In the case of Leser v. U.S. Bank National Association, a jury returned a verdict in favor of U.S. Bank on its two claims for breach of contract and one claim of unjust enrichment against real estate developer Abraham Leser. The award was based on personal guaranties that Leser had signed in connection with two large real estate loan development projects. Leser claimed that personal guaranties were not enforceable against him because his signature had been forged. The trial involved numerous fact witnesses and handwriting experts. The jury decided that the guaranties were indeed enforceable against Leser, and the court thereafter issued a judgment in favor of U.S. Bank against Leser for nearly $53 million.
The trial was led by Steven Cooper, a New York-based partner in Reed Smith’s Global Commercial Disputes group.
The New York Law Journal placed this case in its Verdicts Hall of Fame, ranking it No. 3 in the Contracts category.
“This was a very complex, high profile, and at times acrimonious trial which challenged my colleagues and me to use our extensive experience as litigators to develop strategies that would result in a successful result for our client,” Cooper said. “We are thrilled to have been able to come through for U.S. Bank, and grateful to the New York Law Journal for recognizing our work and the talent of Reed Smith’s litigation and trial team.”