Mr. Costantini formerly served as associate general counsel to KPMG Peat Marwick and as regional counsel to the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
He is a member of the Professional Liability Committee of the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association and is also a member of the Commodities and Futures Committee and a former member of the executive committee of the Business Law Section of the same Association. Additionally, he has been a member of the Accounting and the Law Committee of the American Bar Association and the Litigation Committee of The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and is presently a member of the Corporation Litigation Counsel Committee of that same Association. He is also a court-trained mediator for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and has mediated a number of cases. From 2006 to 2009, he was a public member of the Auditing Standards Board, which sets U.S. auditing standards for the accounting profession. In 2013, he was invited to become an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association.
Mr. Costantini is a 1972 graduate of Columbia University School of Law, where he was a member of the Law Review, and a graduate of the University of Detroit, with an engineering degree.
- Represented a number of different bondholders, both individuals and hedge funds, in a successful summary judgment motion against the Republic of Argentina (NML Capital, Ltd v. Republic of Argentina, No. 14 Civ 8601 (TPG), 2015 WL 3542535 (S.D.N.Y. June 5, 2015) and filed an amicus brief in support of the ultimate Supreme Court opinion authorizing extraterritorial discovery against a sovereign nation notwithstanding the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. Republic of Argentina v. NML Capital, Ltd., 134 S.Ct. 2250 (2014)
- Filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) in the case of Erica P. John Fund, Inc. v. Halliburton Co. in support of the ultimately successful argument that the defendants should be allowed at the class-certification stage to introduce evidence rebutting the presumption of reliance where the plaintiffs asserted liability on the basis of a fraud-on-the-market theory.
- Represented major accounting firm sued by a state insurance commissioner for alleged improprieties in audit of the financial statements of a Pennsylvania insurer. Settled suit for less than one percent of the more than $100 million initially demanded.
- Represented an accounting firm in a case alleging that the accountants had violated ERISA. Won summary judgment on behalf of the accounting firm. McKinney v. Moore, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29494 (April 16, 2007, S.D.N.Y.)
- Represented major accounting firm in five-month long trial brought by bankruptcy-appointed trustee and creditor banks. Won favorable defense verdict.
- Successfully defended major accounting firm in trial and appeal of numerous issues relating to allegedly defective audited financial statements. Scottish Heritable Trust v. Peat Marwick Main & Co., 81 F.3rd 606 (5th Cir. 1996)
- Defended major accounting firm accused of defective auditing by significant investor in emerging growth company. Obtained on appeal a complete reversal of trial verdict for plaintiff in case with several million dollars of exposure. Frymire-Brimati v Peat Marwick Mitchell & Co., 2 F.3rd 183 (7th Cir. 1993) 3659
- Obtained complete defense verdict for accounting firm sued by investors for allegedly improper accounting work on projections with respect to the sale of housing units. Five-month trial produced a 100-page opinion in favor of client on all key issues where damages were alleged to be millions of dollars. Abrams & Wolfsy v. Renaissance Investment Corp., 820 F.Supp. 1519 (N.D. Ga 1993) 3660
- Supervised defense of major accounting firm in case involving allegations by SIPC-appointed receiver of defective audits of the financial statements of a broker-dealer. Obtained complete defense verdict in case where damages were allegedly in the millions of dollars. Mishkin v. Peat Marwick Mitchell & Co., 744 F.Supp. 531 (S.D.N.Y. 1990) 3661
- Represented major accounting firm in suit by State of California deposit insurance agency with respect to the firm's audit of the financial statements of a failed financial institution. Case settled favorably for accounting firm.
- Represented a number of professionals in investigations by professional societies and state boards.
- Co-headed, with two other partners of the firm, an effort, on behalf of a federal regulatory agency (OFHEO), to conduct an investigation and write a report on whether Fannie Mae and its senior officers had violated the agency's safety and soundness standards. The ensuing litigation, headed by the same three partners, resulted in a settlement of $400 million with the regulated entity.
- Conducted numerous special investigations relating to options back-dating, compensation matters, foreign payments and whistle-blowing issues for audit committees of public corporation.
- Represented a number of individuals and entities in investigations by government agencies.
- Successfully brought a number of equitable actions as a government official.
- Appointed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to argue an appeal on behalf of a physician who was suing a hospital for violations of Title VII. On basis of our brief and argument, summary judgment against the physician was reversed by the Court of Appeals. Salamon v. Our Lady of Victory Hospital, 514 F.3d 217 (2nd Cir. 2008)
- Lead counsel in an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on behalf of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. The amicus brief was filed in support of New York City with respect to a summary judgment rendered against the City with respect to its efforts to prevent New York City schools from being used for religious worship. Summary judgment was reversed by the Court of Appeals and the case remanded. The Bronx Household of Faith v. Board of Education, 492 F.3d 89 (2nd Cir. 2007) Ultimately, the City's position was sustained.
- Obtained summary judgment defense verdict in federal court for two executors of large estate sued for alleged breach of fiduciary duty and negligence. Potential damage exposure of millions of dollars was completely avoided. Devinsky v. Kingsford, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25909 (March 31, 2008, S.D.N.Y.)
- Obtained verdicts for client in patent infringement case involving the chemicals industry. Minerals Technologies v. Omya, 430 F. Supp. 2d 195 (S.D.N.Y. 2006)
- Successfully tried several cases in federal court on employment discrimination issues.
- Represented a bankruptcy trustee in lawsuit involving a reckless acquisition by a Board of Directors of public company. Resulted in a settlement favorable to trustee.
- Represented one of America's largest organization of professionals in litigation involving credit cards issued in the name of the organization. Awarded summary judgment.
- Represented Tioga Downs Racetrack, LLC in all aspects of a comprehensive, competitive process that resulted in the New York Gaming Facility Location Board authorizing Tioga Downs to move forward with a license for its $195 million full scale casino expansion project at its existing racetrack outside Binghamton, New York.
Professional Liability Matters
Other Civil Litigation
Other Representative Matters
- New York
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
- Columbia Law School, J.D., 1972
- University of Detroit, B.Engr., 1969
- Duane Morris LLP
- Partner, 1997-present
- Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan LLP, New York, New York and Washington D.C.
- Partner, 1994-1997
- KPMG Peat Marwick, New York, New York
- Associate General Counsel, 1983-1994
- United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission, New York, New York and Washington, D.C.
- Regional Counsel, 1980-1982
- Cahill Gordon & Reindel, New York, New York
- Associate, 1972-1979
- Mediator, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, 2000-present
- American Bar Association
- Accounting and the Law Committee
- New York State Bar Association
- Commercial and Federal Litigation Section
-- Professional Liability Committee
Business Law Section
-- Commodities and Futures Committee
-- Past Member, Executive Committee
- The Association of the Bar of the City of New York
- Litigation Committee
- Corporation Litigation Counsel Committee
- Audit Standards Board (AICPA)
Honors and Awards
- AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®
- Co-author, ""Religious Worship Services" After-Hours in School Facilities Prohibited by NYC Rule and Sustained by Second Circuit," Duane Morris Alert, June 14, 2011
- Co-author, "Supreme Court Sets Stage for Skirmish on Price Impact and Securities Class Certification," Duane Morris Alert, June 10, 2011
- "What's Ahead in Enforcement," article on PCAOB enforcement issues, Journal of Accountancy, September 2004
- The Constitutional Implications of the Jurisdictional Amount Provisions, Columbia Law Review, 1971
- Cooperative Housing Corporations and the Federal Securities Laws, Columbia Law Review, 1971
Selected Speaking Engagements
- Speaker, The Knowledge Congress
- Teacher, National Judicial College
- Speaker, Practicing Law Institute
- Speaker, Association of Management Consulting Firms
- Speaker, Rhode Island Bar Association
- Speaker, New York State Bar Association