Areas of Concentration

  • Multi-party, multi-jurisdiction international litigation
  • International commercial arbitration
  • Securities, common-law fraud and RICO prosecution and defense
  • Non-fraud business torts including unfair competition, interference with contract and breach of fiduciary duty
  • Disputes arising from acquisitions and sales of public and private companies
  • Defense of directors and officers, accountants and attorneys’ liability claims
  • Maritime arbitration and litigation involving, among other transactions, contracts of affreightment, vessel construction, financing and scrapping
  • Commercial disputes such as contract, distribution, licensing and sales agreements, non-competition agreements, trademark and trade secret, transaction financing, payment arrangements and real estate.
  • Defense of governmental investigations including SEC, Department of Justice (e.g. trade sanctions, FCPA, forfeiture) and NGO proceedings
  • Advising on legal risk management in international transactions and multinational group structure and operations
  • Internal corporate investigations

Sample Clients

  • Foreign and U.S. financial institutions, including banks
  • Multinational, foreign and U.S. businesses in various fields including manufacturing, commodities trading, mining, processing, diamonds, shipping, distribution, graphic arts, electronic publishing, fashion
  • Accounting firms
  • Technology firms
  • Foreign bankruptcy trustees
  • Individuals, including high net worth, as beneficiaries, directors and officers, business partners and members, and artists
  • Insurers
  • Real estate developers and contractors

Representative Litigation Matters

  • Represented Middle Eastern bank in multiple federal and state court proceedings in the United States and coordination of representation in other countries in Europe, the Caribbean and the Middle East, resulting in recovery of substantial funds seized in international enforcement action.
  • Successfully defended European software publisher against claims of breach of agreement, unfair competition, trademark infringement and breach of covenant not to compete.
  • Effected significant recovery in action for wrongful termination on behalf of Latin American distributor of commercial graphic arts film, plate and chemical products against large U.S.-based multinational suppliers.
  • Successfully represented European high fashion and middle market clothing designer and manufacturer in claim against multinational distributor including claims of violation of distribution agreement, unfair competition, trademark infringement and fraud.
  • Obtained dismissal on merits of 10b-5/RICO class action against major national accounting firm regarding an initial public offering.
  • Successfully defended directors sued for breach of duty by bankruptcy trust administrator.
  • Successfully defended large multinational seller of hospital and medical supplies in litigation and mediation against claims of wrongful termination by Middle Eastern distributor.
  • Obtained dismissal on merits of action against accounting firm in U.S. Virgin Islands alleging failure to detect looting of foundation assets.
  • Represented Middle Eastern bank in U.S. Department of Justice investigation resulting in “no action” decision, which allowed client to continue essential dollar-clearing operations in the United States.
  • Conducted confidential investigation for U.S. subsidiary of large Asian multinational technology company regarding concealed malpractice by major U.S. law firm.
  • Provided analyses for, authored and collaborated on opinions on U.S. law to English counsel for use, successfully, in Courts of England and Wales on issues such as rights and liabilities for misdirected international wire transfers and ripeness of claims for malicious prosecution, abuse of process and wrongful attachment.
  • Successfully unwound large industrial real estate transaction for buyer/developer through litigation and multi-party negotiations.
  • Prevented any subpoenaed discovery directed against large multinational in multi-party sovereign debt actions in New York, Texas, Delaware, France, England and Switzerland.
  • Successfully represented co-owner of precious gem business in mediation with other co-owner against claims of violation of fiduciary obligations, alleged non-competition agreement, misappropriation of trade secrets and related claims.
  • Successfully represented European sculptor in action to recover against New York art gallery for fraud.
  • Successfully defended Chinese medical device manufacturer from claims alleging breach of sales and distribution agreements concerning large multinational retailer.

Representative Lectures And Seminars

  • Co-Chair of the International Litigation Committee of the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association and a member of the Section’s Executive Committee
  • Member, Panel of Neutrals of the Commercial Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County
  • Chair, International Litigation and Arbitration Program in the International Legal Training program for foreign attorneys
  • Expert Advisor, US Department of Commerce Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) Workshop on International Transactions, Tbilisi, Georgia February 6-7, 2014.
  • Mr. Semaya also organizes other continuing legal education programs on international and commercial litigation and arbitration for bar association and other groups, and is a frequent speaker before attorneys admitted in United States and many other country jurisdictions
  • On numerous occasions, Mr. Semaya has represented the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section in meetings between foreign judicial delegations – who look to New York’s Commercial Division as a model for the creation of commercial courts in their respective countries – and the Justices and officers of the Division.


  • The Constitutionality and Effectiveness of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978, 47 George Washington Law Review 787 (1979)
  • Electric Utility Regulation Under PURPA, Energy Law Service, Monograph SC (1980)
  • Sources of Audit Liability – A Survey of Current Trends, CPA Statement, vol. XXII, No. 2 (1986, Maryland Assoc. of CPAs)
  • Sources of Audit Liability – The Search for Solutions, CPA Statement, vol. XXII, No.3 (1986)
  • The Proposed Hague Convention on Jurisdiction and the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments, 7 NY Litigator 9 (2001, New York Bar Ass’n)
  • Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments In United States Courts, Strategic Directions for International Practice, International Legal Training (annual editions, 2001-2011)


  • George Washington University – National Law Center Washington, D.C. (J.D., with honors), 1980
  • Member (published), The George Washington Law Review 1978-1980
  • University of Rochester – Rochester, New York (B.A., cum laude), 1977


  • State of New York (1981)
  • District of Columbia (1983)
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (1993)
  • United States Court of Federal Claims (2009)
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (1981)
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (1981)
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of New York (1994)

Awards & Accolades

In July, 2006, Super Lawyers Magazine, in its premiere New York edition, identified Mr. Semaya as one of New York’s “Super Lawyers” in the area of business litigation and he was so renamed in successive years through 2010 and again each year from 2013-17.