Roy H. Schwartz, a Principal, focuses his practice on commercial and construction litigation. He has defended architects, engineers, and land surveyors in professional malpractice claims, and has also represented developers and contractors. Prior to joining Zetlin & De Chiara, Roy was with a New Jersey law firm where he represented design professionals in the defense of professional liability and related claims. He has lectured on malpractice-related issues. Amongst other notable successes, he has procured summary judgment several times by arguing that plaintiffs' experts have provided inadmissible, net opinions. His experience also includes, for example, representing plaintiffs and defendants in commercial and personal injury claims, and preparing appeals. Roy has been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America: Ones to Watch for Construction Law and Litigation - Construction. Roy also serves as counsel for AIA Queens.
Roy previously clerked for the Honorable Anthony J. Parrillo, J.A.D., a New Jersey Appellate Division judge.
Roy is admitted to practice in the State and Federal Courts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York; and the Third Circuit. He received his J.D. from Rutgers Law School-Camden, and his M.S. (Global Studies) and B.A. (Political Science and Economics) from Rutgers College. While in law school, Roy served as the Production Editor of the Rutgers Law Journal and Vice-President of the Rutgers International Law Society. He participated in the Hunter Moot Court, where he was recognized as a Top Ten Oralist. Roy also received the Richard B. Morris Prize in American Legal History.
The following are select representative matters:
Arbitration Relating to Governmental Data Center
We served as lead counsel in an international arbitration concerning a joint venture dispute totaling several millions of dollars in claims. We prevailed on our client’s claims of entitlement to damages based upon the joint venturer’s conduct, and successfully defeated all counterclaims. This lawsuit concerned an overseas base. After succeeding in the arbitration, we then obtained an enforceable judgment and collected.
Arbitration Relating to Governmental Data Center
We represented a design firm who was sued for malpractice regarding a data center located in West Virginia. Following discovery, we arbitrated to a successful result.
Fire/Police Emergency Station
Roy represented an architectural firm sued for professional malpractice regarding alleged structural deficiencies. A municipality filed the lawsuit, claiming that its fire/police station had been incurring differential settlement. In a case of first impression, New Jersey’s Supreme Court agreed with Roy’s position that the architectural firm should be entitled to empty chair allocation (on the verdict sheet) against the structural and soils engineers because, due solely to the plaintiff’s delays in filing suit, those parties were dismissed under New Jersey’s Statute of Repose.
Solar Power Project
We represented a developer of solar power projects in a dispute with a major solar power contractor. Following discovery, we prevailed at arbitration on claims that the contractor breached an agreement with our client and, further, defeated all counterclaims.
Prestigious West Coast Museum Lawsuit
We provided legal counsel to an architectural client who designed a multi-million dollar project for a well-known museum.
Brewing Factory (Located Overseas)
We litigated a high-stakes, complex arbitration, where we represented an engineer sued by an owner/developer of a large, overseas packaging plant. The allegations primarily focused on whether or not the packaging assembly lines were adequately designed to ensure the facility’s high production.
We represented a restaurant owner, engaged in a lawsuit with its general contractor over payment issues and allegations of defective work. The Philadelphia Court agreed with our argument that, under a seldom-cited statutory provision in Pennsylvania’s lien law, our client was entitled to pay the contractor’s subcontractors in a process that allowed the owner to circumvent the general contractor.
We represented a MEP engineer who was sued by an injured worker at a construction site. After reviewing the claims and the surrounding evidence, we filed a pre-Answer, Motion to Dismiss based upon documentary evidence to support that our client could not be held liable on a Labor Law theory. After considering our Motion to Dismiss’s likelihood of success, plaintiff agreed to dismiss our client.
We represented a MEP engineer in a personal injury case, where plaintiff claimed that the engineer’s work exposed the plaintiff to toxins. The Court dismissed our client (without prejudice) upon agreeing that plaintiff failed to satisfy certain conditions precedent for suing a design professional regarding services performed nearly 40 years prior.
We represented a code consultant in a personal injury case, where plaintiff claims that he was injured due to the insufficient design of certain egress routes. The Court granted summary judgment to our client upon finding no evidence that the code consultant breached any professional standards or otherwise could be held liable for the various legal theories presented.
Residential Tower in Manhattan (Allegations Regarding Design and Material Selection)
We defended a prestigious, international architectural firm in a lawsuit where the developer claimed it incurred damages due to certain design issues and selection of high-end building materials. The Commercial Division dismissed our client upon agreeing that the allegations were not grounded in any viable legal theories.
Residential Co-Op in Manhattan (Allegations Regarding Toxic Exposure)
We represented an architect, sued by an individual who claimed that the architect’s design work (and alleged administration) caused her exposure to toxins. After we filed a pre-Answer Motion to Dismiss, the plaintiff agreed to let out our client due to the evidence supporting that, as a matter of law, the architect could not be held liable under these circumstances.
Residential Building in New Jersey (Numerous Allegations By Condominium Residents)
We represented a MEP engineer at a newly-constructed, residential, condominium building in Hoboken, New Jersey. We moved for summary judgment following plaintiff’s failure to serve an Affidavit of Merit. The Court agreed with our arguments that, despite plaintiff’s claims to the contrary, there were no equitable grounds for keeping our client in the litigation.
Home In Caribbean (Interior Design Issue)
On behalf of an owner, we sued an interior design firm concerning a luxury, overseas residence. After procuring a default judgment, we obtained a monetary judgment following an inquest hearing.
Home in New Jersey (Settlement Issue)
Roy represented a civil engineering/surveying firm, who was sued by a home owner over allegations that a retaining wall was contributing to the house’s differential settlement problems. The Trial Court, and then the Appellate Court, agreed that the plaintiff’s expert witness’s credibility must be assessed by a factfinder (as opposed to a Judge considering plaintiff’s summary judgment motion) given the expert witness’s credibility issues developed through discovery. In this case, the factfinder determined that the civil engineering/surveying firm was not liable.
Home in New Jersey (Surveying Issue)
Roy represented a land surveyor, who a developer sued under allegations that the surveyor failed to properly “set back” the developer’s house pursuant to local zoning requirements. The Court dismissed the claims upon agreeing that the plaintiff’s expert relied upon personal standards, not objective standards.
The following are select representative matters:
- Arbitration Relating to Governmental Data Center
News & Events
Roy Schwartz, Principal, Zetlin & De Chiara LLP, received a Chapter Citation Award for his service to the Queens Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Together with Ray Mellon, a Senior Partner at Zetlin & De Chiara LLP, Roy has served as legal counsel to AIA Queens.
Zetlin & De Chiara partners Michael Zetlin, Michael De Chiara, Bill Chimos, Tim Hegarty, Ray Mellon, Jaimee Nardiello, Carol Patterson, Loryn Riggiola, and Jim Terry were once again recognized by Best Lawyers in their 2023 list of top Construction attorneys.
Additionally, Hal Blanchard, Rachel John, Anazette Ray and Roy Schwartz were selected as Ones to Watch.
- 08.19.2021Best Lawyers®
Zetlin & De Chiara lawyers received wide recognition by Best Lawyers in their 2022 edition for being among the most skilled and accomplished construction lawyers in New York and New Jersey.
New York, NY, (August 20, 2020) -- Zetlin & De Chiara LLP is pleased to announce that nine lawyers have been included in the 2021 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers has become regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence.
In addition, three lawyers have been included in the 2021 Edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch. Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch recognizes lawyers demonstrating outstanding professional skills early in their careers in private practice in the United States.
- 02.28.2020Anazette Ray and Roy Schwartz Briefed NYC High School Students on Careers in Law as part of NYC Career Discovery WeekPartnership for New York City and NYC Department of Education
"Get a mentor." That may be the most valuable piece of advice imparted on February 11 by Anazette Ray and Roy Schwartz, attorneys at Zetlin & De Chiara LLP, when they spoke to the future leaders of New York City at the High School for Civil Rights in Brooklyn as part of Career Discovery Week.
- 11.05.2019Real Estate Weekly
Roy Schwartz, Principal at Zetlin & De Chiara LLP, was spotlighted in a profile in Real Estate Journal's One to Watch Spotlight.
- Real Estate Weekly
Rutgers Law School-Camden, J.D.
Rutgers College, M.S.
Rutgers College, B.A.
- Honorable Anthony J. Parrillo, J.A.D., a New Jersey Appellate Division Judge
- New Jersey
- New York
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
- U.S. District Court, Western District of New York
- U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania