Our extensive experience allows us to approach every matter with substantive knowledge, creativity, and confidence in order to provide solutions that fit each of our client’s specific needs.

When HSE litigation attorneys enter the courtroom, we carry a well-earned reputation for skill and passionate advocacy on behalf of our clients. We believe that winning does matter, and that our clients deserve to be represented by lawyers focused on achieving the best possible results.

We also appreciate that our clients often seek early, cost-effective alternatives to litigation. In pursuing these goals, we actively partner with our clients to develop the right strategy and to use tools such as mediation, wherever feasible. We believe that trial lawyers should be creative and sensitive to the big picture – seeking outcomes that enhance our clients’ bottom-line best interests.

While we compete aggressively against our opponents, our attorneys work cooperatively as a team, assuring that our clients get the optimum benefit of our collective experience and knowledge. We staff cases to best serve each client, utilizing the talents of our associates and paralegals to provide genuine value to clients. In short, we seek to make the best of what often are stressful and emotional circumstances in the lives of our professional or business clients.

Our litigators have comprehensive experience that ranges from trying cases in state and federal courts to handling appeals before the U.S. Supreme Court. Our wide array of business clients has contributed to our adroitness in areas ranging from antitrust, to class actions, to various aspects of employment and intellectual property litigation, to defending professionals, to major challenges to state and federal regulation of businesses. We are proud of the success we’ve achieved for our clients both inside and outside the courtroom.

Business/Commercial Matters
We represent business entities and individuals in complex business litigation, including shareholder derivative actions, class actions, dissolution actions, franchising disputes, significant insurance coverage claims, contract claims, non-competition violations, UCC cases, corporate governance disputes, and criminal and civil antitrust actions.

Construction Project Disputes
Our attorneys have defended owners, contractors, construction managers, engineers, and sureties in litigation arising out of major construction actions throughout upstate and western New York.

Defense of Design Professionals
We represent architects, engineers, and other design professionals in malpractice and contract litigation. Our attorneys have been involved in numerous lawsuits on behalf of architects and engineers, ranging from major construction projects involving the removal of hazardous waste or the construction of hydroelectric facilities, to more modest projects involving the renovation of existing office buildings or the evaluation of existing bridges.

Defense of Health Care Professionals
Our team of litigators handles conflicts involving professional disciplinary matters (OPMC and National Practitioner Data Bank), fee reimbursement by the federal government and private insurers, and regulatory violation.

When necessary, we prosecute disciplinary charges against teaching and non-teaching employees, including the termination of probationary employees and the defense of disciplinary action in grievance and arbitration proceedings (as well as proceedings under Education and Civil Service Law that provides “just cause” protection to public school employees). Our attorneys assist with all manner of issues that arise in the complex special education area, including those about parent and student rights, CSE procedures, formulation and interpretation of IEPs, IEP approval procedures, appeals, impartial hearings, and litigation. Other areas in which we are involved include tort actions brought by students and school personnel, and the defense of criminal and traffic violations by personnel.

Employee Benefits
We represent clients in employee benefit matters such as fiduciary liability claims, benefit disputes, and Internal Revenue Service and Labor Department controversies.

Employment Claims
The Labor and Employment Practice Area has a proven track record of effective and efficient defense of small, midsize, and large international employers in discrimination actions. The types of cases we have taken to a successful conclusion on behalf our employer clients include: Title VII discrimination claims based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin; Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA); State Human Rights Law; sexual harassment claims, 42 U.S.C. et seq.; 1981 et seq.; Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Equal Pay Act, and Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

We also defend against claims that management violated employment contracts (wrongful discharge, non-competition, and related torts); the Fair Labor Standard Acts; state labor laws (wage and wage supplement); the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Act (OSHA); executive employment; and compensation contracts.

We have handled complex matters involving multiple plaintiffs with multiple claims in both state and federal courts. In particular, our attorneys have extensive recent experience with respect to wage and hour class/collective actions, which are becoming increasingly commonplace.

Our attorneys represent clients in disputes with government agencies and with private parties concerning liabilities arising out of contaminated properties. We represent industrial, commercial, and municipal clients in negotiations with federal and state agencies concerning the terms of Consent Orders for environmental cleanup or landfill closures. These actions include cost recovery litigation under CERCLA (for hazardous substances) and the NYS navigation law (for petroleum). We also have extensive litigation experience in the areas of brownfields and wetlands development.

Financial Reorganization, Restructuring and Insolvency
While recognizing that negotiated solutions are generally preferable, the attorneys in our Financial Reorganization, Restructuring and Insolvency Practice Area are experienced litigators who are able to provide counsel and expertise to lenders, borrowers, and business entities in assessing appropriate strategies. Our successful trial experience and willingness to litigate enhances our ability to negotiate solutions. We are experienced in all aspects of bankruptcy litigation and have successfully litigated contested confirmation hearings, fraudulent conveyance recoveries, claims hearings, stay relief hearings, and preference prosecutions. Our significant experience in both state and federal courts ensures our chances of success in assisting major commercial clients in enforcing money judgments and recovering collateral through contested replevin actions.

Employers are liable for acts of discrimination based upon national origin and citizenship status. Our attorneys have the experience to represent clients in discrimination cases brought by individuals or the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices.

Insurance Coverage
Our litigation attorneys handle coverage disputes on behalf of policy holders and carriers in federal and state courts. We also counsel clients on a wide range of coverage issues.

Intellectual Property
Intellectual property rights disputes are handled by a team selected to represent clients in complex intellectual property litigation in federal and state courts across the nation, including bench trials, evidentiary hearings (Markman, preliminary injunctions), and appeals. We also represent clients before the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

We represent our clients in seeking legal redress against businesses and individuals whose intellectual property – in the form of patents, trademarks, trade dress, copyrights, and trade secrets – has been infringed upon, in addition to defending them against assertions of infringement. We also defend and prosecute actions for unfair competition, and bring forth customs actions relative to the monitoring and importation of infringing goods.

HSE has become the firm of choice in obtaining temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions preventing the misappropriation of trade secrets. We are frequently called on to defend the enforceability of confidentiality agreements and post-employment non-competition agreements designed to safeguard the misappropriation of trade secrets and violations in the area of unfair competition.

Our intellectual property litigation attorneys routinely handle conflicts relating to false advertising and defamation (libel and slander), in addition to cases involving franchising rights, false advertising and various issues in E-Commerce, including trademark infringement and domain name disputes.

Municipal Law
The issues associated with litigation concerning municipalities often involve not only complex legal issues, but also sensitive issues of public perception. Our attorneys are experienced in representing both municipalities and private parties in litigation from the Town Court level to the U.S. Supreme Court. Our experience includes employment discrimination, First Amendment claims, Article 78 proceedings involving challenges to the municipality’s rulings, real estate tax assessment and exemption challenges, and civil rights actions against local law enforcement officials. Our litigation practice often defends municipal personnel against tort and other claims.

Professional Liability
With professional liability claims and the threat they pose to finances and reputations on the rise, we work both preemptively to help you avoid claims, and proactively to minimize risk should they arise. Our attorneys work with professionals under insurers’ errors and omissions policies, as well as the self-insured, to defend against actions claiming violations of professional rules, ethical standards and duties of trust. We represent clients in courts, arbitrations and mediations, and before regulatory and licensing agencies. Matters include legal, medical and architectural malpractice, insurance broker errors and omissions, and directors’ and officers’ liability claims. Our firm’s broad range of practice areas allows us to collaborate with attorneys familiar with the client’s field so that we can tailor our services to meet your particular needs. We appreciate the sensitivity of these claims and the benefit of confidential settlements when appropriate. Our attorneys understand that the continued, seamless operation of your business is critical and aim to handle your situation so that you can focus on that continued operation.

Representation of Long-Term Care Providers
For almost 20 years, we have been retained by the New York State Health Facilities Association (NYSHFA), as well as by individual nursing facilities throughout the state, as special litigation counsel for complex Medicaid reimbursement rate challenges in the state and federal courts. During that time, the firm’s health care litigation team has achieved notable success recovering more than $250 million from the government in several legal actions challenging New York’s Medicaid ratesetting system.

We have also served as special counsel to other statewide associations and long-term care facilities in litigation matters before state and federal courts. We have successfully defended certificate of need, antitrust, civil rights, and Title VII actions, and handled numerous breach of contract suits, injunctive actions, and challenges to administrative rules.

Securities Claims
In this highly regulated arena, state and federal agencies – as well as consumers, business competitors, and others – often seek legal redress for losses arising from perceived wrongs. Well-run businesses know that handling contested matters efficiently and economically is critical to their bottom line, and that it takes experienced, skilled lawyers to resolve complex securities disputes. Our attorneys have handled a vast array of issues, including a major securities fraud and disgorgement action brought by the SEC in federal court; federal court actions arising from disputes between broker/dealer clients and companies involved in public offerings; numerous broker/customer disputes in both federal and state courts and before arbitration panels involving allegations of unauthorized trading, churning, unsuitability, and other Rule 10b-5 violations; litigation arising out of failed tax shelter investments; investigations by the SEC into alleged insider trading violations; and claims involving unsuccessful real estate limited partnerships.

Surrogate Court Proceedings
In addition to our conflict resolution services offered for tax controversies, our Trusts and Estates Practice Area often teams with our firm’s litigators to handle will contests, trust disputes, beneficiary claims, fiduciary liability claims, estate and trust mismanagement, and probate matters. Our tax professionals also assist with representing executors, administrators, and estate asset recipients in all estate tax-related disputes with government authorities.

Tax Controversies
Our attorneys have substantial experience in representing clients in the resolution of disputes with tax authorities. Frequently, these controversies are resolved at the audit level. We also provide representation in administrative appeals and practice before the United States Tax Court, the New York State Tax Appeals Tribunal, and other federal and state courts.

Tort Defense
The firm’s tort defense practice includes products liability, motor vehicle negligence, and transportation, including FELA claims. We are national trial counsel to a major U.S. manufacturer and its foreign subsidiaries concerning various sophisticated medical devices, including diagnostic equipment and surgical equipment and components. On behalf of this client, we have litigated personal injury cases and handled claims in more than 20 states.

We have successfully defended scores of household, consumer products alleged to have caused significant injury or damage. The products defended include ammunition, cameras, chainsaws, cookware, handguns, hot water heaters, kerosene heaters, propane cylinders, refrigerators, toaster ovens, saws, drills, lathes, stoves, ovens, circuit panels and breakers, lawn mowers and other outdoor power equipment.

Our attorneys have also defended the following products involved in transportation against various claims of defect and breach of warranty: all-terrain vehicles, amusement rides, automobiles, bicycles, boats, motorcycles, personal watercraft, snowmobiles, and tractor trailers. We have defended defect and warranty claims against industrial equipment including corrugators, fabricators, hydraulic lifts, ladders, steam turbines, various presses, and robotic, computerized CNC machines.

In the area of construction and farming equipment, we have defended claims related to cranes, excavators, fork trucks, loggers, trenchers, and tractors and various implements.

In the area of negligence and medical malpractice, we regularly represent chiropractors and acupuncturists.

Toxic Torts
We have extensive experience defending asbestos claims, literally handling thousands of such cases in defense of a global contractor. Our toxic tort team has access to a sophisticated database system that allows each member to track and litigate each matter in manner that is both timely and seamless. We also have significant experience in defending toxic tort/chemical-sensitivity cases.

Union Labor Matters
We represent management in both the public and private sectors in defense of actions brought by labor unions in matters relating to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and other federal statute and state law claims. These actions have involved enforcement actions, stays, injunctions, and appeals.

Zoning and Land Use
We frequently represent clients in matters involving administrative or judicial review of zoning decisions, and have also successfully defended economic development and land use approvals in state and federal court.

Key Contacts


This website presents only general information not intended as legal advice. Although we encourage calls, letters and emails from prospective clients, please keep in mind that merely contacting Harter Secrest & Emery LLP (HSE) does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us. Confidential information should not be sent to HSE until you have been notified in writing by HSE that a formal attorney-client relationship has been established. Information sent to us before then may not be treated as confidential by HSE or the court.

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