Case Studies

Tannenbaum Helpern Triumphs on Obtaining a Judgment on behalf of New York Architect, Mario LaGuardia, in His Partnership/Business Divorce Dispute

In 2009, Mario LaGuardia, a well-known architect, resigned and withdrew as a partner of Brennan Beer Gorman/Architects, LLP, then one of the premier architectural firms in the country, and BBG/BBGM, LLP (collectively, the “Partnerships”). Despite originally agreeing to purchase Mr. LaGuardia’s partnership interests in 2009, and immediately redistributing his interests among the remaining partners only two days after his last day of employment, the Partnerships and remaining partners ignored their contractual obligations, and refused to pay Mr. LaGuardia what he was rightfully owed under the express terms of the partnership agreements.

Our firm commenced an action in the Commercial Division of the Supreme Court, Nassau County, on behalf of Mr. LaGuardia in October 2013. Once discovery was completed and the case was put on the trial calendar, we moved for summary judgment on behalf of Mr. LaGuardia on his various claims for breach of the partnership agreements seizing on several factual admissions made during discovery. In October 2016, the trial court granted Mr. LaGuardia summary judgment for the book value of his partnership interests (in accordance with the valuation terms of the partnership agreements), and certain unreimbursed expenses. The result was the entry of a money judgment against the Partnerships and LaGuardia’s former partners (individually) that with interest was in excess of $900,000. The trial court rejected attempts to overturn the judgment and the defendants unsuccessfully appealed to the Appellate Division, Second Department, which affirmed the judgment with interest and costs on September 11, 2019 -- ten years after Mr. LaGuardia withdrew from the Partnerships. With THSH’s assistance, Mr. LaGuardia collected on the entire amount of the judgment which over the years was earning interest at 9% since August 2009 and was worth close to $1.2 million.

The case was handled by Litigation Department co-chair Vincent Syracuse, Maryann Stallone and Amanda Leone.

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