Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Gassenheimer

James D. Gassenheimer

Partner, Berger Singerman

James D. Gassenheimer is a partner in the Miami office of Berger Singerman, Florida's business law firm. Mr. Gassenheimer is an acclaimed litigator whose practice areas include hospitality and leisure litigation, bankruptcy-related litigation, class action litigation, and complex commercial litigation, including in insurance, employment, aviation, real estate, tort and product liability, and franchise litigation. Mr. Gassenheimer has extensive jury and non-jury trial experience in State, Federal and Bankruptcy court, having tried over 100 cases to jury verdict or judgment. Mr. Gassenheimer advises one of the country's largest resort development and property management firms. He has served as lead counsel to the plan proponent in the reorganization of the largest hotel in Pittsburgh, including the successful six-day trial of contested matters against the secured lender. Mr. Gassenheimer also served as General Counsel to the Court Appointed Receiver in a $200 million real estate related receivership, handling complex commercial foreclosure litigation and bankruptcy matters, and prosecuting and defending fraud claims, lender liability, lien priority issues, and first and third party insurance claims involving over twenty separate affiliated developers. Mr. Gassenheimer has had extensive involvement in representative matters for Turnberry Ltd., Royal Caribbean Cruises, and Stiles Corporation, among others. Mr. Gassenheimer writes and speaks on novel issues affecting the hospitality industry and real estate. A graduate of Brown University with a BA in Economics, Mr. Gassenheimer earned his J.D. cum laude from the University of Miami School of Law.

Mr. Gassenheimer can be contacted at 305-714-4383 or jgassenheimer@bergersingerman.com

Coming up in May 2019...

Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.