Steven L. Levitt spearheads a diverse group of detail-minded lawyers, all of whom have extensive business backgrounds and routinely pore over documents in both line-item and footnote detail that other firms might miss, asking the questions no one else has thought to ask. This unparalleled attention to nuances frequently makes the difference in achieving results our firm’s clients never thought possible, and often when the odds are stacked against them. All of the firm’s transactional lawyers handle a litigation caseload, and all of the firm’s litigators work on transactions. As such, they are cross-trained in the intricacies of each discipline and draw on that knowledge for a client’s benefit.
It is no wonder that companies consistently retain Mr. Levitt as their lawyer – whether it is in drafting, negotiating, and closing their multi-million dollar deals, or in litigating their complex business, contract, trade secrets and other disputes on a national (or even an international) scale. Mr. Levitt represents companies that range in size from the Fortune 200 to small businesses, and as diverse as defense and other high-tech contractors, apparel manufacturers, energy suppliers, construction companies, medical and legal professionals, to name just a few.
As just one example of the types of cases Mr. Levitt handles, he was chosen, in a nationwide search, as one of only three attorneys to take part in the representation of a group of six high profile law firms whose legal fees came under scrutiny following their representation of the People of the State of New York in their landmark products liability lawsuit against the tobacco industry, State of New York et al. v. Phillip Morris Inc., et al., 308 A.D.2d 57, 763 N.Y.S.2d 32 (1st Dep’t 2003). Out of the record-setting $212 billion settlement with the tobacco industry, the firms had recovered over $25 billion for the People of the State of New York, which resulted in a $625 million dollar fee award for the firms. Despite the fact that the arbitration panel’s determination was non-appealable, a Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County decided, sua sponte, to invoke what he deemed to be his inherent power to review attorneys’ fee arrangements and froze the firms’ fee award payment. On appeal, the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division, First Department, held that the lower court had exceeded its power when it purported to set aside the arbitrator’s settlement agreement and fee award. Mr. Levitt succeeded in upholding the legal fee award.
While Mr. Levitt’s litigation experience is wide-ranging, highly technical matters are the norm in his practice. Mr. Levitt has successfully litigated cases in federal and state trial and appeals courts and before arbitration panels throughout the country, in venues including California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Texas, Virginia, the District of Columbia, and of course in New York where his practice is based.
The following are further examples of such complex matters that Mr. Levitt has successfully litigated on behalf of his clients:
- December 2016. In the matter of L-3 Communications Corporation et al. v. Serco, Inc. (U.S. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit), Mr. Levitt, as lead counsel for Plaintiffs, successfully obtained the Court of Appeals’ reversal of the District Court, which had improperly dismissed Plaintiffs’ complaint based on a lack of legal standing. The complaint alleged, among other things, that Defendant, as prime contractor, engaged in a bid-rigging scheme which tortiously interfered with Plaintiffs’ business expectancy to win lucrative multi-year sub-contract extensions worth at least $80 million, for which Plaintiffs were the incumbent. The sub-contract involved the fortification of key U.S. Air Force facilities to be able to withstand electromagnetic pulses from nuclear blasts. On appeal, Mr. Levitt represented the clients in oral argument before the Court, and obtained a unanimous ruling from the three-judge panel that that District Court’s ruling was improper, and that Plaintiffs’ allegations of a business expectancy constituted an injury to Plaintiffs that met the standing requirement.
- January 2015. In an arbitration in New York City against a subsidiary of a publicly traded nationwide men’s clothing retailer, involving the alleged breach of multiple license agreements for the manufacture of certain name-brand merchandise, Mr. Levitt was co-counsel for the Claimants, and was successful in obtaining an award of approximately $42.6 million in damages and legal fees.
- June 2014. In the matter of Kalitta Air, L.L.C. as assignee of American International Airways, Inc. v. Central Texas Airborne Systems Inc. (Northern District of California, Oakland Division, Case No.: 96-cv-2494-CW), Mr. Levitt, as co-counsel, obtained a unanimous jury verdict for the Defendant, a business unit of a Fortune 200 Company. The Plaintiff brought the action alleging the Defendant negligently designed, fabricated and converted two Boeing 747 aircraft from passenger to cargo freighter configuration. Plaintiff sought damages in an amount which, including interest, potentially exceeded $1 billion. Mr. Levitt, as co-counsel, also succeeded in upholding the jury’s verdict on appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and finally, in defeating a petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court.
- March 2011. In the matter of L-3 Communications Corporation v. OSI Systems, Inc. (Southern District of New York, Case No.: 1-02-cv-9144-PAC), Mr. Levitt advised both outside counsel and management for Plaintiff in a dispute arising from a non-binding letter of intent between two public companies to purchase a third company’s business division. Plaintiff successfully appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, overturning a jury verdict in excess of $125 million for the Defendant on its counterclaim.
- March 2010. In the matter of Lockheed Martin Corporation v. L-3 Communications Integrated Systems, L.P. (Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, Case No.: 1:05-CV-902-CAP), Mr. Levitt was responsible for managing and coordinating the efforts of a national team of outside and in-house counsel on behalf of the Defendant. The team Mr. Levitt headed successfully overturned a jury verdict in excess of $37 million plus Plaintiff’s counsel’s request for approximately $16 million in legal fees, as a result of Plaintiff’s misconduct during discovery.
- May 2009. In a matter before the American Arbitration Association, Mr. Levitt represented Respondent, a Fortune 200 Company, before a three-member Panel in New York City. Significantly, he replaced a nationally-ranked law firm in the middle of the five week arbitration. Claimants alleged that Respondents breached a merger agreement and failed to make $35 million in earnout payments as well as punitive damages and attorneys’ fees. The Panel denied all relief Claimants sought, and Claimants settled a subsequent fees hearing by agreeing to pay the Respondents’ legal fees and expenses.
Mr. Levitt has been recognized by Forbes Magazine as a top “Leader in Law” along with his firm, Levitt LLP, as one of only two business law firms highlighted by that publication throughout the Tri-State Area; by Super Lawyers Magazine as a “Super Lawyer” for Business Litigation in the New York City Metro Area; and by the Long Island Pulse Magazine as a “Top Ten Legal Eagle” as well as the top attorney on Long Island in the area of Corporate/Contracts Law.
Mr. Levitt graduated from Hofstra University, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1978, earning highest departmental honors in economics. He earned his Juris Doctorate from Hofstra University School of Law in 1981, where he was invited to join the International Real Property Investment Journal. Throughout his time both in college and in law school, he worked full-time as an executive for a computer peripherals company, where he developed the business acumen that he applies to each of the firm’s cases.
Outside of the practice of law, Mr. Levitt frequently lectures to Hofstra University students and to local businesses on a number of legal and business topics.
Supreme Court of the United States
United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
United States District Court for the District of Connecticut
United States District Court for the District of Colorado
New York State Bar Association
Nassau County Bar Association