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Labor and employment Star

Practice area:

Labor and employment

Mark W. Lerner, head of the firm’s Employment Practices and Litigation group, is a leading employment litigator who regularly litigates and counsels clients on non-competition agreements, employee raiding and lift-outs, discrimination and harassment claims, theft of company information, executive compensation disputes, terminations and lay-offs, and wage and hour actions. A former federal prosecutor, Mark frequently tries cases. His trial prowess and the threat it implies enable him often to resolve cases early for his clients.

Mark also conducts major and comprehensive internal investigations of employment issues, including sexual harassment, and negotiates disputes with the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorneys, District Attorneys, the FBI, FINRA and the Department of Labor.

Mark has been recognized by Chambers USA, The Legal 500 and Benchmark Litigation as a top Labor and Employment Law practitioner. Lawdragon lists Mark as one of the Most Powerful Employment Lawyers in the U.S. In 2019, under Mark’s leadership, the Employment Practices and Litigation group was named Litigation Department of the Year for Labor and Employment by the New York Law Journal.


Work Highlights:

Non-Competition Agreements and Restrictive Covenants

  • Douglas Elliman Realty in a suit against one of Elliman’s former managers and a competitor firm involving a wrongful scheme to move a dozen agents to the competitor firm. We won a $3.8 million jury verdict on behalf of Elliman, including $2.5 million in punitive damages.
  • Celebrity real estate broker Ryan Serhant – of Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing TV show - in his separation from Nest Seekers, his prior employer, and in founding his new independent brokerage and media company, “SERHANT.” 
  • Northwell Health, one of the largest hospital systems in the U.S., in a lawsuit to enforce employment agreements, including covenants not to compete. 


Discrimination and Sexual Harassment

  • An employee at Dentons, the international law firm, in defense of claims of sexual harassment, a highly publicized “#MeToo” claim.
  • New York Post in defense of a race discrimination lawsuit brought by certain reporters, in which we obtained summary judgment dismissing all claims. 


Private Equity Compensation and Other Disputes

  • Saw Mill Capital in defense of claims for carried interest and other compensation by a former partner, resulting in a complete victory for Saw Mill Capital after a trial.
  • John Brice, former Chief Investment Officer and board member of private equity fund CarVal Investors, in a case against CarVal after it terminated Mr. Brice’s employment and threatened to withhold $230 million in compensation. After winning a preliminary injunction, the matter settled favorably.


Other Employment Issues

  • YRC Worldwide, a transportation and logistics company, in wage and hour class action claims.
  • The 92nd Street Y in defending against various employment disputes, including labor grievances and arbitrations.


Updated Sep 2021