Claude Szyfer concentrates his work in commodities and derivatives law, antitrust, real estate litigation and counseling, and general litigation. His diverse practice involves representing major financial institutions such as trading firms, utilities, and trade associations. Claude has participated in both jury and non-jury trials in both Federal and State Court, and has an active antitrust counseling practice. Claude is the Administrative Partner for the New York office’s Litigation Department and founding member and co-chair of Stroock’s eDiscovery and Information Governance Practice Group. Fluent in Spanish, Claude’s practice often involves the representation of international financial institutions both in the United States and abroad, particularly with respect to international insolvency proceedings.
Claude specializes in commodities and derivatives law, and has represented trading firms and financial institutions involved in the trading of commodities and the execution of derivative contracts and other types of futures and forward contracts. He has served as counsel for plaintiffs and defendants in actions arising from contracts for the purchase and sale of power, natural gas, crude oil, petroleum products and coal, as well as a diverse array of swap, options, and bespoke derivative arrangements. In addition, Claude has represented numerous counterparties and trading firms as creditors in the chapter 11 proceedings of the following firms: Lehman Brothers, Inc., Enron, Mirant, Black Diamond Mining Company LLC and ASARCO.
During just the Lehman Brothers chapter 11 proceeding, Claude represented over 40 different unsecured creditors in the resolution of their derivative claims against the Lehman estate. Those claims involved some of the most complex and bespoke derivative transactions traded by the estate, and included claims exceeding over $1 billion each. Among the matters litigated and resolved by Claude included:
- The successful negotiation of the settlement of a $1.3 billion claim for a major Japanese financial institution, resulting in the creditor receiving over 95% of its filed claim value.
- The resolution of a litigation filed by the Lehman estate against a financial institution seeking over $100 million in damages, and resulting in a settlement whereby the estate paid the creditor.
- The mediation of a disputed claim where the estate sought a payment of over $100 million from the creditor, resulting in a settlement where the estate paid the creditor. The trades at issue involved bespoke complex currency option transactions, involving options lasting over 30 years in duration.
- The settlement of 21 claims filed by the family of funds of a major financial institution resulting in the payment of hundreds of million dollars in claims by the estate.
- The resolution of claims filed by end users and commodities trading desks involving complex petroleum and power transactions.
In addition, Claude has represented a major financial institution in the Adelphia Corporation chapter 11 proceeding in an action involving over 50 other financial institutions all accused of participating in fraudulent transactions with the Rigas Family and Adelphia. Mr. Szyfer’s client was the only one not to settle and was granted summary judgment dismissing all claims against his client, which judgment was affirmed by the Second Circuit.
Claude’s antitrust work has involved representing both plaintiff and defendants in actions involving many different antitrust issues, including:
- Defending various real estate brokerage firms in connection with an investigation conducted by the Department of Justice concerning issues relating to Section 1 of the Sherman Act;
- Counseling multiple listing services, trade associations and real estate brokerage firms in connection with general antitrust issues involving the real estate industry as well as the business of real estate brokerage;
- Representing the interests of an international consulting firm in connection with the mergers of the following companies, among others:
- Staples and Office Depot
- Anthem Insurance and Cigna
- Baker Hughes and Halliburton
- Sysco and U.S. Foods
- Caraustar and The Newark Group
- Dow and Dupont
- Defending the merger of two major hospitals from a challenge by the Department of Justice, which went to trial and resulted in a judgment in favor of the merging hospitals;
- Defending a major financial institution accused of participating in a conspiracy to suppress electronic trading of corporate and municipal bonds;
- Defending a real estate trade association and numerous of its constituent members in an antitrust action involving allegations regarding the suppression of competition in the listings technology marketplace;
- Presently participating in the defense of two not-for-profit health insurance companies seeking to merge;
- Representing the interests of a major financial institution with respect to the merger of the CBOT and the CME;
- Representing a major clearing firm alleging antitrust violations by an electronic commodities trading platform.
Critical to all aspects of Claude’s practice is his expertise in the law concerning eDiscovery and Information Governance. Indeed, Claude has counselled clients in connection with a broad array of eDiscovery issues, including litigation management procedures, establishing or complying with litigation holds, and establishing company-wide document retention programs.
Claude has been recognized as a Super Lawyer (2013 to 2017). He is also a graduate of the Wexner Heritage Program.
- Member, Committee on Second Circuit Courts, Federal Bar Council, 1999-2008
- Member, Community Relations Committee Board, MetroWest
- Board of Directors, Jamie Oliver Food Foundation
- Board of Directors and Co-Founder, Real Estate Data Protection Legal Association (REDPLAN)
- Section Counsel, Council of Multiple Listing Services
- Speaker, "Position Limits," NYSBA Derivatives and Structured Products Law Committee, November 22, 2013
- Co-author, "New 'Intel'-igence on ISDA 'Loss' Definition," Stroock Special Bulletin, January 14, 2016
- Co-author, "What's Required in Requirements Contracts," Pratt's Energy Law Report, September 2015,
- Co-author, "Multilateral Netting Under Safe Harbor Contracts: The Arguments for Enforceability in Bankruptcy (And for Mandatory Withdrawal of the Issue to District Court)," Pratt's Journal of Bankruptcy Law, April/May 2015
- Co-author, "What's Required in Requirements Contracts," and "Update: Power Up in the Air (Part II): EPA Proposed Regulations for New and Existing Power Plants," Stroock Positive Energy, April 2015, Issue 4
- Co-author, "CAFA Jurisdiction over State Attorney General Parens Patriae Actions," The Review of Banking and Financial Services, September 2013, Vol. 29, No. 9
- Co-author, "Supreme Court Relaxes View of Tying Patents," New York Law Journal, March 27, 2006
- Co-author, "The Importance Of Consent-to-Record Provisions in ISDA Master Agreements," Derivatives Week, February 7, 2005
New York, 1996
U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York; U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York; U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York; U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky; U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit; U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit; U.S. Supreme Court
Clerk, Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, 1998-1999
J.D., New York University School of Law, 1995; Notes and Articles Editor, Journal of International Law and Politics
B.A., with honors, Wesleyan University, 1990