Mitchell D. Haddad is a Member of Sills Cummis & Gross, P.C. and Co-Chair of the Firm’s New York Real Estate Litigation Department. His practice focuses on complex real estate and commercial litigation, creditors’ rights, workouts and corporate litigation. He is a seasoned and experienced trial lawyer, and has argued appeals and participated in arbitrations and mediations on a wide variety of matters. He works with clients and the Firm’s Real Estate Department on transactions to provide advice and to resolve issues and disputes prior to and as a means to resolve potential litigation. In more than thirty years of practice, he has won judgments, recovered assets, and obtained favorable settlements and financial relief on behalf of his clients in excess of $750,000,000.
Some of his notable representations include defending an action seeking specific performance of a long-term lease for the development and operation of a midtown Manhattan hotel or, alternatively, $100 million in damages. He obtained and collected upon a $25 million deficiency judgment following a 12-day hearing. He obtained a $95 million judgment and a $45 million judgment in favor of two separate lenders, and defended a developer in an action to foreclose upon a $17 million second mortgage encumbering an entire city block in Brooklyn, New York. Mr. Haddad obtained summary judgment dismissing claims seeking $25 million in damages for breach of contract and fraud arising out of an oral joint venture agreement to develop real property.
Prior to joining Sills Cummis & Gross, Mr. Haddad spent thirteen years at Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP, where, among other major matters, he successfully led teams of attorneys foreclosing upon a portfolio of commercial mortgages on behalf of a leading international lender, and repossessing a jumbo jet in Miami, Florida leased by an international airline. He coordinated and supervised outside counsel in successfully liquidating more than twenty recycling facilities in nine states pursuant to an assignment for the benefit of creditors on behalf of a secured creditor. He represented a major international corporation in arbitration to determine the fair annual market rental value for the last five years of a multi-floor lease term, in which the arbitrator determined that the value was $20 million less than the landlord had sought. Mr. Haddad succeeded at both the trial and appellate levels in a case in which the plaintiff sought – and was denied – various easements to a private park and a private street in lower Manhattan.
He successfully represented a consortium of institutional lenders in prosecuting the foreclosure of membership interests in a limited liability company that owned and operated a power generating facility in Connecticut.
Mr. Haddad has been selected for inclusion in the 2012-2017 editions of New York Metro Super Lawyers published by Thompson Reuters under Real Estate and Business Litigation.
Deirdre Carson has more than 25 years of experience as a New York land use and co-op/condo lawyer. She has represented developers, real estate investors and educational institutions in land use and zoning matters, with associated environmental quality reviews, as well as in cooperative and condominium legal matters, before the City’s Department of Buildings, City Planning Commission, Board of Standards and Appeals, City Council Landmarks Preservation Commission and the State Attorney General’s office. Deirdre was the lead zoning lawyer representing a New York City university in obtaining New York City land use approvals of a Master Plan for the development of 2.3 million square feet of residential, academic and dormitory space. Deirdre was selected as one of Real Estate Forum’s Women of Influence in September 2009.
Deirdre received her J.D. from New York University School of Law and her B.A. from Harvard University.
Areas of Concentration
Professional and Community Involvement
Awards and Recognition
AV®, BV®, AV Preeminent® and BV Distinguished® are registered certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used under in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies.
Diana Brummer is a partner in the firm’s Real Estate Industry group. Ms. Brummer’s experience spans the spectrum of commercial real estate transactions with a particular emphasis on complex joint ventures, senior, construction and mezzanine financings (for both lenders and borrowers), acquisitions and dispositions, loan workouts, real estate recapitalizations and development. She also has considerable experience acting for institutional investors, pension funds, private real estate funds and public and private REITs, as well as their investment advisers.
Ms. Brummer also regularly counsels her clients on all aspects of managing distressed real estate assets. She represents a wide variety of client types, including institutional investors, pension funds, private real estate funds and public and private REITs, as well as their investment advisers.
Prior to joining Goodwin in 2018, Ms. Brummer was a partner at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP. She previously practiced at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, spending more than two years in their Tokyo, Japan office. Ms. Brummer lived and worked in Japan for a total of five years and is proficient in Japanese.
Ms. Brummer is a member of the Leadership Advisory Committee of the National Women’s Law Institute and is also active in pro bono matters. She is a member of CREW New York and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.
Ms. Brummer was recognized in New York Real Estate Journal’s 2017 Women in Real Estate Spotlight for exceptional work in the New York City metro area. Real Estate New York Magazine named Ms. Brummer as one of its “Rising Stars” in the commercial real estate industry. She has also been nationally recommended by The Legal 500 United States.
• U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Honorable Richard J. Cardamone
Jill Hayman is a Special Counsel for Hunton Andrews Kurth’s real estate development and finance practice and head of the New York leasing platform. She brings more than 35 years of experience in executing sophisticated real estate transactions.
Ms. Hayman represents real estate owners, developers and tenants in connection with office and retail leases, data center leases and colocation agreements, corporate relocations, construction contracts and real estate acquisitions and dispositions and related government incentive programs.
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP is a global law firm of over 1,000 lawyers serving clients in the United States, Europe, Latin America and Asia. The firm handles transactional, litigation and regulatory matters for a diverse client base, with significant experience in retail and consumer products, energy, financial services, real estate, and privacy and cybersecurity.
For the majority of her career, Ms. Hayman was a Managing Director in the Legal and Compliance Division of Morgan Stanley heading a 12-person global real estate team. In this capacity, she was responsible for all legal matters relating to the corporation's real estate portfolio, including acquisitions and sales, leasing, design and construction, property management matters, and real estate matters related to mergers and acquisitions. During her tenure at Morgan Stanley, Ms. Hayman represented the firm in the development and leasing of large HQ premises and data centers in the United States, Hungary, Japan, Hong Kong, London and Glasgow. Prior to joining Hunton Andrews Kurth, Ms. Hayman was special counsel at Fried Frank where she represented corporate clients on both sides of leasing transactions and not for profit clients on the acquisition of leasehold condominium units
Ms. Hayman was awarded the 2015 Chambers Women in Law Outstanding Achievement Award (In-House). Ms. Hayman is also an adjunct professor at Fordham Law School where she teaches a course on Real Estate Drafting.
Bar Admissions/Licensed Jurisdictions
Menachem Kastner's practice involves all aspects of real estate litigation and is particularly centered in the area of commercial and residential leasing and ownership and valuation disputes. He has litigated through all of the courts, the interpretation of escalation clauses, assignment and sublet provisions, alteration provisions, use clauses, renewal or purchase options, termination rights, buy-out disputes, and other significant lease interpretation issues.
Menachem is a frequent contributor to legal publications, specifically the New York Law Journal and New York State Bar Association Journal. Many of his articles have been cited to and relied on by the New York courts. See London Terrace Towers, Inc. v. Davis, 6 Misc. 3d 600, 790 N.Y.S. 2d 813 (Civ. Ct. N.Y. Co. 2004); 13315 Owners Corp. v. Kennedy, 4 Misc.3d 931, 782 N.Y.S. 2d 554 (Civ. Ct. N.Y. Co. 2004); Concourse Village Inc. v. Bilotti, 133 Misc. 2d 973, 509 N.Y.S. 2d 274 (Civ. Ct. Bronx Co. 1986).
Menachem has lectured widely on real estate issues, including landlord/tenant and co-op litigation, the law of co-ops/condominiums, equitable distribution, and matrimonial tax. Most recently, Menachem lectured on "Real Estate Transactions - Spotting Litigation Issues" at the PLI Annual Real Estate Institute in 2016 and 2017.
In addition, Menachem is an official court arbitrator for the Civil Court of the City of New York, presiding over trials and inquests, issuing final non-appealable judgments, mediating the settlement of claims, and drafting and ordering stipulations of settlement.
Menachem earned his Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York in 1973 and his law degree, summa cum laude, from New York Law School in 1976, where he was the recipient of the Trustees' Award for Highest Scholastic Achievement. He was named a New York Super Lawyer (real estate) in 2006, 2010 and 2013-2016 by Law & Politics. He was also named one of "New York Area's Top Rated Lawyers of 2013" in Real Estate & Landlord/Tenant by Legal Leaders™. Menachem is admitted to practice in the state of New York.
Philip E. Karmel is a partner at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP, a law firm with 39 offices in 10 countries. His litigation practice includes environmental and real estate litigation, land use matters arising under environmental review statutes and zoning laws, and the defense of toxic tort actions. He has tried a number of cases in federal and state courts and before administrative law judges and arbitrators and has briefed or argued motions or appeals in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland, Montana, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington, D.C., West Virginia and Wisconsin. He also counsels clients on environmental matters, including environmental impact statements, environmental permitting, environmental compliance, investigations by governmental agencies, the redevelopment of brownfield properties, environmental aspects of corporate and real estate transactions, and issues arising under the Clean Air Act and federal and state superfund and oil spill statutes. He has served as counsel for major energy, transportation and real estate development projects.
He has published many articles and several book chapters on environmental law, environmental litigation and toxic torts. He is a member of the American Bar Association and serves as a long-time columnist of the newsletter published by the Air Quality Committee of the ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources. He is also a member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, where he has served as a member of its Committee on Environmental Law.
Upon graduation from law school, Mr. Karmel clerked for the Hon. Edward R. Becker, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and thereafter served for five years as a Trial Attorney in the Environmental Enforcement Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C., where he received the Department’s Special Achievement Award for sustained superior performance of duty. He received his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was an editor of the University of Chicago Law Review, and holds an M.Phil. in Economics from the University of Cambridge and a B.A. with Honors in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.
He is listed in BEST LAWYERS IN AMERICA; CHAMBERS USA; and SUPER LAWYERS. In 2005, he received the Scale of Justice Award from MFY Legal Services, Inc. for pro bono work. In 2013, he received the New York County Lawyers Association’s Boris Kostelanetz President’s Medal in recognition of “distinguished service to the legal profession.”
Robert J. Bergson earned his law degree from Boston University School of Law, where he was honored as a Paul J. Liacos Scholar. Mr. Bergson received a B.S.B.A. degree in Economics from the University of Denver. Prior to forming AGMB, Mr. Bergson was a founding member of Margolis Bergson LLP. He was also counsel to Herrick, Feinstein LLP and associated with the international firm of Kelley Drye & Warren LLP. Mr. Bergson’s practice focuses on business and corporate litigation matters, professional liability defense, real estate litigation, business divorce, and products liability defense. He also handles disputes concerning miscellaneous/not-for-profit insurance lines, securities litigation, intellectual property, unfair competition claims and errors and omissions matters.
Mr. Bergson lives with his wife and three children in Huntington, New York and works primarily from AGMB’s New York City office.
Membership and Affiliations
American Bar Association
Association of the Bar of the City of New York
New York State Bar Association
Claims & Litigation Management Alliance
Ron Sernau is part of New York’s real estate industry inner circle and has more than 30 years of experience in real estate law. His clients, some of which have relied on his advice for decades, routinely involve him in their strategic decision making. Ron offers clients the insight he has gained by representing opposing interests in similar transactions. He has advised landlords and tenants, lenders and borrowers, purchasers and sellers, equity investors and developers, managers and owners, and brokers and principals.
Ron represents prominent New York City real estate developers in their investments in, and development of, premier properties. Various businesses, from large publicly traded companies to boutique investment firms, engage him to address their real estate concerns. He also provides general legal advice to luxury retailers, with a focus on real estate issues.
At Proskauer, Ron serves as the co-head of the Real Estate Department and co-chair of the Private Equity Real Estate practice.
An avid speaker on real estate topics, Ron has appeared before groups sponsored by the Association of the Bar of The City of New York, the New York Hospitality Council, Inc., the New York State Bar Association, the Georgetown Commercial Leasing Institute, CB Richard Ellis, Inc., the Association of Attorneys and Executives in Corporate Real Estate, Practising Law Institute, The Real Estate Board of New York, Inc. and the American College of Real Estate Lawyers.
Steven G. Horowitz serves as Chief Legal and Risk Officer at Open Space Institute, based in New York. At OSI he focuses on land conservation, environmental mitigation, climate change and a wide range of resiliency activities. He recently retired after many years as a partner of Cleary Gottlieb where he regularly represented U.S. and international commercial and investment banks, foreign and domestic institutional investors, property owners and corporations in their real estate matters. Transaction types encompassed all forms of joint ventures, mortgage finance and securitization, loan syndication, mortgage loan trading and subordinate debt, restructuring and real estate-related mergers and acquisitions. In addition, he focused on credit tenant and portfolio leasing, workout and bankruptcy matters, investment entity formation and tax-oriented finance transactions, and investments in non-traditional property types such as resorts and hotels, Indian gaming casinos, mines, timber, utilities, sports fitness clubs, hospitals and nursing homes.
Steven repeatedly has been recognized by the business and legal press for his work on behalf of clients, including The Best Lawyers in America, which includes him in its 2018 edition, making Steven one of a small group to receive this honor for more than 15 consecutive years. Prior to Law School, he worked as a housing and urban development planner in the New York City Department of City Planning.
Steven L. Wilner is a partner in Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton’s New York office. Steven’s practice focuses on financial, corporate and real estate matters, ranging from global real estate acquisitions, dispositions, development and finance to international mergers and acquisitions and restructurings, including private equity investments and joint ventures.
Steven has been recognized by numerous guides and publications as a leading practitioner in global Real Estate law, including Chambers Global, Chambers USA, The Legal 500 and The Best Lawyers in America. Steven was named a “Most Valuable Practitioner” in Real Estate by Law360, and was recently inducted into the American College of Real Estate Lawyers.
Steven is a frequent speaker on all aspects of Real Estate transactions and law, and participates in PLI’s ongoing “Bridge-the-Gap” series, which aims to teach young attorneys the essential skills for success in the business and practice of law.
Steven joined the firm in 1988 and became a partner in 1997. He spent 20012005 as the managing partner of the firm’s former Tokyo office.
Mr. Bischoff has been in the insurance industry since 1986. He spent twenty years working as a broker for a mid-sized, internationally recognized firm. During this time he handled the insurance and risk management needs of multi-national firms.
Mr. Bischoff joined the company in January 2007, and since then has conducted insurance due diligence reviews on over $2 billion of real estate loan transactions. He has spoken as a member of the PLI faculty, since 2007, providing courses on insurance and risk management. He has delivered several insurance training sessions for both commercial lenders and real estate law firms.
In January of 2013, he took over ownership of Omega, while the name has changed slightly to Omega Risk Management Inc.; his commitment to providing Omega’s clients with high quality services has not changed.
Mr. Bischoff is a graduate of St. John’s University in New York, where he has a BS on business management. He earned his Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation in 1996. He is an Insurance Broker and Insurance Consultant licensed by the State Insurance Department of New York.
Don Frey is Senior Vice President of Real Estate Finance and Capital Markets at Simon Property Group, a global leader in retail real estate ownership, management and development and a S&P100 company. Don’s chief responsibilities include negotiating, executing and servicing Simon’s secured debt portfolio and capital markets activity. Prior to his current role, Don was Senior Finance Counsel at Simon, where his legal work focused on the company’s financing matters. Don has extensive experience in all aspects of commercial real estate finance, with a particular emphasis on mortgage loan originations. Before joining Simon, Don practiced law at Dechert LLP and Alston & Bird LLP in New York, where he represented banks and institutional investors in the origination, servicing, sale and restructuring of all manner of commercial real estate debt.
Elliot L. Hurwitz is Chief Commercial Counsel for Chicago Title Insurance Company, New York, NY, where he has primary responsibility for complex commercial transactions in New York City, including structuring, underwriting and coordination. Prior to joining Chicago Title, Mr. Hurwitz was a partner at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP, New York, NY. Mr. Hurwitz has had extensive experience in all aspects of commercial real estate, with a particular emphasis on mortgage loan originations, portfolio acquisitions, debt restructurings, sale-leasebacks, lease-backed financings, loan syndications and securitizations. Mr. Hurwitz is a frequent lecturer and author on real estate-related matters, including “Real Estate for the Corporate Counsellor”, published in the fourth edition of The Corporate Counsellor’s Desk Book (Prentice Hall Law & Business 1992). Contributor to the New York Law Journal, Commercial Leasing Law & Strategy, Shopping Center Legal Update and the Metropolitan Corporate Counsel. Chairman of PLI’s annual 2-day seminar for real estate attorneys, titled “The Commercial Real Estate Institute”. Mr. Hurwitz is a Fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers. Member of the New York State Bar Association, Association of the Bar of the City of New York and Title Insurance Rate Service Association (TIRSA) – Law and Forms Committee. Mr. Hurwitz may be contacted at 212-880-1205 or email@example.com.
Frank Carroll is Regional Counsel for Fidelity National Title Group, and is the senior title insurance underwriter of New York and Connecticut for Chicago Title Insurance Company, Fidelity National Title Insurance Company, and Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company. He is a graduate of LeMoyne College, Syracuse, New York, attended the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law, and has been admitted to practice in New York since 1981. He has worked in the title insurance industry since 1986, and served a three-year term as President of TIRSA, the title insurance rating bureau for New York State (2008-2012). He is a member of the New York State Bar Association (Real Property Section; Attorney Professionalism Committee; and Special Committee on Law Practice Continuity) and the Bar Association of Erie County (Real Property Committee; Banking Law Committee; CLE Advisory Committee; and Chair of the Professional Continuity Committee). He is a past president of the Erie County Bar Foundation, and he is still active in Foundation affairs. He resides in Buffalo, New York with his wife, Cornelia Farley, an attorney.
Named as one of the leading construction law attorneys in the District of Columbia by Chambers USA, Larry represents clients in construction and public contract negotiation and dispute resolution. He also frequently serves as a construction mediator and arbitrator.
Larry assists contractors in construction, supply, aerospace and service contract disputes arising out of federal, state, quasi-public and private projects and contracts. He also represents both public and private owners in construction disputes with general contractors and their subcontractors. He counsels domestic and international companies, contractors, subcontractors, owners and design professionals in connection with changes, specification conflicts, construction defects and acceleration, delay, disruption and termination claims arising out of construction and supply contracts. Larry has litigated matters for clients in federal and state courts in numerous jurisdictions, before boards of contract appeals and in arbitration tribunals. He also has wide-ranging experience in alternative dispute resolution (ADR), helping clients resolve disputes via arbitration, mini-trials and mediation.
Additionally, Larry drafts and negotiates construction contract documents on behalf of contractors, owners and lenders for a variety of projects, including heavy civil, power, building and transportation.
As co-chair of the firm’s Diversity Committee’s Recruitment and Retention Sub-Committee, Larry assists in recruitment and firm initiatives that promote firm-wide diversity and inclusiveness.