Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz had a historic year, thanks in part to victories on two of New York’s most significant pieces of real estate. A bit of luck in the timing department didn’t hurt, either. “Sometimes you get results back-to-back, sometimes they take longer,” said Daniel Krasner, founder and senior partner in the 75-attorney New York-based firm’s class litigation group. “We’ve had a good luck in all these results have come down in the past year.”
The major real estate settlements landed in May. Partners Lawrence Kolker and Krasner, chairing the executive committee of co-lead counsel, spearheaded a $155 million settlement for investors related to a new real estate investment trust for the Empire State Building. And partners Alexander Schmidt and Krasner played a key role in a $173 million settlement related to rent-stabilized apartments in Manhattan’s largest apartment complex, Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village. Those wins followed a $219 million settlement in March in a securities class action (along with lead counsel Lowey Dannenberg Cohen & Hart) against certain feeder funds for the Ponzi scheme run by Bernard Madoff.
In the Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper dispute, Krasner credited Wolf Halden­stein’s knowledge of the complex New York City rent-stabilization laws for landing the work in the first place. The battle went all the way to the New York high court in 2009, which ruled that the landlords were wrongfully using tax credits for capital improvements to push rents higher. Next came ironing out the settlement details. Schmidt and Krasner were co-lead counsel with Bernstein Liebhard.
“We knew all of the real estate aspects of the case as well as the class action aspects,” Krasner said. “We could handle the case economically and efficiently, and we understood what we were doing.”