its agencies and they defaulted on their obligations. In another case, Selendy represents cryptocurrency investors in a putative class action alleging that the controllers of the cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex falsely represented that their purportedly “stable” cryptocurrency Tether was backed by US Dollars in order to control the price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in an elaborate market-manipulation scheme that cost investors hundreds of billions of dollars. Working with the latter case with Selendy is Caitlin Halligan, an appellate star formerly with Gibson Dunn who peers view as a significant augmentation to the firm’s bench. Halligan handled an appeal in a lawsuit filed by a former New York police officer on behalf of hundreds of thousands of New York City public employees and retirees, alleging that health insurance company Group Health Incorporated violated New York’s consumer protection law by disseminating marketing materials that misrepresented critical aspects of out-of-network coverage. The New York Court of Appeals found in Halligan’s client’s favor, a significant victory for consumers. Halligan also, along with David Elsberg, represents the BVI Liquidator of the Fairfield Funds, the largest feeder funds into the Madoff Ponzi scheme, in prosecuting over 250 clawback actions in the Southern District of New York commenced against Funds’ redeemers, including many major financial institutions. The clawback actions, pending in the Bankruptcy Court, seek the return to the Funds of over $6 billion in overpaid redemptions. In December 2018, the Bankruptcy Court dismissed claims seeking restitution under BVI common law and contract theories. Halligan and Elsberg are in the process of appealing those decisions in the District Court for the Southern District of New York.