New Jersey

Review

Dispute resolution
Sills Cummis & Gross

Newark’s Sills Cummis & Gross enjoys a prestigious position as one of the Garden State’s frequent recipients of premium-level litigation. A client cheers the firm as "excellent generally, especially on communication of all facets of litigation. They are our only choice, we've had no reason to try others." 
     Joseph Fiorenzo, who a peer addresses as “a prodigious trial lawyer with very good clients, just a dynamo,” represented a neurosurgery practice in connection with the revocation of their staff privileges by Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, NJ. In October 2019, a Bergen County jury returned a unanimous verdict against Valley Hospital and awarded Fiorenzo’s client $24.3 million. “This was the biggest civil verdict in New Jersey,” testifies a peer, “and it landed right before COVID!” Jeffrey Greenbaum, chair of the firm’s class-action group, represented Saint Peter’s University Hospital in its lawsuit against Horizon Healthcare Services, the state’s largest health insurer, challenging Saint Peter’s Tier 2 designation in Horizon’s OMNIA insurance planwhich designates certain New Jersey hospitals as Tier 1, relegates the rest to Tier 2, and creates significant financial incentives for patients to seek care at Tier 1 facilities but providing little detail about its selection process. Saint Peter’s, which learned of its status at the same time Horizon announced OMNIA, filed suit soon after, asserting contract and tort claims, and seeking entry into Tier 1. Litigation head Joseph Buckley obtained a favorable decision on behalf of Mikael Salovaara in his efforts to collect a 2015 $2 million unsatisfied judgment against a former Goldman Sachs partner and head of Goldman’s LBO desk. Since the judgment was entered, Buckley has successfully obtained in excess of $500,000 for Salovaara to date. More recently, Buckley and future star Joshua Howley triumphed for Investors Bank when, in July 2020, the Supreme Court of New Jersey issued a unanimous 7-0 ruling in a case dealing with whether a transferee of a promissory note can enforce the note when the original note was lost prior to the transfer. A newly ranked star this year, Hervé Gouraige scored a Supreme Court win in what has been labeled a “gutsy” case, in which he challenged an SEC doctrine regarding the awarding of disgorgement judgments. A peer marvels, “Hervé took on the SEC! He deserves a lot of credit for this. He’s a fascinating person, Rhodes scholar who was born in Haiti and went to school in the US. He’s a former US attorney and has a career doing white-collar and civil enforcement cases. An appellate-specific practitioner, James Hirschhorn is applauded by a peer as simply “the smartest person I know, in terms of IQ power. Nobody writes like him.” 

Labor and employment
Gibbons

New Jersey’s full-service firm Gibbons houses a labor and employment practice that dedicates a significant portion of its focus on handling clients’ litigation. The practice’s lawyers handle all types of claims in class-action and single-plaintiff disputes. Clients consistently hold the firm in high regard. One of the clients testifies that the labor and employment practice is “very responsive, engaging, professional and client focused.”

The practice chair Christine Amalfe handles employment litigation for some of the leading companies and universities in the state. One client recently shared their contentment with Amalfe’s handling of an employment case. The client describes her as “appropriately aggressive, thoughtful, and business-focused.” Almalfe is the lead lawyer handling several actions for Seton Hall University. The three separate cases touch on different facets of labor and employment litigation. She is defending against retaliation and disability discrimination claims and a lawsuit alleging violations of Title VII by a student worker. In addition to these lawsuits, Amalfe is also overseeing and managing an internal investigation into allegations of sexual harassment.

Susan Nardone is routinely engaged in litigation on behalf of major employers in the state. She has handled a variety of cases in the last year. Of note, she is defending a healthcare system in a lawsuit filed by a former nurse manager alleging that the termination of their employment violated New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA). 

James La Rocca rounds out the firm’s labor and employment practice with his focus on traditional labor disputes as well as employment litigation. He successfully assisted a client that
was recently subject to union organizing. In a more contentious dispute, La Rocca represented a company in a grievance hearing that sought to challenge the discharge of an employee. He represented the employer before a panel in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement. The panel found in favor of the client, as did the NLRB after the union filed a charge with the board.