The Team To Have In Your Court

The word “litigation” conjures up visions of Perry Mason, star witnesses and dramatic cross-examinations in stately courtrooms. In reality, good litigators do all they can to avoid costly trials. Negotiation, legwork and cost-management are just as important as courtroom skills in making sure that a lawsuit doesn’t burden your business and your life. 

Because litigation can be stressful, costly and time-consuming, it often diverts attention from core business. Underberg & Kessler’s Litigation Practice Group has the experience to handle complex disputes while effectively managing costs. We take the time to carefully assess the overall impact of litigation on your business operations and your bottom line. 

Whether arguing in the courtroom or negotiating a settlement, we are your team and we play to win. We have achieved beneficial outcomes for a variety of public and private clients. We handle general civil litigation matters in all New York State and federal trial and appellate courts, as well as alternative forums such as arbitration and mediation.  

We have considerable litigation experience in: 

  • Employment disputes

  • Shareholder, corporate and partnership disputes, and accounting and dissolution proceedings

  • Intellectual property, including patent litigation, trademark and copyright matters

  • Insurance defense

  • Environmental and toxic tort matters

  • Construction disputes

  • Land use and zoning issues

  • Defamation actions

  • Negligence actions

  • Medical malpractice

  • Personal injury actions

  • Commercial contracts

  • Employee fraud, embezzlement and misappropriation

  • Trustee liability

  • Contested wills

  • Class actions, including employment class action defense

  • Divorce and family law

  • Discrimination—race, sex, age, sexual orientation, religion, disability—and sexual harassment

  • Non-competition, non-solicitation and tortious interference claims

  • Tax assessment challenges

For more information about litigation, call Tom Knab at 716.847.9104 or email



  • Defended a construction company in a wrongful death action. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant company negligently maintained heavy construction equipment. The claim was dismissed at conclusion of the trial.

  • Represented a contractor against plaintiff’s claims that Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome was caused by an HVAC system designed and installed at an industrial plant. The claims were settled for nuisance value.

  • Served as co-lead counsel for heavy-metal manufacturers and their insurers in a complex action brought by 13 plaintiffs who claimed that their Asymptomatic Multiple Sclerosis was aggravated by their exposure to certain metals. Most of the claims were dismissed on appeal. The rest were settled.

  • Secured summary judgment for an insurance company in challenge to viability of an annuity sale.

  • Serve as regional liaison counsel for defendants in hundreds of asbestos-related personal injury and wrongful death actions. 

  • Successfully defended a day care facility in a negligence action brought on behalf of an injured infant. 

  • Defended an insurance company against allegations of bad faith for its denial of a claim for long-term disability benefits. 

  • Defended numerous workplace personal injury claims, including amputation cases, repetitive stress injury claims and "closed-head" injury claims.


  • After obtaining reversal of a $30 million judgment that had been entered prior to our representation, obtained a $1 million judgment against the other party for unpaid royalties due to our client for a proprietary manufacturing process.

  • Successfully obtained dismissal of an assessment challenge at trial for failure to use correct valuation date.

  • Successfully prosecuted a claim for copyright infringement against a real estate developer and his architect associates for copying proprietary architectural plans for luxury homes.

  • Negotiated a multimillion-dollar assessment reduction on day of trial for a manufacturing facility.

  • Obtained summary judgment dismissing plaintiff’s specific performance claim.

  • Successfully defended a local TV station against a substantial claim for libel. The station has been a client for more than 20 years.

  • Successfully defended a commercial roofing system manufacturer against a claim for $500,000 in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages for misrepresentation and fraud arising out of the sale and application of the system. We defended the same client in a class action suit brought by homeowners who used our client’s shingles and sheathing.

  • Stopped a former employee of a high-tech company from disclosing the company's valuable manufacturing trade secrets.

  • Successfully prosecuted a corporation's claim against an independent contractor for royalties and copyright infringement. The claim arose from the contractor’s unauthorized usage and sale of proprietary computer software.

  • Negotiated a settlement for plaintiff wrongly denied a promotion based on age.

  • Represent individuals in all aspects of family law, with particular emphasis on complex divorce litigation involving the valuation and equitable distribution of businesses and professional degrees, licenses and practices.

  • Experienced in litigating corporate, partnership and limited partnership disputes, including dissolution proceedings and actions alleging shareholder oppression, fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.

  • Obtained a preliminary injunction on behalf of client funeral home business against competitor funeral home business’ use of client’s trade name after competitor misappropriated client’s trade name. 

  • Successfully litigated contract disputes involving the commercial sale of goods.

  • Obtained a $400,000 settlement from a major national health insurer on behalf of a physician whose claims for reimbursement for services had been wrongfully denied.

  • Successfully litigated disputes involving distributorship and sales representative agreements.

  • On behalf of a magazine publisher, obtained an order dismissing the complaint (which was upheld on appeal) in a class action lawsuit seeking recovery of subscription payments, brought by the subscribers to a magazine after the magazine ceased publication. 


  • Represented Monroe County in an action against design engineers and manufacturers of a sophisticated waste reclamation system. The result: We collected approximately $12 million in damages for the county.

  • Prevailed in a highly contentious Civil Service Hearing justifying the termination of a police officer.

  • Represented a consortium of three towns—Geneseo, Leicester and York—in all phases of the towns’ review of AKZO’s proposal to backfill one of the largest salt mines in the world with municipal solid waste ash.

  • Defended a municipality against a former real estate developer who claimed that our client’s refusal to approve various projects and proposals constituted a conspiracy to deny him his civil rights.

  • Persuaded Supreme Court and Appellate Division to overturn a Civil Service Hearing Officer’s decision, merely suspending an employee.

  • Defended a town involved in a professional malpractice action where the plaintiff claimed our client obtained insufficient insurance for a public building later damaged by fire. 

  • Represented a county in a Superfund action related to its landfill, which is a designated hazardous waste.

  • Successfully defended the Town of Orchard Park in a lawsuit brought by a major billboard developer, which alleged that the sign regulations in the town’s zoning ordinance violated its right to free speech under the First Amendment. The representation included the drafting of amendments of the town’s zoning ordinance to comply with the developing case law on sign regulation, as well as an appeal to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. After the court issued a decision recommending the town’s summary judgment motion dismissing the complaint be granted, the billboard developer agreed to dismiss the case with prejudice.

  • On behalf of the Buffalo Water Board and Sewer Authority, secured an order dismissing the complaint (which was upheld on appeal) in a class action challenging the agencies’ statutory authority to impose surcharges on delinquent ratepayers.

  • On the eve of the 2008 elections, obtained a preliminary injunction in District Court (upheld by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals) on behalf of a major political party barring the New York State Board of Elections from changing the ballot for the 26th Congressional District of New York.


  • Successfully represented a bank regarding alleged age discrimination in its discharge of long-term employees during “downsizing.”

  • Successfully defended a bank trustee against claims brought by trust beneficiaries and the Resolution Trust Corporation regarding administration of a trust.

  • Successfully defended a bank against charges of libel, slander, fraud and other liability claims.

  • Successfully defended a local company against claims of alleged sexual harassment.

  • Defended a bank-trustee against charges of mismanagement brought by beneficiaries of a multi-million-dollar trust.


Jillian K. Farrar

Jillian K. Farrar

Creditors' Rights, Health Care, Litigation

Rochester, NY

Paul F. Keneally

Paul F. Keneally

Labor & Employment, Litigation, Municipal

Rochester, NY

Jennifer A. Shoemaker

Jennifer A. Shoemaker

Family Law, Labor & Employment, Litigation

Rochester, NY

David H. Fitch

David H. Fitch

Health Care, Litigation, Municipal

Rochester, NY

Thomas F. Knab

Thomas F. Knab

Construction, Corporate & Business, Labor & Employment, Litigation

Buffalo, NY

Margaret E. Somerset

Margaret E. Somerset

Health Care, Litigation

Canandaigua, NY

Jessie Gregorio

Jessie Gregorio

Health Care, Litigation, Corporate & Business, Intellectual Property

Rochester, NY

Alina Nadir

Alina Nadir

Labor & Employment, Litigation

Rochester, NY

David M. Tang

David M. Tang

Creditors' Rights, Health Care, Litigation

Rochester, NY

Aaron M. Griffin

Aaron M. Griffin

Litigation, Labor & Employment

Rochester, NY

Colin D. Ramsey

Colin D. Ramsey

Health Care, Labor & Employment, Litigation

Buffalo, NY

George S. Van Nest

George S. Van Nest

Construction, Environmental, Litigation, Municipal

Buffalo, NY



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