Sarmad M. Khojasteh’s practice focuses on complex commercial litigation in state and federal courts, and in proceedings before state and federal regulatory agencies. Sarmad represents public and private companies, private equity and other investment firms, partnerships and individuals in industries including financial services, real estate, insurance, media and manufacturing. He handles a broad range of securities and credit-related matters, commercial and contract disputes, corporate governance issues, and governmental investigations for various companies, including MBIA, The Related Companies, and the Renco Group. Sarmad also has represented Iranians in connection with their political asylum applications, including an Iranian journalist accused of treason and an Iranian student fearing persecution based on his sexual orientation.
Sarmad has recently been recognized on the Benchmark Litigation Under 40 Hot List, and as a “Rising Star” in New York Metro Super Lawyers.
Prior to joining the firm, Sarmad clerked for the Honorable Terrence W. Boyle, United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. He also practiced at a global law firm where he advised clients on leveraged buy-out transactions, initial public offerings, and debt financings.
- Federal Housing Finance Agency, as conservator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, in actions in federal and state courts against numerous financial institutions and individuals. The lawsuits sought rescission or damages from the banks for, among other things, their misrepresentations concerning pools of mortgage loans that underlie residential mortgage-backed securities the banks issued, securitized and sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. After prevailing on critical pre-trial issues, FHFA settled the actions brought by Kasowitz for over $2 billion, including a $1.25 billion settlement with Morgan Stanley.
- MBIA, one of the world’s largest monoline insurers, in litigation brought by 18 of the world’s largest banks seeking to overturn MBIA’s corporate restructuring which, with the approval of the New York Department of Insurance (now the Department of Financial Services), established a separate company for MBIA’s municipal bond insurance business. After a several-week evidentiary proceeding, the New York Supreme Court ruled in favor of MBIA, upholding MBIA’s restructuring. The banks agreed to drop their challenge to MBIA’s restructuring, and MBIA then received $1.7 billion in cash and a $500 million line of credit for its municipal bond insurance business.
- Successful representation of a financial institution in an investigation by the SEC into allegations of insider trading.
- Successful bench trial in federal court on behalf of an individual lender against a real estate developer, resulting in an award of approximately $13 million.
- A private equity firm in an internal investigation arising from allegations that a current employee misappropriated confidential information from his prior employer.
- Former CEO and shareholder of a credit and debit payment solution and services company in multiple lawsuits against controlling noteholders and the board of directors arising from the board’s pursuit of a debt-for-equity exchange at an unfairly low equity cash out price.
- A private equity firm in litigation defending against claims that it breached terms of a $750 million secured loan facility.
- A private equity firm in litigation pursuing breach of fiduciary duty and fraud claims against a financial advisor resulting from undisclosed conflicts of interest.
- Mining and metal recovery holding company, the Renco Group, in defending thousands of individual suits brought by Peruvian plaintiffs, including by developing and asserting defenses based on the doctrine of international comity and Peru’s assertions of sovereignty.
- The Related Companies in several disputes arising from the Hudson Yards development project.
- Leading innovator and developer of bank-owned life insurance policies in litigation pursuing misappropriation of trade secret and breach of contract claims against a large competitor.
- President Donald J. Trump in litigation against efforts by The New York Times and the Gannett newspaper chain to make public the contents of sealed court filings relating to Trump’s divorce from his ex-wife Ivana Trump.
- Large multi-brand, multi-channel, specialty retailer in an antitrust investigation conducted by the Office of the New York Attorney General.