Montgomery McCracken Obtains Summary Judgment in “Side Show” Case Connected to Pinterest Misappropriation Litigation (Schroeder v. Cohen, S.D.N.Y., Case No. 15-cv-6881-RJS)
April 3, 2017
Montgomery McCracken partners Sidney S. Liebesman, David Dormont, and Charles Palella successfully defended Theodore F. Schroeder in a dispute separately connected to the long-running legal battle between entrepreneurs including Mr. Schroeder and Brian S. Cohen, a New York-based angel investor, and New York Angels, Inc. involving alleged stolen intellectual property by the popular social media platform Pinterest.
The main case, Schroeder v. Cohen, et al., (Pinterest Litigation) is pending before the Commercial Division of the New York State Supreme Court and claims that Cohen, and New York Angels, Inc. stole intellectual property and misappropriated trade secrets belonging to Schroeder and start-up companies Rendezvoo LLC and Skoop Media Inc. in creating Pinterest. Cohen served as a director of Skoop in 2007, but later that year he disassociated himself from the company. In the years after his departure from Skoop, Cohen invested in Pinterest. A team of Montgomery McCracken attorneys is representing Schroeder prosecuting misappropriation and breach of fiduciary duty claims in the Pinterest Litigation.
Arising from that case, Cohen filed a separate suit on August 31, 2015 against Schroeder in the United States District Court Southern District of New York seeking to pierce the corporate veil and hold Schroeder personally liable for indemnification and advancement obligations allegedly owed by Skoop. Upon review of the record, the Court found Cohen’s argument specious. The Court also found nothing wrong that Schroeder took the steps necessary to assert claims in the Pinterest Litigation to preserve the corporation’s intellectual property.
On March 31, 2017, District Judge Richard J. Sullivan granted Schroeder’s motion for summary judgment. The Court held that “Cohen’s argument is specious” and noted that “Cohen’s inflammatory accusation that Schroeder has ‘pilfer[ed]’ Skoop’s intellectual property (Opp’n 22) is simply hollow bombast.” In so doing, the Court ruled that none of the elements to pierce the corporate veil were present The Court also held that “no reasonable jury could possibly find that Cohen – a wealthy investor represented by some of the country’s most sophisticated lawyers – is an ‘innocent third party who suffered an injustice as a result of Schroeder’s operation of Skoop.” The Court’s opinion noted, “The litigation before this Court, which appears to have been commenced for the principal purpose of gaining leverage and imposing pain in [the Pinterest Litigation], is at best the undercard to the main event.”
Sidney S. Liebesman concentrates his practice on complex commercial and business litigation, shareholder derivative litigation, and class action litigation involving shareholder rights and securities fraud. Liebesman has represented many U.S. and foreign institutional investors, including some of the largest institutional investors in the world.
David Dormont focuses his practice on complex commercial litigation and bankruptcy-related litigation. He has represented a diverse range of clients from individuals and unions to Fortune 500 companies. Dormont has handled more than 200 matters in federal and state courts and before arbitration panels in a variety of jurisdictions.
Charles Palella serves as the Montgomery McCracken’s deputy general counsel. Palella focuses his practice in the area of appellate litigation, commercial litigation and tort litigation. Cases that he has handled have had a significant impact on the development of New York law in the areas of insurance coverage, civil procedure and tort liability.
About Montgomery McCracken
Montgomery McCracken is a full-service law firm with offices in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Delaware. The firm represents leading businesses, multinational corporations, nonprofit organizations and individuals across a wide range of industries in complex litigation matters, significant corporate transactions and challenging disputes. Follow the firm on Twitter at @MMWR_Law.