Areas of Concentration

Mr. Johnson’s areas of concentration include:

  • General commercial litigation
  • Defamation and other business torts
  • Appeals

Sample Clients

Mr. Johnson has represented:

  • Literary/theatrical rights agent in claims against her clients, authors of a famous musical, over fees
  • Hedge fund in claims against companies in which it invested, and defending against business tort claims by others
  • Circus arts school in a breach of contract claim against Baruch College Performing Arts Center over the use of the center

Representative Litigation Matters

Pete Rose v. John Dowd, Civil Action No. 16-3681 (Pa. Dist. Ct., 2017): Co-counsel for Rose suing former MLB investigator John Dowd for defamatory statements he made about Rose on Philadelphia radio the day before the 2015 MLB All-Star game (being held in Cincinnati, where Rose was to be honored on-field). Dowd moved to dismiss the case, mainly based on a Nevada retraction-demand statute. In denying Dowd’s motion, in large part, the District Court ruled that Dowd was not a radio broadcaster to whom the statute applied, and also determined that the statements he made constitute defamation per se. The case is proceeding.

Hoffman v. Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, — N.Y.S.3d —-, 2015 WL 3678724 (1st Dep’t 2015): Obtained an affirmance of the trial court which had denied the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on his breach of contract claim against Wyckoff Heights Medical Center. Its former general counsel sued the Hospital for more than a million dollars by claiming he was owed severance because he was not terminated for cause. The Appellate Division agreed that plaintiff had failed to address the merits of the Hospital’s affirmative defenses about the circumstances under which his contract was entered into and whether he breached any duty owed. The First Department also agreed that the Hospital, itself, had raised material fact issues suggesting that the plaintiff withheld information about being a target of an investigation by the Kings County District Attorney’s Office and that his status as a target may have rendered him incapable of continuing to serve as general counsel.

Westgate Resorts v. Greenfield/Evers LLC, 6:12-cv-35-Orl-22 (Fla. Dist. Ct. 2013, Conway, J.): Co-defense counsel to an award-winning documentary filmmaker sued for defamation for the internationally acclaimed and distributed film “The Queen of Versailles.” After an evidentiary hearing, we obtained a favorable decision from the Federal District Court rejecting the plaintiff’s claim that a written release (containing an arbitration clause) was not signed by an authorized representative, and staying the action pending arbitration.

After a four-day arbitration hearing before the Independent Film & Television Alliance, we obtained a favorable decision dismissing the defamation claims, on the merits, and awarding $750,000 in attorneys’ fees.

Le Bonitas S.p.A. v. Paris Hilton Entertainment, 10-CV-9350 (S.D.N.Y. 2012, Hellerstein, J.): Co-counsel to an Italian lingerie manufacturer/licensee in a dispute with its celebrity licensor, in which both sides asserted breach of contract claims. We obtained favorable decisions from the District Court (i) defeating the celebrity licensor’s motions to dismiss and for summary judgment, and (ii) dismissing the celebrity licensor’s counterclaim for attorney’s fees pursuant to the contract. The matter was then resolved.

Deer Consumer Products v. Alfred Little, Index No. 650823/11 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2012, Edmead, J.): Co-defense counsel to “Alfred Little,” a pseudonymous internet blogger and short-seller who reported online about Chinese reverse-merger companies, sued for defamation by a Chinese manufacturing company. We obtained favorable decisions (i) permitting him to defend the suit pseudonymously, given the substantial threats to his physical safety in China (35 Misc.3d 374 [2012]), (ii) limiting the time frame for discovery as to personal jurisdiction over him in New York to the date of commencement of suit (36 Misc.3d 1221(A) [2012]), and (iii) ultimately dismissing the defamation and other tort claims.

Flatsigned Press v. Don Imus, Nat’l Arbitration & Mediation Case No: 1000144981 (2010): Co-defense counsel to a nationally syndicated radio personality in the defense of defamation and other claims brought by a show advertiser. After a four-day arbitration hearing, we obtained a favorable decision dismissing the claims on the merits.

Screen Media Ventures v. Boulevard Entertainment, Independent Film & Television Alliance Arbitration No. 08-31 (2009): Defense counsel to a UK DVD distributor in the successful defense of an arbitration claim for breach of contract by its licensor. The licensor was unable to deliver the rights to several films in their license agreement but nevertheless sought reduced payment, pro rata, for the remaining films licensed and delivered thereunder. After the hearing, the arbitrator voided the parties’ agreement and awarded no damages.

Narbone v. Cavale Tonuzi Corp., 24 Misc.3d 1243(A) (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2009, Demarest, J.): Defense counsel to the alleged signatory to a promissory note. The plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment was denied. We successfully raised questions of fact as to whether the note had been forged without using a handwriting expert.

Representative Publications And Citations

When May A Litigant Rely In Its Own Complaint On Allegations From Another Complaint? Lipsky V. Commonwealth United Corp. And Its Progency—Still An Unresolved Question 32 Touro Law Review (No. 2, 2016)  (co-author Lawrence A. Steckman).

Other Experience

Before joining Eaton & Van Winkle in 2004, Mr. Johnson also had a robust appellate practice, perfecting and arguing appeals which resulted in more than forty reported decisions.

In 1994-95, he had a judicial clerkship with the Appellate Division, Third Department, of the New York State Supreme Court. He attended the University of Rochester and Albany Law School of Union University, where he was a member of its law review.


  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District, New York (2009)
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District, New York (2004)
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District, New York (1996)
  • State of New York (1995)