Edward Cerasia II
Ed is a Founding Partner in Cerasia Law LLC. He has 30 years of experience representing clients in employment, wage and hour, restrictive covenant and employee benefits matters in the financial services, insurance, media, advertising, transportation, pharmaceutical, healthcare, sports, higher education and retail industries. For 16 years prior to founding the Firm, Ed was a partner at some of the world’s most prestigious law firms, where he held leadership positions within those firms’ employment law departments.
Ed is one of the leading employment litigators of his generation. Ed has been listed for several years in peer-reviewed publications, including two categories in Best Lawyers (Litigation - Labor & Employment Law and Labor Law - Management), as well as in New York Super Lawyers. When Ed's practice was focused solely on representing employers, Chambers USA had ranked him as a Leading Individual in employment law going back to 2005. In 2018, Chambers noted that Ed is regarded as an “extraordinarily good trial lawyer,” and clients appreciate that he is “very knowledgeable in the field” and “very good with client relations.” In past years, Chambers noted that Ed is “a respected trial lawyer,” “highly esteemed,” “hailed as an outstandingly strong advocate,” is “very knowledgeable substantively,” that “his litigation skills are impressive” and that he “understands our business inside and out. He’s very good at coming up with creative and pragmatic solutions.” Chambers has described Ed “as good an employment litigator as there is. He’s very experienced, highly principled and always works diligently to obtain the best results.”
For three years in a row, the American Society of Legal Advocates selected Ed as one of the top 100 Labor & Employment lawyers in the State of New York. In 2011 and 2012, Lawdragon/Human Resource Executive magazine named Ed as one of “The 40 Up and Coming Corporate Employment Lawyers” in the United States.
With respect to Ed’s representation of employees, he has been described as “the best counsel at the worst time.” The following is a sampling of the praise that Ed has received from employees he has represented over the years:
- “He smoothly and quickly settled my case with my former employer via a law that no other lawyer that I consulted with even thought of. He helped me avoid the potentially embarrassing experience of litigation, yet still secured a very substantial settlement for me. The outcome he produced was above and beyond my highest expectations. However, monetary recovery was not the most valuable outcome that I received from working with Ed. The greatest benefit that I gained from this experience was the strong sense of self-empowerment that Ed instilled in me, and, to me, as a woman, this is priceless. What I admire most about Ed is his empathy and his unique ability to fully and completely comprehend the positioning and experiences of women in the workplace.”
- “He was tenacious and persistent to get the deal done while always having my best interests at heart.”
“One of the things I valued in Ed is his understanding of both the employee and the company’s side of any situation, as he’s spent considerable time as a defense lawyer. I liked that he could get into the other side’s brain. I found Ed to be super responsive and very professional. He did a great job of keeping me abreast of his communication with my former employer’s lawyer and, though I know he has so many other high-priority cases, I felt that I was given just as much attention and care. Our case moved to mediation and I was even more impressed with Ed, being able to see him in action. His ability to build rapport is admirable and, I believe, important. He clearly has an excellent reputation in the legal world and amongst some of the most renowned mediators. During mediation, he guided me, gave me perspective, but didn’t force me to make any decisions I wasn’t comfortable with and I am deeply appreciative of this skill of his. Throughout everything, I always felt that Ed was putting my best interests ahead of his own.”
Ed has a proven record of success as a trial lawyer. He has successfully handled over 80 jury/bench trials and arbitrations involving claims of discrimination, retaliation, constructive discharge and entitlement to employee benefits. In each year for the past decade alone, Ed has successfully tried jury, bench and arbitration cases to conclusion.
Ed also has handled several precedent-setting and noteworthy appeals in federal and state courts. As a result, clients often retain him to handle appeals from adverse judgments or rulings.
Ed is admitted to practice in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, as well as in several federal district courts and courts of appeals around the country, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Ed has litigated cases in 28 states. His nationwide trial and appellate practice focuses on representing clients in cases involving claims of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation; claims under the FLSA and state wage and hour laws; claims under ERISA involving breaches of fiduciary duty, 401(k) and ESOP issues, severance pay, and challenges to plan denials or termination of benefits; whistleblower claims; compensation and bonus claims; claims of defamation, breach of contract, and intentional torts; and claims involving restrictive covenants and employee recruitment practices. His litigation matters include single-plaintiff, multiple-plaintiff, class action, collective action, and EEOC pattern and practice cases.
As a trusted advisor, Ed regularly counsels clients on matters such as employee discipline and termination; wage and hour law compliance and conducting nationwide compliance audits; executive agreements and compensation; separation agreements; reductions in force; strategies for preventing and investigating harassment, discrimination, and whistleblower claims; employee recruiting and hiring practices; and challenges to benefit plan determinations.
Ed has been a frequent speaker and writer on employment and benefits law issues. For two years, he was an adjunct professor at Quinnipiac University School of Law, where he taught employment discrimination law.
Ed received his J.D., summa cum laude, and graduated Valedictorian from the University of Bridgeport School of Law in 1991, where he was an editor for the University of Bridgeport Law Review. In 1987, he received a dual B.S. in industrial and labor relations and managerial law and public policy from Syracuse University.
Jury and Bench Trials
- Steininger v. Tribune Broadcasting, WPIX, et al., U.S.D.C., S.D.N.Y. (2021) (7-day jury trial involving religious and race discrimination termination and hostile work environment claims).
- Wall v. Eastern Concrete, N.J. Superior Court, Essex Co. (2018) (2-week jury trial involving whistleblower claims).
- Tse v. New York Univ., U.S.D.C., S.D.N.Y. (2016) (bench trial involving disability discrimination and accommodation claims).
- Gertner v. Pace Univ., U.S.D.C., S.D.N.Y. (2013-2014) (obtained defense judgment after 8-day bench trial involving tenured professor's claim that he was denied promotion to full professor because of his national origin; affirmed on appeal).
- Scott v. WPIX, Inc., U.S.D.C., S.D.N.Y. (2012) (obtained defense jury verdict after 7-day trial on former News Director's age discrimination claims in connection with her termination).
- Ruhling v. Newsday, Inc., U.S.D.C., E.D.N.Y. (2007) (obtained defense jury verdict on 14 of 15 claims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation and constructive discharge after 2½-week trial; court granted post-trial motion reducing jury’s award from $100,000 to $50,000 on disability discrimination claim as to written reprimand; while on appeal and after court denied plaintiff’s motion for attorneys’ fees, case settled on favorable terms for modest payment of attorneys’ fees).
- Edwards v. Brookhaven Science Assocs., LLC, U.S.D.C., E.D.N.Y. (2005) (obtained defense jury verdict after 8-day trial on plaintiff’s retaliatory discharge claim under the ADA).
- Wang v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., U.S.D.C., D. Md. (2004) (obtained defense jury verdict after 4-day trial on plaintiff’s claim under Title VII that she was sexually harassed by a senior officer at MetLife).
- Luxenberg v. The Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., U.S.D.C., S.D.N.Y. (2004) (obtained defense judgment after 2-day bench trial on former managing director’s ERISA claim for severance benefits).
- Richardson v. Costco Wholesale Corp., U.S.D.C., D. Conn. (2002) (obtained defense jury verdict after 4-day trial on plaintiff’s FLSA constructive discharge and retaliation claims).
- Ayton v. Lenox Hill Hosp., U.S.D.C., S.D.N.Y. (1997) (race discrimination and retaliation case dismissed on first day of trial for failure to prosecute after plaintiff fired her counsel over disputes concerning hospital’s in limine motions).
- Sowa and Gawron v. Rexam Graphics, Massachusetts Superior Court (1995) (obtained defense jury verdicts after one-week trial on two plaintiffs’ age discrimination claims in connection with reduction-in-force).
- Valliere v. Rexam Graphics, Massachusetts Superior Court (1995) (court dismissed age discrimination case as untimely after opening statements to jury).
Representative Reported Cases
- Shafir v. Continuum Health Partners, Inc., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5359 (S.D.N.Y. 2016) (court granted summary judgment dismissing purported class/collective action by physician assistant alleging violation of salary basis test and denial of overtime pay).
Gertner v. Pace Univ., 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 682 (2d Cir. 2015) (affirming defense judgment after 8-day bench trial involving tenured professor's claim that he was denied promotion to full professor because of his national origin).
Casci v. National Financial Network, LLC, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1500 (E.D.N.Y. 2015) (court granted motion to dismiss purported wage and hour class and collective action on behalf of alleged trainees).
- Morse v. JetBlue Airways Corp., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78778 (E.D.N.Y. 2014) (court granted motion in limine precluding plaintiff in disability discrimination case from recovering any back pay or front pay at trial because she has been collecting Social Security disability benefits and certified that she was unable to work since her termination).
- Ramos v. SimplexGrinnell, 740 F.3d 852 (2d Cir. 2014) (selected to argue appeal, where Circuit certified controlling question to NY Court of Appeals involving NY prevail wage law and administrative deference to NY DOL and certification was accepted).
- Garay v. Novartis Pharms. Corp., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125551 (E.D.N.Y. 2013) (granting Rule 12(c) motion dismissing discrimination and retaliation claims), aff'd in part and rev'd in part, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 15887 (2d Cir. 2014).
- Cicvara v. Gillette Co., 2011 U.S. District LEXIS 134512 (D. Conn. 2011) (granting summary judgment dismissing plaintiff’s claims under stock option plan).
- Kingsbury v. Marsh & McLennan Cos., Inc., 2011 WL 344746 (D. Mass. 2011) (granting summary judgment dismissing ERISA pension benefits claim as time-barred and holding that plan administrator’s decision was not arbitrary and conspicuous), aff’d, 2012 WL 502720 (1st Cir. 2012).
- Reid v. SuperShuttle Int’l, Inc. 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26831 (E.D.N.Y. 2010) (court compelled arbitration of plaintiffs’ wage and hour claims and enforced class action waiver in arbitration clause).
- Duviella v. JetBlue Airways Corp., 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 24895 (2d Cir. 2009) (affirming summary judgment dismissing race and age discriminations claims by plaintiff who was fired for violating nonharassment policy).
- Weir v. The Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 23941 (2d Cir. 2009) (affirming summary judgment dismissing plaintiff’s breach of contract and reformation claims).
- Ruhling v. Newsday, Inc., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38936 (E.D.N.Y. 2008) (court granted motion to remit jury’s compensatory damages award from $100,000 to $50,000).
- Brookhaven Science Assocs., LLC v. Donaldson, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58793 (S.D.N.Y. 2007) (case of first impression where court granted declaratory judgment holding that NYS Division of Human Rights lacked jurisdiction to enforce NYHRL against Brookhaven).
- Schorr v. The Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 843 N.Y.S.2d 24 (1st Dep’t 2007) (court affirmed dismissal of good faith and fair dealing claim, but reversed dismissal as to tortious interference with prospective business relations claim).
- Coheleach v. Bear Stearns & Co., Inc., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50768 (S.D.N.Y. 2006) (court granted motion to compel NASD (now known as FINRA) arbitration of FLSA claims in purported collective action).
- Dashiel v. The Prudential Ins. Co. of Am., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11055 (D. Conn. 2006) (court granted summary judgment dismissing plaintiff’s Title VII race and national origin discrimination and harassment claims).
- Ahearn v. Marsh & McLennan Cos., Inc., 2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 3575 (3d Cir. 2005) (court affirmed dismissal of purported ERISA class action and ADEA collective action challenging interpretation of ERISA “top hat” plan).
- Schiappa v. Brookhaven Science Assocs., LLC, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32084 (E.D.N.Y. 2005) (court granted Rule 12(c) motion dismissing NYHRL claims as barred by the federal enclave doctrine and U.S. Constitution).
- Baker v. The Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 785 N.Y.S.2d 437 (1st Dep’t 2004) (court affirmed motion to dismiss defamation and tortuous interference claims).
- Luxenberg v. The Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3121 (S.D.N.Y. 2004) (court granted summary judgment dismissing managing director’s retaliatory discharge claim under the ADEA).
- Williams-Velasquez v. The Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14990 (S.D.N.Y. 2003) (court granted summary judgment dismissing plaintiff’s race, national origin and disability discrimination and retaliation claims).
- Liu v. Beth Israel Med. Ctr., 2003 WL 21488081 (S.D.N.Y. 2003) (court granted summary judgment dismissing physician’s breach of contract claim concerning the alleged failure to collect on his billings and pay for his services).
- Kahn v. Costco Wholesale Corp., 2001 WL 1602168 (E.D.N.Y. 2001) (court granted summary judgment dismissing race discrimination and tort claims in connection with plaintiff's discharge).
- Richardson, et al. v. Costco Wholesale Corp., 169 F. Supp. 2d 56 (D. Conn. 2001) (court granted summary judgment dismissing plaintiffs’ claims for unpaid wages under FLSA and Connecticut law, and false imprisonment claims).
- Criales v. American Airlines, Inc., 1998 WL 661473 (E.D.N.Y. 1998) (granting Rule 12(c) motion dismissing racial harassment, defamation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims), aff’d, 216 F.3d 1071 (2d Cir. 2000) (affirming district court’s grant of Rule 12(c) motion and subsequent motion for summary judgment as to discriminatory discharge claim).
Complex Discrimination, Retaliation and Harassment Cases
- Kuznetsov, et al. v. XpresSpa, U.S.D.C., E.D.N.Y. (2010-2013) (lead counsel in purported class action alleging national origin discrimination; settled on favorable terms).
- Osorio v. Source Enterprises, Inc., et al, U.S.D.C., S.D.N.Y. and 2d Cir. (2006-2007) (retained by insurance carrier to prepare post-trial motions and handle mediation and appeal seeking to set aside or remit $4 million jury verdict in retaliatory discharge case; case settled for small percentage of verdict).
- EEOC v. ImClone Systems Incorporated, U.S.D.C., D. N.J. (2004-2005) (Title VII case in which EEOC alleged race discrimination and retaliation on behalf of former temporary worker; case settled on favorable terms).
- EEOC and Hanrahan v. Worldwide Flight Servs., Inc. and American Airlines, Inc., U.S.D.C., D. R.I. (2002) (on behalf of Worldwide, obtained precedent-setting discovery ruling in a case alleging pattern and practice of discrimination under the ADA by convincing court to permit deposition of EEOC investigator and trial attorney by challenging investigator’s preliminary “no cause” finding and integrity of EEOC investigation, after investigator changed her decision without explanation).
- EEOC v. Greyhound Lines, Inc., U.S.D.C., W.D.N.Y. (2002) (after effective use of third-party subpoenas uncovering resume fraud by charging party in a case alleging failure to hire based on religion, the case settled on favorable terms before charging party’s deposition).
Wage and Hour Cases
- Shafir v. Continuum Health Partners, Inc., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5359 (S.D.N.Y. 2016) (lead counsel representing defendant in purported class/collective action alleging violation of salary basis test and denial of overtime pay - summary judgment granted dismissing all claims).
- Casci v. National Financial Network, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1500 (E.D.N.Y. 2015) (lead counsel representing defendant in purported class/collective action alleging denial of minimum wage and overtime pay - motion to dismiss granted dismissing case).
- Kuznetsov, et al. v. XpresSpa, U.S.D.C., E.D.N.Y. (2010-2013) (lead counsel in purported collective/class action alleging denial of minimum wage and overtime pay - class settlement approved).
- Allen, et al. v. amNew York, et al., N.Y.S. Sup. Ct. (2007-2010) (represented amNew York in purported class action by newspaper “hawkers” to recover minimum wages under N.Y. Labor Law - class settlement approved).
- Dorofy, et al. v. American Int’l Group, Inc., U.S.D.C., D. N.J. (2007) (collective action by insurance adjusters seeking overtime pay under FLSA; case voluntarily dismissed during discovery, after court limited discovery to named plaintiffs only).
- McQuay, et al. v. American Int’l Group, Inc., U.S.D.C., E.D. Ark. (2004) (collective action by insurance adjusters seeking overtime pay under FLSA; court granted summary judgment in favor of AIG, concluding that plaintiffs were administratively exempt employees).
- Daniel, et al. v. Worldwide Flight Servs., Inc., U.S.D.C., S.D. Fla. (2002) (court granted summary judgment dismissing plaintiffs’ FLSA overtime complaint because they were exempt from FLSA’s overtime requirements, given that Worldwide is an air carrier subject to the Railway Labor Act).
- In re Agway, Inc. 401(k) ERISA Litig., U.S.D.C., N.D.N.Y. (2003-2008) (represented 25 members of board of directors of Agway in two 401(k) “stock drop” cases – one by independent fiduciary and the other by U.S. DOL – alleging that directors breached their ERISA fiduciary duties and engaged in prohibited transactions in connection with 401(k) plan participants’ losses from investments in Agway’s securities; case settled for $11.55m, with named defendants allowed to participate in settlement fund and no injunctive relief against directors).
- In re Global Crossing ERISA Litig., U.S.D.C., S.D.N.Y. (2003) (represented employee benefits service company in multidistrict class action “stock drop” litigation where plaintiffs accused our client of breaching ERISA fiduciary duties in connection with 401(k) plan participants’ losses from investments in company stock fund; convinced plaintiffs’ lead counsel to dismiss our client from case for $0).
- Zellin, et al. v. Mt. Sinai Hosp., U.S.D.C., D. N.J. (2005) (court granted summary judgment dismissing plaintiffs-retirees’ ERISA claims that they were entitled to fixed healthcare premiums for life).
- Ahearn, et al. v. Marsh & McLennan Cos., Inc., 2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 3575 (3d Cir. Mar. 3, 2005) (Third Circuit affirmed district court’s entry of summary judgment dismissing purported ERISA class action and its granting of motion to dismiss ADEA collective action challenging interpretation of Social Security offset provision in “top hat” supplemental retirement plan).
- Wallach v. TIAA-CREF, et al., U.S.D.C., S.D.N.Y. (2005) (represented TIAA and its retirement plan in ERISA case where former independent contractor alleged that he and similarly-situated individuals were misclassified, and thus entitled to various retirement benefits; case settled on favorable terms).