Joseph B. Schmit

Partner New York City
Joseph Schmit

A successful litigator with over 25 years of experience, Joe represents corporations, financial institutions and individuals in complex commercial disputes, product liability and environmental claims, and internal investigations.

Having litigated cases in federal and state courts and arbitrations across the country, Joe has extensive experience in a broad range of commercial and other litigation matters, including mergers and acquisitions, securities, business torts, shareholder and investor disputes, fraud, lender liability, construction, contract disputes, product liability and environmental litigation.

Joe is also experienced in regulatory and internal investigations, and counsels clients regarding their litigation risks and exposure. Although ready to protect their interests in court when necessary, he understands that helping clients to prudently manage their risks, avoid litigation and focus on their business is often the best outcome.


Honors & Awards

  • Selected for the New York Metro Super Lawyers® list, 2020-2022

Education & Admissions

  • Syracuse University College of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, 1997
  • Hobart College, B.A., History, 1993
Admitted to Practice
  • New York
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern, Northern, Southern and Western Districts of New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit


Representative Matters
  • Represented the sellers of a healthcare company pursue claims that certain post-closing “earn-out” payments had been earned but not paid.
  • Represented a media company in its pursuit of additional consideration for certain assets it had sold based on a “most favored nations clause”.
  • Defended a computer software company against claims that it owes additional money to sellers of companies it acquired based on how post-closing adjustments were calculated.
  • Defended a multinational logistics and consulting company against claims by a former employee that it did not honor its obligations related to stock options issued under an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).
  • Represented an investment banking boutique in connection with its pursuit of commissions due from clients based on successfully closed transactions.
  • Defended a multinational chemical company in several litigations, including against claims brought (i) in Delaware state court by the purchaser of our client’s business lines alleging that certain related assets in Germany did not comply with local zoning restrictions; and (ii) by certain individuals alleging that they had been exposed to harmful chemicals at their place of employment.
  • Defended the seller of a technology company against claims by the purchaser that certain representations, warranties and covenants in the stock purchase agreement were breached.
  • Defended a private equity fund against claims stemming from its investment in a for-profit educational institution.
  • Defended a financial institution, and its affiliates, against statutory and common law claims seeking in excess of $40 billion in damages stemming from the fall of Enron Corp., including in a federal class action, and over a dozen other related cases that were consolidated in the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division. This also included five additional cases in the state courts of Texas, California and Iowa; and an adversary proceeding in the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, as well as advising the bank in connection with responding to related subpoenas issued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
  • Represented a financial institution in pursuing claims in New York state court to enforce its preferential redemption rights related to several hundred million dollars in investments it made in a group of funds to hedge its potential exposure from two derivative trades, as well as defending the bank in a related action brought by the same funds and their investment manager in Texas state court.
  • Represented a financial institution in an action brought in Illinois state court to enforce its rights under certain indentures and related agreements in an effort to retrieve nearly $400 million it had loaned to two hedge funds.
  • Defended a financial institution against claims of fraud, and breaches of contract and fiduciary duty brought by the joint official liquidators of a family of Cayman Island-based hedge funds.
  • Defended a financial institution against claims of breach of contract and tortious interference with contracts asserted in actions in New York State and Texas arising out of the $20 billion private equity buyout of Clear Channel Communications.
  • Advised several financial institutions with respect to their potential litigation risk due to their subprime-related exposure.
  • Defended an international food provider in a federal securities class action stemming from the restatement of its financial statements after the discovery of an accounting fraud at one of its subsidiaries, as well as in connection with related investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and SEC.
  • Defended a pharmaceutical company and its affiliates in the vitamins antitrust litigation, one of the largest price fixing cases ever filed.
  • Represented the State of New York in an action brought to enjoin certain gaming allegedly being conducted in violation of a compact between New York and the Oneida Indian Nation.
  • Represented a steel manufacturer in an ICC Arbitration involving claims that it had been sold defective machinery and technology.
  • Defended a foreign sovereign in a multibillion dollar civil suit stemming from the acquisition of high-yield securities from the failed Executive Life Insurance Company, as well as in connection with a related investigation conducted by the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California.
  • Pro bono representations include the Historic Housing Trust of New York City; being co-lead counsel with the Urban Justice Center of New York representing workers in cases alleging federal and state wage law violations; and assisting the Legal Aid Society—which awarded Joe with its Outstanding Pro Bono Service award in 2002—in connection with its representation of criminal defendants with their appeals.
Representative Cases
  • In re Enron Corp. Sec., 529 F. Supp. 2d 644 (S.D. Tex. 2006)
  • Am. Nat’l Ins. Co. v. Deutsche Bank Sec., 2009 WL 1562960 (Tex. Ct. App. 1st Jun 4, 2009)
  • In re Enron Corp. Sec., 761 F.Supp. 2d 504 (S.D. Tex. 2011)
  • Chappo & Co. v. Ion Geophysical Corp., 83 A.D.3d 499, 921 N.Y.S.2d 227 (1st Dep’t 2011)

Activities & Professional Associations

Professional Associations

  • American Bar Association
    • Section of Dispute Resolution
    • Litigation Section
  • New York City Bar Association
  • New York State Bar Association
    • Commercial & Federal Litigation Section
    • Dispute Resolution Section