Thomas S. Novak has focused on insurance and construction disputes for over 30 years in the state and federal courts of New Jersey and New York. He began his career representing surety companies in construction litigation. His involvement in construction disputes led to the development of a practice representing architects, engineers and owners in cases involving negligence in the design of construction projects, breach of construction contracts and construction lien litigation.
Many construction disputes result in insurance claims and, accordingly, Mr. Novak also developed a specialty in insurance coverage. His focus on insurance intensified with the appointment of the Firm as Special Counsel to the New Jersey Department of Insurance in connection with the liquidation of Integrity Insurance Company. Mr. Novak was the Lead Partner on the Integrity liquidation from 1993 to 2006. In the course of this representation, Mr. Novak became deeply involved representing both insurers and policyholders in a number of cutting edge issues of insurance law including trigger of coverage of mass torts such as pollution, asbestos, and other product liabilities, allocation of losses among policies and reinsurers, and directors and officers liability coverage.
Mr. Novak has also represented trustees, executors and administrators in litigation with beneficiaries concerning the establishment and administration of trusts and estates. He has defended challenges to Wills and Trust Agreements based on undue influence and lack of capacity, and has further defended fiduciaries from demands for their removal based on bias, hostility and dereliction of duties. He has litigated actions seeking the appointment of a guardian for individuals unable to handle their affairs.
Mr. Novak has also litigated disputes among shareholders, partners and members of closely held entities such as corporations, partnerships, and limited liability companies. These disputes have typically involved claims of shareholder oppression and deadlock by minority shareholders seeking to take control of the entity or be bought out of the entity, and the valuation of the minority interests for buy-out purposes.