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Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer Timeline

1919 ----------------

David T. Wilentz founded the Firm that will become Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer in offices located over a haberdashery in Perth Amboy, NJ. His two sons, Robert N. Wilentz and Warren W. Wilentz, follow in his footsteps as attorneys.

G. George Goldman graduated from Rutgers University and Columbia Law School before becoming a founding partner in 1919. A life-long Perth Amboy resident and noted real estate lawyer, he practiced with the Firm until his death in 1959.

1928 ----------------

Henry M. Spitzer graduated from Princeton University and Fordham University Law School before becoming a founding partner in 1928. In addition to being one of the foremost personal injury trial attorneys in the State of New Jersey, he served for a time as assistant prosecutor for Middlesex County before becoming a named partner in 1928. He had an active personal injury practice with the Firm until his death in 1988.

1935 ----------------

As New Jersey state attorney general, David T. Wilentz (by now known as "The General") prosecutes the world's most notorious case, the Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping, in Flemington, NJ.

1955 ----------------

The Firm moves to larger offices at Madison and Fayette Streets in Perth Amboy, NJ, led by six partners.

1956 ----------------

Warren W. Wilentz is appointed as county prosecutor for Middlesex County, NJ.

1965 ----------------

On a pro bono basis, the Firm represents ten families before the New Jersey Supreme Court and saves their homes from a so-called "title raider."

1975 ----------------

The Firm represents a national oil company in a major modernization of its Perth Amboy, NJ refinery.

1976 ----------------

Morris Brown, a member of the Firm, is elected president of the New Jersey chapter of the American Trial Lawyers Association.

1977 ----------------

The Firm relocates to much larger quarters to the Plaza 9 Building on Route 9 in Woodbridge, NJ. It offers a full range of corporate services, in addition to personal services.

1979 ----------------

Robert N. Wilentz, who served the Firm as managing partner, is named Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court. He provides leadership to one of the most respected courts in the nation until his retirement in 1996.

The Firm represents the owner of Caesars Palace Casino in obtaining a license for the second casino built in Atlantic City, NJ.

Milton B. Conford, a former presiding judge of the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court and a temporary member of the New Jersey Supreme Court, joins the Firm as counsel.

The Three Mile Island accident threatens continued vitality of the electric industry and the Firm defends the Board of Public Utilities' treatment of the investment.

1982 ----------------

The firm is engaged in litigation defending the rights of its client to develop the Great Adventure Amusement Park in Jackson, NJ. This litigation is ultimately successfully concluded.

1984 ----------------

The firm represents Amerada Hess Corporation in a significant expansion of its Port Reading, NJ refinery.

1985 ----------------

The firm represents supermodel Christina Ferrare in various matters, including the infamous DeLorean divorce case, and receives national media attention.

The firm opens its Monmouth County office in Oakhurst, NJ. The office later relocates to Eatontown, NJ.

The federal government makes a $40 million Urban Development Action Grant to Jersey City, NJ for the Newport Redevelopment Project (the largest grant in the history of the program), and the firm represents the city in negotiating the grant as well as another $35 million in related federal funding for the Newport Project.

1988 ----------------

After years as an icon of the legal profession, David T. Wilentz passes away and leaves behind one of New Jersey's oldest and largest law firms.

The firm's main office moves to its current location at the David T. Wilentz building at 90 Woodbridge Center Drive in Woodbridge, NJ, where the name "Wilentz" is proudly displayed across the top of the building and is visible for miles around.

The firm opens its office in New York City.

The New York Times comes to Edison, NJ to print the Sunday paper and the firm works to obtain zoning and other regulatory approvals to convert a 1,000,000 square-foot building into one of the largest printing plants in the world.

1990 ----------------

The firm recovers $17.9 million from asbestos manufacturers in its first Consolidated Brooklyn Navy Yard Trial, representing nine workers who developed diseases as a result of their exposure to asbestos while working at the Navy Yard.

1991 ----------------

Matthias D. Dileo, who served as the firm's managing partner for nearly 20 years, is named president of the New Jersey State Bar Association.

1992 ----------------

The firm participates in the Sica case before the New Jersey Supreme Court and makes it easier to procure zoning approvals for inherently beneficial uses such as hospitals, churches, nursing homes, and utilities.

1993 ----------------

The firm recovers approximately $110 million from asbestos manufacturers on behalf of workers injured by asbestos at power plants in New York state in the first New York Powerhouse Consolidation.

1996 ----------------

The firm successfully defends the new system of deregulation of telecommunications in New Jersey in the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey.

After the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Verizon New Jersey selects the firm for the litigation involving its interconnection agreements with AT&T and other competing telecommunications carriers. During this period, the firm served as the company's legal department and a firm attorney served as general counsel of the company.

1997 ----------------

In a case involving excessive police force, our Criminal Law Team wins a $17.5 million verdict, the largest ever awarded to an individual plaintiff in a federal civil rights case.

1998 ----------------

The firm serves as part of the litigation team that represents New Jersey against the tobacco industry to help achieve a landmark settlement of $7.6 billion for the citizens of New Jersey.

1999 ----------------

Former Associate Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, Alan B. Handler, joins the firm and later heads the investigation of operations of the New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles.

Firm attorneys serve on the litigation team that negotiated a $3.75 billion landmark class action settlement on behalf of people claiming injury by the diet drugs Pondimin and Redux, popularly known as Fen-Phen.

2000 ----------------

When the Board of Public Utilities decision approves the Transfer of Power Plants in what is part of a national trend to bring market forces to the electric industry, the firm is there counseling Public Service Electric and Gas Company as it developed its plan and subsequently successfully defended the plan in appeals through the New Jersey and U.S. Supreme Courts.

2001 ----------------

The firm helps to establish Trial Lawyers Care, one of the largest pro bono efforts in U.S. history, assisting victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks by providing free legal services to those who choose to make claims under the federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.

On the day after 9/11, RWE, an international utility company, shows support for the American economy and proceeds with the acquisition of the American Waterworks Company, a merger on which the firm provides regulatory counsel in New Jersey and other states across the United States.

2002 ----------------

Barry T. Albin, a partner of the firm, is nominated and later sworn in as an associate justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court.

2003 ----------------

The firm expands its Monmouth County office in Eatontown, NJ, adding attorneys and services.

Leading the way in revolutionary technology, the firm launches a live web cast on its web site that provides consumers with up-to-date legal information, via the Internet.

2005 ----------------

Stuart A. Hoberman became the second Wilentz attorney to become president of New Jersey State Bar Association.

2007 ----------------

The firm opens offices in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, expanding its legal services to clients in the Northeast.

The firm is selected as co-counsel for the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, via the New Jersey State Attorney General’s new Request for Qualifications, established in an effort to depoliticize the selections for state agencies.

2008 ----------------

The Firm serves as co-lead counsel since 2005 for plaintiff consumers who purchased Ford Explorers, reaching (after 50 days of trial) a four-state settlement covering one million people.

The firm was co-counsel representing plaintiffs in a class action matter against Health Net, Inc. The suits charged the defendant with improper reimbursement of its members for insurance claims for " out of network " medical treatment. The United States District Court in Newark approves a $255M settlement in class action suits against Health Net, involving more than two million people in several states.

2009 ----------------

The Firm was co-counsel representing plaintiffs in a class action matter against Solvay Pharmaceuticals.  Wilentz attorneys negotiated a $30 million settlement on behalf of a class of California purchasers of a pharmaceutical product that was alleged to have been falsely and deceptively advertised.

2010 ----------------

Warren W. Wilentz, son of the Firm’s founder David T. Wilentz, and brother of the late Chief Justice Robert N. Wilentz, passed away.

2011 ----------------

The Firm's Environmental, Land Use, Real Estate, Redevelopment and Public Finance teams handled various large deals. Examples include: negotiated terms of public private partnership for an over $60M mixed use parking and retail project on Weehawken Waterfront, handled redevelopment and sale of a 1.2M sq. ft. NJEIT financed warehouse/distribution facility in Carteret, and took lead for environmental permits and a PILOT Agreement for the Bayonne Energy Center Power Plant.

As co-counsel, the Firm represented plaintiffs in a class action matter against United Healthcare. The suit charged the defendant with improper reimbursement of its members for insurance claims for "out of network" medical treatment. The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York approved a $350 million settlement on behalf of providers and subscribers.

The Firm was ranked nationally and locally through a joint effort of U.S. News Media Group and Best Lawyers and was named on their 2011-2012 ‘Best Law Firms’ list. For the second year in a row, the Firm received national first-tier ranking for its Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions – Plaintiffs practice. The Firm also had the most first-tier rankings in Woodbridge, with metropolitan first-tier rankings in 16 practice areas.

2012 ----------------

Wilentz’ Chairman of the Board, Frederic K. Becker, was honored by the Metro New Jersey region of American Jewish Committee with its prestigious Judge Learned Hand Award.

The Firm was named as the NAIOP New Jersey's Industry Service Award winner. The award was presented to the Firm at the 25th Annual Commercial Real Estate Awards Gala.

2013 ----------------

The Firm was ranked nationally and locally through a joint effort of U.S. News Media Group and Best Lawyers and was named on their 2013 ‘Best Law Firms’ list. For the third year in a row, the Firm received national first-tier ranking for its Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions – Plaintiffs practice. The Firm also received first-tier rankings in 21 practice areas in New Jersey.