Spring 2018 Newsletter


Karin Oehlenschläger,
Dr. Cornelius Adebahr and Marc Redlich at Goethe Institute . 
Dear Friends and Colleagues,

     I would venture to say that all of us are grateful that this winter is finally over - I know I am - and that we are all looking forward to seeing some green grass replacing the white mountainous landscape.  As always, I hope this letter finds you and your family healthy and doing well.  We have recently been involved in a number of matters that I thought you might be interested in knowing about.  

     First, for some “housekeeping matters”.  I want to let you know that we are moving our office to a new location in downtown Boston, namely:  One State Street, 15th Floor, Boston, MA 02109.  We will have the same contact info we have always had, which is at the top of this letter.  For those of you who may be unfamiliar with this location, we remain in the financial district, adjacent to the historic Old State House.

     As you may recall, some years ago, I assisted a company based in Germany in establishing a joint venture with a U.S. software company.  The joint venture combined the two companies’ expertise in providing a comprehensive product for the benefit of customers.  The joint venture was successful for both participants.  The other company recently chose to go in a different direction and I was asked to work with my client to acquire the joint venture.  That has now been successfully accomplished.  My client and the U.S. software company parted on good terms and are likely to do business together again in the future.

     In a recent employment matter, I represented a former officer of a manufacturing company who was not paid what she was entitled to when the company hit on bad times.   We attempted to negotiate with the company, which initially disputed that she was a good employee. We were able to demonstrate that she was indeed a very good employee, sufficient to be congratulated in writing by the head of the company.  At that point, the company insisted that it was without funds to pay her and had wound down its business.  That appeared to be true, based on my own client’s assessment of the company’s deteriorating financial situation.  However, working with co-counsel in New York (where the company was located), we learned our client could make a claim for what was owed against the ten largest shareholders of the company, some of whom had substantial financial resources.  We brought action in the Federal Court in New York.  After those discussions and initial pretrial discovery, we engaged in mediation under the auspices of the Magistrate Judge.  The case was settled on terms ultimately satisfactory to both sides, thus saving both parties substantial litigation costs and expenditure of time, which would have been necessary to complete the pretrial discovery and move ahead to trial.  The result here points up that even if a situation looks difficult at the commencement of a case, creative counsel can oftentimes find ways of putting legitimate pressure on a defendant to pay what is genuinely owed, despite its pleas of poverty or other early obstacles, to the client’s ultimate benefit.

     There have been numerous occasions, over the years, when I’ve represented students of some prestigious private secondary schools both in Massachusetts and elsewhere who have been threatened with dismissal.  In a recent case, charges were brought by such a school for alleged behavioral misconduct.  These cases are sometimes heard by a faculty tribunal, and in others by a tribunal made up of students and faculty, depending on the school’s own rules.  The schools generally do not allow an attorney to represent the student at the hearing, and at best, allow the student to find a faculty member or fellow student to “advocate” for him or her. 

     In this case, as in several others I’ve handled, the decision to bring charges occurred in the middle of the student’s senior year, after several years of attendance (and substantial tuition payments over the previous several years).  My experience is that the higher prestige schools really do not care about the financial burden incurred by the family when the school decides to threaten a student with dismissal, sad as that situation may be.  The school usually insulates itself in its enrollment contract from even having to refund any portion of the final year’s tuition (to say nothing of the previous years’ expenditures).  In this case, the message coming from the school authorities was that they would most likely order the student expelled, thus jeopardizing the young person’s college prospects and future career.  The family made the difficult decision to withdraw voluntarily from the school and to complete the student’s last year in the local public high school.  Fortunately, the students affected by these proceedings have gone on to be accepted at excellent colleges.

     As indicated in this and other cases I have described, while the initial decision may be to take a stand and oftentimes to fight on, it is always prudent to consider carefully all of the available options and potential downsides.  Sometimes the wisest choice, given the difficult circumstances and timing, is to seek out a resolution that accomplishes the client’s principal and long term goal – in these cases, having the students attend a prestigious university without a potentially negative mark on their record.  That objective can be, and was achieved without incurring any substantial financial cost, nor having the family undertake the emotional burden of fighting a financially stronger and privileged adversary at a critical point in the student’s career.

     Traversing from a student’s life to an academician’s retirement:  A client of long standing and his wife moved south to warmer climes for their retirement years and bought an interest in a retirement community that offered assisted living care if either of them became unable to care for themselves.  In this case, they bought a residence in this community.  When it became necessary for one of the spouses to move into the assisted living facility, we negotiated with the organization about surrendering their larger unit for two smaller one-bedroom apartments, one in assisted living and one in the retirement side of the community.  This turned into a more complex process than my clients had expected, and quite frankly, any elderly retirees in their situation could have anticipated.  When they called upon me, I was able to help them negotiate with the facility and navigate a complicated set of contract documents, both past and present, so that they could make their necessary and desired move.  That has now been accomplished, and as a result, they can now truly both relax and enjoy their retirement years.  One cannot always prepare for the unexpected, but as it’s often said – where there’s a will, there’s a way.

     I continue to be involved in the American Council on Germany, helping to organize speaker events in the Boston area.  Over this past year, we’ve helped to present speakers at Northeastern, Brandeis, Harvard, Suffolk and Boston Universities.  A photo from one of our events is attached.  In this time when many of us are very worried about actions causing breaches in the long and positive relations between the U.S. and its European allies, it’s more important than ever to promote the transatlantic discussion on such issues as the trend towards populist right-wing governments, threats by Russia both to ourselves and our NATO allies, and economic disagreements on such issues as trade and tariffs.  These matters are not just academic exercises, but problems that we see reported on a daily basis in the media.  The ACG’s focus, although historically on German-U.S. relations, now extends to the broader EU and NATO community which has formed the backbone of the post-World War II western alliance.

     As always, we continue to practice in a wide range of legal areas, including corporate, business and commercial law, trials and appeals, real estate issues, employment, discrimination, divorce, and university law.  If you have any questions about our areas of practice or about any legal matters where we can be of assistance to you or someone you know, please do not hesitate to call on me.
As always, I look forward to hearing from you.

                                                   Best regards,

                                                   Marc Redlich


One State Street, 15th Floor
Boston, MA 02109

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