Christopher Cummiskey’s practice is a blend of general counsel, real estate, construction, property management, and litigation work for corporations, nonprofits, small businesses, and a wide array of institutional and high-net-worth individual clients.
In his general counsel work, Chris routinely negotiates and drafts agreements (employment, corporate governance, entity formation, purchase, sale, and restructuring) and advises boards of directors and senior management on issues of statutory change, regulatory compliance, and employment concerns (hiring, retention, termination, and discrimination claims). He has also developed a particular emphasis in working with nonprofits, including advising on issues of formation, financial management, grants and other funding mechanisms, dissolution, wind-downs, and examining the potential liability implications related to these areas of law.
In his real estate transactional work, Chris is experienced in handling all matters related to the acquisition, development, ownership, operation, and sale of commercial real estate projects, including purchase and sale agreements; ground leases; space leases; engineering, architecture and construction contracts; reciprocal easement agreements; development, asset and property management agreements; listing agreements and more. In addition, he has extensive experience working with clients in the acquisition, sale, management, and development of multifamily residential properties in both urban and suburban markets.
In his construction and development work, Chris has represented developers, investors, owners, contractors, and design professionals on the full range of construction law matters, from pre-construction through post-completion. He has also proven adept at negotiating and drafting construction contracts with a focus on sensibly allocating risks and responsibilities, thereby minimizing disputes. He is well-versed in a wide range of contracting forms and project delivery systems, including design-bid-build, design-build and multi-prime.
Chris also advises clients on all aspects of risk management and litigation (internal and third-party), reviews litigation strategies for ongoing legal disputes, and liaises with corporate counsel regarding case-specific information and strategies. He has also personally defended and managed numerous cases across a wide spectrum, including disputes related to corporate formation, partnerships, real estate, contracts, employment agreements including non-compete and non-solicitation provisions, intellectual property, personal injury, wrongful termination, discrimination, hostile work environment, retaliation, and general liability.
Prior to practicing law, Chris served in the U.S. Army out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Commercial and Business
- Prosecuted a complex action involving a partnership dispute between members alleging breach of fiduciary duty, misappropriation of assets and trade secrets, and removal of partners.
- Defended against an action seeking dissolution and/or dissociation of partner for carrying on alleged illegal activities. With advice and guidance, the clients were able to defend against the claims and reach an amicable resolution.
- Represented a shareholder involved in a dispute and deadlock with the sole other shareholder in a property management company. Unable to continue to work with his co-owner, the client wanted to terminate the other shareholder’s employment agreement, eliminate him as an officer and director and take over control of the company. Through advice and guidance, the parties successfully negotiated a settlement and buyout for the client.
- Represented two officers, directors and shareholders of a private industrial services company who, over the course of time, had been involved in disputes and litigation with the third shareholder. With advice and guidance, the clients overcame a restrictive shareholder agreement, significantly increased their remuneration and successfully defended against litigation brought by the third shareholder.
Labor and Employment
- Successfully defended employer against claim brought by employee alleging racial and gender discrimination. During the course of the investigation, plaintiff sought the names of similarly situated employees in order to obtain class certification, which the court denied. The matter was thereafter resolved.
- Obtained dismissal via summary judgment of an employee claim alleging a hostile work environment and retaliation resulting from harassment by the owner.
- Prosecuted claims on behalf of a client who started having panic attacks at work due to work stress. Employee requested an accommodation and leave of absence, but was terminated. After defeating a motion for summary judgment, obtained a favorable settlement from her employer.
- Prosecuted actions on behalf of employers for breach of non-compete and non-solicitation agreements within employment contracts involving trade secrets, misappropriation of assets and theft of intellectual property.
General Business Advisory
Protection of Intellectual Property
- Draft employment and inventions assignment agreements with eye toward protection of IP, copyrights and other confidential information through restrictive covenants.
- Represented owner/developer in connection with asset purchases and development of numerous mixed-use projects in Los Angeles featuring residential, office, retail, and green spaces.
- Prosecuted numerous partition actions, including an action involving 40-unit apartment building and an intra-family dispute involving a residential investment property.
- Negotiated and drafted leases, subleases, and lease buyouts for large corporate entities in transactions throughout California.
- Represented adeveloper in connection with the sale of a $26 million commercial property that served as a key distribution center for a major shipping company on the West Coast.
- Represented various developers in the acquisition and dispositions of real estate involving:
- The acquisition of a $12 million multifamily property.
- The acquisition of a $15.5 million retail property.
- The sale of a $21 million multifamily property.
J.D., Syracuse University School of Law
B.S., Ithaca College
- Hon. Norman H. Mordue, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York (2005-2006)