This Weeks News

The Appellate Division, First Department, at 27 Madison Ave.

Panel Upholds Restrictions on Sex Offender Leniency

Ben Bedell | November 28, 2014

The First Department majority agreed with Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Roger Hayes that his court did not have "the discretion to decline to designate a defendant a sexually violent offender, even where he or she falls within the statutory definition."

Lake Huntington Summer Community

Suit Dismissed as Dogs Showed No Prior 'Vicious Propensity'

By Joel Stashenko |

A judge in Brooklyn has decided to stick to an old rule governing compensation for injuries caused by pet dogs, despite indications from the Court of Appeals that the legal standard for dog owners' liability may be changing.

Court Rejects Bid for Second Medical Exam in Accident Case

By Andrew Keshner |

A court has rejected attempts by defense counsel to have a plaintiff in a motor vehicle case examined by a second independent medical examiner, noting the attorneys were aware of the original doctor's disciplinary records for at least nine months.

Justice Antonin Scalia and House Speaker John Boehner.

Boehner's Suit Over Obamacare Faces Unlikely Foe

By Mike Sacks |

Speaker of the House John Boehner last week filed his long-anticipated lawsuit against the Obama administration. But the speaker's biggest foe in this interbranch fight isn't the president or the Democrats. It's the legacy of Antonin Scalia and Robert Bork.

Blumenthal Receives Emory Buckner Medal

By Rick Kopstein, Photographer |

The Federal Bar Council presented its Emory Buckner Medal to U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., in recognition of outstanding public service at the Bar Council's annual Thanksgiving luncheon Wednesday.

Ruling Brings Thelen Bankruptcy Closer to Conclusion

By Julie Triedman |

A bankruptcy judge in Manhattan brought Thelen LLP a giant step closer to a final resolution of its Chapter 7 liquidation, ruling Thursday that partners who haven't yet settled with the bankrupt firm's estate have to pay back monthly draws they received during the now-defunct firm's final year.

Injunction Bars Conn. Law Tribune From Publishing Story

By Thomas B. Scheffey |

In a ruling from the bench Monday, New Britain Superior Court Judge Stephen Frazzini enjoined the Connecticut Law Tribune from publishing an article based on a court document that had previously been published on the Judicial Branch website.

Doggone Helper

The Nassau County District Attorney's office newest hire is Mega, a Labrador retriever who has joined the staff as a "facility dog" to help victims and witnesses in sensitive cases, primarily children in abuse cases.

Simpson Thacher Sets High Bar With Associate Bonuses

By Nathalie Pierrepont |

Simpson Thacher set a high bar for its Wall Street rivals last week by announcing its year-end associate bonuses. Paul Weiss, Milbank, Cleary Gottlieb and Cravath all rose to the occasion, while Skadden strayed slightly from the pack for bonuses for its most senior associates.

Former Dewey Leader Files for Bankruptcy

By Christine Simmons |

John Altorelli, a former Dewey & LeBoeuf partner and executive committee member, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. His decision to file followed weeks of unsuccessful negotiations to produce a settlement with Dewey's bankruptcy trustee, according to his attorney.

Carmelyn P. Malalis

Outten & Golden Partner to Lead Revamped Agency

By Ben Bedell |

Mayor Bill de Blasio has appointed Carmelyn Malalis the new chair of New York City's Human Rights Commission and replaced all eight other commissioners.

Ex-State Workers' Lawsuit for Retaliation Proceeds

By Joel Stashenko |

A group of former state employees may move forward with their suit claiming their personal tax information was improperly released to state investigators in retaliation for allegedly leaking information about their agency to the New York Post, a federal judge ruled.

More Officiants Authorized for NY Indian Marriages

By Joel Stashenko |

An amendment to state Domestic Relations and Indian laws provides that a judge or peacemaker judge of any tribal court, a chief, a headman or any member of any tribal counsel or other governing body of any of the Indian nations in New York may now perform marriages on Indian lands.

On the Move

Seven firms announce new additions, while promotions were announced at Latham & Watkins, McDermott Will & Emery, and Ropes & Gray.

Seneca Hickory Stick Golf Course

Tribe's Corporate Entity Not Immune From Suit, Court Says

By Joel Stashenko |

A divided state Court of Appeals said that it could find no basis in federal or state law to support the argument that a corporate entity of an American tribe, in this case a subsidiary the Seneca Nation of Indians created to build a golf course at its western New York casino, is protected from suit by its nation's sovereign immunity.

City, State Settle Suit Over Wrongful Conviction

By Mark Hamblett |

New York City's $4.9 million malicious prosecution settlement with the widow of a man wrongfully convicted of murder was driven by the recent location of a key witness and the denial of summary judgment sought by two police detectives, according to lawyers in the case.

Judges Agree on Stop Outcomes but Differ on Rationales

By Joel Stashenko |

The state Court of Appeals upheld the use of evidence discovered in the police stop of one vehicle but denied it in a second Wednesday in a decision that reflected differences on the court over when police can pull over vehicles based on tips from anonymous 911 callers.

Arab Bank headquarters in Amman, Jordan

Plaintiffs Urge Judge to Reject Arab Bank's Vacatur Bid

By Ben Bedell |

Arguing that Arab Bank was found liable for transferring money to terrorists due to "overwhelming evidence" and citing the bank's own "parade of blunders" during trial, plaintiffs moved Tuesday to reject the bank's bid to vacate the verdict or allow a key sanctions ruling to be appealed.

Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse at 40 Foley Square

Circuit Reverses Suppression Ruling in Drug Case

By Mark Hamblett |

A husband cannot win a suppression bid by claiming police violated due process by lying to and tricking his wife into surrendering drugs she had secreted in her body, the Second Circuit held Monday.

Designer Kenneth Cole

Panel Affirms Dismissal of Suit Over Kenneth Cole Deal

By Ben Bedell |

The Appellate Division, First Department, unanimously upheld the dismissal of a minority shareholder challenge to a going-private deal by Kenneth Cole Production's majority shareholder: Kenneth Cole.

What Is the Bid?

According to the auction house of Doyle New York, the New York City Bar Association's rare book auction took in $2,369,231, well above the pre-sale estimate.

92nd Street in Rockaway, Queens, after Hurricane Sandy

Judges Push All Parties to Action in Sandy Lawsuits

By Andrew Keshner |

As cases continue to pile up disputing insurance claim denials or alleged underpayments following Hurricane Sandy, federal judges pressed attorneys on both sides as to why so few cases were being resolved.

NYU 2031 will create the buildings in white on the two large Greenwich Village blocks bordered by LaGuardia Place and Mercer, West Houston and West 3rd streets.

Village Residents Appeal NYU Expansion Plan Ruling

By Tania Karas |

A group of Greenwich Village residents, preservationists and activists are challenging a First Department decision allowing NYU to proceed with a $6 billion expansion plan, a decision they say disregarded common-law principles for determining when municipal land has been impliedly dedicated for parks usage.

Judge Declines to Require Discovery of Records

By Andrew Keshner |

In a discovery dispute during a dental malpractice case, a judge denied a defense attempt to compel authorizations for any records on matters like drug and alcohol treatment.

Manhattan Supreme Court at night

Bill Authorizes Night Sessions in City Courts

By Joel Stashenko |

State court administrators will be authorized to direct that night sessions be held in city courts handling non-violent misdemeanors and traffic violations under a bill signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Tenant May Pursue Injury Suit Over Mattress Fire

By Tania Karas |

A man who was injured when a mattress was set on fire in an apartment building may proceed with his lawsuit against the building's owners, a unanimous Appellate Division, First Department, panel ruled in upholding a lower court.

A button in honor of Moses 'Lateisha' Green, formerly Moses Cannon, worn by friends and family during Green's memorial service in Syracuse in July 2009.

Hate Crime Slaying Conviction Upset for Inconsistency

By Joel Stashenko |

It is legally inconsistent to find a defendant guilty of manslaughter as a hate crime while acquitting him at the same time of plain manslaughter, the state Court of Appeals ruled Monday in a high-profile case involving the killing of a transgendered woman in Syracuse.

Justice Tingling

Court Selects Justice Tingling as N.Y. County's Next Clerk

By Andrew Keshner |

Milton Tingling Jr., a state Supreme Court justice with deep connections to the courts, has been appointed New York County Clerk, filling a position held for 45 years by Norman Goodman.

Court Sees Path for Class Challenge to Rent Overcharge

By Joel Stashenko |

Tenants who claim they have been overcharged for rent may use class action suits to seek compensation as long as they waive through counsel the treble damages they could seek through Rent Stabilization Law, the state Court of Appeals determined Monday.

Pedro Hernandez, right, appears in Manhattan Supreme Court with his attorney, Harvey Fishbein, on Nov. 15, 2012.

Confession Can Be Admitted in Patz Trial, Judge Determines

By Ben Bedell |

A Manhattan criminal court judge ruled during a hearing Monday that the accused killer in the 35-year-old Etan Patz child murder case was not in custody when he made incriminating statements prior to being arrested and thus the statements were voluntary and admissable.

Lawyer Stanley Cohen, left, and his attorney, Randolph Daar of San Francisco, arrive at U.S. District Court in Manhattan on May 1.

Activist Attorney Sentenced to Prison for Tax Evasion

By Joel Stashenko and Mark Hamblett |

Defense attorney Stanley Cohen has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for what prosecutors said were his attempts to evade taxes on millions of dollars in income by seeking annual extensions without ever filing tax returns from 2005-10.

750 Attorneys From Bingham McCutchen to Join Morgan Lewis

By Brian Baxter |

In addition to the 226 Bingham McCutchen partners it was announced were headed to Morgan Lewis a little more than a week ago, Morgan Lewis will take on 525 other lawyers, legal professionals and staffers. About 100 attorneys are joining Morgan Lewis' 175-lawyer practice in New York City.

Court of Appeals Revises Bar Admissions Standards

By Tania Karas |

The state Court of Appeals has amended its rules for admission to the New York bar to allow law students to take more online courses, bringing New York's law schools in line with ABA accreditation standards that were approved in August.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr.

Report Bares Fraud in Efforts to Aid Women, Minorities

By Andrew Keshner |

After probing activities of several prime contractors and subcontractors in the construction industry, a Manhattan grand jury has offered recommendations to fight fraud and misuse in programs meant to encourage minority- and women-owned business enterprises.

Appellate Division, Third Department, courthouse in Albany

Panel Allows Suit Against Upstate District to Proceed

By Joel Stashenko |

A school district may be sued on grounds that it should have known one of its employees—now in prison for attempting to bomb his personal enemies—was also sexually harassing his secretary, an appeals panel found.

American Idol contestant Chris Golightly.

Judge Rejects Lawsuit Alleging 'American Idol' Bias

By Amanda Bronstad |

A federal judge in New York has dismissed a class action filed by 10 disqualified contestants who alleged the reality show "American Idol" systematically discriminates against blacks with criminal records.

Garaufis Portrait Unveiled

A portrait of Eastern District Senior Judge Nicholas Garaufis was unveiled at the Brooklyn courthouse Friday.

Martha Moran holds her 6-year-old son while listening to President Barack Obama’s speech on immigration policy on Nov. 20 at the New York City offices of 32BJ SEIU, a workers' union.

Agencies Gear Up to Help Immigrants Gain Legal Status

By Tania Karas |

Weeks before President Barack Obama announced sweeping changes to the nation's immigration system Thursday, New York's legal services providers began pulling together a plan to help tens of thousands of New Yorkers now eligible for legal status.

The Appellate Division, Second Department, at  41 Monroe Place, Brooklyn

Attorney-Client Ties Ruled by Facts, Not Form, Panel Finds

By Andrew Keshner |

Deciding when the clock started running on the statute of limitations for a legal malpractice action, a Brooklyn appellate court said an attorney's representation effectively ended sooner than the filing of a document formally switching counsel.

 Apple iPad with e-book reader software

Apple E-book Settlement Receives Final Court Approval

By Mark Hamblett |

Southern District Judge Denise Cote on Friday gave final approval to the unusual settlement reached between Apple, 33 states and class action counsel in the e-book price-fixing litigation. The settlement calls for Apple to pay $450 million should Cote's 2013 liability ruling be upheld in the computer giant's appeal to the Second Circuit.

Douglas Wigdor in front of a SoulCycle studio on 18th St. in Manhattan.

Lawyer Says Fitness Club Banned Him Over Prior Suit

By Ben Bedell |

Employment discrimination lawyer Douglas Wigdor sued SoulCycle on Thursday for banning him, claiming the New York fitness club was retaliating against him for representing a former club employee in a minimum wage case.

 A chart of pending cases in New York's immigration courts; there are currently 60,941.

Immigration Courts Backlog Grows as Obama Plans Action

By Zoe Tillman |

More than 420,000 cases are pending in U.S. immigration courts, a steadily growing backlog that immigration lawyers say they hope will be eased by the executive actions President Barack Obama announced Thursday.

 Dewey & LeBoeuf sign

Dewey Defendants Seek Delay as Funds Run Out

By Christine Simmons |

Supreme Court Justice Robert Stolz has adjourned the trial of indicted Dewey & LeBoeuf leaders for a month after defense attorneys told him a Bermuda-based insurer has refused to advance defense costs.

Deborah Misir of Lally & Misir, left, and Southern District Judge Kenneth Karas

Pregnant Lawyer's Request to Postpone Trial Is Denied

By Associated Press and Andrew Keshner |

A judge has denied a lawyer's request to postpone a trial until next fall because she is in the sixth month of a high-risk pregnancy.

Judge Denny Chin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Court History Program to Focus on Asian-Americans

By Joel Stashenko |

The Historical Society of the New York Courts will sponsor a presentation titled "Asian-Americans & the Law: New York Pioneers in the Judiciary" on Dec. 15.

Aereo CEO and Founder Chet Kanojia departs the U.S. Supreme Court after oral arguments in April. The court found Aereo’s service violated broadcaster’s copyrights.

Supreme Court Ruling Drives Aereo to Bankruptcy

Online streaming service Aereo says that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, saying an unfavorable ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court was too difficult to overcome.

Albany County Court

'Golb' Ruling Leads Judge to Dismiss Case Against Lawyer

By Joel Stashenko |

Criminal charges against a former state attorney have been dismissed and his parole supervision terminated because the harassment statute he admitted to violating was later ruled unconstitutional by the state Court of Appeals.

Fishman Awards

By Rick Kopstein, Photographer |

The New York Lawyers for the Public Interest presented the 2014 Felix A. Fishman Awards Thursday at the New York City Bar Association.

Lawyers Without Rights

By Rick Kopstein, Photographer |

The New York City Bar Association on Thursday hosted "Lawyers Without Rights," an exhibit sponsored by the German Federal Bar and the American Bar Association that covers the persecution and murder of Jewish lawyers and judges under the Nazi regime.

Legacy Award

By Rick Kopstein, Photographer |

Eastern District U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch presented New York City Corporation Counsel Zachary Carter, who preceded her as Eastern District U.S. Attorney, with the Brennan Legacy Award at an annual benefit and awards dinner Tuesday.

Mary Veronica Santiago-Monteverde in her rent-stabilized apartment

Rent-Stabilized Lease Is a Public Benefit, Court Rules

By Joel Stashenko |

An elderly woman's rent-stabilized lease is protected from the reach of her bankruptcy trustee, a divided state Court of Appeals ruled Thursday in declaring the lease a "local public assistance benefit" under state law.

Laser Spine Institute in Tampa, Fla.

Judges Limit Jurisdiction in Medical Malpractice Suit

By Joel Stashenko |

Wary of extending the jurisdiction of New York courts over out-of-state providers in medical malpractice actions, the state Court of Appeals barred a suit Thursday filed by a New York resident against a Florida surgical practice.

Judge Batts

U.S. Judge Takes Witness Stand in Seabrook Inquiry

By Mark Hamblett |

Southern District Judge Deborah Batts took the witness stand Wednesday in a hearing to determine whether her courtroom was closed to the public during jury selection for the public corruption trial of former New York City Councilman Larry Seabrook in violation of the Sixth Amendment.

Judge Daniels

Jury Trial Nears in Decade-Old Lawsuit for Terrorist Attacks

By Mark Hamblett |

The decks have been cleared for a billion-dollar trial where American terrorism victims are trying to hold the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority liable for several attacks in Israel.

Mary Jo White.

SEC Adopts Rules Addressing Stock Market Vulnerability

By Jenna Greene |

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday approved rules to address the technological vulnerabilities of stock market exchanges and other key securities market participants.

Noah J. Hanft

Q&A: Noah Hanft

Noah Hanft retired in April from MasterCard, where he was general counsel and chief franchise officer, to become the new president and CEO for the International Institution of Conflict Prevention & Resolution, which promotes techniques for more effective alternatives to increasingly costly and burdensome litgation.

Eric Holder Jr.

DOJ Secures $24.7B in Settlements in Fiscal 2014

By Andrew Ramonas |

The U.S. Department of Justice in fiscal 2014 secured $24.7 billion from its cases, more than tripling the amount from fiscal 2013, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. announced Wednesday. The money flows mostly from deals JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. reached to settle financial fraud claims stemming from the 2008 financial crisis.

Justice Leslie Stein

Modern Courts Urges Quick Confirmation of Stein

By Joel Stashenko |

The Fund for Modern Courts is urging the New York State Senate to hold confirmation hearings before January for Leslie Stein, the Appellate Division, Third Department, justice who has been nominated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to fill a opening on the state Court of Appeals.

Debtor Scheme Lands Attorney in Prison

By Mark Hamblett |

A federal judge handed a suspended New York attorney a nine-year prison term on Wednesday for running a debt collection relief scheme as a manager of the now-shuttered Mission Settlement Agency.

The Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn was flooded during Hurricane Sandy.

Conviction Stands Despite Destruction of Evidence

By Andrew Keshner |

Though an imitation gun stored at a Brooklyn evidence facility could not be produced for trial after flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy, a Second Department panel said the defendant had "ample opportunity" to question witnesses about the pistol and was not prejudiced by its unavailability.

Queens Assistant District Attorney Eric Rosenbaum

Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Prosecutor

By Andrew Keshner |

An inmate's claim against a prosecutor failed because the assistant district attorney's conduct, such as work on the inmate's extradition, fell squarely in the scope of absolute immunity, ruled a judge.

The Appellate Division, Second Department, at  41 Monroe Place, Brooklyn

Panel Orders New Damages Trial for False Arrest Claim

By Andrew Keshner |

A man's failure to include a trial transcript in his attempt to set aside a jury verdict should not have doomed his effort, a Brooklyn appellate court said as it ordered a new trial on damages.

Fordham Honors SEC Chair

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Jo White accepted the annual Fordham-Stein Prize Tuesday at Fordham Law School.

Mollen Awards

Former Appellate Division, Second Department, Justice Milton Mollen joined the 2014 recipients of the annual Milton Mollen Commitment to Excellence Awards Wednesday at the Second Department in Brooklyn.