Catafago Fini LLP scored a major victory in the New York State Supreme Court on September 16, 2020, in defeating a motion seeking class certification of purported meal break and overtime claims under New York Labor Law. The case is captioned Gang Li v. Wing Keung Enterprises, Inc., et al. Index No. 713860/2018 (N.Y. Supreme Court, Queens County). The news release is at this link.
Catafago Fini recently scored yet another win in the Second Circuit, in which it defeated a major consumer class action. In Axon v. Florida’s Natural Growers Inc., 19-203-cv (2nd Cir. May 29, 2020), the plaintiff brought a class action against our client, who produces Florida’s Natural Orange Juice — one of the leading orange juice brands in the nation. The plaintiff filed suit in the Southern District of New York, claiming that oranges from Florida contain trace amounts of glyphosate, a chemical used in herbicides to enable Florida orange growers to protect oranges from destruction from weeds. The District Court accepted our arguments and dismissed the case. On appeal, the Second Circuit agreed with us: that the use of the phrase “Florida’s Natural” was not misleading. The orange juice is truthfully natural, in that it is made only from oranges, with no chemicals or other ingredients added by our client. The fact that all oranges grown in Florida (or for that matter, the world) may have extremely small trace amounts of herbicides in no way “misleads” the consuming public by using the phrase “Florida’s Natural” in the brand. This was not only a win for our client and the Firm, but also for common sense.
The Court Listener news post is here.
The Second Circuit decision is here.
Catafago Fini LLP made headlines in scoring another victory in the Second Circuit against a Berkshire Hathaway insurance unit. In this case, United States Liability Company attempted to avoid its insurance obligations under a general liability policy. The Firm defeated all of the insurance company’s arguments. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with our argument that USLI waited too long — more than two years — to come up with a belated “rescission” argument. Moreover, the Firm defeated USLI’s attempt to avoid coverage under two exclusions, one for bodily injury to employees, and one for “construction.” Catafago Fini partner Tom M. Fini was quoted in Business Insurance: “’There’s a very troubling trend in America where insurers sneak these vague exclusions into their policies’ and then after collecting premiums ‘try to avoid coverage.’ Policyholders that pay their premiums expect coverage, he said.”
The news article is here.
The court decision is here.
Catafago Fini has scored another victory for Air China. In Peng Sheng Huang v. Air China Limited et al., Index No. 706696/2017 (New York Supreme Court, Queens County), the Plaintiff alleged that Air China “tortiously interfered” with an alleged shareholder agreement for a company that managed property of Air China. Partner Jacques Catafago moved for summary judgment on behalf of Air China. On December 31, 2019, the Court ruled in Air China’s favor, granting summary judgment and dismissing the claim against Air China in its entirety. As the Court held, there was no evidence that Air China even knew about the alleged agreement, and certainly no evidence that Air China in any way interfered with any agreement or acted improperly. This is Catafago Fini’s latest success in obtaining dismissing of actions brought against Air China. The December 31, 2019 Court decision is here.
Representing Air China, Catafago Fini obtained dismissal with prejudice of a complaint alleging sexual harassment and retaliation (Peng v. Air China Limited et al., Index No. 706584/2018 (New York Supreme Court, Queens County)). This victory came after the Firm won dismissal of an earlier federal action brought by the same adversary. The November 20, 2018 Court decision is below. The adversary’s appeal of this decision also was dismissed. The court order is here.
The New York Times and the New York Law Journal recently covered a significant victory by the Firm in defeating the attempt by an adversary to seal court records in a high-profile freedom of speech case pending in Brooklyn federal court.
Justice Rosalyn Richter of the New York Appellate Division, First Department, was awarded the prestigious Justice Louis L. Capozzoli Gavil Award by the Supreme Court Committee of the New York County Lawyers Association. Tom Fini, one of the Firm’s co-founders, is co-Chair of the Supreme Court Committee.
The Firm brought a lawsuit in New York Supreme Court to stop a cancer survivor from being harmed by second hand smoke that was entering his apartment. The suit – which was successful in stopping the second hand smoke — seized on an increased recognition by courts that second-hand smoke kills and gives rise to claims.
Catafago Fini LLP was part of a legal team that successfully defeated a $10 million attachment sought against a global technology company in federal court.
The Firm was part of a legal team that was successful in defeating a defamation claim that was brought by Lindsay Lohan and her mother against Fox News commentator Michelle Fields. The New York State Supreme Court granted the Firm’s motion to dismiss. In throwing out the case, the court held that the Lohans were public figures, and that comments about drug use by the Lohans could not support a defamation action. After all, reasoned the Court, “truth is a defense” to a defamation claim.
Firm co-founder Jacques Catafago was featured in the New York Times for his leading role in the well-publicized battle over the breakup of F. Lee Bailey’s old law firm.