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Henry Pitman

Hon. Henry Pitman (Ret.)


Case Manager
Shakiya Wright-McDuffie
T: 212-607-2700
F: 212-751-4099
620 8th Ave, 34th Floor, New York, NY 10018

Biography

Hon. Henry Pitman (Ret.) joins JAMS after serving for more than 23 years as a magistrate judge in the Southern District of New York, including chief magistrate judge from 2008 to 2010. During his tenure, Judge Pitman handled thousands of cases for pretrial proceedings, settlement and trial. The cases he handled include multidistrict antitrust litigations, securities fraud actions, countless COGSA cases, class actions brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act involving the misclassification of employees, garden-variety wage and hour disputes, all manner of commercial disputes, construction disputes, employment discrimination cases, ADA and ERISA disputes, trademark and copyright disputes and wrongful death and personal injury cases. Along with the late Hon. Harold Baer, Judge Pitman co-presided over the first two sessions of the Southern District's Re-Entry Court, a program intended to facilitate and assist the re-entry of former offenders into society.

Before his appointment as a magistrate judge, Judge Pitman was in private practice for a total of 12 years and served as an assistant United States attorney in the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York for five years. As an assistant United States attorney, he tried 14 cases to verdict and argued six appeals before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He also served for more than two years in the securities fraud unit. While in private practice, he handled a variety of civil matters, including trademark counterfeiting, trademark infringement, patent infringement (biotechnology and other technologies), securities fraud, commodities fraud and breach of contract matters. Prior to his appointment as a magistrate judge and while in private practice, Judge Pitman also served on the Southern District's panel of volunteer mediators.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

In his 23 years on the bench, Judge Pitman presided over pretrial practice, settlement conferences and motion practice in almost every type of case within the jurisdiction of the federal courts. He has issued thousands of decisions on both dispositive and non-dispositive matters and has experience in the following matters:

Representative Matters

Antitrust

  • In re Keurig Green Mountain Single Serve Coffee Antitrust Litigation: Managed discovery and pretrial proceedings in multidistrict antitrust action in which plaintiffs alleged that a leading maker of single-serve coffee brewers illegally monopolized and attempted to monopolize the market for single-serve coffee makers; disposable, single-use coffee cartridges; and portion packs by, among other things, enforcing restrictive exclusive dealing agreements, commencing sham patent infringement litigation and designing a coffee maker that would not work with competitors’ cartridges
  • Arbitron Co. v. Phoenix Broadcasting Corp.: Defendant radio station sought preliminary injunction preventing plaintiff radio ratings company from delisting defendant in its periodic report; with the consent of the parties, an expedited hearing was conducted, and a decision was issued on an expedited basis denying the preliminary injunction on the grounds that defendant had shown neither irreparable harm nor likelihood of success on the merits
  • Masters v. Wilhelmina Model Agency, Inc.: Supervised discovery in consolidated antitrust actions brought against several major modeling agencies; discovery disputes were frequent; plaintiffs' counsel’s misconduct was so egregious that a sanction of $25,000 was imposed on him
  • Toy Biz, Inc. v. Centuri Corp.: Successfully settled antitrust action alleging monopolization of the model rocket market

Aviation

  • Thurn v. Eurocopter Deutschland GMBH: Conducted multiple settlement conferences in litigation arising out of the crash of a corporate helicopter in the East River; in addition to liability issues, the settlement discussions involved the issue of valuing the future income of a deceased, highly compensated executive who received a substantial portion of his income in stock options
  • Melanie Lidle v. Cirrus Design Corp.: Presided over discovery and pretrial proceedings in the wrongful death action resulting from the fatal crash of an aircraft piloted by New York Yankee pitcher Cory Lidle

Art Fraud 

  • Knoedler Gallery Litigation: Presided over extremely contentious pretrial proceedings in multiple actions resulting from the Knoedler Gallery's sale of counterfeit abstract expressionist paintings; discovery proceedings were so contentious that biweekly discovery conferences were scheduled for several months
  • United States v. James Burke: Successfully prosecuted the principals of an art gallery that sold counterfeit Salvador Dali lithographs; all defendants plead guilty

Business/Commercial

  • Sea Trade Maritime Corporation v. Coutsodontis: Conducted pretrial proceedings and resolved numerous contentious discovery disputes in this intra-family dispute over the ownership of the proceeds of a defunct shipping company; after a trial before the district judge, the matter was referred for an inquest on damages; the report and recommendation on damages was adopted by the district judge
  • Beeland Interests, Inc. v. Armstrong: Issued a decision after a bench trial in this breach of contract arising out a failed attempt to produce a movie of plaintiff's principal's motorcycle trip around the world; although plaintiff succeeded in establishing liability, plaintiff was unable to establish the movie would have had a market; therefore, lost profits were not awarded
  • Global Brand Holdings, LLC v. Accessories Direct International USA, Inc.: Presided over pretrial proceedings and issued report and recommendation recommending that summary judgment be granted in plaintiff's favor in this action arising out of defendant's failure to make the minimum payments required under a trademark licensing agreement
  • Media Glow Digital, LLC v. Rimes Square LED, LLC: Resolved complicated summary judgment motion in a breach of contract action arising out of construction and installation of a large illuminated sign in the Times Square area; initial attempts to build and install the sign infringed on the air rights of adjacent property owner, and when sign was installed in substitute location, plaintiff alleged that it failed to perform as promised
  • Coventry Capital US LLC v. EEA Life Settlements, Inc.: Supervised discovery and pretrial proceedings in an action arising out of defendants' failure to enter into a binding agreement concerning the sale of a portfolio of life insurance policies; issues in the case included disputes concerning defendants' ability and obligation to produce documents in the actual possession of an affiliate and that defendants' principals may have had legal access to
  • Law Firm of Omar T. Mohammedi, LLC v. Computer Assisted Practice Electronic Management Solutions: Presided over pretrial proceedings, discovery and settlement proceedings in an action alleging breach of contract by an entity retained to maintain a law firm's computers
  • Optimum Worldwide Ltd. v. Klebener: With the consent of the parties, issued decisions resolving dispositive motions in action alleging self-dealing by director and shareholder of plaintiff corporation
  • Nissan Forklift Corp. v. Douglas Guardian Services Corp.: Oversaw pretrial proceedings and discovery and issued report and recommendation resolving dispositive motion in action alleging breach of contract by collateral inspection service; plaintiff alleged that defendant's breach resulted in an extension of credit (that ultimately went into default) that would not have been made had the inspection of borrower's collateral been properly performed

Civil Rights

  • Komlosi v. Fudenberg: This civil rights action arose out of false charges made against a psychologist at a home for developmentally disabled individuals;  a patient at the facility was bribed by a therapy aide to make false charges of inappropriate sexual conduct by plaintiff; although the criminal charges were ultimately dropped when the patient admitted the falsity of the charge, plaintiff spent several weeks in jail and the charges were featured on the front page of the New York Post; in a civil action against the therapy aide that was tried before Judge Pitman, a jury awarded a total of $16.6 million in compensatory and punitive damages; Judge Pitman granted a post-trial motion reducing the damages to $2.37 million
  • Rogers v. The Bank of New York Mellon: Handled all phases of an employment discrimination action alleging discrimination on the basis of gender, race, color and national origin, as well as retaliation; the case involved many detailed factual allegations and was ultimately resolved by a 75-page opinion and order granting defendants' motion to dismiss
  • Chun v. Amtrak: Supervised pretrial proceedings in an action arising out of the wrongful seizure by the DEA of $10,400; issued several reports and recommendations on multiple summary judgment motions, all of which were adopted by the district judge; the matter ultimately settled with plaintiff recovering his funds
  • Conducted numerous settlement conferences in false arrest, excessive force and malicious prosecution actions brought against New York City and New York State under Section 1983

Construction

  • In re Mission Construction Litigation: Conducted pretrial proceedings in multi-party litigation arising out of a construction accident; in the course of pouring a concrete wall, concrete penetrated the wall of an adjacent structure, causing substantial amounts of concrete to pour to residential space; the matters addressed by Judge Pitman included a motion to amend, which required him to assess whether the proposed allegations stated a claim
  • Honeywell Inc. v. J.P. Maguire Service Co.: Presided for all purposes over action in action prime contractor, subcontractor and surety arising out of disputes concerning scope of work required to install HVAC systems at new facility at Rikers Island

Defamation

  • Mitre Sports International Limited v. Home Box Office Inc.: Presided over discovery and pretrial proceedings in defamation action resulting from HBO broadcast accusing Mitre Sports International of using child labor in India to manufacture soccer balls.

Employment Law

  • Vaigasi v. Solow Management Corp.: Judge Pitman conducted pretrial proceedings in this pro se employment discrimination action and ultimately imposed substantial sanctions on plaintiff for abusing the discovery process; the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the sanctions imposed, noting that despite Judge Pitman's "herculean efforts" to guide plaintiff through the discovery process, plaintiff persisted in taking frivolous positions in discovery, which warranted sanctions
  • Ballinger v. Advance Magazine Publishers, Inc.: Presided over multiple settlement conferences that were ultimately successful in the class action brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA); plaintiffs were student interns who alleged that they should have been classified as employees and as such were entitled to the protections of the FLSA
  • Indergit v. Rite Aid Corporation: Judge Pitman presided over pretrial and discovery proceedings in this nationwide collective and New York class action of Rite Aid store managers and assistant store managers who alleged that they had been incorrectly classified as exempt from the overtime provisions of the FLSA and the New York Labor Law
  • McNill v. New York City Department of Correction: Plaintiff female corrections officer alleged that she had been the victim of discrimination in violation of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act when she was denied certain benefits as a result of a six-month absence; the absence was necessitated by her infant son's medical condition (a cleft palate and lip), which, until corrected by surgery, required plaintiff to remain at home to breast-feed her son; Judge Pitman granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment, concluding that although plaintiff's plight was unfortunate, her lost benefits were not the product of pregnancy discrimination
  • Barbecho v. M.A. Angeliades, Inc.: Conducted multiple settlement conferences, which resulted in the successful resolution of the claims of 33 plaintiffs in this action alleging a failure to pay the prevailing wage and overtime premium pay
  • Quinby v. WestLB AG: Managed pretrial proceedings in an employment discrimination action brought by a highly compensated female executive in the financial services industry; the action involved many novel e-discovery issues that arose at a time when e-discovery was still in a nascent state, and one of the decisions issued in the case has been cited 239 times in decisions and secondary sources
  • Fraticelli v. Madison Square Garden: Conducted pretrial and settlement proceedings that resulted in this putative class action alleging the misclassification of student interns as being exempt from minimum wage and overtime regulations; multiple motions for conditional certification of a collective under the FLSA and for certification of a Rule 23 class were rejected, and the matter ultimately settled as to the individual plaintiffs only
  • Bainlardi v. SBC Warburg, Inc.: Plaintiff alleged that she had been denied a promotion on the basis of her pregnancy; with the parties' consent, Judge Pitman supervised pretrial proceedings, issued a decision denying summary judgment and tried the matter to verdict
  • United Spinal Association v. Board of Elections of the City of New York: Conducted ongoing monitoring to ensure defendants' compliance with a consent decree requiring accessible polling places
  • Watson v. Arts & Entertainment Television Network: Conducted pretrial proceedings in this employment discrimination action alleging discrimination under the ADA and Title VII, as well as retaliation, and ruled on defendants' motion for summary judgment at the conclusion of pretrial proceedings
  • Conducted numerous settlement conferences in premises accessibility cases
  • Weinberg v. Unum Life Insurance Company: Presided over pretrial proceedings, including dispute over whether discovery concerning defendant insurer's reviewing physicians was proper
  • Ehrlich v. Provident Life: Tried to verdict an action in which plaintiff claimed he was totally disabled due to depression

Insurance

  • AIU Insurance Co. v. TIG Insurance Co.: Conducted pretrial proceedings and issued report and recommendation on a dispositive motion, subsequently adopted by the district court, in a dispute concerning reinsurance coverage; the motion resolved involved an outcome-determinative choice of law issue and an issue concerning the timeliness and adequacy of notice of loss; Judge Pitman's conclusions exonerating the reinsurer were subsequently affirmed by the court of appeals
  • 3 West 16th Street, LLC v. Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company: Issued dispositive report and recommendation in dispute over scope of coverage of title insurance policy; central issue in the matter was the correct interpretation of the policy exclusion for "defects, liens, encumbrances, adverse claims or other matters…created, suffered or assumed or agreed to the insured"

Intellectual Property

  • ABKCO Music, Inc. v. Sagan: Oversaw discovery in an action bright by numerous copyright owners against the owners of concert recordings made at venues operated by the late concert promoter Bill Graham and others;  the works in issue ranged from Rogers & Hammerstein to Hoagy Carmichael to Mick Jagger to Billie Joe Armstrong
  • M. Lady, LLC v. AJI, Inc.: This copyright infringement action arising out of copyrighted jewelry designs was referred to Judge Pitman for all purposes; Judge Pitman issued a decision granting summary judgment to plaintiff on the issue of liability; in a subsequent decision, Judge Pitman awarded the plaintiff $50,000 in statutory damages
  • Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. v. Apotex Corp.: Oversaw pretrial proceedings and issued claim construction decision in an action alleging infringement of a patent covering the administration of calcitonin through a nasal spray; the claim construction decision was not appealed, and the matter subsequently settled

Maritime and Admiralty Law

  • Sphere Drake Insurance PLC v. J. Shree Corp.: Conducted bench trial in action seeking insurance coverage for a shipment of emeralds, rubies and sapphires that went missing during shipment from Hong Kong to Sri Lanka; the case involved issues concerning the adequacy of the insured's disclosure of its loss history under the applicable English law and the ultimate disposition of the gemstones; Judge Pitman's decision for the insurer was affirmed by the court of appeals "for substantially the reasons stated" in his opinion and order
  • In re McAllister Towing & Transportation Co.: Limitation action arose out a fatal fire that occurred on defendant's tug boat and resulted in one fatality and injuries to several crewmen; the matter was before Judge Pitman for all purposes, and he issued a decision denying leave to file claims that were untimely under the Supplemental Rules for Admiralty and Maritime Cases; the matter settled shortly after Judge Pitman’s decision
  • Utviken A/S v. Millennium Inorganic Chemicals, Inc.: Conducted pretrial proceedings and issued report and recommendation resolving general average claims resulting from the grounding of the M/V Utviken; the report and recommendation was adopted by the district judge, and the matter settled shortly thereafter
  • Conducted numerous successful settlement conferences in cases arising from the Jones Act and under COGSA involving all manner of goods, from foodstuffs to printing presses
  • Committee Member, United States District Court, Southern District of New York
    • ADR, Criminal Law, Clerk's Office, House & Space
    • Security Committee
  • Member, Law Review, Fordham University School of Law, 1978
  • Member, National Moot Court Team, Fordham University, 1978
  • Member, Phi Beta Kappa, Fordham University, 1975
  • United States District Court, Southern District of New York, 1996–2019
    • Magistrate Judge 1996–2019
    • Chief Magistrate Judge, 2008–2010
  • Lieberman & Nowak, 1990–1996
    • Partner, 1996
    • Associate, 1990–1996
  • United States Attorney's Office, Criminal Division, Southern District of New York, 1985–1990
    • Assistant United States Attorney, 1985–1990
    • Securities and Commodities Fraud Unit, 1987–1990
  •  Hall, McNicol, Hamilton & Clark; 1982–1985
    • Partner, 1984–1985
    • Associate, 1982–1984
  • Associate; Chadbourne, Parke, Whiteside & Wolff; 1979–1982
  • Law Clerk, Hon. Lloyd F. MacMahon, United States District Court, Southern District of New York, 1978–1979
  • J.D., cum laude, Fordham University School of Law, 1978
  • B.A., summa cum laude, Fordham University, 1975

 

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