Mark W. Lerner, head of the firm’s Employment Practices and Litigation Group, has been recognized as a top practitioner by Chambers USA in the area of Labor and Employment Law. In 2017, Mark won a jury trial as lead counsel for Douglas Elliman Realty against a competitor and a disloyal former manager, including winning an award of punitive damages.
A former federal prosecutor, Mark regularly tries cases, but that capability and the threat it implies enables him often to resolve cases early. He focuses his practice on advice and litigation relating to non-competition agreements, employee raiding and lift-outs, discrimination and harassment claims on behalf of management, theft of company information, executive compensation disputes, terminations and lay-offs, and wage and hour actions.
Saving firms or non-profits from existential internal threats, Mark also conducts major and comprehensive internal investigations of employee wrongdoing and advocates with District Attorneys’ offices, the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s offices, the FBI, FINRA and the Department of Labor.
In the industries of apparel, energy, financial services, hedge funds, private equity, real estate brokerage, development and management, print and television media, philanthropy and many others, Mark has mastered the industry’s employment structures and issues, making him a quick study.
- Agip USA, in a federal jury trial in defense of gender and disability discrimination claims, resulting in a 100% defense-favored verdict.
- Citigroup, CIBC Oppenheimer, Indus Capital Partners, Perella Weinberg Partners, Société Générale, TD Waterhouse and Time Inc. in matters involving the hiring or departures of employees alleged to be violating non-competition or confidentiality covenants.
- Douglas Elliman Realty in an action for raiding and breach of fiduciary duty against former manager and competitor, in defense of same-sex sexual harassment claim, in which the jury returned a $4.75 million verdict in Douglas Elliman’s favor.
- Fox News Network in defense of an EEOC class action alleging sexual harassment.
- H.I.G. Capital in defense of a WARN Act class action by former employees of a portfolio company.
- MacKay Shields in defense of race discrimination claim by a senior portfolio manager, resulting in a summary judgment dismissal.
- New York Post in defense of employment discrimination and retaliation actions by reporters and an editor, resulting in two summary judgment dismissals.
- Polo Ralph Lauren, Phillips van Heusen and Calvin Klein in defense of allegations of employment discrimination and retaliation.
- Rabobank in a federal jury trial on claims of age discrimination and retaliation.
- Saw Mill Capital in defense of claim against private equity fund for carried interest and bonus compensation.
- The 92nd Street Y in internal investigations and in defense of employment-related claims by former employees.
Criminal or Regulatory Matters
- Representation of witnesses in federal investigation of diversion of funds from an Asian sovereign wealth fund.
- Defense of a newspaper in federal grand jury investigation into circulation reporting.
- Defense in SDNY of indicted real estate broker for bank fraud.
- Defense in FINRA of head of 200-trader mortgage backed securities trading desk accused of mismarking trading books.