Justin J. Gunnell

Counsel

Mr. Gunnell is a top-rated business litigator and has been selected as a Super Lawyers Rising Star in business litigation each year from 2015-2019.

Mr. Gunnell practices in all areas of commercial and business litigation, with an emphasis on disputes involving employment law, real estate, intellectual property, complex commercial agreements, partnership and business breakups, and fraud and securities law claims. Mr. Gunnell prides himself in achieving favorable results for his clients, whether through the litigation process or through a negotiated resolution. Aside from being adept at navigating both state and federal courts, Mr. Gunnell is highly skilled in the resolution and settlement of high-stakes litigation – often devising, proposing and negotiating creative or novel solutions for his clients.

Mr. Gunnell received his J.D. from Cornell Law School, with a concentration in business law and regulation, and was an editor of the Journal of Law and Public Policy.  Mr. Gunnell holds an undergraduate degree, with honors, in Policy Analysis and Management from Cornell University, where he was on the dean’s list and received the College of Human Ecology “outstanding senior” award.

Upon graduating from law school Mr. Gunnell worked at Latham and Watkins LLP, where he represented large institutional clients and Fortune 500 companies in disputes involving antitrust, securities, intellectual property and business law.  Mr. Gunnell subsequently joined a prominent litigation boutique specializing in trial practice and complex civil litigation.

Prior to joining Sher Tremonte, Mr. Gunnell clerked for Judge Rya W. Zobel of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

Mr. Gunnell has authored articles on trademark dilution law and juror bias that have appeared in the Cardozo Arts and Entertainment Law Journal, the Texas Intellectual Property Law Journal, and Behavioral Sciences & the Law.

Mr. Gunnell is admitted to practice in New York State, the United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Publications

When Emotionality Trumps Reason: A Study of Individual Processing Style and Juror Bias, Behavioral Sciences & the Law, June 2010

Evaluation of the Dilution-Parody Paradox in the Wake of the Trademark Dilution Revision Act of 2006, Cardozo Arts and Entertainment Law Journal, 2008

Goldilocks and Three Federal Dilution Standards: An Empirical Review, Texas Intellectual Property Law Journal, 2008

Representative Matters

Fraud / Fraudulent Transfers / Securities Fraud Matters

– Achieved major victory in issue of first impression before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. The Circuit held that client, a non-voting board observer, could not be held liable under Section 11(a)(3) of the Securities Act of 1933 as a person “named in the registration statement” as “performing similar functions” to a director.

– Achieved complete victory in the Southern District of New York on special application seeking turnover of fraudulently conveyed funds to client. The court applying the “sham issue of fact” doctrine found that the transfers at issue were constructively fraudulent and that a further fact hearing was unnecessary finding the opposing justifications for the transfers to be “lame conjecture.”

– Achieved complete victory on summary judgment of fraud claims involving the sale of a full-service medical laboratory. Court concluded that the buyer failed to establish loss causation, transaction causation, and justifiable reliance and dismissed all claims against client.

Intellectual Property Matters

– Successfully obtained temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction on behalf of co-founder of high frequency algorithmic trading platform in action against former partner for misappropriation of trade secrets and conversion of intellectual property.

– Successfully obtained temporary restraining order in Southern District of New York action for trademark infringement and counterfeiting under the Lanham Act.

– Advised World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) panel member in connection with decision transferring internet domain names where registrant used trademarks in bad faith.

– Represented engineering device company in connection with claims against competitor for trade dress and trademark infringement due to competing product’s similar shape and name.

Complex Commercial Agreements / Partnership and Business Breakups Matters 

– Achieved major victory on summary judgment in minority shareholder squeeze-out dispute. Court dismissed all claims against client by former employer and business partners and upheld client’s claims for improper dilution and excessive compensation claims.

– Successfully obtained complete dismissal of action against clients, former members of professional photography company, at motion to dismiss stage where court found that claims asserted were barred by prior written agreements based on principles of contractual privity.

– Negotiated favorable settlement and judgment forbearance agreements with investment fund and fund manager for mismanagement of pre-IPO stock investment. Settlement resulted in client receiving significantly more than the client’s original investment.

Real Estate Matters

– Achieved rare victory in Article 78 Petition against Manhattan co-op board reversing board’s decision to revoke a previously issued renovation approval.  Court ruled that the “the Business Judgment Rule is not a get-out-of-jail-free card.”

– Achieved over half-a-million-dollar judgment against title abstract company for inclusion of materially inaccurate property description in title insurance policy and failure to obtain a property survey according to industry standards.

– Achieved complete victory on summary judgment in the Southern District of New York where court dismissed claims against client, municipal corporation, against allegations that it had conspired with private landlord to evict tenant in retaliation for tenant’s exercise of first amendment rights.

– Negotiated favorable settlement with utilities provider for claims, including res ipsa loquitur, that provider caused damage to Manhattan residential apartment complex as a result of negligent operations.

– Negotiated favorable settlement in action against client, co-trustee of family trust containing residential apartment complex and strip mall for breaches of fiduciary duties. Creative settlement involved appointment of third-party bank as trustee to safeguard family assets.

Employment Law Matters

– Successfully tried case to verdict in Southern District of New York resulting in dismissal of all claims against clients related to claims of associational disability discrimination under the American with Disabilities Act.

– Achieved complete victory on summary judgment in the Eastern District of New York. in case involving trainee apprenticeship program where court concluded that clients were not “joint employers” under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

– Routinely mediates and negotiate settlements on behalf of clients asserting whistleblower, retaliation, constructive termination, and human rights claims.

Justin J. Gunnell

Counsel