Howard E. Cotton

Partner

New York
T +1.212.589.4258
F +1.212.589.4201

Overview

A prominent first-chair litigator for 30 years, Howard Cotton seamlessly combines consummate litigation strategy and courtroom skill with a comprehensive understanding of his clients’ business objectives. In so doing, Howard affords his substantial client roster a full menu of services, from regularly leading high-stakes commercial litigations, to forging practical solutions pre- and post- litigation. In his unique role as advisor, counsel and tactician, Howard has maintained longstanding relationships with a broad-based group of clients, both domestic and international, spanning numerous industries. Those clients include real estate developers, management and hospitality companies, financial institutions, hedge funds, real estate funds, family offices, public and private companies and their senior officers, high net worth investors and entrepreneurs, and foreign governments.

Recognized as a New York Metro Super Lawyer in Business Litigation for many years, Howard’s diverse practice encompasses a wide spectrum of business disputes, including breach of contract, business torts, Uniform Commercial Code, partnership and corporate shareholder derivative disputes, real estate, securities and common law fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty. His success in a variety of forums – from state and federal courts, to numerous arbitration and mediation proceedings – has led to numerous leadership roles at prominent law firms. Howard is especially recognized for his considerable experience with complex real estate litigation, representing real estate funds, developers, management companies, hospitality companies, lenders and borrowers.

Select Experience

Real Estate Litigation
  • Regularly represent numerous domestic and international real estate investors and owners in disputes regarding the value of their membership or partnership interests in connection with the sale of properties indirectly owned through these interests.
Financial Services Litigation
  • Regularly represent hedge funds, fund of funds, and family offices and their personnel in connection with litigation, conflict avoidance and risk analysis.
Domestic and International Commercial Litigation
  • Represent officers and directors of New York and Hong Kong-based group of companies in federal court, and won dismissal of civil RICO claim and summary judgment dismissing fiduciary claim seeking in excess of tens of millions in damages asserted by the Singapore-based assignee of Hong Kong liquidators.

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Experience

Real Estate Litigation
  • Regularly represent numerous domestic and international real estate investors and owners in disputes regarding the value of their membership or partnership interests in connection with the sale of properties indirectly owned through these interests.
  • Represented fiduciary in numerous litigations arising out of a highly contentious trust dispute between siblings in a wealthy real estate family, in which the plaintiff sought $60 million in damages for breach of fiduciary duty and misrepresentation with respect to the sale of her beneficial interests in six residential apartment buildings in Manhattan.
  • Represented individual member of a prominent New York real estate family in alleging more than 20 direct and derivative claims against another family member, who used his position of dominion over the family real estate business to loot and waste assets, and to exclude the client from millions of dollars in distributions and fees.
  • Represented numerous domestic and international real estate investors in disputes regarding the value of their membership or partnership interests in connection with the sale of properties indirectly owned through these interests.
  • Represented leading real estate companies in various disputes, including disputes with foreign hotel operators regarding overseas hotel development and claims of trade name infringement.
  • Represented real estate lender against allegations of breach of contract and tortious misconduct arising out of the lender’s alleged “breach” of a term sheet regarding a proposed $850 million loan.
  • Represented leading private equity fund in connection with enforcement of $50 million guarantee securing loans for real estate developments in various jurisdictions.
  • Regularly represents lenders and borrowers in real estate financing litigations involving alleged defaults or breaches of term sheets, building and construction mortgage agreements, financing agreements and guarantees.
  • Represented the owners of the largest federally subsidized housing development in the country in defeating factions of limited partners of the owner who sought to enjoin the more than $905 million sale of the housing development to new owners.
  • Represented leading private equity fund in various jurisdictions to enforce guarantees of multimillion-dollar building mortgage loans.
  • Represented real estate developer/borrower in mortgage loan and completion guaranty dispute with a major real estate lender.
  • Represented real estate fund in connection with disputes arising out of its acquisition of various luxury resort properties.
  • Represented one of the largest real estate owners in New York City in connection with insurance coverage action for more than $75 million in business interruption and property damage losses incurred by client as a result of the events of September 11.
  • Represented owners and operators of an exclusive Caribbean resort in litigation regarding fiduciary breach and fraud.
  • Represented Eastern Caribbean foreign government in connection with default on an $11 million bank loan, incurred to build a luxury hotel resort.
Financial Services Litigation
  • Regularly represent hedge funds, fund of funds, and family offices and their personnel in connection with litigation, conflict avoidance and risk analysis.
  • Represented majority shareholders of Bermuda-based company in a dispute with company’s investment manager, alleging fraud and fiduciary breach, including material omissions about how performance fees would be calculated.
  • Represented leading hedge fund in arbitration seeking to protect "track record" information and other confidential information and to enforce restrictive covenants.
  • Represented prominent hedge fund against claims by a former partner seeking, inter alia, deferred compensation.
  • Represented global fund in obtaining insurance coverage for defense costs incurred in regulatory investigation and administrative proceeding.
  • Represented investment bank in dispute over warrants and allegations of fiduciary breach in connection with initial public offering.
  • Represented principal of internet financial services company in connection with internal corporate dispute.
Domestic and International Commercial Litigation
  • Represent officers and directors of New York and Hong Kong-based group of companies in federal court, and won dismissal of civil RICO claim and summary judgment dismissing fiduciary claim seeking in excess of tens of millions in damages asserted by the Singapore-based assignee of Hong Kong liquidators.
  • Represented substantial family office threatened with potential forfeiture of assets arising out of worldwide probe involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
  • Represented high-net-worth international financier, based in Madrid, and his overseas corporations in federal court against allegations that these entities facilitated a $550 million Ponzi scheme, as well as in ancillary Swiss proceedings involving allegations of money laundering.
  • Represented software manufacturer in nationwide litigations and arbitration regarding manufacturer's right to terminate agreements with local distributors, and to preclude local distributors from using manufacturer's proprietary software to provide "technical support" to existing customers.
  • Represents international commodities trader in litigation with foreign government involving excess of $25 million in governmental guarantees, as well as in multi-venue disputes relating to shipments of goods, letters of credit and governmental bonds.
  • Represented heirs of West Coast family in $100 million estate arbitration.
  • Represented three sons of wealthy business owner in three litigations, in Surrogate's and Supreme Court, alleging undue influence and challenging inter vivos transfers from father with diminished capacity to new wife.

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • New York Super Lawyers -- Business Litigation (2011 to 2017)
  • Who's Who in the World (2011)
  • Who's Who in America (2011)
  • Who's Who in American Law (2011)

Memberships

  • Mediation Program of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District Court of New York, Member of Panel of Mediators (2011 to present)
  • Federal Bar Council
  • American Bar Association
  • Association of the Bar of the City of New York
  • New York County Lawyers' Association
  • New York State Bar Association, Civil Practice Law and Rules Committee

Prior Positions

  • Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP: Served in many senior leadership positions, including as a National Co-Chair of Commercial Litigation, and member of National Executive Committee, Compensation Committee and Board of Directors.

Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
  • New York

Education

  • J.D., Fordham University School of Law, 1983
  • A.B., Cornell University, 1980