Robert Lack has played a leading role in many of the most high-profile cases handled by Friedman Kaplan for more than three decades, and over that time has built an exceptional reputation for his insight, tenacity, and creativity. He represents investors, funds, collateral managers, servicers, counterparties, and litigation trusts and indenture trustees in complex and multidistrict commercial litigation, securities litigation, accountants’ liability cases, and bankruptcy litigation, including in jury and non-jury trials and arbitrations.
Mr. Lack particularly excels when addressing issues of special complexity or difficulty, including in matters of first impression. From his work representing investment funds and financial services companies in disputes involving complex financial products such as collateralized mortgage obligations and commercial mortgage-backed securities, to his ongoing work in cases seeking to claw back billions of dollars from thousands of shareholders, Mr. Lack is a formidable force when confronting the most complicated challenges.
- Representation of the Tribune Company Litigation Trust and indenture trustees for Tribune’s pre-LBO bondholders in prosecuting claims for intentional and constructive fraudulent transfer, breach of fiduciary duty, aiding and abetting, and professional malpractice, among others, against Tribune's former shareholders and financial advisors arising out of Tribune’s 2007 leveraged buyout. The case is exceptionally complex, seeking to claw back billions of dollars distributed to approximately 5,000 shareholders, including mutual funds, trusts, pension plans, and individuals, in a multidistrict litigation that consolidates more than 40 separate actions brought in multiple federal and state courts throughout the country.
Representation of the NWHI Litigation Trust that was established in the Nine West bankruptcy to pursue claims relating to the 2014 transaction, in which Nine West’s predecessor was purchased, certain of its businesses were sold off, and its shareholders received more than $1 billion for their shares.
Representation of Wilmington Savings Fund Society, FSB as successor indenture trustee for $250 million of unsecured notes of Nine West Holdings, Inc. in connection with Nine West’s bankruptcy and potential claims arising out of the company's 2014 leveraged buyout and asset sales. Co-lead counsel in a contested bankruptcy confirmation hearing that led to a revised plan of reorganization that provided a greater recovery to noteholders and other unsecured creditors.
Representation of the Chapter 11 Plan Administrator of Cobalt International Energy, Inc. and its debtor affiliates in connection with his retention, the administration of the company’s liquidation, the settlement of class action securities litigation against the company, and claims against the company's insurers.
- Representation of entities sponsored by two major private equity firms as acquirers in litigation concerning the funding banks’ alleged breach of a contract to finance the $18 billion leveraged buyout of Clear Channel Communications, Inc.
- Representation of CWCapital Asset Management LLC, in its capacity as special servicer for a CMBS trust, in defense of $200 million in claims brought by the owner of a Manhattan office building. Plaintiffs’ claims, including breach of contract and tortious interference, were dismissed from the bench following oral argument and the dismissal affirmed unanimously on appeal.
- In one of the first cases to pursue claims against mortgage originators for breaches of representations and warranties, representation of a trust holding numerous commercial mortgages in an action against the financial institution that had sold defective loans into the trust. After a month-long bench trial in New York state court, the court found the defendants had breached representations and warranties concerning two loans. When the court then denied the trust any damages, Mr. Lack and the firm twice successfully appealed. The appellate court remanded the case for determination of damages. Following an extensive damages hearing before a Special Referee who identified substantial damages, the matter settled out of court.
- Representation of the Litigation Advisory Board of a hedge fund, for which Mr. Lack and the firm obtained $77 million in settlements from three major broker-dealers in a case arising out of the liquidation of complex derivative securities.
- Representation of institutional investors in an action against a Big Four accounting firm arising out of its audits of a bankrupt company.
- Mr. Lack and the firm conducted an internal investigation on behalf of the Audit Committee of a NYSE-listed consumer financial services company in connection with the Committee’s review of the company’s previously issued financial statements.
Prior to joining Friedman Kaplan, Mr. Lack practiced at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP.
Outside the Office
Mr. Lack is a member of the Securities Litigation and Arbitration Committee of the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association, as well as the American Bar Association, the Association of the Federal Bar of New Jersey, and the New Jersey State Bar Association. He previously served as a member of the New York City Bar Association's Committees on Financial Reporting, Antitrust and Trade Regulation, and Federal Courts.
Harvard Law School, J.D., magna cum laude (1981)
Princeton University, Master in Public Affairs (1978)
Princeton University, A.B., magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa (1977)
State of New York
State of New Jersey
U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, District of New Jersey, Northern District of California, and District of Colorado
U.S. Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, Third, Seventh, Ninth, Eleventh, District of Columbia, and Federal Circuits
U.S. Supreme Court
The Honorable Leonard I. Garth, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Honors and Awards
Whitney North Seymour Medal for Trial Advocacy
Law Review and Publications
Note Editor, Harvard Law Review
Note, Venue for Judicial Review of Administrative Actions: A New Approach, 93 Harv. L. Rev. 1735 (1980)