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Ed Lenci litigates and arbitrates business disputes, including reinsurance disputes, and defends businesses sued in class action lawsuits. He has considerable appellate experience, too; and a number of his appellate victories involve arbitration, including a class action defense victory in the U.S. Supreme Court, which enforced the class action waiver in a student loan's arbitral provisions. Drawing on his extensive experience with domestic and international arbitration, he drafts arbitral provisions tailored to the unique needs of each client, and he co-authored the ARIAS-U.S. International Arbitration Form.

Given his extensive knowledge and background, Ed is often sought by national media outlets for comment and insights. Forbes, American Banker, Law360, and the New York Law Journal are among the publications that have quoted Ed on a range of topics, including international arbitration, class actions and class action waivers, reinsurance disputes, sovereign immunity, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and diversity, equity, and inclusion in ADR. He has spoken around the world and written on the same topics. He was interviewed in 2017 on RTÉ, Ireland's national radio and television broadcaster, about legal opportunities in Ireland after Brexit.

Ed serves as the Chair of the Reinsurance Section of the firm's global Insurance Services Practice Group. Prior to joining Hinshaw, Ed had his own firm, Wilker & Lenci, LLP, a highly-regarded New York City boutique firm that focused on reinsurance disputes and international arbitration. Before that, he was a partner in the New York office of a large, international law firm. Ed began his legal career at "Big Four" Mori, Hamada & Matsumoto (then Hamada & Matsumoto) in Tokyo after his first year at Columbia University School of Law, from which he graduated in 1990 with honors.

Ed recently became an arbitrator and brings to that new role over three decades' experience as an advocate in many arbitrations and the judicial proceedings that often follow. Additionally, he served three terms (2017 – 2019) on the Editorial Advisory Board of Law360 International Arbitration and was a charter member of the Editorial Board of Reinsurance & Arbitration (HarrisMartin). He is co-chair of ARIAS-U.S.'s International Committee, a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, and a founding member of the New York Branch of Arbitration Ireland.

Ed is the chair of the New York State Bar Association's International Section.

Professional Affiliations

  • Arbitration Ireland
    • New York Branch, Founding Member
  • ARIAS-U.S.
    • International Committee, Co-Chair
  • Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb), Member
  • FINRA, Certified Arbitrator
  • Law360 International Arbitration, Editorial Advisory Board, 2017 – 2019
  • New York State Bar Association
    • International Section, Chair
    • 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 Comparative Law

Representative Matters

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

While at Hinshaw, Ed has achieved the following notable defense victories in purported class action lawsuits:

  • 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.
  • In a federal case involving the use of the words "Pure" and "100% Pure" on the labels of a food product, a decision granting summary judgment because there was no proof that the labels were misleading.
  • Decisions transferring the venue of purported class actions.
  • Decisions denying class certification and interlocutory appeal under Rule 23(f), Fed. R. Civ. Pr.

Additionally, Ed's 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) (class action waiver in a 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 key 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 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 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) (under the doctrine of sovereign immunity, an agency of the State of Arizona and its employee could not be sued in a New York State court).
  • 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 is the Chair of the Reinsurance Section of the firm's global Insurance Services Practice Group. His 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 key 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

  • Opening Remarks, "Love and Let Love: Breaking Down the Barriers to LGBTQ Equality," NYSBA's International Section, Virtual Event, June 24, 2021 (New York City), June 25, 2021 (Tokyo)
  • Signatory, Memorandum of Understanding between the Philippine Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association, June 17, 2021
  • Signatory, Memorandum of Friendship between the Osaka Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association, June 4, 2021
  • "International Arbitrations: Updates From Europe, Bermuda, The Cayman Islands, and the U.S.," ARIAS-U.S. 2021 Spring Conference, Virtual Event, May 6, 2021
  • "Judicially-Aided Discovery and Provisional Relief In International Arbitration: UK & US," New York State Bar Association International Section, Virtual Event, April 16, 2021
  • Moderator, "Ireland for Law: Ireland and International Arbitration," Ireland for Law Series Presented by the New York State Bar Association's International Section, Virtual Event, March 11, 2021
  • "Arbitrations Against States and State-Owned Entities," ILI – African Centre for Excellence and the New York State Bar Association's International Section, Virtual Event, December 7, 2020
  • Opening and Closing Remarks, "Ireland for Law: Corporate Restructuring, Intellectual Property and Data Privacy, and Derivatives," Ireland for Law and the New York State Bar Association's International Section, November 19, 2020
  • Opening Remarks, "Nuclear Weapons and International Law," New York State Bar Association's International Section, Virtual November 12, 2020
  • Panelist, "Careers Landscape After 2020," CIArb Virtual Congress Conference 2020, Virtual Event, November 11, 2020
  • Conference Co-Chair, "A World of Many Voices, United in Our Diversity," New York State Bar Association's 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's 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's 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's 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's 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's 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's 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.

In early December 2014, Ed visited Havana, Cuba, for a week as part of a group sponsored by the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA). President Obama's announcement of the "thaw" (el deshielo Cubano) was still a few weeks off.  While there, Ed and his spouse, Monica, met privately with Maritza Sánchez, Director of Cáritas Cuba, part of Caritas Internationalis, an affiliation of some 160 Roman Catholic relief agencies around the world.  In July 2021, as Chair of NYSBA's International Section, he initiated the formation of a "Cuba Task Force" in response to the unprecedented popular protests in Cuba.

Community/Civic Activities

  • Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
  • The 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