Louis Smith

Louis Smith

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Louis Smith represents banks, financial services companies, insurance companies and other businesses in a wide range of complex litigation matters, including consumer class actions and commercial contract disputes. He has a national litigation practice and has handled matters in over 25 states. Lou has wide-ranging appellate experience, including arguments before the New Jersey Supreme Court, the New York Court of Appeals and United States Courts of Appeals throughout the country.

Concentrations

  • Complex commercial litigation
  • Class actions
  • Appellate
  • Financial services litigation
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Capabilities

Experience

  • Lead attorney representing bank in putative class action alleging maintenance fees were improperly imposed on a savings account.  District court dismissed the action, finding it time-barred by a limitation of claims provision governing the account. Wechsler v. HSBC Bank USA, N.A., 2016 WL 1688012 (S.D.N.Y. April 26, 2016).  Argued before the Second Circuit, which affirmed the dismissal.  674 Fed. Appx. 73 (2d Cir. 2017).
  • Lead attorney representing lender and affiliated companies in putative class action alleging failure to implement permanent modifications to loans.Compelled arbitration of all claims on an individual basis.McLean v. HSBC Finance Corp., 2016 WL 5796885 (D.N.J. Oct. 3, 2016).
  • Lead attorney representing internet service provider in putative class action asserting claims relating to internet speed.  Compelled arbitration of all claims on an individual basis. Sacchi v. Verizon Online LLC, 2015 WL 765940 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 23, 2015). Motion for reconsideration or certification for interlocutory appeal was denied. 2015 WL 1729796 (S.D.N.Y. April 14, 2015). 
  • Lead attorney representing mortgage servicing company in nationwide putative class action alleging violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Court granted motion to strike class allegations, Maldonado v. HSBC Mortgage Services, Inc., 2017 WL 3496460 (D. Nev. Aug. 15, 2017), and thereafter the matter was resolved.  
  • Lead attorney representing banks and a financial services company in putative class action alleging violations of New Jersey consumer protection statutes and the Truth in Lending Act in connection with credit card advertisements and solicitations. Obtained dismissal of the matter in its entirety. Shah v. American Express Company, 2009 WL 3234594 (D.N.J. Sept. 30, 2009).
  • Lead attorney representing financial services company in putative class action seeking to certify a nationwide class based on alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Limited the scope of discovery by defeating Plaintiff's motion to compel a broad range of information, Watts v. American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., 2009 WL 906286 (D. Colo. April 3, 2009), and defeated motion for class certification.
  • Lead attorney representing defendants in putative class actions concerning rebate feature of a credit card product. Compelled arbitration on an individual basis. Homa v. American Express Company, 496 F. Supp. 2d 440 (D.N.J. 2007), remanded by 558 F. 3d 225 (3d Cir. 2009), stay granted pending Supreme Court decision, 2010 WL 4116481 (D.N.J. Oct. 18, 2010), and in August 2011, the District Court reinstated the arbitration order and thereafter the Third Circuit affirmed, 494 Fed.Appx. 191 (3rd Cir. 2012).
  • Lead attorney representing credit card issuers in putative class actions in Southern District of New York alleging violations of the Truth in Lending Act. Obtained dismissal of several actions, including Schwartz v. HSBC Bank USA, N.A., 2013 WL 5677059 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 4, 2013), Schnall v. HSBC Bank Nevada, N.A., 2013 WL 1100769 (S.D.N.Y. March 18, 2013), and Schwartz v. HSBC Bank USA, N.A. 160 F. Supp. 3d 666 (S.D.N.Y. 2016), 2017 WL 95118 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 9, 2017), and 2017 WL 2634180 (S.D.N.Y. June 19, 2017).
  • Lead attorney representing water utility in putative class action that raised claims based on an alleged interruption in water service. Obtained summary-judgment dismissal of all claims and argued before the Appellate Division, which affirmed the dismissal in its entirety. Rogers v. United Water New Jersey Inc., 2005 WL 2847794 (N.J. App. Div. Nov. 1, 2005).
  • Lead attorney representing national retailer in putative class action asserting claims based on the alleged improper collection of New Jersey Sales and Use Tax. Obtained dismissal of all claims. Avallone v. Sears Holding Corp., 2013 WL 1501450 (N.J. Tax April 1, 2013). 
  • Lead attorney representing financial services company in putative class action asserting claims based on allegedly improper posting of payments. Obtained dismissal of all claims. Jaffe v. Capital One Bank, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18117 (S.D.N.Y. March 1, 2010).
  • Lead attorney representing lender in putative class action in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida alleging statutory violations based on purported failure to present satisfactions of mortgage in a timely manner. After filing motion to dismiss, Plaintiff voluntarily withdrew the action.
  • Represented lenders in Florida putative class actions brought by borrowers asserting declaratory and quiet title claims contending that any effort to enforce mortgages on the properties would be barred by the statute of limitations. Obtained dismissal of several actions, including Gomez v. Household Finance Corp. III, 2014 WL 12722852 (S.D. Fla. Sept. 30, 2014), aff’d, 688 Fed. Appx. 680 (11th Cir. 2017) and Lopez v. HSBC Bank USA, N.A., 2014 WL 3361755 (S.D. Fla. Apr. 29, 2014).
  • Lead attorney representing financial services company in putative nationwide class action in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey asserting claims based on alleged failures to honor settlements relating to credit card debt. Obtained prompt dismissal of action.
  • Lead attorney representing financial services company in putative class action asserting claims under state consumer protection statutes based on allegedly improper disclosure of personal information in collections lawsuits. Obtained prompt dismissal of all claims.
  • Lead attorney representing bank in connection with claims brought by victims of a Ponzi scheme. Motion to remand case to state court was denied, and case was dismissed, based on application of the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act. Marchak v. JPMorgan Chase & Co., et al., 84 F. Supp. 3d 197 (E.D.N.Y.2015).After subsequent related case was remanded to state court, 2016 WL 3911926 (E.D.N.Y. July 15, 2016), obtained dismissal of the matter in its entirety.
  • Lead attorney representing bank in matter arising out of a stock purchase agreement in which plaintiffs alleged that bank negligently and fraudulently prepared a pay-off letter related to the underlying transaction. Obtained summary-judgment dismissal of all claims and argued before the Appellate Division, J.A.O. Acquisition Company v. First Union National Bank, 23 A.D. 3d 200, 803 N.Y.S. 2d 527 (1st Dept. 2005), and the Court of Appeals, 8 N.Y. 3d 144, 831 N.Y.S. 2d 364 (2007), both of which affirmed the trial court's dismissal in its entirety.
  • Trial attorney in bankruptcy preference action in which bankruptcy trustee sought recovery of over $17 million from client bank in connection with a check-kiting scheme. After trial, the Court entered judgment in favor of bank. Pereira v. Summit Bank, 2001 WL 563730, 44 UCC Rep. Serv. 2d 806 (S.D.N.Y. 2001).
  • Lead attorney for banks and credit card companies in matters involving check and payment frauds, including matters involving fictitious payees and defalcating employees and fiduciaries. Obtained dismissal of numerous actions, including action arising from alleged fraud perpetrated by executive of a publicly traded company that sought recovery of approximately $20 million, aff'd in part in Koss v. American Express Co., 309 P.3d 898 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2013).
  • Lead attorney representing bank in matter involving claims that bank improperly repudiated a loan agreement and pursued collection activity. Obtained transfer of the matter to the Central District of California, Buchbut v. Tesar, et al., 2013 WL 1504768 (D.N.J. April 2013), and thereafter obtained dismissal of the matter.
  • Lead attorney representing insurance and financial services companies in matters concerning an accidental disability insurance product, including claims relating to the advertising and promotion of the product.
  • Obtained jury verdict on behalf of plaintiff in action alleging insurance broker failed to procure policy with adequate coverage. After the Appellate Division reversed, petitioned the New Jersey Supreme Court to take the case and argued before the Supreme Court, which reinstated the jury verdict. Aden v. Fortsh, 169 N.J. 64 (2001).
  • Prosecuted expedited preliminary injunction application in Southern District of New York seeking information and documents in commercial dispute relating to insurance program. After initial hearing before the Court, defendant agreed to provide client with all of the documents and information it was seeking and thereafter the matter was resolved.
  • Lead attorney representing brokerage and investment banking firm and other defendants in connection with claims asserted by former client. Compelled claims alleging financial and tax mismanagement into arbitration and obtained stay of remaining claims pending completion of arbitration. Deering v. Graham, 2015 WL 424534 (D.N.J. Jan. 30, 2015).
  • Lead attorney in matter involving breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secret claims. Defeated motion for a preliminary injunction, EchoMail v. American Express Co., 378 F. Supp. 2d 1 (D. Mass. 2005), and obtained summary judgment on replevin claim seeking the return of electronic information, 445 F. Supp. 2d 87 (D. Mass. 2006).
  • Lead attorney in defending financial services company in multi-million dollar claim alleging a breach of a computer software agreement. Addressed various complex contract-related issues and negotiated expeditious settlement of the matter.
  • Lead attorney representing a financial services company in multi-million dollar litigation with a former consultant involving contract and Copyright Act claims. Obtained summary judgment dismissing all claims in their entirety, which was affirmed on appeal. The Capability Group, Inc. v. American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., 706 F. Supp. 2d 146 (D. Mass. 2010), aff'd, 658 F. 3d 75 (1st Cir. 2011).
  • Represented financial services companies in lawsuits challenging amendments to New Jersey’s unclaimed property laws addressing travelers cheques and gift cards. American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc. v. Sidamon-Eristoff, 755 F. Supp. 2d 556 (D.N.J. 2010), aff'd, 669 F. 3d 359 (3d Cir. 2012) and 669 F. 3d 374 (3d Cir. 2012).
  • Lead attorney representing foreign defendants in matter involving claims arising from sale of several websites and related financing and security interests. Defeated motion for preliminary injunction based on the absence of personal jurisdiction, New Earthshell Corp. v. Lycos Internet Limited, et al., 2015 WL 170564 (D.N.J. Jan. 12, 2015), and obtained dismissal of the matter.2015 WL 4716155 (D.N.J. Aug. 7, 2015).
  • Lead attorney representing telecommunications carrier in New Jersey Superior Court litigation involving breach of contract and fraud claims and counterclaims. After trial, all claims against client were dismissed and obtained judgment of approximately $2.1 million.
  • Lead attorney representing plaintiffs in trademark infringement matter in Southern District of New York. Obtained permanent injunction that shut down web-site containing infringing materials.
  • Lead attorney representing companies in several matters involving a consultant’s allegedly improper removal and use of confidential and proprietary information.
  • Defended English manufacturer of construction-related equipment in various product-liability claims brought throughout the United States. Obtained several dismissals based on the absence of personal jurisdiction, which were affirmed on appeal. Landers v. Dawson Construction Plant, Ltd., 1999 U.S. App. Lexis 28474 (4th Cir.) and 250 F. 3d 738 (5th Cir.), cert.denied, 122 S. Ct. 42 (2001).
  • Counsel to Independent Advisor of a major public company retained to conduct a review of the implementation and effectiveness of the internal controls, financial reporting, disclosure, planning, budget and projection processes and related compliance functions of the company. 
  • Lead attorney representing creditor in contested involuntary bankruptcy proceeding. In re VoiceSmart, 1998 WL 34064627 (Bankr. D.N.J. June 8, 1998), aff’d, 1998 WL 34064618 (D.N.J. Oct. 30, 1998).
  • Lead attorney representing travel agency in state and federal court actions seeking recovery based on alleged injuries sustained over-seas. Obtained prompt dismissal of several actions, including Abramson v. Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company LLC, 2010 WL 3943666 (D.N.J. Oct. 6, 2010). 

Recognition & Leadership

  • Listed, Super Lawyers magazine, New Jersey Super Lawyers, 2009-2014, 2018-2019
  • Team Member, U.S. News - Best Lawyers®, Best Law Firms Edition, "Law Firm of the Year," Banking & Finance - Litigation, 2017
  • Member, Winning Team, New Jersey Law Journal's "Class Action Litigation Department of the Year," 2016
  • Member, Winning Team, New Jersey Law Journal’s "General Litigation Department of the Year" award, 2013
  • Team Member, Lexology’s Client Choice Award USA & Canada, United States: New Jersey, 2013
  • Team Member, a Law360 "Appellate Practice Group of the Year," 2010
  • Listed, New Jersey Law Journal "40 Under 40," 2006
  • Member, The Association of the Federal Bar of the State of New Jersey
  • Member, New Jersey State Bar Association
    • Member, Class Actions Committee
  • Member, Morris County Bar Association
  • Member, Bar Association of the Third Federal Circuit
  • Member, American Bar Association
    • Former Co-chair, Banking and Lender Liability Litigation Subcommittee 
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
  • Former Member, The Justice Morris Pashman American Inn of Court

Credentials

Education
  • J.D., with high honors, Rutgers School of Law - Newark, 1993
    • Research editor, Rutgers Law Review
    • Order of the Coif
  • B.A., with honors, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1990
Clerkships
  • Hon. Gary S. Stein, Supreme Court of New Jersey, 1994-1995
Admissions
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • Supreme Court of the United States