Jonathan Polonsky is, as a client once referred to him, a junkyard dog, jack-of-all-trades litigator. Trained first as a state court prosecutor and then primarily in small offices of larger firms (as is now the case), he steps in locally to assist the firm’s global clients across a broad range of industries and issues. And he has litigated around the country in support of other partners. His clients have included financial institutions, technology and communication companies, manufacturers, bankruptcy committees, building owners, general contractors, and other commercial entities He provides risk minimization advice; early case assessment and pre-litigation negotiation; prosecution and defense of claims in state, federal and bankruptcy courts and arbitrations; and settlement in mediation and litigation. He has examined and defended hundreds of witnesses, argued hundreds of motions and taken numerous appeals. When all else fails, he has tried over 20 cases as first chair counsel. Clients come to him first for his experience, adaptability and record of success. They return because he is a quick study of their business and tempers his advice with an acute understanding of their business operations and plans, cost concerns and tolerance for risk. They appreciate his search understanding of potential business solutions to avoid litigation, cost-effective techniques to reduce litigation expenses, and creative approaches to claims, defenses, and motion practice. .
Prior to entering private practice, as a Senior Trial Attorney in the Economic Crimes Bureau of the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office, Mr. Polonsky investigated and prosecuted financial frauds, forged documents and false statements, labor racketeering, extortion, and embezzlement.
Mr. Polonsky was recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® in 2019 and 2020 for Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions – Defendants. He was also the firm's Pro Bono Counsel of the Year for 2018.
Bankruptcy litigation counsel for the official creditors or equity committees for four hospitals, a large residential real estate project, a technology company, two manufacturers, and a hedge fund.
Defended a bank against claims brought by a bankruptcy trustee for over $10 million in fraudulent transfers (which the bank admitted it received) and over $50 million for breach of a warehouse lending contract (which the bank admitted cancelling). Settled prior to discovery for $225,000.
Defended a Swiss bank against over $58 million in claims for lender liability and fraud brought by a Texas billionaire and a Utah insurance company. Obtained an injunction from the Utah state court staying the Texas state court trial. Settled the claims in a Fifth Circuit mediation for a low six-figures amount on the eve of trial and after summary judgment had been denied by the Texas trial court.
Won summary judgment for the board of directors of a bank mutual holding company on claims of breach of fiduciary duty brought by a leading bank shareholder activist and arising from corporate governance and restructuring issues.
Obtained near policy limit insurance coverage for Morse Diesel, as general contractor, to cover claims by an owner based on a subcontractor’s gross negligence.
Defended a securities class action against Sharper Image and its directors and received a voluntary dismissal by the class action plaintiffs. Also, defended Sharper Image in consumer fraud class actions.
On behalf of global institutional investors, obtained a mid-eight figure settlement against two major accounting firms that were the auditor and the administrator for an offshore hedge fund that was falsifying its trading results. In the course of the litigation, pierced the veil through to a Swiss verein.
For 6+ years, acted as primary U.S. counsel for the Consumer Products Services group of Bureau Veritas. Worked with the Director of Legal Affairs and Risk Management on contracts, risk management and litigation; served on BV’s crisis response team; provided litigation avoidance and liability minimization advice; counseled on issues arising from global factory inspections and employee claims; reviewed and negotiated services agreements; developed standard terms and conditions. In July 2016, won summary judgment dismissing $74 million in claims for tortious interference, negligence, product disparagement, and antitrust brought by a Brazilian manufacturer.
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Yale Law School, J.D.
Yale Legal Services Organization, Board Member
Yale Legal Services Program, Co-Director
The Quarterly (a Yale literary magazine), General Counsel
Harvard University, A.B. (1979) magna cum laude, with high honors
New York (1983)
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York
Southern Poverty Law Center (immigration)
Federal Defenders Capital Habeas Project (post-conviction capital review)
Bameno Indigenous Community (Ecuador)
Legal Outreach (education enhancement for urban youth)
New York City Bar Association
American Bar Association
Litigation Section: Commercial Litigation Committee, Privacy and Data Security Committee, Civil Rights Committee
Business Law Section: Community Bank and MSA Subcommittee, Business Bankruptcy Committee
Dispute Resolution Section
Kids in Need of Defense (immigration)
Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project (immigration)
Texas Capital Punishment Assessment Team (ABA)
Monday Night Law (pro bono clinic)
U.N. Special Rapporteur for Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions
Immigration Justice Campaign/American Immigration Council
Unchained at Last
Russian Childrens’ Welfare Society (pro bono litigation)
Rye Brook United (pro bono litigation)
Election Protection (through the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights)
Rebecca Kelly Ballet Company, Board Member
Appleby Foundation, Board Member
Rye Brook Board of Zoning Appeals, Board Member
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