Stephen Jacobs Member New York
Phone: 212.238.4800 Fax: 212.238.4848 sjacobs@lcbf.com
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Clients look to Steve for creative, yet practical, solutions to a broad range of complex legal problems.  More than one client has told Steve “we don’t send you the easy ones.”  A founding member of LCBF, Steve works with insurers and other major corporations, law and accounting firms, as well as smaller business, municipalities, and individual professionals.  For example,

  • Accountants and lawyers rely upon Steve to defend them against fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, malpractice, negligence, misrepresentation, RICO, and aiding and abetting claims.
  • Steve advises and defends insurers, insurance brokers, and others with respect to issues arising from many different types of insurance policies.

Among Steve’s results are:

  • The granting of motion to dismiss by the New York County Commercial Division of a $148 million suit against a law firm.
  • Summary judgment dismissing an eight-figure New York County suit by a real estate developer against a midtown law firm.
  • The dismissal of an array of class action and derivative claims brought in the United States District Court in the Southern District of New York against an auditor of a so-called Madoff “feeder fund.”
  • The dismissal, upheld by the Third Circuit, of class action Sherman Act and RICO claims against an insurer in MDL litigation pending in New Jersey, after which LCBF’s client settled other class claims for an amount substantially less than the other settling insurers;
  • The dismissal, affirmed by the Second Circuit, of both a $20 million subrogation claim against a contractor and the contractor’s third-party coverage claims arising from the much-publicized scaffold collapse at Four Times Square.
  • Award of $5.2 million from Sears to reimburse an LCBF client for a settlement payment, in a case that went to the New Jersey Supreme Court and was apparently the first “vendors endorsement” case Sears ever lost.

For more details of these and other results, see Steve’s “Representative Cases.”

For years, Steve has been on the roster of New York Metro Super Lawyers.  For 20 years, he has been rated “AV Preeminent” by the Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings.™  Super Lawyers is published by Thomson Reuters.  A description of their selection methodology can be found here.  Martindale-Hubbell is published by Internet Brands, Inc.  A description of their selection methodology can be found here. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

Steve has presented at client and public conferences on various topics, including professional liability and insurance coverage.

Steve currently serves on the governing or advisory boards of the Nature’s Conservancy’s Mashomack (Shelter Island) Preserve, the Columbia College Alumni Association, and Music Before 1800.

Representative Cases

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Representative Cases

  • 180 Ludlow v. Olshan, Index No. 651473/2013  (Sup. Ct. N.Y. County August 23, 2017) (granting cross-motion for summary judgment on behalf of mid-size Midtown firm dismissing $12 million legal malpractice claim brought by real estate developer, principally claiming that the firm had negligently drafted the Zoning Lot Development Agreement (ZLDA) in connection with plaintiff’s purchase of air rights to build a prominent Lower East Side hotel, as a result of which it allegedly had to tear down part of a cantilever over its neighbor’s property when the neighbor refused to install mechanical ventilation plaintiff claimed was required by the Building Code; the court relied in large part on the evidence we developed that, prior to the closing, the developer had discussed the Building Code issue with its architect and various other professionals, but not our client, and also found persuasive as the affidavits from our expert who opined, among other things, that our client, which served as the transactional lawyer for the deal, was entitled to rely on the developer and its experts to bring the Building Code issue to its attention and that the type of provision plaintiff and its expert claimed should have been included in the ZLDA would have been unprecedented)

  • Kolodin v. Valenti, 2017 WL 484179 (2d Dep’t 2017) (reversing trial court’s denial of summary judgment to accountant claimed to have given improper tax advice, appellate division held that the advice could not have been the proximate cause of plaintiff’s claimed loss arising from the transfer of funds she authorized from a joint brokerage account to an individual brokerage account owned by her former paramour)

  • Guidance Endodontics v. Olshan, Index No. 163139/15 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. County October 25, 2016) (Ramos granting defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s claim that, as a result of our client’s alleged mishandling of an action in New Mexico, the jury did not award an extra $148 million and plaintiff was forced to settle for $11.5 million settlement; court found plaintiff’s malpractice claim both barred by the doctrine of collateral estoppel in light of a New Mexico court’s dismissal of plaintiff’s malpractice claim against our client’s New Mexico co-counsel and based on rank speculation; breach of fiduciary duty claim dismissed on three separate grounds)

  • DeLollis v. Friedberg Smith & Co., P.C., 600 Fed.Appx. 792 (2d Cir. 2015) (affirming dismissal of claim against auditor of auditor of so-called Madoff feeder fund on the ground that the firm’s client had no duty to perform audit procedure on Madoff registered broker-dealer and was entitled to rely on its financial statements; firm acted as co-counsel)

  • DeLollis v. Friedberg, Smith & Co., P.C., 933 F.Supp.2d 354 (D. Conn. 2013) aff'd 600 Fed.Appx.792 (2d Cir. 2015) (granting the motion to dismiss filed by LCBF on behalf of the auditor of an investment fund sued for tens of millions of dollars of Madoff-related losses; court held that plaintiffs had no plausible claim that the auditor departed from the applicable auditing standards in relying on annual confirmations from Madoff’s brokerage firm)

  • Irvin v. Jones, Index No. 2942/12 (Sup. Ct. Suffolk Co. December 13, 2012) (dismissing breach of fiduciary, accounting, and punitive damages claims against an accountant and his firm allegedly responsible for millions of dollars plaintiff allegedly lost as a result of a 1031 exchange and other investments as time-barred because "continuous representation doctrine" did not apply, and "holder claims" were not actionable)

  • River View at Patchogue, LLC v. Hudson Ins. Co., 122 A.D.3d 824  (2d Dep’t 2014) (affirming dismissal of a "direct action" against Hudson on ground that plaintiff was bound by a holding, in a prior action we had brought on Hudson’s behalf, that Hudson had not received timely notice of an environmental claim or occurrence)

  • Dawson Foundation v. Zucker et al., Index No. 650053/2011 (Sup. Ct. New York Co. February 21, 2012) (dismissing "holder claims" against accountant client alleged to have participated in Ponzi scheme)

  • In re Beacon Associates Securities Litigation, 2010 WL 3895582 (S.D.N.Y. October 5, 2010) (dismissing class action and derivative claims against auditor client of Madoff feeder fund, allowing claims against other defendants to proceed)

  • In re Insurance Brokerage Antitrust Litigation, 618 F.3d 300 (3d Cir. 2010)  (affirming dismissal of class action Sherman Act and RICO claims against client and only two of the other insurer defendants in case brought against  leading insurance groups and biggest insurance brokers, arising from former NYAG Elliott Spitzer’s investigation of alleged bid-rigging and steering practices)

  • Hudson Ins. Company v. VTEQE, Inc., Index No. 6062102-08 (N.Y. Sup. Ct., Feb. 2, 2010) (granting insurer summary judgment that no duty to defend or indemnify with respect to underlying environmental claims due to late notice)

  • Duravest, Inc. v. Viscardi, A.G., 2008 WL 1742845 (S.D.N.Y. April 14, 2009) (Rakoff, J.) (dismissing RICO claim against accountant client)

  • Philadelphia Indemnity v. Harleysville Mutual Ins. Co., Index No. 18644/2006 (Sup. Ct. Queens Co. December 12, 2008) (dismissing claim against insurer client on ground that the policy it issued to property manager applied on an excess basis to claims against proprty owner with respect to Labor Law claims arising out of a construction accident and that Ins. Law 3420(d) did not apply)

  • Tully Const. Co., Inc. v. TIG Ins. Co., 43 A.D.3d 1150, 842 N.Y.S.2d 528 (2d Dep’t 2007) (affirming determination that no coverage owed by client insurer; we handled case in local court and acted as local counsel on appeal)

  • St. Paul Fire and Marine Ins. Co. v. Universal Builders Supply, 409 F.3d 73 (2d Cir. 2005) (affirming dismissal of our motion to dismiss both $20 million subrogation claim against contractor and third-party coverage claims arising from much publicized scaffold collapse at Four Times Square)

  • Continental Cas. Co. v. Auto-Owners Ins. Co., 238 F.3d 941 (8th Cir. 2000) (affirming that insurer client entitled to reimbursement of contribution it made toward settlement of catastrophic injury suit)

  • Red Apple Supermarkets, Inc. v. North River Ins. Co., 182 F.3d 901 (2d Cir. 1999) (affirming determination that no coverage owed by insurer client)

  • Sears Roebuck & Co. v. U.S. Fire Ins. Co., No. A-4081-95T3 (N.J. App. Div. April 28, 1997), motion for certification denied, 151 N.J. 74, 697 A.2d 546 (July 11, 1997) (obtained reimbursement of $5.2 million for insurer client’s contribution towards settlement from Sears in apparently the first “vendors endorsement” case Sears ever lost)

  • National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, Pa. v. L.E. Myers Co. Group, 1997 WL 148231 (S.D.N.Y.  March 31, 1997) (Griesa, J.) (after bench trial, client wholesale insurance broker found not responsible for failing to object to policy's prior acts exclusion, which would have barred coverage for a subsequent loss, because no mutual agreement to amend coverage provided by binder)

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Practice Areas

Admissions

New York, 1979
U.S. District Court Southern District of New York
U.S. District Court Eastern District of New York
U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit
U.S. District Court District of Connecticut
U.S. Tax Court

Published Works

Preparing for and Trying the Civil Lawsuit, Contributing Author, New York State Bar Association, 1987 and Supplements

Associations and Professional Activities

The Association of the Bar of the City of New York

American Bar Association, Sections on Litigation and Tort and Insurance Practice

New York County Lawyers' Association

Defense Research Institute

New York University School of Law, Orison S. Marden Competition, moot court judge

Honors and Awards

“AV Preeminent” rating from the Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ [see text to the left]

New York Metro Super Lawyer, 2014-2017 [see text to the left]

Education

J.D., Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1978
Articles Editor, Harvard International Law Journal, 1977-1978

B.A., Summa Cum Laude, Columbia College, 1975
Phi Beta Kappa
Alan J. Willen Memorial Prize