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Michael S. Stein

Member of the Firm

Background

Michael Stein is the firm’s Chair and Managing Partner. He specializes in general commercial litigation, chancery litigation, legal ethics and appellate advocacy.  He has substantial trial and appellate experience in both state and federal courts, concentrating his practice primarily on complex and sophisticated corporate, business and probate disputes. He also serves as an advisor to the firm’s corporate clients on a wide variety of matters, including partnership and shareholder disputes, intellectual property rights, antitrust matter, professional malpractice, chancery litigation, legal ethics, land use and restrictive covenants.

Clients come to Mr. Stein for matters big and small, knowing that he will roll up his sleeves, sweat the details, always make himself available to offer careful and thoughtful counsel from beginning to end and be fully prepared to aggressively try the case should settlement efforts prove unsuccessful.  In addition, Mr. Stein is routinely engaged as counsel and local counsel by major multinational Amlaw 100 firms, to meet their regional litigation needs.  The combination of Mr. Stein’s years of experience, his work ethic, his knowledge of New Jersey’s judicial culture and most importantly, the depth and strength of the firm’s litigation bench, put him at the forefront of our state litigation bar and make him one of the go to litigators in New Jersey  for major “bet the business” litigations.

Representative Matters

  • Represented the plaintiff in an oppressed minority shareholder suit concerning issues of oppression in a closely held corporation. This case resulted in the New Jersey Supreme Court issuing a precedential decision clarifying the State’s oppressed shareholders jurisprudence and provided needed guidance on the question of the proofs necessary to trigger the availability of remedies under the oppressed shareholder statute. The case is presently on remand.
  • Represented, a leading heart valve manufacturer in a patent licensing dispute involving rights to a minimally invasive method for repairing and replacing aortic heart valves (transcatheter aortic valve replacement therapy). The dispute focused on whether only a particular patent or an entire family of patents to the revolutionary heart valve device and procedure had been licensed. Following an evidentiary hearing on our application for summary judgment, the matter was resolved through a confidential settlement.
  • Pashman Stein is representing two attorneys brought up on ethics charges by the New Jersey Office of Attorney Ethics (OAE) for allegedly instructing a paralegal to “friend” a represented adversary on Facebook in an underlying personal injury case. The adversary in that matter filed charges against the attorneys before the District II-B Ethics Committee (DEC), who reviewed the grievance, and determined that the attorneys’ conduct did not amount to a violation of the Rules of Professional Responsibility. After the DEC dismissed the grievance, the adversary’s attorney demanded that the OAE review and reverse the DEC’s decision. The OAE docketed and investigated the matter and filed charges against the attorneys. Pashman Stein filed an Order to Show Cause seeking a declaration that the OAE lacked authority to prosecute the DEC’s previously dismissed grievance. Both the chancery division and the appellate division declined to consider the merits of the case, holding that the Supreme Court has exclusive jurisdiction over attorney disciplinary matters. Pashman Stein filed a petition for certification with the New Jersey Supreme Court, which was recently granted. The petition presents a novel issue concerning the scope of the OAE’s authority to investigate and prosecute attorney grievances, and has received wide spread media attention concerning online privacy and ethics issues.
  • As co-counsel with DeCotiis, Fitzpatrick & Cole, LLP, Pashman Stein successfully defended James Cohen, CEO of Hudson Media Inc., in a lawsuit filed by Samantha Perelman (“Perelman”), and funded by her father, billionaire Ronald O. Perelman, in which Perelman alleged that James Cohen exerted undue influence over his father (Perelman’s grandfather), Robert Cohen, causing him to alter his will and reduce Perelman’s share of the estate by upwards of $500 million. Following a highly publicized trial that lasted 85 days and included more than 50 witnesses, Superior Court Judge Estela M. De la Cruz issued a 119-page opinion rejecting Perelman’s claims and ruling in favor of James Cohen. The court found that although Robert Cohen suffered from a debilitating form of Parkinson’s disease that affected his speech and movement, he was fully competent to choose his heirs. Perelman filed an appeal and the appeal is ongoing.

Reported Decisions

  • In re Earle Asphalt Co., 198 N.J. 143, 966 A.2d 460, 461 (2009)
  • Kiken v. Kiken, 149 N.J. 441, 694 A.2d 557, 557 (1997)
  • Sipko v. Koger, Inc., 214 N.J. 364, 70 A.3d 512, 514 (2013)
  • In re Estate of Payne, 186 N.J. 324, 895 A.2d 428, 429 (2006)
  • Strahan v. Strahan, 402 N.J. Super. 298, 953 A.2d 1219, 1222 (App. Div. 2008)
  • Sun Coast Merch. Corp. v. Myron Corp., 393 N.J. Super. 55, 922 A.2d 782, 784 (App. Div. 2007)
  • Puder v. Buechel, 183 N.J. 428, 430, 874 A.2d 534, 534-35 (2005)
  • Syncsort Inc. v. Sequential Software, Inc., 50 F. Supp. 2d 318, 321 (D.N.J. 1999)
  • Fancaster, Inc. v. Comcast Corp., 832 F. Supp. 2d 380, 388 (D.N.J. 2011)

Professional/Civic Activities

  • Member, Editorial Board, New Jersey Law Journal
  • Member, Vineyard Power Cooperative’s Advisory Committee
  • Past Member, Professional Responsibility Rules Committee
  • Past Member, Civil Practice Rules Committee
  • Past Chair, District II-B Ethics Committee
  • Supreme Court Approved Mediator
  • Past Chair and Member, Montclair Cooperative School, Board of Trustees

Bar/Court Admissions

  • New Jersey
  • United States District Court, District of New Jersey
  • United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
  • United States District Court, Southern District of New York
  • United States Supreme Court

Education

  • B.A., Duke University, 1984
  • J.D., Rutgers University School of Law, 1989

Accolades

  • Selected in the Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rated Lawyer list.
  • Selected for the NJ Super Lawyers list for 2012-2017
  • Ranked in the 2013-2017 editions of Best Lawyers list for Commercial Litigation practice
  • Ranked in the Chambers USA “Leaders in their Field” lawyer list for the 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 editions
  • Included in the 2016 Local Litigation Star list by Benchmark Litigation Guide

The Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings list is issued by Martindale-Hubbell. A description of the selection methodology can be found at http://www.martindale.com/Products_and_Services/Client_Review_Ratings.aspx.
The Super Lawyers list is issued by Thomson Reuters. A description of the selection methodology can be found at http://www.superlawyers.com/about/selection_process.html.
The Best Lawyers list is issued by Woodward/White, Inc. A description of the selection methodology can be found at https://www.bestlawyers.com/About/MethodologyBasic.aspx.
The Chambers USA ranking list is published by Chambers & Partners. A description of the selection methodology can be found at http://www.chambersandpartners.com/methodology.

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