Belt, David L.
Address: 147 North Broad Street P.O. Box 112, Milford, CT 06460
Lawyer Firm: Hurwitz, Sagarin, Slossberg & Knuff, LLC
|Areas of Practice|
David L. Belt represents clients in a wide variety of civil litigation matters, including antitrust, unfair trade practices (CUTPA), business torts, breach of contract, misappropriation of trade secrets trade names and trade dress, closely held business and professional practice breakups, civil RICO, securities fraud, wrongful discharge from employment, employment discrimination, class actions, and other complex civil disputes. He has been appointed by the Court to serve as a Special Master to hear discovery disputes in complex civil cases in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut.
Mr. Belt is the co-author of Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices, Business Torts and Antitrust, Vol. 12 of the Connecticut Practice Series (Westlaw 2015-2016); and the author of Should the FTC’s Current Criteria for Determining Unfair Acts or Practices Be Applied to Little FTC Acts? in The Antiturst Source, Feb 2010; Unresolved Issues Under the Unfair Trade Practices Act, published by the Connecticut Bar Journal in 2008; The Standard for Determining "Unfair Acts or Practice" Under State Unfair Trade Practices Acts, published in the Connecticut Bar Journal in 2006; Unfair Trade Practices included in the Connecticut Lawyers Deskbook (Conn. Bar Assn., 3d ed, 2008); Private Actions Under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, published in the Connecticut Bar Journal in 1990; and The Connecticut Anti-Trust Act: A Guide to Interpretation, published in the Connecticut Bar Journal in October 1980. He was also a contributing author to ABA Section of Antitrust Law, Consumer Protection Law Developments (2009).
Mr. Belt has been selected for inclusion to The Best Lawyers in America in the areas of commercial litigation (2003-2016) and antitrust litigation (2006-2016); in Chambers U.S.A.: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business as a leading lawyer in Connecticut General Commercial Litigation (2003-2016), and in Band 1 in that category (2007-2016); in Benchmark: Litigation as a "local litigation star"( 2009-2016) in Connecticut Litigation and in the annual Connecticut Super Lawyers list in the area of Business Litigation (2006-2016). He was named as a "Top 50 Attorney" (2008-2016) in Connecticut Super Lawyers. Mr. Belt is rated 10.0, Superb, on the AVVO lawyer rating website. Mr. Belt is AV Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell, its highest peer recognition for ethical standards and legal abilities, was selected to be a Life Fellow of the Connecticut Bar Foundation in 1996 and was elected a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation in 2016.
Mr. Belt is an Adjunct Professor of Law at the Quinnipiac University School of Law, where he teaches antitrust law and unfair and deceptive trade practices acts law. He has also taught antitrust and trade regulation law at the University of Connecticut School of Law. He is the Senior Topical Editor for Antitrust and Trade Regulation of the Connecticut Bar Journal. He has lectured to other lawyers on antitrust law, unfair trade practices, franchise litigation, and trial and appellate technique and has served as Counsel to the Grievance Committee of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. He has been appointed by the Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court to the Judicial Department’s Civil Commission (2011-Present).
Mr. Belt graduated from Yale University, magna cum laude, in 1965, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Epsilon, the international honor society for economics. Between 1965 and 1967, he served in the United States Army as a military intelligence officer, including a tour of duty in Vietnam between 1966 and 1967, where he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for Meritorious Achievement. After his Army service, Mr. Belt attended the Yale Law School, from which he graduated in 1970.
Mr. Belt is admitted to the bar of the State of Connecticut, and the bars of the United States District Courts of the District of Connecticut (1970), the Southern District of New York (1975), the Eastern District of New York (1975), the District of Rhode Island (1981), and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (1971) and the United States Supreme Court (1975).
Consulting counsel to plaintiff in connection with breach of contract action involving defense based on alleged price discrimination. (See Wes-Garde Components Group, Inc. v. Carling Technologies, Inc., 49 Conn. L. Rptr. 671, 2010 WL 1497553 (Conn. Super. Ct. Mar. 10, 2010). Represented energy conservation contractor in action by competitor alleging that it had conspired with public utility to exclude it from access to utility’s small business conservation program. See North American Energy Systems, LLC v. New England Energy Management, Inc., 269 F. Supp. 2d 12 (D. Conn. 2002). Represented co-defendant in antitrust, civil RICO and fraud action alleging a horizontal conspiracy among scrap paper suppliers to bribe purchasing agent of paper board manufacturer. See Federal Paper Board Company v. Amata, 693 F. Supp. 1376 (D. Conn. 1988). Represented national candy manufacturer in action by State of Connecticut alleging unlawful resale price maintenance in violation of Connecticut Antitrust Act; resolved by consent decree without any admission of wrongdoing. See State v. Russell Stover Candies, Inc., 1989-2 Trade Cas. (CCH) ¶ 68,768, 1985 WL 69195 (Conn. Super. Ct. May 28, 1985).Trial counsel for real estate developer in multi-million dollar claim for monopolization of local shopping center market by use of sham zoning appeals to block development of a regional shopping center. See Landmarks Holding Corp. v. Bermant, 664 F.2d 891 (2d Cir. 1981) (appeal by prior counsel). Co-counsel representing defendant in a criminal antitrust case charging conspiracy to rig bids for road tar contracts with municipalities. See United States v. Koppers Company, Inc., 652 F.2d 290 (2d Cir. 1981). Co-counsel representing plaintiff in major antitrust litigation involving claim that defendant had monopolized the plain paper office copier market; jury verdict for plaintiff of $37.3 million after a 14 month trial before case was dismissed by the court on legal grounds. See SCM Corp. v. Xerox Corp., 70 F.R.D. 508 (D. Conn. 1976); SCM Corp. v. Xerox Corp., 77 F.R.D. 10 (D. Conn. 1977); SCM Corp. v. Xerox Corp., 463 F. Supp. 983 (D. Conn. 1978), aff’d, 645 F.2d 1195 (2d Cir. 1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 1016 (1982).
Unfair and deceptive trade practices ("CUTPA")
Co-counsel for plaintiffs Connecticut auto body shops in state and federal court class actions against major insurers alleging that the insurers unlawfully suppressed labor rates and steered insureds to preferred auto body shops. See A&R Auto Body Specialty v. Progressive Cas. Ins. Co., 2008 WL 2229888 (D. Conn. May 28, 2008); Artie’s Auto Body, Inc. v. Hartford Fire ins. Co., 2010 WL 4354114 (Conn. Super. Ct. Oct 14, 2010). (denying motion to set aside jury verdict awarding $14,765 million in damages), rev’d, 317 Conn. 602, 119 A.3d 1139 (2015).Represented real estate investment firm claimed by the Commissioner of Consumer Protection to have improperly charged apartment tenants for water based on a ratio utility billing system; resolved by an assurance of voluntary compliance. Co-counsel representing defendant in a civil RICO and unfair trade practices action by liability insurer alleging that defendant billed insured’s for services not provided. See Allstate Insurance Co. v. Siegel, 312 F. Supp. 2d 260 (D. Conn. 2004). Represented major supermarket chain in state court class action alleging improper collection of sales tax and unfair trade practices. Counseled national developer of manufacturer’s outlet malls in connection with unfair trade practice action against opponent of mall who had formerly owned property sold to developer of competing mall and who solicited and financed adjacent property owners to bring litigation to block development of the mall. See Lewis v. Chelsea G.C. A. Realty Partnership, L.P., 2003 WL 356680 (Conn.Super.Ct. Jan. 22, 2003) (granting summary judgment for defendant), rev’d, 86 Conn. App. 596, 862 A.2d 368 (2004) (reversing because trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction and remanding with direction to render judgment dismissing the actions).Connecticut counsel for video game manufacturer in action brought by administratrix of estate of minor alleging that video game caused son’s friend to stab him, claiming violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act and the Connecticut Product Liability Act. See Wilson v. Midway Games, Inc., 198 F. Supp. 2d 167, 106 ALR 5th 759 (D. Conn. 2002). Co-counsel representing plaintiff in claim against health benefit plan administrator and its corporate customer for breach of contract, bad faith, unjust enrichment, interference with contract and unfair trade practices which deprived plaintiff of the fees he earned. See Feen v. Benefit Plan Administrators, Inc., 28 Conn. L. Rptr. 137, 2000 WL 1398898 (Conn. Super. Ct. Sept. 7, 2000); Feen v. Benefit Plan Administrators, Inc., 1999 WL 33972 (Conn. Super. Ct. Jan. 13, 1999) (successfully resolved by settlement).
Trade Secrets, noncompetition agreements, and other intellectual property disputes
Connecticut counsel representing major medical device manufacturer in patent infringement action involving medical device patents.Represented custom gun manufacturer in action brought by national gun manufacturer seeking declaratory judgment of noninfringement of trade dress. See Marlin Firearms Co. v. Wild West Guns, LLC, 2013 WL 2405510 (D. Conn. May 31, 2013)Represented machine and tool company in action in which major firearms manufacturer alleged it had misappropriated trade secrets. Represented former president of iron works that constructed works by artist Alexander Calder in action claiming conspiracy to defraud purchaser concerning Calder work constructed by the company. See Andre Emmerich Gallery, Inc. v. Segre, 1997 WL 672009 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 29, 1997). Represented major national insurance brokerage firm in successful action to enjoin former employee from violating noncompete agreement. See Alexander & Alexander of Connecticut, Inc. v. Cronin, 1996 WL 409227 (Conn. Super. Ct. June 27, 1996). Represented co-defendant audio equipment designer Mark Levinson in successful defense of action in which plaintiff claimed he could not use his own name in a competing business after assigning trademark rights in his name to plaintiff. See Madrigal Audio Laboratories, Inc. v. Cello, Ltd., 799 F.2d 814 (2d Cir. 1986). Appellate counsel for consultant in action restraining consultant from using or revealing trade secret claiming that trade secret had been disclosed in existing patent and in court pleadings. See Plastic & Metal Fabricators, Inc. v. Roy, 163 Conn. 257, 303 A.2d 725 (1972).
Fraud, negligence and other business torts
Lead counsel for electrical contractor sued as third party defendant by national printing company alleged by electric utility of having used electricity for many years without paying for it by bypassing the electric utility’s meter. Obtained dismissal with prejudice of all claims against contractor, including breach of contract, contractual indemnification and common law indemnification.Connecticut counsel for defendant, a corporate manager of a foreign petroleum corporation and its pension funds, sued by the receiver of certain companies to recover more than $30 million allegedly diverted to the manager in order to sustain an unlawful Ponzi scheme. See Carney v. Montes, 2014 WL 671263 (D. Conn. Feb 21, 2014).Connecticut counsel representing sons of Bernard Madoff in action brought by the Retirement Program for Employees of the Town of Fairfield seeking to recover damages for the loss of money invested with Bernard Madoff. See Retirement Program for the Town of Fairfield, et al v. Bernard Madoff, et al, 2010 WL 2106654 (Conn. Super. Ct. April 16, 2010). Represented trustee of life insurance trust owning multi-million dollar insurance policy on life of business executive convicted of securities fraud in action in which the United States sought to recover the value of the policy on grounds that the payment of premiums had constituted fraudulent transfers.Represented plaintiff limited partner in a convertible securities investment management and hedge fund firm in action alleging that general partner and others had sold the businesses of the partnership to insiders and third parties at less than fair market value. Co-counsel representing magazine publisher in action alleging that publisher had breached contract and made misrepresentations in connection with the printing of a book. See SLC Turnberry, Ltd. v. The American Golfer, Inc., 240 F.R.D. 50 (D. Conn. 2007). Connecticut counsel for major national law firm in action by the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority alleging that law firm was negligent in issuing opinion letter regarding transaction between plaintiff and Enron Corporation. See Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority v. Murtha Cullina, LLP, 40 Conn. L. Rptr. 239, 2005 WL 3291920 (Conn. Super. Ct. Oct. 31, 2005). Represented major real estate developer in action in which seller of commercial shopping centers alleged developer had made misrepresentations and had tortuously interfered with contract between seller and its employee. See Beckenstein Enterprises-Prestige Park, LLC v. Lichtenstein, 37 Conn. L. Rptr. 627, 2004 WL 1966863 (Conn. Super. Ct. Aug. 11, 2004). Connecticut counsel for co-defendant in multidefendant actions in which the State of Connecticut and a labor union health fund sought to recover for health care costs alleged to have been incurred as a result of the use of tobacco products. Connecticut Pipe Trades Health Fund v. Philip Morris, Inc., 153 F. Supp. 2d 101 (D. Conn. 2001). Represented defendant general partners of real estate limited partnership in action alleging mismanagement of $12 million apartment complex. Represented former president of iron works that constructed works by artist Alexander Calder in action claiming conspiracy to defraud purchaser concerning Calder work constructed by the company. See Andre Emmerich Gallery, Inc. v. Segre, 1997 WL 672009 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 29, 1997). Represented defendant stock brokerage firm in action by estate to recover funds allegedly stolen from brokerage account by stockbroker by means of forged checks. Represented defendant law firm in federal court action alleging violation of securities laws, misrepresentations and breach of fiduciary duty in connection with sale of condominium project. Represented plaintiffs in federal court securities class action alleging misrepresentations in connection with the sale of limited partnership interests; settling case for $3.4 million, representing 86 percent of the plaintiffs’ original investments.
Breakups of professional practices and closely held companies
Represented minority owners and officers of health services corporation and limited liability company in successful effort to enjoin majority shareholders from removing minority owners from management positions. See Moore v. Bender, 2014 WL 4099345 (Conn. Super. Ct. July 14, 2014).Represented controlling shareholder of closely held family corporation in action by minority shareholder claiming a failure to distribute to him a fair share of the proceeds of the sale of a substantial part of the corporation’s business to a third party.Represented 50 percent owner of optometry practice in practice breakup. Represented partner in venture capital firm in dispute with firm. Represented co-owner of dental practice in successful negotiation of breakup without litigation. Represented large incorporated medical practice in successful negotiation of departure of a number of shareholders without litigation. Represented defendant law firm and its members in action by resigning member of professional corporation seeking to require firm to compensate him for the value of his shares and alleging violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. Represented fifty percent owner of corporation engaged in the processing and resale of recyclables in action for dissolution of corporation.
Connecticut counsel for international commodities trading firm in state court action in which former commodities trader sued to recover damages for alleged failure to pay in excess of $1 million allegedly due under his employment contract. See Goldberg v. Glencore, Ltd., 2014 WL 4922016 (Conn. Super. Ct. Aug. 27, 2014).Represented public corporation in action by former president of corporation alleging breach of alleged termination agreement. Represented software development company and its directors in individual and derivative action by former president alleging wrongful termination and breach of employment agreement. Represented major Connecticut law firm in defense of claim for retaliatory discharge brought by former employee. See Ventura v. Cummings & Lockwood, 117 F. Supp. 2d 114 (D. Conn. 1999). Represented principal of insurance brokerage firm in federal action alleging sexual harassment. Co-counsel representing defendant employer in wrongful discharge action where employee had been terminated for secretly recording conversations with supervisors. See Heller v. Champion International, Inc., 891 F.2d 432 (2d Cir. 1989).
Breach of contract
Represented corporation which sold a substantial part of its business to a third party for more than $8 million in an action by the third party to recover in excess of $100,000 for breach of the seller’s payment obligations and breaches of noncompetition agreements.Represented national cabinet manufacturer in defense of case alleging wrongful termination of distributors. Co-counsel representing aircraft leasing company in litigation and arbitration proceedings alleging breach by major international aerospace manufacturers of contract to implement program to re-engine popular business jet. See Retrofit Partners I, L.P. v. Lucas Industries, Inc., 47 F. Supp. 2d 256 (D. Conn. 1999), aff’d, 201 F.3d 155 (2d Cir. 2000); Lucas Aerospace Ltd. v. Advanced Executive Aircraft Ltd., 292 A.D. 2d 201, 738 N.Y.S. 2d 211 (App. Div. 2002). Represented defendant fund manager in action involving a claim for a multimillion-dollar fee in connection with the placement of investment interests. See Conning Corporation v. Davenport Group, 1992 WL 329298 (Conn. Super. Ct. Nov. 2, 1992); Conning Corporation v. Davenport Group, 6 Conn. L. Rptr. 340, 1992 WL 98135 (Conn. Super. Ct. Apr. 20, 1992).
Co-counsel for plaintiffs Connecticut independent auto body shops in state and federal court class actions against major insurers alleging that the insurers unlawfully suppressed labor rates and steered insured to preferred auto body shops. See A&R Body Specialty v. Progressive Cas. Ins. Co., 2008 WL 2229888 (D. Conn. May 28, 2008); Artie’s Auto Body, Inc. v. Hartford Fire Ins. Co., 2010 WL 4354114 (Conn. Super. Ct. Oct. 14, 2010). (denying motion to set aside jury verdict awarding $14,765 million in damages).Connecticut counsel for major tobacco company defendant in state court securities law class action relating to corporate acquisition and merger.Represented major supermarket chain in state court class action alleging improper collection of sales taxes and unfair trade practices.Represented plaintiffs in federal court class action alleging misrepresentations in connection with the sale of limited partnership interests in a condominium development; settling case for $3.4 million, representing 86 percent of the plaintiffs’ original investments.Liaison counsel for plaintiffs in federal consumer class action against Trilegiant Corporation, several prominent internet retailers, and several banks for conspiring to make unauthorized charges to consumers’ credit cards in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, and federal wire fraud statutes.
Connecticut counsel for underwriters at Lloyds of London in action by insurer to recover from reinsurers a major portion of the $1.15 billion the insurer had paid to resolve approximately 17,000 asbestos-related claims. See Hartford Accident and Indemnity Co. v. Ace American Reinsurance Co., 40 Conn. L. Rptr. 480, 2005 WL 3663930 (Conn. Super. Ct. Dec. 14, 2005).Connecticut counsel for defendant facultative reinsurer sued by general liability insurer to recover part of cost of selling insured chemical company’s claims for environmental contamination liabilities. See Hartford Acc. & Indem. v. Columbia Cas. Co., 98 F.Supp. 2d 251 (D. Conn. 2000) (denying plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment).
Counsel to Suburban Propane LLP, a national propane distributor, in connection with proposals by State of Connecticut to enact statutes and regulations in connection with the sale of propane to residential customers.
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