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Edward K. Lenci has a diverse practice that focuses on the litigation and arbitration of domestic and international commercial disputes, including reinsurance disputes, and the defense of businesses sued in class action lawsuits. He has considerable appellate experience, too, including a class action defense victory in the U.S. Supreme Court enforcing the class action waiver in a student loan's arbitration provisions. Drawing on his extensive experience with domestic and international arbitration, Ed has drafted arbitration provisions tailored to the unique needs of each client and was co-author of the ARIAS-U.S. International Arbitration Form. He is also the Chair of the Reinsurance Section of the firm's global Insurance Services Practice Group.

Ed has spoken around the world and written about a variety of topics relating to domestic and international arbitration, reinsurance disputes, and class actions. The media has quoted him concerning international arbitration, Brexit, foreign sovereign immunity, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Ed was also interviewed in 2017 on RTÉ, Ireland's national radio and television broadcaster.

Prior to joining Hinshaw, Ed was a founding partner of Wilker & Lenci, LLP, a well-regarded New York City boutique firm that focused on commercial litigations and arbitrations, particularly international arbitrations and reinsurance disputes. Before that, he was a partner in the New York City office of a large international firm and had earlier worked at New York City's Marks & Murase. He began his legal career as a legal intern at Hamada & Matsumoto (now Mori, Hamada & Matsumoto) in Tokyo after his first year at Columbia University School of Law.

Professional Affiliations

  • Arbitration Ireland, New York Branch
  • ARIAS-U.S.
    • International Committee, Co-Chair
  • Latin American Council
  • Law360 International Arbitration, Editorial Advisory Board, 2017 – 2019
  • New York State Bar Association
    • International Section, Chair-Elect
      • Insurance and Reinsurance Committee, Co-Chair, 2010 – 2017
  • Reinsurance & Arbitration (HarrisMartin), Editorial Board, Charter Member

Honors & Awards

  • Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law at Columbia University School of Law
    • "Recognition of the Achievement with Honors" in International and Foreign Law

Representative Matters

Commercial Litigations and Arbitrations, Class Action Defense, Appeals, and Reinsurance

While at Hinshaw, Ed was the lead attorney for a student loan servicer in a series of class action lawsuits in which he and his team achieved the following notable results:

  • An order of the U.S. Supreme Court, vacating and remanding a decision of a federal Court of Appeals and instructing that the class action waiver in the student loan's arbitration provisions was enforceable.
  • A decision permitting the loan servicer, under the doctrine of estoppel, to invoke a class action waiver in a loan's arbitration provisions even though the servicer was not itself a party to the promissory note.
  • Decisions transferring venue.
  • Decisions denying class certification and interlocutory appeal under Rule 23(f).

Ed is the lead attorney for a producer of honey in two federal class action lawsuits arising from the producer's use of the words "natural" and "pure" on its labels. His early interventions on behalf of several of the firm's clients have prevented the filing of class action lawsuits against them.

Ed is well-known for his appellate advocacy. His appellate victories include:

  • Affiliated Computer Services, Inc. v. Fensterstock, 564 U.S. 1001 (U.S. 2011) (the class action waiver in student loan's arbitration provisions was enforceable) (this victory was a front-page story in The New York Law Journal on June 14, 2011).
  • AiNET Corp. v. Xerox State & Local Sols., Inc., 739 Fed. App'x. 68, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 28611 (2d Cir. Oct. 18, 2018) (denying plaintiff's appeal of the district court's decision that the defendant properly terminated its subcontract with plaintiff).
  • Breitman v. Xerox Educ. Servs., 2d Cir. Docket No. 15-185 (2d Cir. Mar. 24, 2015) (denying plaintiff's appeal under Rule 23(f), Fed. R. Civ. Pr., from the lower court's decision not to certify the purported class).
  • Mutual Marine Offices, Inc., et al. v. Banco de Seguros del Estado, 344 F.3d 255 (2d Cir. 2003) (convinced a federal Court of Appeals that an insurer owned by the government of Uruguay had waived sovereign immunity) (this decision is regarded as a seminal authority in this area).
  • Gerling Global Reinsurance Corporation – U.S. Branch v. ACE Property & Casualty Insurance Co., 42 Fed. Appx. 522, 2002 WL 1770725, 2002 U.S. App. Lexis 15571 (2d Cir. 2002) (demonstrated to a federal Court of Appeals that a reinsurer was not required to arbitrate its rescission claim because the arbitration agreement did not encompass such a claim).
  • Intertec Contracting, A/S, et al. v. Turner Steiner East Asia Ltd., et al., 6 Fed. Appx. 61, 2001 WL 266997, 2001 U.S. App. Lexis 4156 (2d Cir. 2001) (showed a federal Court of Appeals that an arbitration clause in a construction contract requiring arbitration in Sri Lanka was not incorporated by reference into a subcontract).
  • Trepel v. Prof. G. Hodgins, The Arizona Board of Regents, et al., 121 N.Y.S.3d 605 (N.Y. App. 2020) (an agency of the State of Arizona and its employee could not be sued in a New York State court under the doctrine of sovereign immunity) (this was the first New York State decision applying the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Franchise Tax Bd. v. Hyatt).
  • Amerisure Mutual Insurance Company, et al. v. GLOBAL Reinsurance Corporation of America, 927 N.E.2d 740 (Ill. App. 2010) (won vacatur of an arbitral award by proving that the arbitrators exceeded their authority and committed a "gross error of law") (this victory was the lead story in the Chicago Daily Law Journal on March 16, 2010).
  • Intertec Contracting, A/S, et al. v. Turner Steiner International S.A., et al., 774 N.Y.S.2d 14 (N.Y. App. 2004) (won reversal of the trial court's decision that had dismissed a transnational construction claim on the grounds of forum non conveniens) (this victory was the "Decision of the Day" in The New York Law Journal on March 22, 2004).
  • Curiale v. AIG Multi-Line Syndicate, Inc., et al., 640 N.Y.S.2d 18 (N.Y. App. 1996) (convinced a New York state appellate court that a reinsurer was entitled to rescission).

Reinsurance Disputes

Ed's experience in the area of reinsurance dispute resolution is extensive and highly regarded. He "scored a hat trick" by winning the rare remedy of rescission of a reinsurance contract on three separate occasions — once in a jury trial, once in an arbitration, and once from the bench — and has also successfully defended against claims of rescission. He has also collected many millions of dollars from reinsurers located in Latin America, Asia, and Europe.

In addition to several of the appellate victories listed above, Ed's representative reinsurance successes include:

  • Skandia America Reinsurance Corp. v. Caja Nacional de Ahorro y Seguro, 1997 WL 278054 (S.D.N.Y. 1997) (in a federal proceeding to confirm an arbitral award, persuaded the court that a reinsurer owned by the government of Argentina was not immune from posting pre-answer security because the New York Convention, which permits such security, trumped the U.S. Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act) (this decision is regarded as a seminal authority in this area).
  • National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa v. Clearwater Insurance Company, 2007 WL 2106098, S.D.N.Y. July 21, 2007 (No. 04-CV-5032) (demonstrated to a federal court that the doctrine of "follow the fortunes" did not require the reinsurer to cover ECO).
  • Gerling Global Reinsurance Corporation — U.S. Branch v. ACE Property & Casualty Company (S.D.N.Y. 2003) (won the first jury verdict in the United States rescinding a reinsurance agreement).
  • Liquidation of The Home Insurance Company (demonstrated to a New Hampshire tribunal that The Home was not the reinsurer of the firm's client, a foreign insurer, thus paving the way for collection of payment in full from its true reinsurer).
  • GLOBAL Reinsurance Corporation – U.S. Branch v. Sompo Japan Insurance, Inc., 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37969 (S.D.N.Y. 2005) (showed an arbitration panel, and then a federal district court, that a Japanese reinsurer must post a $7.5 million LOC in favor of its cedent based soley on the latter's annual statement).

Intellectual Property and Restrictive Covenants

Ed has litigated a variety of disputes involving intellectual property rights and restrictive covenants. His successes in this area include:

  • Oona Tropeano Expressions, Inc. v. Studio Chevalier, Ltd., et al., 04 CV 8887 (S.D.N.Y. 2007). Ed won dismissal of a copyright infringement claim that a U.S. designer brought against a Canadian custom printing company. He followed up this victory by recouping most of the attorneys' fees his client expended.
  • Ernest Rossi, et al. v. Irvington Publishers, 04 CV 7191 (S.D.N.Y.). Ed represented Dr. Ernest Rossi, the collaborator of the late Dr. Milton H. Erickson, a pioneer in the field of medical hypnotherapy. As a result of Ed's efforts, Dr. Erickson's classic works are once again available to the field.
  • The Health Consultants Group v. Dailey, 2004 U.S. Dist. Lexis 23718 (S.D.N.Y. 2004). Ed tried a case in federal court resulting in the issuance of an injunction against a former employee of a Connecticut-based health insurance broker, enforcing the terms of a restrictive covenant. Ed's skillful cross-examination of the former employee resulted in the trial judge's observations that the testimony was "contradictory," "evasive," and "confused, tortured and generally less than credible."
  • Successfully defended a well-known financial-services entrepreneur in a federal lawsuit brought by his former employer, a large financial institution, which sought to enjoin the use of its alleged trade secrets and intellectual property and enforce a restrictive covenant.

Ed's other representative cases include:

  • He was the lead attorney in a federal trial in which he successfully defended one of the world's largest providers of business process services against contractual claims asserted by a colocation facility, winning a trial verdict dismissing all claims.
  • He successfully pursued multimillion dollar claims under CERCLA and an indemnity agreement on behalf of a Chilean conglomerate and its U.S. subsidiary after five industrial sites they acquired from a Fortune 100 company in the 1990s became the subject of environmental actions and investigations by federal and state authorities.
  • In the bankruptcy case of Pali Capital, a once prominent investment bank, he secured an order that stayed the New York adversary proceeding in favor of arbitration in Los Angeles.

Presentations

  • Conference Co-Chair, "A World of Many Voices, United in Our Diversity," New York State Bar Association International Section 2019 Global Conference, Tokyo, Japan, November 2019
  • Panelist representing Arbitration Ireland, "The A-Team: We Love It When Your Arbitration Comes Together," New York State Bar Association International Section 2019 Global Conference, Tokyo, Japan, November 2019
  • "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Arbitral Forum: The Latest on the Use of Class Action Waivers in Arbitration Clauses in the US," Dublin International Arbitration Day, Dublin, Ireland, November 2017
  • "The Latest on Class Action/Arbitration Waivers and Class Arbitration in the US," New York State Bar Association International Section meeting, Antigua, Guatemala, September 2017
  • "Dispute Resolution Involving U.S./Latin America Reinsurance Relationships," ARIAS-U.S. Spring Conference, Naples, Florida, May 2017
  • Co-Chair, New York State Bar Association International Section European meeting, Dublin, Ireland, April 2017
  • "Arbitration in Banking, Financial Services and Reinsurance: Current Practice and Future Potential," Dublin International Arbitration Day, Dublin, Ireland, November 2016
  • "Hot Topics in International Commercial Arbitration," New York State Bar Association International Section meeting, Paris, France, October 2016
  • "Reinsurance Dispute Resolution in Different Nations and Across National Boundaries: France, the UK, Bermuda, Latin America and the U.S.A.," New York State Bar Association International Section meeting, Paris, France, October 2016
  • "Drafting Effective Dispute Resolution Clauses," Intermediaries and Reinsurance Underwriters Association (IRUA) meeting, New York, New York, October 2016
  • "Hot Topics in Transnational Insurance and Reinsurance," New York State Bar Association International Section meeting, São Paulo, Brazil, October 2015
  • "Allocation and Follow-the-Fortunes/Follow-the-Settlements — Is the Industry Any Clearer Today on Post-Settlement Allocations?" American Conference Institute's National Forum on Reinsurance Regulation, New York, New York, July 2014
  • "Panel Authority and Panelist Impartiality," American Conference Institute's Advanced Forum on Reinsurance Disputes in Litigation and Arbitration, New York, New York, April 2012
  • Co-Chair, HarrisMartin Reinsurance Summit, Philadelphia, PA, September 2011
  • "Judicial Scrutiny of Arbitral Awards in the U.S." New York State Bar Association International Section meeting, Sydney, Australia, October 2010
  • "The 'American Rule' at Risk: Reliastar Life Insurance Company of New York v. EMC National Life Co.," Hinshaw's 2009 Insurance Services Symposium, Chicago, Illinois, October 2009

Publications

Media Mentions

Personal

Ed lives in Greenwich, Connecticut, with his wife, artist Monica Lenci. He is a leader in both professional and community affairs. He had the honor of dining with the Benchers, including the Chief Justice of Ireland, at the Honorable Society of King's Inns in Dublin in November 2017.

Community/Civic Activities

  • Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
  • Mimes & Mummers (theater at Fordham University's Rose Hill campus): Benefactor and Alumnus
  • Special Assistant District Attorney, Queens County, NY

J.D., honors awarded, Columbia University School of Law, 1990

ICU, Tokyo, Japan, 1986

B.A., summa cum laude, Fordham University, 1985