Hon. Helen E. Freedman (Ret.)

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Hon. Helen E. Freedman (Ret.) joined JAMS in 2014 after serving 36 years on the New York State bench.  She was an Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, First Department for six years and served for over eight years as a Justice in the Commercial Division.  Justice Freedman was the Presiding Justice of the Litigation Coordinating Panel for Multi-district Litigation in New York State from 2002 to 2014. 

Since joining JAMS she has conducted multiple mediations, arbitrations, and neutral evaluation matters varying in type and complexity. Widely renowned for her intellect and persistence in managing large and complex matters, Justice Freedman is well respected by both the bench and bar.  Justice Freedman brings a distinct understanding and perspective to dispute resolution given her impressive tenure presiding over both commercial and appellate matters while on the bench.  She has developed the same reputation at JAMS helping many parties find resolution despite intricate and contentious matters.  Justice Freedman is regarded as knowledgeable, fair and well prepared.  As a result of both her impressive experience at JAMS and her distinguished career on the bench, she is highly sought after for her skills as a special master, neutral in mock trials and as a court or party-appointed special master.  Justice Freedman believes strongly in pro bono services and increasing the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR); as such, she serves as a volunteer mediator at the Appellate Division First Department.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Employment
  • Breach of Contract
  • Business/Commercial
  • Real Estate
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Disability
  • Insurance Property Damage
  • Construction
  • Medical Malpractice 
  • Personal Injury
  • Premises liability
  • Jones Act/ Maritime
  • Product Liability
  • Wrongful Death
  • Labor Law

Representative Matters

Arbitrations

  • Arbitrated employment disputes involving discrimination, sexual harassment, and contract interpretation
  • Arbitrated a consumer action involving a disability discrimination claim
  • Arbitrated breach of contract dispute involving a breach of loan and lease agreement between owner and lessee

Mediations

  • Mediated numerous commercial breach of contract matters involving insurance, energy, real estate, and employment
  • Mediated insurance dispute between and among a manufacturer and its insurers over asbestos liability claims
  • Mediated medical malpractice disputes
  • Mediated numerous personal injury claims involving Labor Law 240(1) and 241(6), premise liability and automobile accidents
  • Mediated a fee dispute and legal malpractice counterclaim
  • Mediated multiple disputes among shareholders who were also lessees of a major urban shopping center in Queens, N
  • Mediated product liability disputes involving a popular weight loss drug, a heart implant device, and an asbestos claim
  • Mediated complex interpersonal relationship dispute

Neutral Evaluations

  • Served as a neutral evaluator in a mock appellate hearing involving a family business dispute
  • Served as a neutral evaluator in a mock oral hearing involving insurers’ potential liability for a billion dollar settlement
  • Served as a court appointed neutral appraiser involving insurance claims in a major property damage dispute arising out of Sandy claims
  • Served in a mock hearing to analyze contract provisions and develop the best approach in a commercial securities dispute

Significant trials presided over by Justice Freedman include the following:
  • In re New York City Asbestos Litigation, (NYCAL), Index No. 40,000(1987-2008):
    • Managed entire litigation involving resolution of tens of thousands of cases by trial or settlement.  Two of many published decisions include: ·Established “two injury rule” in Fusaro v. Porter-Hayden Co, 145 Misc2d 911, 548 NYS2d 856 (1989), aff’d 170 AD2d 239, 565 NYS2d 357 (1st Dept 1991) and required bankrupt defendants to appear on verdict sheet for purposes of Article 16 offsets in In re New York City Asbestos Litigation: Tancredi v. AC&S, et al., 194 Misc2d 214, 750 NYS2d 469 (2002), aff’d6 AD3d 352, 775 NYS2d 520 (1st Dept.2004)
    • Case Management Order provided for extensive use of special masters for mediation and discover
    • Designated as Judge in charge of all New York City asbestos personal injury cases from 1987-2008
  • BT Triple Crown Merger Co., Inc. v. Citigroup Global Markets Inc., et al., 19 Misc3d 1129(A)(2008) (Matter involving anticipatory breach of contract by funders of leveraged buyout of Clear Channel Communications, Inc. by private equity firms, Bain Capital Partners, LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners)
  • Loral Space Communications Holdings Corporation v. Rainbow DBS Holdings, Inc., et al., 48 AD3d 296, 852 NYS2d 77 (1st Dept2008) (Matter involving affirmance of jury verdict following trial where jury awarded lender damages of $52 million dollars pursuant to a “make whole” provision of the letter agreement that was triggered by the sale of defendant’s assets)
  • Sports Channel Associates v. Sterling Mets, L.P., 8 Misc3d 1027(A), 806 NYS2d 448 (2005) and 7 Misc3d 1007(A),801 NYS2d 242 (Sup.Ct.NY Co 2005), aff’d 25 AD3d 314, 807 NYS2d 61 (1st Dept.2006) (Matter involving licensing agreement for broadcast television rights of baseball games played by the New York Mets. $54 million payment pursuant to termination provision ended parties relationship and supported the right to immediately launch a Mets network)
  • McCain et al. v. Koch, et al., 806 N.Y.S.2d 448 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co. 2005); McCain v. Giuliani, 226 AD3d 256, 653 NYS2d 556 (1st Dept 1997); McCain v. Dinkins, 84 NY2d 216, 616 NYS2d 335, aff’g 192 AD2d 217,601 NYS2d 271 (1993); Lamboy v. Gross, 129 Misc 2d 564, 493 NYS2d 393 (Sup Ct. NY Co 1985), affid 126 AD2d 265, 513 NYS2d 393 (1st Dept 1987)
    • These are a few of many decisions rendered during Justice Freedman’s 25 years of managing the homeless families with children litigation. To the extent that her decisions were appealed, all were affirmed. Justice Freedman made extensive use of mediation and of the services of Special Masters to resolve the many issues that arose during the course of these litigations.

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Civil Practice Award, New York County’s Lawyer’s Association (NYCLA), 2015
  • Louis J. Capozzoli Gavel Award, New York County Lawyer’s Association (NYCLA), 2005
  • Civil Court Distinguished Service Award for Accomplishments Enhancing the Status of Women in the Judiciary, New York County Lawyer’s Association (NYCLA), 2004
  • Smith College Medal, “Judicial Independence”, 2000
  • American Bar Association’s Award of Judicial Excellence, State Trial Judges Conference, 1998
  • Vice-Chair on the Pattern Jury Instructions Committee of the Association of Justices of the Supreme Court, New York
  • Lectured and written extensively on the use of ADR in mass torts and public interest litigation
  • New York County Lawyer’s Association
    • Board of Directors, 2013-2016
    • Chair, Judicial Section, 2009-2012
      • Task Force on Judicial Selection, 2011-present
      • Task Force on Budget Cuts, 2011-present
  • New York Objections; Author – 18th Revision
  • Board of Trustees, Historical Society of the Courts of the State of New York, 2016
  • Editor of Judicial Notice, semi-annual publication of the Historical Society, 2016

Background and Education

  • Associate Justice, Appellate Division First Department, 2008-2014
  • Presiding Judge of the Litigation Coordinating Panel for Multi-District Litigation in New York State, 2002-2014
  • Justice of the Commercial Division of the New York County Supreme Court, 1999-2008
  • Adjunct Professor at New York Law School, 1996-2007
  • Associate Justice, Appellate Term Supreme Court, First Department, 1995-1999
  • New York State Supreme Court Justice, 1989-2008
  • Acting Supreme Court Justice, 1984-1989
  • Civil Court Judge, New York County, 1979-1984
  • Supervising Attorney, District Council 37 Legal Services Plan, 1976-1978
  • Senior Attorney, New York Department of Housing Preservation and Development, 1976
  • Law Clerk to Hon. Seymour Schwartz, 1974-1975
  • Litigation Attorney, 1967-1974
  • J.D., New York University School of Law
  • B.A., Smith College

Disclaimer

This page is for general information purposes.  JAMS makes no representations or warranties regarding its accuracy or completeness.  Interested persons should conduct their own research regarding information on this website before deciding to use JAMS, including investigation and research of JAMS neutrals. See More

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