The Latest Headlines

News

Apr

9

2018

Jonathan Joseph Interviewed by CBS 5 KPIX-TV Concerning SFMTA Taxi Medallion Lawsuit Filed by Joseph & Cohen

San Francisco, CA — On Tuesday, March 27th, Joseph & Cohen filed a lawsuit in the San Francisco Superior Court against the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) on behalf of San Francisco Federal Credit Union (SFFCU), seeking $28 million in compensatory damages arising from defaulted taxi medallion loans and the SFMTA breaches and failures in connection with the transferable taxi medallion market in San Francisco.

Jonathan D. Joseph, Joseph & Cohen’s Founder and Managing Partner, recently spoke to Wilson Walker of KPIX-TV CBS 5 in an exclusive interview about the significance of the lawsuit.

Below is a link to the interview, which aired on March 28th:
Credit Union Sues San Francisco Over Taxi Driver Loans

 

Apr

9

2018

Joseph & Cohen Files Suit Against SFMTA for San Francisco Federal Credit Union Over Taxi Medallion Meltdown

San Francisco, CA — On March 27, 2018, Joseph & Cohen, Professional Corporation, filed a lawsuit in the San Francisco Superior Court on behalf of San Francisco Federal Credit Union (the “Credit Union” or “SFFCU”) against the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (“SFMTA”), seeking $28 million in compensatory damages from defaulted taxi medallion loans.

As alleged in the complaint, in 2010, then-Mayor Gavin Newsom was facing a large budget shortfall and instructed the SFMTA to monetize the City’s taxi medallions. The price was subsequently set at $250,000 each. Taxi medallions are city-issued permits that authorize taxi drivers to operate a taxi in San Francisco. Until 2010, medallions were free and were awarded to taxi drivers based on seniority. While drivers often had to wait 10 to 15 years to receive their medallion, the free medallions permitted drivers to earn a good livelihood. A medallion holder could also rent it out to other licensed taxi drivers to earn passive income when they weren’t driving. This meant that drivers could live in or around San Francisco and raise families with their earnings.

The SFMTA was aware that monetizing and selling “transferable” medallions to drivers for $250,000 was a steep price, so they marketed the medallions as “investments” that could be resold in a marketplace created and managed by the SFMTA. In search of a solution to enable drivers to finance their purchases, the SFMTA asked SFFCU to partner with it to offer affordable loans to help drivers pay for the medallions. Based on significant assurances, City regulations, and promises in written contracts between the Credit Union and the SFMTA, SFFCU agreed to provide reduced rate loans to the drivers since City officials had agreed they would ensure the viability of the medallion market.

The City sold or retransferred approximately 700 medallions resulting in revenues of over $63 million. But once San Francisco allowed Uber and Lyft to operate in San Francisco without subjecting them to enforcement, safety and other reasonable regulations thousands of Uber and Lyft cars poured into the City. City officials claimed they were unable to regulate Uber and Lyft based on the CPUC’s statewide regulations, but this isn’t accurate. As alleged in the complaint, the City has the legal authority under California law to regulate Uber and Lyft on a side-by-side basis with CPUC rules. Despite having a contractual obligation to take any steps necessary to protect their own transferable medallion market, the City and the SFMTA failed to take meaningful actions to protect the medallion market, the taxi drivers and the Credit Union.

As Uber and Lyft grew, taxi earnings fell precipitously and many non-medallion owning drivers left the industry.  Some began driving for Uber and Lyft since all they needed to do was download an app to sign up. These days, after expenses, a medallion owner may be lucky to earn $50 during a ten-hour shift.  Medallion owners started struggling to make loan payments and around one hundred drivers have defaulted. By early 2017, due to the SFMTA’s failure to uphold its stated mission to “promote a vibrant taxi industry through intelligent regulation, enforcement and partnership,” the medallion market had completely failed and the hard-working taxi drivers and Credit Union were left holding toxic assets.

The Credit Union’s lawsuit claims, among other things, the SFMTA failed to satisfy its promises under written contracts with the Credit Union and the San Francisco Transportation Code, misled the Credit Union and reneged on its promise to repurchase the medallions as outlined in the complaint, which is available at the link below. The lawsuit states causes of action for breach of contract, breach of mandatory duties under the San Francisco Transportation Code, breach of the implied warranty of good faith and fair dealing, breach of fiduciary duty and negligent misrepresentation.

Since inception of the Credit Union’s agreement to provide financing for the SFMTA’s program, SFFCU ended up originating $125 million in medallion loans for more than 700 medallion purchases. Now, as result of the City’s failures, it has had to foreclose on 99 medallions while over four hundred other drivers seek to surrender their medallions. As a remedy, among other things, the lawsuit seeks compensatory damages of $28 million.

To learn more, click here to read the lawsuit filed by Joseph & Cohen.

Nov

1

2017

Kristina Del Vecchio Rejoins Joseph & Cohen As Partner

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – November 1, 2017. Joseph & Cohen, Professional Corporation, announced today that attorney Kristina Del Vecchio has re-joined the Firm as Partner.

Ms. Del Vecchio joins the Firm from CIT Group Inc. (NYSE: CIT) where she was Director & Senior Counsel. CIT is a financial holding company, and its principal subsidiary is CIT Bank, N.A. (formerly known as OneWest Bank NA).

As an accomplished advisor and litigator for banks and their holding companies, credit unions and other financial services companies, the addition of Ms. Del Vecchio augments and expands the Firm’s core financial institutions capability. The breadth of her experience encompasses mergers and acquisitions, enforcement and regulatory matters, antitrust, bankruptcy and insolvency matters, credit card, student loan, auto and mortgage lending litigation, regulatory change and risk management, and compliance with state and federal financial services, banking, credit union and consumer protection statutes and regulations.

Jonathan Joseph, Joseph & Cohen’s Managing Partner, stated “Kristina Del Vecchio has  a rare combination of banking and credit union industry experience and talent that many of our clients will find very appealing and which will no doubt attract new financial institution clientele. We’re delighted to welcome her back to the Firm as a Partner.”

Ms. Del Vecchio added “Although I enjoyed spending the past few years as in-house counsel with CIT, I am excited to re-join my colleagues at the Firm to provide financial services, transactional, compliance, and regulatory advice to the Firm’s clients and look forward to working with them to attract new clients while also expanding the range of legal services offered.”

Ms. Del Vecchio has served as an attorney with the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), the largest national trade association for state and federally chartered credit unions. While at the CUNA, she represented the interests of credit unions before Congress and federal agencies, particularly the NCUA, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Department of the Treasury and Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Ms. Del Vecchio also previously was an associate with Weil, Gotshal and Manges, LLP, in Washington, DC and Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, LLP in Los Angeles.

Joseph & Cohen, Professional Corporation, is a Financial Services and Litigation Boutique headquartered in San Francisco that emphasizes complex banking, corporate and financial services matters, regulatory and bank enforcement defense, private equity, bankruptcy and insolvency, employment and commercial litigation services.  Joseph & Cohen is known for sophisticated expertise, extraordinary commitment to clients, relationship-based services, and a range of specialized skills typically found only in the largest American law firms.

For additional information about the Joseph & Cohen, Professional Corporation, please visit our website at www.josephandcohen.com.

Press Contact:  Jonathan Joseph at Joseph & Cohen, 415-817-9200 or jon@josephandcohen.com.

Feb

16

2017

Joseph & Cohen’s Jeff Lederman Ranked as BTI Client Super All-Star

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – February 16, 2017. Joseph & Cohen, Professional Corporation, announced today that senior litigation partner Jeffrey J. Lederman was recognized by BTI Consulting Group as one of only eight super all-star attorneys in the United States. BTI Consulting Group’s 2017 annual guide is unique as it identifies the select few attorneys that command the attention of General Counsel and legal decision makers who are truly influencing and changing the legal industry.

Mr. Lederman was one of eight attorneys named a Client Super All-Star from BTI’s 2017 list of 319 attorneys from 160 law firms nationwide who were recognized for superior client focus, outstanding results, unmatched business understanding and reinventing the client relationship. The prestigious group of eight Super All-Stars were the only attorneys in the country recognized by multiple influential General Counsel and legal decision makers.   Lederman, however, was the only attorney on the list from a boutique law firm.

The BTI Client Service All-Stars List is derived from in-depth, independent interviews with hundreds of corporate counsel and executives at Global 500 and Fortune 1000 organizations. It is the only continuous, independently researched benchmark study of client expectations and needs in the legal industry. Attorneys are nominated exclusively by unprompted submissions and finalists are selected based on exceptional commitment to client needs, innovation, understanding of clients’ business, exceptional legal skills, value, and achieving outstanding results.

This is the third time Mr. Lederman has been nominated as a Client Service All-Star, having previously been nominated in 2011 and 2016. For 2017, Mr. Lederman was nominated by multiple clients, including by a Leading Technology Company in connection with his litigation practice, who described Mr. Lederman as “wicked smart, strategic, with a willingness to innovate.

Mr. Lederman said of his nomination, “I believe client service is at the heart of long-term relationships with clients, and it is perhaps the most important aspect of the practice of law, so it is truly an honor to be recognized as a BTI All-Star for the third time, and as a BTI Super All-Star in 2017.”

Jonathan D. Joseph, Joseph & Cohen’s Founder and Managing Partner, added, “We founded the firm with the belief that a boutique firm with exceptional attorneys could compete against any AmLaw 100 Law Firm. That Jeff Lederman is the only Super All-Star from a boutique law firm validates our belief and supports our continuing effort to deliver absolutely the best service, outsized value and outstanding results to firm clients every day.”

Visit www.BTIConsulting.com for more information about this prestigious honor and for a complete list of All Stars.

Joseph & Cohen, Professional Corporation, is a Financial Services and Litigation Boutique headquartered in San Francisco that emphasizes complex banking, corporate, technology and financial services, regulatory and bank enforcement defense, private equity, bankruptcy and insolvency, employment and complex litigation and business dispute services.  Joseph & Cohen is known for sophisticated expertise, extraordinary commitment to clients, relationship-based services, and a range of specialized skills typically found only in the largest American law firms.

For additional information about the Joseph & Cohen, Professional Corporation, please visit our website at http://josephandcohen.com/.

Press Contact:  Jonathan Joseph at Joseph & Cohen, 415-817-9200, ext. 9 or jon@josephandcohen.com.