This Week's News

Circuit Reinstates European RICO Case Against RJR Nabisco

Mark Hamblett | April 24, 2014

In the latest in a series of cases addressing the extraterritorial application of U.S. laws, the Second Circuit has held that the European Community can pursue claims against RJR Nabisco for laundering drug money through the exchange of discounted euros and cigarettes.

Roger Bennet Adler, left, and Staten Island D.A. Daniel Donovan Jr.

High Court to Address Questions Surrounding Special DA

By John Caher |

By early June, attorney Roger Bennet Adler should know whether he'll be prosecuting Staten Island's lingering criminal probe into suspected political shenanigans, or whether the case will revert back to the elected district attorney.

51 Park Place, center, site of the proposed Islamic center in lower Manhattan originally called the Cordoba House and now called Park51.

9/11-Related Defamation Suit Against Attorney Is Tossed

By Brendan Pierson |

A federal judge has dismissed a defamation suit against real estate attorney Adam Leitman Bailey for accusing opponents of a proposed Islamic center in lower Manhattan of bigotry in court filings.

John Roberts Jr., Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

Justices Limit Restitution Due Victims of Child Pornography

By Marcia Coyle |

A divided U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, overturning a $3.4 million award to a victim known by the pseudonym "Amy," held that the amount of restitution must be tied to the role the convicted offender played in causing the victim's injury.

Judge Grills Prosecutor About Insider Trading Conviction

By Larry Neumeister |

"We sit in the financial capital of the world, and the amorphous theory that you have, that you tried this case on, gives precious little guidance to all these institutions ... trying to come up with some bright line rules about what can and what cannot be done," Second Circuit Judge Barrington Parker said during arguments in the appeals of two former portfolio managers' convictions.

DA to Pass on Prosecuting Low-Level Marijuana Cases

By Andrew Keshner |

Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson said he plans to enact a new policy under which the office would not prosecute low-level marijuana possession cases for people with no criminal record or a "very minimal" one, according to an office memo.

Columbia Announces New Dean of Law School

By Tania Karas |

Gillian Lester, an employment law and policy expert who is the interim dean at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, has been named the next dean of Columbia Law School.

Brooklyn Lawyer Settles With AG in Fraud Case

By John Caher |

Harold Gruber has agreed to pay a $60,000 fine and accepted a permanent ban from selling securities to resolve allegations he submitted at least nine fraudulent filings to the attorney general's real estate finance bureau.

Ex-CEO Admits Stealing From Influential Charity

William Rapfogel, the politically connected former CEO of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, admitted Wednesday he helped steal more than $9 million from the organization in an insurance scheme that authorities linked to campaign contributions.

Criminal Division Head Named in Eastern District

By Andrew Keshner |

James McGovern, the division's deputy chief, will replace Marshall Miller, who was promoted to be second-in-command at the U.S. Justice Department's criminal division.

Cop's Testimony Not Needed, City Says in Quash Motion

By Andrew Keshner |

Jabbar Collins is seeking to depose retired Brooklyn detective Louis Scarcella in a civil rights suit alleging that systemic police and prosecutorial misconduct led to Collins' vacated 1995 murder conviction.

Trial to Resolve NY Liability for Assault on Inmate

By Joel Stashenko |

A judge declined to grant a Jewish former prison inmate summary judgment in his negligence suit against the state for not preventing another prisoner from attacking him in the synagogue of an upstate prison.

Airbnb's web site for rooms to rent in New York City.

Airbnb Argues AG Subpoenas for Client Data Are 'Overbroad'

By Joel Stashenko |

Attorneys for the online lodging service argued Tuesday that Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has insufficient evidence to force Airbnb to turn over information about nearly 16,000 apartment owners who rented out units in New York through Airbnb since 2010.

Kellogg Huber's David Frederick

Aereo Arguments Draw Debate About Effect on TV, Technology

By Tony Mauro |

The upstart technology company Aereo Inc. forced the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday into a wide-ranging debate not just about the future of television but also the fate of cloud computing and other innovations.

an empty jury box

Judge Overturns Drug Conviction Over Officer's Remark

By John Caher |

A court officer's inappropriate comment to a deliberating juror requires reversing a drug conviction, a judge has held, even though a Queens defense attorney, in a strategic dice roll, had refused an offer of a mistrial.

Judge Suppresses Evidence Found in Protective Sweep

By Mark Hamblett |

Addressing an "unsettled" question of law in the Second Circuit, Southern District Judge Jesse Furman said police violated the Fourth Amendment's prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures in a 2012 sweep of a Bronx apartment.

Delay Tactic Leaves Husband Liable for Ex-Wife's Legal Fees

By John Caher |

A husband who strategically delayed accepting a divorce settlement—but not to the point where his conduct was obstructionist or abusive—is liable for the extra legal fees incurred by his former wife, a judge in Rochester has held.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Court Upholds Voter-Approved Affirmative Action Ban

By Marcia Coyle |

The U.S. Supreme Court, delivering its second major blow in less than a year to civil rights organizations, on Tuesday upheld Michigan's voter-approved ban on the use of race preferences in admissions at the state's public universities.

Computer Server Problems Hamper Immigration Courts

By Mark Hamblett |

Computer servers handling immigration court case information and databases went down April 12, making scheduling more difficult, forcing postponements and disabling a 1-800 phone line that applicants use to find out their case status.

Judge Tosses High Fructose Corn Syrup Claim

By John Caher |

A federal judge in Buffalo has dismissed an apparently novel claim that attempted to link consumption of high fructose corn syrup to a 14-year-old girl's diabetic condition.

Poll Shows AG Not Familiar to Most New Yorkers

By John Caher |

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is "potentially vulnerable" at the polls, according to a poll released Tuesday by Siena College, although a pollster said it's way too early to say the incumbent Democrat is in trouble.

Brooklyn AUSA Tapped for Deputy Post in D.C.

By Andrew Keshner |

Marshall Miller, the criminal division chief of the Eastern District U.S. Attorney's Office, has been tapped as the top deputy for the U.S. Department of Justice's criminal division.

Retailer Agrees to End Ban On Hiring Felony Offenders

By Associated Press |

New York authorities have reached an agreement with a national home goods retailer to end its policy of disqualifying job seekers who have a felony record.

Circuit Orders Release of Documents Related to Drones

By Mark Hamblett |

The Second Circuit said a redacted document on legal guidance for the targeted killing of American citizens by drones must be released because of public statements acknowledging lethal force in counterterrorism operations, and because the DOJ opted to release part of a White Paper on the subject that had been leaked to the media.

The entrance to the Rikers Island Correctional Department facility, where a judge says the city should do more for the mentally ill.

Judge Extends Mandate to Aid Mentally Ill City Inmates

By Brendan Pierson |

A Manhattan state judge has extended a 2003 settlement requiring New York City for two more years to help mentally ill inmates of city jails re-enter society.

Prosecution Says Dewey Trial Could Last Several Months

By Christine Simmons |

The government said it expects the trial of Dewey & LeBoeuf's former leaders to take more than four months, and that one likely witness is John Altorelli, a former Dewey executive committee member who is now a partner at DLA Piper.

Lawyer Suspended After Wife's Misdeeds

By Andrew Keshner |

Four years after attorney Jane Posner pleaded guilty to second-degree grand larceny, the Second Department disciplined Martin Posner for for not safeguarding escrow funds—even though he said he was not involved in the firm's dealings when his now-disbarred wife's theft took place.

Aereo chief Chet Kanojia displays his company’s antenna and an antenna block.

High Court to Hear Arguments in Aereo TV Copyright Case

By Marcia Coyle |

The U.S. Supreme Court on April 22 will sort through what some observers have called the most important copyright challenge to reach the high court in a decade.

Gigi Jordan in Manhattan Supreme Court in 2010 and Norman Siegel, who has joined her defense team.

Siegel Joins Jordan's Growing Defense Team

By John Caher |

The Gigi Jordan defense team, which already includes such well-known attorneys as Alan Dershowitz and Ronald Kuby, has brought in veteran civil rights lawyer Norman Siegel as part of a trial team in a long-lingering case that finally could go before a jury by June.

NY Court of Appeals Judge to Seek Reappointment

By John Caher |

Judge Victoria Graffeo said Monday that she will seek reappointment to the state's highest court when her term expires this year. If selected, Graffeo, a Republican, would be able to remain on the bench another eight years.

Supreme Court Turns Down Appeal by Exxon Mobil

By Tania Karas |

The high court made no comment in denying Exxon Mobil's petition for a writ of certiorari in its challenge to a 2009 verdict requiring the company to pay $105 million for contaminating New York City groundwater with a toxic gasoline additive.

Judge Dismisses Fraud Claim Over Yoga Pants

By David Bario |

The see-through yoga pants controversy and similar missteps by executives at Lululemon Athletica Inc. can’t serve as the basis for a securities fraud class action against the company, a judge in Manhattan confirmed Friday.

Skier, Mother to Share Custody of Son Temporarily

Olympic skier Bode Miller and former U.S. Marine Sara McKenna have reached a temporary truce in their New York custody fight over their 14-month-old son.

Federal Judge Questions Indictment Consistency

By Jan Wolfe |

Facing a June 17 trial date on claims that he engaged in insider trading alongside his older brother Raj Rajaratnam, Rengam Rajaratnam may have caught a minor break on Friday with a ruling that could help narrow the indictment against him.

Judge Scheindlin

Scheindlin Preserves Apartheid-Era Suit Against Companies

By Mark Hamblett |

After a federal appellate court all but instructed her to dismiss the case, Southern District Judge Shira Scheindlin has kept alive a lawsuit accusing Ford, IBM and other companies of abusing human rights by doing business with South Africa's apartheid regime.

Terri Adler and Bruce Stachenfeld of Duval & Stachenfeld

Midsized Real Estate Firm to Offer Big Law Salaries

By Christine Simmons |

Duval & Stachenfeld, a 66-attorney real estate firm, is more than doubling its salary for starting associates to $175,000—above the large law firm standard—to compete with its rivals in attracting and retaining top talent.

Former Dewey & LeBoeuf attorneys and an employee enter Criminal Court for arraignment. From left with hands folded: Stephen DiCarmine, Zachary Warren, Joel Sanders and Steven Davis are led into court.

D.A. Seeks Protective Order in Dewey Case

By Christine Simmons |

In the criminal case against Dewey & LeBoeuf's former leaders, the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is seeking an order to prohibit all parties from unnecessarily disclosing witness names or other identifiable information to third parties.

Paul Forziano and Hava Samuels at their 2013 wedding

Judge Upholds Group Homes' Separation of Married Couple

By Andrew Keshner |

An Eastern District judge held that the intellectually disabled couple and their parents failed to establish disability-based discrimination claims, saying that the "alleged discrimination is based not on the couple's disabilities, but rather on their status as a married couple."

Kang Gao

Judge Questions Prosecution of Trade Secret Suspect

By Suevon Lee |

The incarceration of a financial analyst accused of stealing company trade secrets—and what that arrest means for future cases of its kind—has prompted one state Supreme Court judge to question whether the Manhattan District Attorney's actions have been "over the top."

Chinese Government Files Amicus in Vitamin C Appeal

By Jan Wolfe |

For close to a decade, U.S. lawyers have pressed price-fixing claims against Chinese companies that produce most of the world's vitamin C, finally winning a $157 million verdict last year.

Security Pavilion Construction Begins

By Rick Kopstein, Photographer |

The pavilion, constructed on the elevated walkway running along the west side of the Daniel Patrick Moynihan U.S. Courthouse, is intended to streamline security screening and ease congestion inside the doors on the building's Worth Street side.

Judge Denies Counsel Fees in Civil Rights Case

By John Caher |

A Buffalo civil rights attorney who obtained a $750,000 settlement in a racial discrimination case may be denied compensation because of a dispute over whether she had an improper retainer agreement with her client.

Absence of Gun Fails to Upset Robbery Conviction

By John Caher |

An appellate court in Albany has upheld a gun-related robbery conviction in a case where the defendant did not reveal the weapon to the victim but did point it at a man pursuing him.

20 Jay Street, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Firm Opens DUMBO Office to Attract Tech Clients

By David Gialanella |

New Jersey-based Lowenstein Sandler, which has a Manhattan office, soon will open up shop in a section of Brooklyn that is becoming densely populated by technology startups.

NYCLA Musical Fundraiser Will Honor Betty Ellerin

By Tania Karas |

The New York County Lawyers Association's fundraising arm, the NYCLA Foundation, is hosting a musical comedy show April 24 to honor the life and career of Betty Weinberg Ellerin, the first female justice of the Appellate Division, First Department.

Personal Notes on Lawyers

Three firms announce new additions, while Eckert Seamans and the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District announce promotions.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Kim points towards Musfafa Kamel Mustafa, the radical Islamist cleric facing U.S. terrorism charges, during opening statements before Southern District Judge Katherine Forrest Thursday.

Openings Completed in Trial of Accused Terrorist

By Mark Hamblett |

After accused al Qaida conspirator Mustafa Kamel Mustafa's request to deliver his own opening statement was rebuffed, Joshua Dratel opened for the defense, telling the jury that the leader at a radical mosque in London never lifted a finger to help al Qaida. Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Kim presented a dramatically different view.

Split Court Faults Proof of Similar Ring Theft

By Brendan Pierson |

A man accused of stealing a $30,000 diamond ring is entitled to a new trial because a judge allowed testimony from a woman who said that he stole rings from her as well under similar circumstances, a divided state appeals panel has ruled.

Edward Dashnaw being escorted to his 2011 retrial after his original conviction was thrown out by the Third Department. The first-degree murder conviction resulting from his second trial was upheld this week.

Murder Conviction Upheld Despite Judge's Remarks

By John Caher |

A man convicted at retrial of a grisly double murder is not entitled to a third trial even though the judge told prospective jurors that he was "stuck" retrying the case after the first conviction was tossed on a "technicality," a state appeals panel has held.

Statements Made in Litigation Held Not Defamatory

By Andrew Keshner |

A unanimous Second Department panel found that a man's statements implying his business partner stole money were absolutely privileged "because they were pertinent to the ongoing judicial proceeding and were allegedly made to parties, counsel, or possible witnesses."

Albany Law School now assigns students to mentors for job hunting assistance. Here, Third Department Justice Elizabeth Garry with her two mentees, Jamie Dughi Hogenkamp (left), Class of 2015, and Casandra Stephenson, Class of 2016.

Job Figures Show Improvement for New York Law Schools

By Tania Karas |

Members of the Class of 2013 from New York's 15 law schools are faring slightly better than their predecessors in finding jobs, and also better than their counterparts nationwide, according to entry-level employment data released last week by the American Bar Association.

Professor Brian Tamanaha of Washington University Law

No Better Time to Enroll, Admissions Official Argues

By Karen Sloan |

Is now the ideal time to enroll in law school? Steven Freedman, assistant dean for admissions at the University of Kansas School of Law, has been making the counterintuitive case that it is. In short, he says, the supply of new lawyers will be much more closely aligned with the demand for their services in 2017 than for the Class of 2013.

Elkan Abramowitz

Patton Boggs Retains Abramowitz in Chevron Case

By Jan Wolfe |

After a failed effort to head off civil fraud claims leveled by Chevron Corporation, Patton Boggs has turned for help to prominent criminal defense attorney Elkan Abramowitz of Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello.

Obituary: Leonard Rosen

By John Caher |

Leonard Rosen, a founding partner of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and a renowned bankruptcy attorney who represented the City of New York during its 1975 financial crisis and stood up for lenders in the Chrysler bailout in the early 1980s, died Wednesday at the age of 83.

Freed Defendants Awarded $36 Million in Nassau Suit

By Andrew Keshner |

John Restivo and Dennis Halstead were convicted for the 1984 rape and murder of a teenage girl but sued the county and ex-detectives after being freed in 2003 when DNA from the victim's body did not match that of the defendants.

DA to Seek Stay of SEC Matter in Dewey Case

By Christine Simmons |

Among the five defendants in the SEC suit against former Dewey & LeBoeuf leaders, three have been indicted and have pleaded not guilty, including former chairman Steven Davis, former executive director Stephen DiCarmine and former chief financial officer Joel Sanders.

Banning TV Movie Was Prior Restraint, Panel Finds

By John Caher |

A trial judge's order barring Lifetime Entertainment from airing a dramatized movie on the murder of a beloved Appellate Division, Third Department, clerk was an "unconstitutional prior restraint on speech," the Appellate Division, Third Department, held Thursday in a unanimous opinion.

New Complaint Filed in Lopez Harassment Case

By John Caher |

Two women who claim they were sexually harassed by former Assemblyman Vito Lopez have filed a new complaint against the state, alleging that the former Brooklyn pol would not have been able to abuse the plaintiffs without the acquiescence of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

Attorney Is Disbarred Following Larceny Plea

By Andrew Keshner |

Nadine Parkes of Middletown, who pleaded guilty to a theft charge last year, has been disbarred by a Brooklyn appellate panel.

State Bar Foundation Boosts Fundraising Goals

By John Caher |

The philanthropic arm of the New York State Bar Association is aiming to double its grantmaking over the next three years to meet New Yorkers' growing legal needs.

Brooklyn DA Names Leaders of New Units

By Andrew Keshner |

Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson has tapped the New York Attorney General's office and the Bronx District Attorney's office for prosecutors to lead a newly-formed frauds bureau and forensic science unit.

Wild Goose Awards

The Irish American Bar Association of New York presented the Fourth Annual Thomas Jefferson Memorial "Wine Geese" Wine Tasting Wednesday at the residence of Noel Kilkenny, the Consul General of Ireland.

Conduct Commission Cautions Judges About Alcohol Issues

By John Caher |

With a shot-across-the-bow warning that "drinking and driving offenses almost always should and will result in disciplinary action," the Commission on Judicial Conduct in its annual report is cautioning judges to confront alcohol-related problems before they result in embarrassing or career-ending punishment.

After Rescinded Parole, Inmate Gets Another Shot at Release

By John Caher |

A state prison inmate who has been waiting more than a year for the First Department to decide whether the parole board rightly rescinded her release has been granted parole again in a decision that may make her Article 78 petition irrelevant.

Doctor's Testimony Was Improperly Blocked, Panel Finds

By Brendan Pierson |

A doctor should have been allowed to testify that the impact of a Greyhound bus could have caused a limousine driver's stroke minutes after the two vehicles collided, a divided state appeals panel ruled Tuesday, reversing a trial judge who found the testimony relied on a novel theory.

Sketches by late fashion designer Oleg Cassini. Other such drawings and artwork by Cassini were damaged in a fire at his mansion that was allegedly caused by a defective dryer.

Judge Blocks Testimony of Appraiser in Dryer Fire Suit

By Mark Hamblett |

A proposed expert in a dryer fire case won't be able to testify about the value of damaged and destroyed sketches, drawings and other artwork by the late fashion designer Oleg Cassini.

Profit Pressures Prompt Layoffs at Top Law Firms

By Julie Triedman |

Since the start of the year, seven prominent firms—six of them members of The Am Law 200—have cut their nonlawyer payrolls; at least three have let associates go.

Teresi, Who Oversaw Diallo Case, Retiring From Bench

By John Caher |

Supreme Court Justice Joseph Teresi of Albany said Wednesday that he will retire on June 26 after nearly 21 years on the bench.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa

Citing U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Revives Madoff Suits

By Jan Wolfe |

A Southern District judge has reinstated claims against one of Bernard Madoff's so-called feeder funds, holding that the fraud claims aren't preempted by SLUSA.

Auction Benefit

By Rick Kopstein, Photographer |

More than 1,000 people attended 2014 annual photography and auction benefit for Her Justice on Thursday, which raised more than $2.2 million.

Staten Island Fundraiser Will Honor Schneiderman

By Tania Karas |

The state attorney general is being honored by Staten Island Legal Services for his office's work to prevent foreclosures. SILS has seen an increase in foreclosure cases in recent years due to the combination of Hurricane Sandy and the nationwide housing crisis, said director Nancy Goldhill.

Character and Fitness Panel to Interview Applicants

Approximately 257 applicants will be interviewed April 22 by the Character and Fitness Committee of the Appellate Division, First Department.