The Real Deal New York

Colliers’ Yoron Cohen sues JLL alleging defamation, age discrimination

I-sales broker had planned to file suit over departure from the firm
By Mark Maurer | May 11, 2017 12:50PM

From left: Yoron Cohen, Charles Harder and Peter Riguardi

Yoron Cohen followed through on his threat to sue JLL, claiming in court documents the brokerage defamed and discriminated against him by saying he was “old,” “tired” and “checked out.”

The veteran investment sales broker, who joined Colliers International in December, filed a suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York accusing JLL of defamation as well as age discrimination.

The dispute over alleged defamation stems from an article in The Real Deal in January in which a high-level JLL executive said that Cohen, along with his colleagues Richard Baxter, Scott Latham and Jon Caplan, were told in early 2016 that they were underperforming. The executive added that Cohen and his colleagues were given an ultimatum in September. Cohen, Baxter, Latham left for Colliers in December, while Caplan departed to launch his own firm.

“The false statements, individually and jointly, tend to so harm the reputation of the plaintiff as to lower his reputation in the community to deter others from associating or dealing” with Cohen, the suit says.

Cohen, who is in his 60s, claims JLL made discriminatory statements for over a year-and-a-half that caused him and his team members to lose morale. He accused his JLL bosses of calling him and his partners “old,” “tired” and “checked out.”

The suit also claims Cohen was repeatedly denied contract extensions by his bosses who favored younger brokers. Cohen says he was told he would not be signed to a long-term employment contract because of his age.

The suit names JLL as well as his direct supervisors, tri-state chair Peter Riguardi and tri-state COO Stephen Schlegel. A representative for JLL could not be immediately reached for comment.

Cohen’s lawyers are Charles Harder of Harder Mirell and Abrams — a noted Los Angeles-based defamation attorney who secured a landmark $140 million win for his client Hulk Hogan in a privacy lawsuit against Gawker Media last year – and Mark Rosenberg of Tarter Krinsky & Drogin.