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INDEX NO. 155808/2012

FILED: NEW YORK COUNTY CLERK 08/27/2012 NYSCEF DOC. NO. 1

RECEIVED NYSCEF: 08/27/2012

SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK COUNTY OF NEW YORK -----------------------------------------------------------------------X SABHARWAL & FINKEL, LLC, ADAM FINKEL and ROHIT SABHARWAL,

Index No. Date Filed: Plaintiffs Designate: New York County Basis of Venue: Plaintiffs’ Residences

Plaintiff, - against -

SUMMONS Plaintiffs’ Residences: New York County

SIR MARTIN SORRELL, Defendant. ----------------------------------------------------------------------X

To the above named Defendant(s):

YOU ARE HEREBY SUMMONED to answer the complaint in this action and to serve a copy of your answer, or, if the complaint is not served with this summons, to serve a notice of appearance, on the Plaintiffs’ Attorney(s) within 20 days after the service of this summons, exclusive of the day of service (or within 30 days after the service is complete if this summons is not personally delivered to you within the State of New York); and in case of your failure to appear or answer, judgment will be taken against you by default for the relief demanded herein. Dated: New York, New York August 27, 2012 SABHARWAL & FINKEL, LLC

___________________________ By: ADAM FINKEL Attorneys for Plaintiff, pro se 350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor New York, New York 10118 Tel: (212) 601-2882 Fax: (212) 601-2883 DEFENDANT’S ADDRESSES: SIR MARTIN SORRELL 11 Madison Avenue, 12th Floor New York, NY 10010

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SIR MARTIN SORRELL 100 Park Avenue New York, NY 10017 SIR MARTIN SORRELL 6 Ely Place Dublin 2 Ireland

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SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK COUNTY OF NEW YORK -----------------------------------------------------------------------X SABHARWAL & FINKEL, LLC, ADAM FINKEL and ROHIT SABHARWAL,

Index No.

Date Filed: Plaintiffs, - against VERIFIED COMPLAINT SIR MARTIN SORRELL and JOHN DOES 1 THROUGH 10, Defendants. ----------------------------------------------------------------------X

The Plaintiffs, SABHARWAL & FINKEL, LLC (“S&F”), ADAM FINKEL (“Finkel”) and ROHIT SABHARWAL (“Sabharwal”) (collectively the “Plaintiffs”) seek compensatory and punitive damages against Defendant SIR MARTIN SORRELL (“Sir Martin” or “Defendant”) for false, defamatory and malicious statements made by Sir Martin about the Plaintiffs and against JOHN DOES 1 THROUGH 10. PARTIES: 1.

S&F is a law firm with offices located at 350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 5900,

New York, NY 10118. 2.

Finkel is an attorney residing at 389 East 89th Street, New York, NY, and a

member of S&F. 3.

Sabharwal is an attorney residing at 330 East 38th Street, New York, NY,

and a member of S&F.

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4.

S&F is the law firm of record for plaintiff in the case of New Delhi

Television v. Nielsen Holdings N.V. et al, Index Number 652589/2012 (the “NDTV Action”) currently pending before this Honorable Court. 5.

Sir Martin is an individual residing in New York and in London, with

principal places of business at 100 Park Avenue, New York, NY and 11 Madison Avenue, 12th Floor, New York, NY. During an interview with Bloomberg TV on November 3, 2011, Sir Martin has stated “I split my time between London and New York.” That interview can be seen at: www.bloomberg.com/video/79507048-martin-sorrell-discussesadvertising-eye-to-eye.html 6.

Sir Martin is also the founder and Chief Executive Officer of WPP plc, the

world’s leading group of advertising companies with operations in over 100 countries (“WPP”). At the same interview on November 3, 2011, it was said about Sir Martin that “When he talks, the world listens.” 7.

Several companies that are a part of WPP are defendants in the NDTV

Action. Those companies are WPP, Kantar Media Research Private Limited, J. Walter Thompson, IMRB International and Cavendish Square Holding B.V. (the “WPP Parties”). 8.

John Does 1 through 10 are as yet unidentified publishers of the

Defamatory Statements made by Sir Martin. Upon information and belief, the John Doe defendants either reside in New York County or have their principal place of business in New York County.

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JURISDICTION AND VENUE: 9.

This Court has personal jurisdiction over Defendant Sir Martin pursuant to

CPLR §301 because he is a part time resident of New York, and has one or more places of business in New York. 10.

Venue is proper in New York County pursuant to CPLR §503(a) because

the Plaintiffs reside in New York County and Sir Martin is a part time resident of New York County. FACTS: 11.

On or about August 24, 2012, in a telephonic interview from London,

United Kingdom, with LiveMint.com, an affiliate of The Wall Street Journal, Sir Martin made several false, defamatory and malicious statements relating to the Plaintiffs in the context of the NDTV Action. Those statements can be seen at: www.livemint.com/2012/08/24203321/Martin-Sorrell-takes-thefight.html?atype=tp A printout of a download from that site is attached hereto as Exhibit A. 12.

The Defamatory Statements (defined below) made by Sir Martin during

that interview include the following: a.

“The two-lawyer firm (engaged by NDTV) is based in Florida …”. (“Statement I”)

b.

“… and it specializes in restaurant law.” (“Statement II”)

c.

“Their lawyers called us and asked if we would discuss a settlement. I said there is no question of settlement. This whole thing is mischievous, designed to elicit some financial response from us.” (“Statement III”)

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d.

“We waited three-four weeks to see what was going to happen. But nothing happened. They are issuing illegitimate proceedings in the US with lawyers working on a contingency basis, where they do not get a fee, but a percentage of settlement. That is why they rang up.” (“Statement IV”)

e.

“We will do everything to improve the system, but not with the gun being held to our head in an inexpert way. We have not got the proceedings in the right way. This is to extort money from us.” (“Statement V”)

13.

Each of the above five (5) statements I trough V (collectively, the

“Defamatory Statements”) is demonstrably false: a.

Statement I is false because S&F is not based in Florida. It is based in New York, the site of the NDTV Action, a fact known to Sir Martin and his lawyers. Neither Rohit Sabharwal (“Sabharwal”) nor Adam Finkel (“Finkel”), the two members of S&F, are, or have ever been, admitted to practice law in Florida. Both Sabharwal and Finkel are admitted to practice law in New York. Sabharwal is also in Inactive Status with the California Bar, and at one time was admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, but allowed that admission to lapse several years ago. The only office of S&F is at 350 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. As noted above, both Sabharwal and Finkel reside in New York, New York.

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b.

Statement II is false because S&F does not specialize in “restaurant law”. S&F, and its predecessors, Sabharwal Nordin & Finkel and Sabharwal & Associates, have, since 1996, specialized in complex commercial litigation, arbitration and banking law. That fact is reflected: (1) in the public records of various litigation matters in which S&F and its predecessors appeared before this Honorable Court and before the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York; and (2) on the respective websites of S&F and its predecessors: www.sabharwalandfinkel.com and www.snfny.com. Aside from S&F (the law firm retained by NDTV in the NDTV Action), Sabharwal and Finkel are currently involved with two separate and independent affiliate law firms, Sabharwal Globus & Lim (“SGL”) and Brentmoor Law Partners (“BLP”) (which are not involved in the NDTV Action in any way whatsoever. The respective websites are www.SGL-Law.com and www.brentmoorlaw.com. At SGL, formed in 2005, Sabharwal has two partners, Julie Globus and Stanley Lim, who specialize in Loan Syndications and Trading Association (LSTA) and Loan Market Association (LMA) documentation. Finkel has no ownership interest in SGL whatsoever. Although Sabharwal has an ownership interest in SGL, he plays no role in the preparation of such documentation. Both Sabharwal and Finkel have an ownership interest in BLP. At BLP, Finkel has recently started developing restaurant related clients. However, even

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the attorney profile section of the BLP website makes it clear that both Sabharwal and Finkel specialize in commercial litigation. Sabharwal has not yet played a role in BLP activities, as BLP is still in its infancy stage. c.

Statement III is false because the Plaintiffs have never spoken with Sir Martin or any other employees of the WPP Parties. The Plaintiffs have spoken only once with Howard Rubin (“Rubin”) of Davis & Gilbert, the lawyers for the WPP Parties. That conversation took place at approximately 5 PM on August 21, 2012. Rubin had earlier called Finkel at approximately 3 PM on August 21 and left a message to call him back. Sabharwal and Finkel returned Rubin’s call at 5 PM on a three-way conference call. Various discussions took place during that call. Rubin inquired, in a casual conversational manner, where the area code “561” was from. Sabharwal answered that he was in Florida, and that although he spends time in Florida, Finkel was “the man on the ground in New York” and “runs the show there”. Sabharwal added that he was able to work from Florida from time to time due to the advances of technology. There was absolutely no statement made about S&F being based in Florida. Rubin then explained why he had called. He stated that of the five WPP entities served at 11 Madison Avenue, New York, only one, Kantar Media Research Pvt Ltd. (“Kantar”), had an office there and the other four entities would have to be served through the Hague Convention. He was concerned that

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because service was effectuated on Kantar on August 10, 2012, the time to answer would run out by August 31 and he was going on vacation. So he requested an extension. Sabharwal and Finkel responded by saying that as a professional courtesy, they would be glad to grant an extension until September 15, 2012 for Kantar. The topic then came up about completing service on the remaining four entities, which would require undertaking such service under the Hague Convention. At that point Sabharwal asked Rubin if he was aware that Eric Salama, CEO of Kantar, who was in contact with Vikram Chandra, CEO of NDTV, about a possible resolution, had asked Vikram to “halt litigation�, and that S&F did not want to continue service efforts because Eric Salama had already complained, by way of an email to Vikram Chandra dated August 13, 2012, about the service on August 10. Rubin responded by saying he was aware of such exchange of emails to a limited extent, and that he would speak with Eric Salama to check status and then we could decide on whether service was necessary under the Hague Convention. The issue of a possible resolution of the dispute between NDTV and the WPP Parties came up ONLY in that context. Indeed, as stated to Rubin, the only reason that Sabharwal and Finkel even asked Rubin about the status of the ongoing discussions between NDTV and Eric Salama was to avoid further complaints by Eric Salama based on further service attempts upon the WPP Parties in the NDTV Action. At no point did either

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Sabharwal or Finkel ask Rubin about settlement other than in the context of service under the Hague Convention on the remaining four entities. On August 22, 2012, WPP issued a statement about the NDTV Action, which was contrary to the conversation of August 21 between S&F and Rubin. Sabharwal called Rubin to discuss the WPP statement dated August 22 and left Rubin a voicemail saying that the WPP statement was an “ambush” and based on a complete misunderstanding of US laws and procedures, and that apparently Eric Salama and WPP were not in communication. Rubin responded via email on August 23. In that email, Rubin states “… you were not even going to try to serve the other companies until after there was a decision on whether there would be settlement discussions.” That and other emails exchanged with Rubin, along with a copy of the WPP statement dated August 22, 2012, are attached hereto as Exhibit B. d.

Statement IV is false for the same reasons noted above in relation to Statement III. In addition, S&F’s fee arrangement with NDTV is confidential and the terms thereof have not been conveyed to any other party, including, but not limited to, Sir Martin and/or his counsel, the WPP Parties and/or their counsel, and/or any of the other defendants in the NDTV Action and/or their counsel. Without waiving the protections of the attorney client privilege and/or breaching the duty of confidentiality, the Plaintiffs contend that Sir Martin’s statements

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pertaining to the fee arrangement between NDTV and S&F are simply not true. e.

Statement V is false for the same reasons noted above in relation to Statement III.

14.

The Defamatory Statements have gone viral, with tens of thousands of

derogatory Tweets and other Internet communications about the Plaintiffs and/or the Defamatory Statements, in just the three days since publication on August 24, 2012 and the date of filing of this Complaint on August 27, 2012. 15.

Sir Martin is an extremely sophisticated and successful businessman in the

field of advertising. He meticulously controls an advertising empire that spans the globe covering 108 countries, employs 158,000 people, has 2,500 offices, generates billings of $72 Billion, generates revenues of $16 Billion and has a market capitalization of $18 Billion. 16.

The company Sir Martin founded, runs and controls, WPP, was ranked in

the Top 10 of GigaOM’s 2012 paidContent 50, alongside Google, China Mobile and Apple. The rankings are based on the amount of revenue earned from digital content. 17.

WPP’s global newspaper and eBook, The WIRE (wire.wpp.com), is

consistently ranked in the Top 50 for worldwide Internal Communications Materials in the LACP Inspire Awards. 18.

Sir Martin wields enormous power in the world of advertising and

communication. 19.

Sir Martin was aware of such power when he made the Defamatory

Statements.

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20.

Sir Martin used that power in publishing the Defamatory Statements with

malice, hatred, ill will, spite and/or wanton, reckless, or willful disregard of the rights of the Plaintiffs and/or the injurious effects of his conduct upon the Plaintiffs, so as to wrongfully gain favorable public opinion for himself and/or WPP with regard to the pending NDTV Action regardless of the truth or falsity of the Defamatory Statements. 21.

Sir Martin’s Defamatory Statements have echoed across the world and

have caused grievous injury to the Plaintiffs. Sir Martin was aware that he would cause such grievous injury to the Plaintiffs when he made the Defamatory Statements. AS AND FOR A FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION FOR SLANDER PER SE: 22.

Plaintiffs repeat and re-allege paragraphs 1 through 21 set forth above, as if

they were set forth herein at length and incorporates said paragraphs herein by reference. 23.

Each of the Defamatory Statements made by Sir Martin about the Plaintiffs

are false and defamatory, published to LiveMint.com without privilege or authorization negligently and/or with knowledge of falsity and/or with reckless disregard for the truth or falsity of the Defamatory Statements and/or with malice and/or in a grossly irresponsible manner without due consideration for the standards of information gathering and dissemination ordinarily followed by responsible parties. 24.

In publishing the Defamatory Statements, Sir Martin acted with malice,

hatred, ill will, spite and/or wanton, reckless, or willful disregard of the rights of the Plaintiffs and/or the injurious effects of his conduct upon the Plaintiffs, so as to wrongfully gain favorable public opinion for himself and/or the WPP Parties with regard to the pending NDTV Action, regardless of the truth or falsity of the Defamatory Statements.

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25.

As a direct result of each of the Defamatory Statements, the Plaintiffs have

jointly and severally suffered various injuries, including, but not limited to, injuries to the Plaintiffs in their profession as attorneys, injuries to Plaintiffs caused as a result of being charged with the crimes of extortion and/or practicing law in Florida without a license and/or practicing law in New York without a license, including, but not limited to, practicing law in relation to the NDTV Action, injury by the loss of reputation in the legal community, including reputation with judges, juries, other attorneys and clients, injury by loss of reputation in the general community in New York, New York, contempt and ridicule and various other ills and injuries in an amount to be determined at trial. 26.

In addition, the Plaintiffs, jointly and severally, seek punitive damages

against Sir Martin and the John Doe defendants in an amount to be determined at trial. AS AND FOR A SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION FOR LIBEL PER SE: 27.

Plaintiff repeat and re-allege paragraphs 1 through 26 set forth above, as if

they were set forth herein at length and incorporates said paragraphs herein by reference. 28.

Each of the Defamatory Statements made by Sir Martin about the

Plaintiffs were false and defamatory, published to LiveMint.com without privilege or authorization negligently and/or with knowledge of falsity and/or with reckless disregard for the truth or falsity of the Defamatory Statements and/or with malice and/or in a grossly irresponsible manner without due consideration for the standards of information gathering and dissemination ordinarily followed by responsible parties. 29.

In publishing the Defamatory Statements, Sir Martin acted with malice,

hatred, ill will, spite and/or wanton, reckless, or willful disregard of the rights of the Plaintiffs and/or the injurious effects of his conduct upon the Plaintiffs, so as to

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wrongfully gain favorable public opinion for himself and/or WPP with regard to the pending NDTV Action regardless of the truth or falsity of the Defamatory Statements. 30.

At the time that the Defamatory Statements were made by Sir Martin to

LiveMint.com, Sir Martin was aware that each of the Defamatory Statements would be published in writing. 31.

At the time that the Defamatory Statements were made by Sir Martin to

LiveMint.com, Sir Martin intended that the Defamatory Statements be published in writing. 32.

Sir Martin caused the publication in writing of the Defamatory Statements.

33.

As a direct result of each of the Defamatory Statements, the Plaintiffs,

jointly and severally, have suffered various injuries, including, but not limited to, injuries to the Plaintiffs in their profession as attorneys, injuries to the Plaintiffs caused as a result of being charged with the crimes of extortion and/or practicing law in Florida without a license and/or practicing law in New York without a license, including, but not limited to, practicing law in relation to the NDTV Action, injury by the loss of reputation in the legal community, including reputation with judges, juries, other attorneys and clients, injury by loss of reputation in the general community in New York, New York, contempt and ridicule and various other ills and injuries in an amount to be determined at trial. 34.

In addition, the Plaintiffs, jointly and severally, seek punitive damages

against Sir Martin and the John Doe defendants in an amount to be determined at trial. WHEREFORE, the Plaintiffs demand judgment against Sir Martin and the John Doe defendants for compensatory and punitive damages in an amount to be determined at

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trial for each of the Causes of Action herein, and such other and further relief as the Court deems just, proper and equitable in the premises. Dated: New York, New York August 27, 2012 SABHARWAL & FINKEL, LLC, pro se

By:

Adam Finkel, pro se Rohit Sabharwal, pro se 350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor New York, New York 10118 Tel: (212) 601-2882 Fax: (212) 601-2883

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VERIFICATION Adam Finkel and Rohit Sabharwal, under the penalties of perjury, hereby affirm that they are members of the law firm of Sabharwal & Finkel, LLC, that they have read the foregoing Complaint and know the contents thereof, and that the same is true to their own knowledge except as to matters therein stated to be alleged on information and belief, and that as to those matters, they believe them to be true and correct. Dated: New York, New York August 27, 2012

Adam Finkel

_________________________ Rohit Sabharwal

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