Michael L. Rich

Rich, Michael

Principal Morristown, NJ
973.889.4329
mlrich@pbnlaw.com

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A commercial litigator, Michael L. Rich represents clients in a wide range of business and commercial litigation, with particular expertise handling Chancery litigation disputes. His practice includes shareholder and partnership break-ups, restrictive covenant litigation, trade secret misappropriation, employment law and litigation, director and officer liability claims, along with other contractual disputes and business tort litigation. Additionally, he oversees litigation in the firm's Real Estate practice group, including real estate litigation, commercial foreclosure and lender liability litigation, land use litigation, and construction litigation. He also has extensive experience in trust and estate litigation. In the area of intellectual property, Michael has successfully handled trademark infringement and unfair competition matters.

Michael has been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America in the areas of Commercial Litigation, Employment Litigation, and Real Estate Litigation. Martindale-Hubbell has awarded him an AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating, its highest rating.

For 30 years, Michael has successfully litigated matters before federal and state courts (both trial and appellate), arbitration panels, and administrative tribunals. Clients, large and small, turn to him for his unique combination of trial experience, well-honed litigation skills, problem solving ability, thorough preparation, straightforward presentation style, and deep commitment to serve his clients' interests.

Cases in which Michael successfully represented clients that resulted in frequently cited published decisions include Gerardi v. Pelullo, 16 F.3d 1363 (3d Cir. 1994) and Meadox Medicals, Inc. v. Life Systems, Inc., 3 F. Supp. 2d 549 (D.N.J. 1998).

Michael also has served with distinction as a mediator and arbitrator in corporate/commercial, employment and probate litigation matters, and is listed on the roster of Mediators for New Jersey's Statewide Mediation Program for Civil, General Equity and Probate cases.

Prior Relevant Experience
  • Dillon, Bitar & Luther, L.L.C., Morristown, New Jersey: Partner (1990-2006), Associate (1984-1989)
Opinions, Decisions and Cases
  • Obtained multi-million dollar buy-out on behalf of shareholder in Oppressed Minority Shareholder action.
  • Successfully defended an international engineering and environment services firm in a commercial lease dispute where the owner was claiming oral modification of the parties' lease agreement, which would have committed the client to a $5 million additional obligation. Following a two and a half week trial, the jury unanimously returned a "no cause verdict" in the client's favor.
  • Won multi-million dollar judgment and class action settlement on behalf of an ERISA pension plan resulting in restoration of funds looted by prior plan fiduciaries and their cohorts.
  • Won multi-million dollar arbitration award on behalf of principal of international architectural/engineering firm in connection with his separation from the company.
  • Won temporary restraints, injunctive relief and damages on behalf of employer for former employee's violation of non-compete agreement and breach of duty of loyalty.
  • Successfully defended corporate and individual clients against charges of trade secret misappropriation.
  • Won summary judgment for foreclosure on commercial real estate along with multi-million dollar money judgment against borrower and guarantors in connection with a commercial loan default.
  • Successfully handled liquidation of large portfolios of defaulted commercial loans for major bank and a private hedge fund.
  • Won multi-million dollar judgment on behalf of commercial real estate brokers for unpaid commissions owed to them.
  • Won summary judgment resulting in early dismissal from action of clients, outside directors of a parent corporation, who were joined in director and officer liability suit by the New Jersey Department of Insurance.
  • Obtained preliminary and permanent injunctive relief and damages for client in trademark infringement action in federal court.
  • Successfully represented owner in suit against builder for faulty construction.
  • Successfully mediated a variety of complex commercial, employment and probate disputes.
Honors and Awards
  • Recognized in Best Lawyers in America, Litigation - Commercial Litigation (2010 - 2017), Litigation - Labor & Employment (2012 - 2017), Litigation - Real Estate (2012 - 2017)
  • Recognized on the New Jersey Super Lawyers List, Business Litigation, 2005 – 2017
  • Recognized in Marquis Who's Who in American Law
  • Recognized in National Register's Who's Who in Executives and Professionals

Honors and Awards

Organizations/Memberships
  • Morris County Bar Association, Trustee, 2005–2009; Chancery Practice Committee Chairman, 2003–present
  • New Jersey State Bar Association, Equity Jurisprudence Special Committee (appointed member); Civil Trial Bar Section; Labor & Employment Section
  • American Bar Association
  • Association of Trial Lawyers of America (American Association for Justice)
  • New Jersey Association for Justice
  • Morris Educational Foundation, Trustee, 2012 - present
  • Employment Horizons, Trustee, 2000–2008
  • New Jersey Housing Authority, Commissioner, Morris County, 1991–1997 (Gubernatorial Appointment)
Publications
Speaking Engagements
  • "Voir Dire and Jury Selection Strategies" and "Cross-Examination and Redirect – Focus on Experts and Evidence", NBI Advanced Trial Tactics Seminar, Toms River, NJ, December 20, 2016.
  • "Top 5 in Business Torts," New Jersey Association of Justice Boardwalk Seminar® 2015, Atlantic City, NJ, April 30, 2015.
  • "Business Valuation Roundtable: The Business Divorce," New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants, Roseland, NJ, April 21, 2015.
  • "Business Divorce – The Issues, The Drama, The Tax," Hamilton, NJ, November 18, 2014; Iselin, NJ, November 17, 2014 and Randolph, NJ, August 6, 2014.
  • Moderator, "Small Business Breakups – Avoiding a Repeat of the French Revolution," NJSBA Mid-Year Meeting, Paris, France, November 3, 2014.
  • "Top 5 in Business Torts," New Jersey Association of Justice Boardwalk Seminar® 2014, Atlantic City, NJ May 1, 2014.
  • "Making the Right Moves When Signing Employment Agreements: A Primer," SUNY College of Optometry, New York City, April 3, 2013.
  • "Real Estate and Environmental Breakfast Roundtable - The Comeback: Starting the Conversation, Porzio, Bromberg & Newman P.C., June 6, 2012.
  • “Top 10 for 2010 – A Discussion of the Ten Most Relevant Court Decisions for Labor, Employment and Immigration Practitioners for 2010,” NJSBA 2010 Mid-Year Meeting, Scottsdale, AZ, November 6, 2010.
  • Moderator, “Recent Developments in Restrictive Covenant Litigation, Probate Litigation and Related Topics,” Morris/Sussex Bench Bar Conference, Chancery Division, General Equity Breakout Session, October 22, 2010.
  • "State of Foreclosures: Finding Creative Solutions," Breakfast Briefing for Lenders on New Jersey Economic Climate: A Glimpse at Impact on Commercial Real Estate Loans, Foreclosures, Workouts and Bankruptcies, October 23, 2009.
  • Moderator, “Overview of Chancery Practice Including a Mock Order to Show Cause Involving a Non-Compete Among Doctors,” MCBA Chancery Practice Seminar, June 16, 2005.
  • “Overview of Chancery Practice and Emergent Applications in Restrictive Covenant Litigation,” MCBA Chancery Practice Seminar, May 14, 2003.

Practice

Industries

Related Media

Bar Admissions

  • New Jersey, 1984
  • United States District Court, District of New Jersey, 1984
  • United States Supreme Court, 1989
  • United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, 1993

Education

American University, Washington College of Law, Washington, D.C., J.D., cum laude, 1984

  • Washington College of Law Honor Society

Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, B.A., magna cum laude, 1981

  • Phi Beta Kappa

Contact Address

100 Southgate Parkway

Morristown, NJ 07962-1997

Phone: 973.538.4006

Fax: 973.538.5146

  • Rich, Michael
  • Rich, Michael
  • Rich, Michael