Alexander H. Schmidt is a partner of the firm. During his 29 years of practice before federal and state trial and appellate courts, Mr. Schmidt has concentrated on sophisticated commercial litigation and class actions, including matters involving antitrust, consumer protection, securities fraud, civil RICO, banking and commercial factoring, and real estate. Since 2005, Mr. Schmidt has litigated numerous plaintiffs' class and derivative actions, emphasizing cost-effective and creative problem solving to resolve intractable disputes.
Mr. Schmidt has achieved several groundbreaking litigation victories. Mr. Schmidt was the lead lawyer in the landmark Roberts v. Tishman Speyer Properties, L.P. (N.Y. Ct. Appeals) case, in which New York's two highest courts ruled in favor of a class of tenants from one of New York City's largest residential apartment complexes, Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, who had challenged their landlords' right to deregulate rent stabilized apartments while simultaneously receiving certain New York City tax benefits. Those rulings overturned New York City landlords' 13-year old practice of wrongfully deregulating buildings that New York's Legislature had intended to keep rent stabilized. After Mr. Schmidt helped shape a $173 million settlement on the Roberts tenants' behalf, representing a 100% recovery for overcharged class members, the case was hailed by some national and local officials as the largest and most significant tenants' victory in United States history.
Mr. Schmidt was also part of a lead counsel team that recently settled a class action for telephone customers who were overcharged for two services by a leading telephone company, again recovering 100% of the amount overcharged for each service. Egleston v. Verizon Communications, Inc. (N.Y. Co. Sup. Ct.).
Mr. Schmidt was the sole plaintiffs' counsel in Dresses For Less, Inc. v. CIT Group/Commercial Services, Inc. (S.D.N.Y.), in which the court sustained Sherman Act claims he brought on behalf of victims of group boycotts by the commercial factoring industry. The case resulted in a satisfying confidential settlement for his clients and ended the garment center factors' 80-year old practice of conducting illegal twice-weekly meetings to discuss and make joint credit decisions concerning their common customers.
Among other noteworthy matters, Mr. Schmidt also conceived and helped sustain a precedent setting Kodak aftermarket monopolization claim in In re Apple & ATTM Antitrust Litigation (N.D. Ca.)., an antitrust class action brought by purchasers of Apple's highly popular iPhone who challenged Apple's undisclosed, five-year exclusive service contract with AT&T Mobility. In Atkins & O’Brien L.L.P. v. ISS Int’l Serv. Sys. (N.Y. App. Div.), Mr. Schmidt resurrected an archaic estoppel exception to the general New York rule that a client can fire its lawyer at any time, enabling his law firm clients to recover several years of future fees under a general retainer contract. Recently, without filing a lawsuit, Mr. Schmidt successfully represented the tenants association of a multi-building apartment complex in renegotiating a ten-year old settlement agreement. The amended agreement reduced rents and plugged a loophole that had enabled rent-protected units to be converted to fully deregulated market apartments
Among his ongoing matters, Mr. Schmidt currently serves as lead counsel for consumers who seek refunds for improper credit card charges by a subsidiary of a major international bank, Frankel v. Citicorp Insurance Services, Inc.. (E.D.N.Y.), and as co-lead counsel for more than 900,000 Long Islanders who lost power for prolonged periods after Hurricane Sandy due to the contractual breaches and gross negligence of the Long Island Power Authority, In re: Long Island Power Authority Hurricane Sandy Litig. (Nass. Co. S. Ct.). Mr. Schmidt is also one of the lawyers in the General Motors Ignition Switch Litigation, having filed several class actions in the case and serving as co-counsel to one of the two designated liaison counsel to the Bankruptcy Court.
Over the past few years, Mr. Schmidt also has been a leading force in the struggle to bring fairness to federal arbitration law and to restore access to justice and Congress' actual intent under the Federal Arbitration Act. He has penned several articles on the subject, as well as an amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court on behalf of a group of distinguished Professors of Civil Procedure. His article “Challenging the Supreme Court’s American Express Decision Under the First Amendment Petition Clause,” appears in the Summer 2014 issue of the American Bar Association publication, Antitrust Magazine.
Mr. Schmidt is admitted to practice in New York and New Jersey and before the United States Supreme Court, United States Courts of Appeals for the Second and Ninth Circuits, and the United States Court of Federal Claims. He graduated from the State University of New York at Stony Brook (B.A. 1981) and received his J.D. from Brooklyn Law School in 1985, where he served as the Executive Notes & Topics Editor for the Law Review. Mr. Schmidt was an Assistant Adjunct Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School in 1998 and 1999, co-teaching a seminar on Federal Discovery Practice. He served as a Small Claims Arbitrator in New York City for 15 years.