Jonathan W. Fitch
"Clients come back to us, again and again, placing their trust in our ability to resolve difficult and urgent problems. We know that the successful resolution of a dispute requires more than the mastery of the facts and applicable law. It is essential to appreciate the intricacies of a client's perspective and what he or she truly requires to come out on top."
Jonathan W. Fitch, managing partner, has over 34 years of experience representing clients in complex domestic and international business disputes involving: international commercial agreements; intellectual property; technology license agreements; trademark and patent agreements; distribution and supply agreements; software licensing; technology support agreements; executive employment contracts; employment discrimination; proprietary information; invention assignment; non-solicit and non-competition agreements; non-disclosure agreements; UCC sale of goods and secured transactions; shareholder claims; valuation of minority shareholder interests; securities purchase agreements; valuation of corporate assets; corporate governance; valuation of goodwill; brand value; royalties; accounting and finance; fiduciary duties; securities; high-frequency trading; medical devices; venture capital; private investment firms; commercial leases; commercial loan and mortgage agreements; valuation of commercial real estate; construction contracts; coverage under policies of insurance; professional liability and malpractice; interests in general and limited partnerships, closely held corporations, joint ventures, and hedge funds; internal investigations; environmental contamination; fraud; fraudulent transfer; unfair or deceptive trade practices; unfair competition; product liability; and business torts.
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly named Mr. Fitch as a " Lawyer of the Year 2009 ." In 2011 and 2012, Mr. Fitch was named a " Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyer " in a list published by the Thomson Reuters rating service in Boston Magazine. He is regularly listed in The Best Lawyers in America®. Mr. Fitch has been named a "Massachusetts Super Lawyer" annually since 2004, has been ranked at the highest level of legal ability, AV Preeminent®, by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory® since 1984, and receives the rating of " Superb Attorney " by Avvo.
Mr. Fitch has tried approximately 40 jury and bench trials in the federal and state courts of the Commonwealth. He has extensive experience as well as an advocate for clients in domestic and international arbitrations. Mr. Fitch has successfully used the process of mediation for resolving hundreds of cases that began in the courts or in arbitration. In representative engagements, Mr. Fitch:
- as defense counsel resolved thousands of asbestos-related claims for personal injuries and property damage in negotiated settlement, mediation or trial for the manufacturer of an asbestos-containing cement.
- successfully defended a technology company in Brazil in an international arbitration case where plaintiff claimed over $100,000,000 in damages for unfair trade practices.
- reached a multi-million dollar settlement for our clients who were minority investors in a hedge fund company. The case settled after a jury trial had begun.
- obtained a settlement of approximately $20,000,000 for our client in an arbitration administered by the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (the ICDR). The Arbitrator found that the opposing party wrongfully terminated an agreement with our client pursuant to which it was granted an exclusive right to create and operate a telematics technology in the People's Republic of China. The settlement was reached before the damages phase of the arbitration commenced.
-in three other international arbitrations and pre-arbitration proceedings, reached favorable settlements: for the CEO of a London-based international investment company; for the owner of a wind turbine with UCC claims against the manufacturer based in the Netherlands; and for a South African technology services company in a dispute with its American supplier under a long term technology supply, patent and licensing agreement.
- won a summary judgment award - affirmed on appeal- of $2,943,320 for the firm's client, a museum, against its former president, who had stolen assets of the museum by means of a sophisticated, fraudulent scheme.
- obtained a jury verdict on multiple counts in Middlesex Superior Court on behalf of individuals who had been defrauded in the purchase of a home. Judgments against all defendants exceeded $4,000,000.
- represented the interests of a Swedish Credit Union in a RICO action pending in federal court in Florida.
- successfully defended the interests of the owner of a valuable parcel on Nantucket in a series of two trials and three appeals brought by an abutter seeking to foreclose any development of the property.
- in mediation, successfully settled a multi-faceted estate dispute involving over $20 million in assets held in trusts, limited partnerships and a corporation in Central America.
- won a temporary restraining order in federal court, which led to an outstanding settlement for our client, a foreign exchange trading company. The client recovered the full extent of its liquidated damages under a software license agreement with the defendant Massachusetts technology company.
Mr. Fitch's international practice focuses on counseling, negotiation, litigation, mediation and arbitration for corporate clients in the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, Colombia, Brazil, Panama, Ecuador, Venezuela, Chile, the UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Israel, Dubai and South Africa with respect to a variety of commercial contract and other business issues.
Mr. Fitch has extensive experience as an emergency arbitrator, sole arbitrator, panelist and panel chair in both domestic and international matters. As an arbitrator, Mr. Fitch has sat on a number of multi-million dollar claims involving, for instance, exclusive technology supply and service agreements, at-will employment, proprietary information, medical devices, invention assignment, non-solicit and non-compete agreements. He was chair of a panel in a close corporation matter involving valuation of a 50% shareholder interest, terms of buyout, and fiduciary duty, freeze-out, waste and derivative claims. He also acted as sole arbitrator in an ICDR case involving a securities purchase agreement between US investors and a corporation located in China. He is a Member of the Panel of Arbitrators of the American Arbitration Association® and of the International Centre for Dispute Resolution®.
The institutional clients Mr. Fitch has appeared for include Airgas Corporation, Tracker do Brasil LTDA (Brazil), VSR Group (Latin America, Asia and Europe), The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company, Fluent Trading Technologies Ltd., Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Massachusetts Electric Company, Boston Edison Company, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Education Development Center, Inc., Parexel International Corporation, Kington Holdings Ltd. (Hong Kong), J. Baker, Inc., Lycos, Inc., Independence Seaport Museum, Nantucket Conservation Foundation, Sankaty Head Golf and Beach Club, Inc. and the Massachusetts Horticultural Society.
Mr. Fitch is the author of The Limitations on American-Style Discovery in International Arbitration in Strategies in International Arbitration (Aspatore, Thomson Reuters 2012), "Foreign Judgments Law Due for Update", Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, 41 MLW 159, 2012, and "The Enforcement of Foreign Money Judgments in Massachusetts," 81 Mass. Law Review 65 (1996). He is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. He frequently lectures at several local law schools on alternative dispute resolution and law firm management topics. In 2015, Mr. Fitch was the moderator of a panel discussion on "International Arbitration: Hot Topics and Smart Contract Terms" at a seminar hosted by the New England Legal Foundation. He was also moderator of a panel discussion in 2016 on “Best Practices in Arbitration: The Role of the Arbitrator” sponsored by the Dispute Resolution Section of the Massachusetts Bar Association.” Mr. Fitch currently serves as the Arbitration Liaison of that Section.
Mr. Fitch's reported appellate decisions run the gamut of complex civil matters; examples are Latino PAC, Inc. v. City of Boston, 716 F.2d 68 (1st Cir. 1983), stay denied, 463 U.S. 1319 (1983), (election enjoined because districts violated one person, one vote), Heghnian v. Parexel International Corp., 2003 WL 25586579 (1st Cir. 2003)(upholding dismissal of employment discrimination claims), FDIC v. Elio, 39 F.3d 1239 (1st Cir. 1994) (appointment of trustee in fraudulent conveyance), McCord v. Jet Spray International Corp., 874 F.Supp. 436 (1994)(enforcement of foreign judgment), Batischev v. Cote, 81 Mass. App. Ct. 1103 (2011) (Chapter 93A award affirmed) Conte v. Marine Lumber Co., Inc., 66 Mass. App. Ct. 505 (2006), Rev. Denied, 447 Mass. 1109 (Sept. 11, 2006)(claims of estoppel by deed and adverse possession defeated) and Poddell v. Lahn, 38 Mass. App. Ct. 688 (1995) (methodology for determining common area allocations).
Jonathan W. Fitch co-founded the firm in 1984 after beginning his career as a trial lawyer at Bingham, Dana & Gould. Mr. Fitch is a graduate of Williams College, (B.A., cum laude), Yale School of Management, (M.P.P.M.) and Boston College Law School, (J.D.). He is admitted to practice in State and Federal Courts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the First Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.
"Mr. Fitch represented our company in a complex international arbitration case involving the unlawful termination of a license agreement by a listed USA corporation. This settled and included a multi-million dollar payment to us. Jonathan Fitch initially comes across as a quiet and considered individual. He listens, absorbs detail and opinions, and then makes convincing recommendations and decisions that get right to the heart of the issues. In Jonathan Fitch, I saw all the key qualities we needed in one person without the other difficulties. For this arbitration Jonathan Fitch came up against top arbitration lawyers, this was a hard fought issue on both sides involving very material sums of money. Jonathan not only held his own, he walked all over the opposition. The result shows simply how good he is."
"My wife and I bought an expensive apartment in Cambridge, MA. In a week we faced an eviction letter due to the elaborate fraud scheme mastered by developers, lawyers and realtors, who left us empty-handed. Because of the enormous complexity we could not find an adequate legal help for a month... at last we were referenced to Atty. Jonathan W. Fitch of Sally & Fitch LLP in Boston. Indeed, it became our final stop. He won for us two jury trials at the Middlesex Superior Court, and obtained verdicts against all four parties we sued: fraud, intentional misrepresentation, malpractice, etc; legal fees and doubled damages. In sum, our intractable case was cured thanks to Mr. Fitch's unparalleled integrity and professionalism. I would strongly recommend his service to anyone in a serious legal trouble, as ours, and I have no doubts and second thoughts in doing so."
"This was an employment contract dispute. Mr. Fitch helped me get a resolution quickly and cost effectively. He was always there when I needed him."
"Jonathan Fitch provided excellent advice and was able to resolve successfully on two separate settlements of a lawsuit and international arbitration surrounding issues related to a product liability issue I was having difficulty with. He and his team were always there to provide counsel and advice as to how to resolve the issue at hand. It was a very trying experience, but I always felt I was in good hands and their quick action and knowledge of the law gave me every confidence I had chosen the right firm. I worked with Jonathan over a long period of time and always was confident my interests were being met and given the highest priority. I would not hesitate to call on him again."