This Weeks News

Validity of 'DNA Indictment' of Rape Defendant Upheld by Court of Appeals

By Joel Stashenko |

The court upheld in a 6-1 decision the validity of an indictment based on DNA evidence that was amended more than six years later to substitute the defendant's name, Lerio Guerrero, for "John Doe." Judge Jenny Rivera dissented.

Moira Smith in downtown Anchorage, Alaska. October 26, 2016.

Young Scholar, Now Lawyer, Says Clarence Thomas Groped Her in 1999

By Marcia Coyle |

The anticipation of meeting a U.S. Supreme Court justice for the first time turned to shock and distress for a young Truman Foundation scholar in 1999 when, she says, Justice Clarence Thomas grabbed and squeezed her on the buttocks several times at a dinner party.

Clarence Thomas.

In Defense of Clarence Thomas, Skepticism of Alaska Lawyer's Grope Claim

Supporters of Justice Clarence Thomas began to rise to his defense with outrage and skepticism of a claim Thursday by an Alaskan lawyer that the justice groped her when she was a young scholar in 1999.

Clarence Thomas and Moira Smith: How We Got the Story

National Law Journal Supreme Court reporter Marcia Coyle explains how the groping allegations came to light.

Albany Judge Named Co-chair of Ethics Panel

Albany County Family Court Judge Margaret Walsh has been appointed co-chair of the state court system's Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics.

ExxonMobil world headquarters in Irving, Texas

Judge Finds PwC and Exxon Must Comply With NY Subpoena

By Joel Stashenko |

Acting Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Barry Ostrager decided Oct. 25 that the subpoena served by AG Eric Schneiderman's office against PricewaterhouseCoopers and ExxonMobil on Aug. 19 as part of an investigation into whether the companies misled investors and consumers about climate change is valid and directed them to comply with it.

The Cheetah Club at 252 West 43rd St.

Court Says Strip Club Managers Not Defamed in TV Report; Youth Hockey League Not Liable for Spectator Assault

By Joel Stashenko |

The Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 25 that the managers of a Manhattan strip club were not defamed by a CBS local news report linking the club to organized crime and a Rome youth hockey league was not liable for an assault on one spectator by another.

Former CFO Calls Greenberg's Plan to Convert AIG Losses a 'Waste of Time'

By Jason Grant |

Howard Smith testified he and Greenberg investigated how to convert losses in a manner that met accounting and legal rules.

Cornell Law School

Cornell Launches Center to Help Defeat Death Penalty Worldwide

By Karen Sloan |

The school on Tuesday announced the launch of the Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide—an initiative made possible by a $3.2 million grant from the Atlantic Philanthropies.

Law Firms a 'Petri Dish' for Implicit Bias, Gender Inequity

By Lizzy McLellan |

When a female lawyer files a public complaint against her firm alleging gender discrimination, the firm's response tends to fit a standard model: a denial of any discrimination and a confirmation of the firm's commitment to advancing women lawyers. Yet the lawsuits, and likely many more claims of gender inequity at law firms that stay private, continue to arise.

Zev Eigen

Littler Mendelson Gambles on Data Mining as Competition Changes

By Roy Strom |

In job interviews with half a dozen law firms last year, Zev Eigen quizzed firm leaders as much as they probed him. They wondered what a data scientist with a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology could do for them. He was curious what they would let him do.

Attorney in Bogus Shelter Case Indicted for Tax Fraud

By Mark Hamblett |

Harold Levine, formerly the head of the tax practice group at Moritt Hock & Hamroff, was indicted by the Southern District U.S. Attorney's Office for failing to report more than $3 million in income he diverted from the firm and defrauding the IRS as it tried to investigate the shelters.

Fernando Camacho

Judge Dismisses Charges in Crash That Killed Four

State Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho on Wednesday dismissed criminally negligent homicide and other charges against a limousine driver whose four passengers were killed in a crash after leaving a vineyard on Long Island.

Guns Bought Out of State Loom Large in NY Offenses

Three-quarters of the 53,000 guns used to commit crimes in New York were originally purchased in another state, New York's attorney general said Tuesday.

City Bar Justice Center Presents Pro Bono Awards

The New York City Bar Justice Center presented its annual Jeremy G. Epstein Awards for Outstanding Pro Bono Service on Monday.

Carrying on a Tradition

Thirty-nine men and seventeen women took their oath of office recently to join the ranks of the court system's 4,100 officers, as well as its approximately 2,000 additional non-uniformed peace officers.

Donald Trump in Gettysburg, PA. October 22, 2016.

ABA's Unease Over Trump Article Sparks First Amendment Debate

By Zoe Tillman |

As of early October, an article calling Donald Trump a "libel bully" and a "libel loser" was slated to run in a newsletter from one of the ABA's member groups. But after the deputy executive director said the piece might leave the ABA vulnerable to legal action and proposed edits, the article was withdrawn, a situation that worries some media lawyers.

More Professional Services Firms Face Pay Equity Suits

By Amanda Bronstadt |

Lawyers, accountants and software engineers might have jobs that pay hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, but for many women that's not enough. Their broader issue is with a secretive promotional process run by men that keeps them from moving up in their careers.

Circuit Revives Copyright Case Against MP3tunes, Founder

By Mark Hamblett |

Record companies and music publishers will get more damages and a second shot at holding the founder of MP3tunes liable for additional copyright infringement following a federal appeals court decision Tuesday.

Partner Pay Equity Long Overdue, Say Women Law Firm Leaders

By Julie Triedman |

For many of the women who head large law firms, gender-based pay equity isn't just a management issue, it's a bitter memory.

Poly Prep Country Day School

Court Expands Whistleblower Law to Apply to Private Citizens

By Andrew Denney |

The ruling ensures a former employee can sue Poly Prep Country Day School using whistleblower provisions under the Nonprofit Revitalization Act.

Judge Pigott

Pigott Seeks Return to Trial-Level Work After Leaving Court of Appeals

By Joel Stashenko |

New York Court of Appeals Judge Eugene Pigott Jr. said Tuesday he wants to become an acting state Supreme Court justice in Buffalo once he steps down from the high court on Dec. 31 due to mandatory retirement rules.


MetLife Fights 'Too Big to Fail' Label in DC Circuit

The collapse of AIG during the financial crisis eight years ago hung over arguments in a federal appeals court on Monday about the government's designation of insurance giant MetLife as a "systemically important financial institution"—too big to fail, in laymen's terms.

Fantasy Sports-Betting Companies Settle Suits With N.Y. AG for $12 Million

By Joel Stashenko |

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Oct. 25 that his office has settled false advertising suits he filed last year against fantasy sports betting operations FanDuel and DraftKings. The companies agreed to pay $6 million each in penalties and costs without admitting any violations of NY state laws.

Judge Admonished for Obstruction Threat

By Joel Stashenko |

A Brooklyn judge should be admonished for his reaction to learning that a death threat was made against a witness in a rape trial, the state Commission on Judicial Conduct said Tuesday.

Lawyers for Trump Accuse AG of Improperly Filing Suit

By Joel Stashenko |

New York's contention that Trump University was illegally marketed and sold to people eager to learn Donald Trump's real estate secrets is based on a flawed analysis of state fraud statutes and precedents, lawyers for the Republican presidential nominee claim.

Ex-Administrator's Claims Against NYU May Proceed

By Jason Grant |

An appeals court reinstated Pari Shirazi's case, saying underlying issues should be decided following discovery.

Non-Staff Instructors at Yoga Studio Are Not Employees, Court Decides

By Joel Stashenko |

New York's Court of Appeals has decided that non-staff instructors at Manhattan yoga studio Yoga Vida are independent contractors, not employees, and are therefore not entitled to to state unemployment benefits, reversing a finding by the Appellate Division, which determined they were employees.

Architectural rendering of Pier 55 project.

Court Declines to Hear Appeal Challenging Hudson River Park

By Joel Stashenko |

The New York Court of Appeals said Tuesday it will not hear an appeal of a lower court decision allowing construction to go forward on a man-made park in the Hudson River off Manhattan that is partly funded by media mogul Barry Diller and opposed by some environmentalists.

Workers harvesting crops in Orange County

Farm Bureau Gets a Say on Right-to-Unionize Suit

A state judge has granted the New York Farm Bureau permission to intervene in a lawsuit that could dramatically affect farm wages in the state.

Lynn Tilton arrives for a hearing at the Southern District courthouse in 2015.

Trial Kicks Off in SEC Fraud Case Against Financier Lynn Tilton

By Mark Hamblett |

An attorney for Lynn Tilton told Administrative Law Judge Carol Fox Foelak that major Wall Street "sharks" went in with their eyes wide open in investing in three collateralized loan obligations run by Tilton and her Patriarch Partners group, now accused of fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

David Sanford of Sanford Heisler, LLP

Plaintiffs Lawyers May Struggle to Cash In on Pay Equity Suits

By Roy Strom |

When David Sanford earned a record $250 million jury verdict for a sex discrimination and gender pay class-action in 2010, he made more than history. He outlined a business plan for a practice many lawyers say can be a difficult business: Taking on the gender pay gap.

Judge Tosses $35M Malpractice Claim Against Skadden

By Christine Simmons |

Manhattan Acting Supreme Court Justice Barry Ostrager ruled the lawsuit was time-barred, noting the transactions at issue occurred under a two-year, not a three-year, statute of limitations.

Fiber Optic Cable Different From Utility Lines for Tax Assessment, Panel Finds

By Joel Stashenko |

The Third Department overturned a finding by a trial court judge who in 2015 sided with seven municipalities and their tax assessments on fiber optic cable installations made by Level 3 Communications on private rights-of-way.

Surrounded by leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and with the new law’s namesake, Lilly Ledbetter, at his side, President Barack Obama signs into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act on January 29, 2009.

Obama Administration Champions Pay Equity, But Some Allege Overreach

By Rebekah Mintzer |

Since President Barack Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which lengthened the statute of limitations for plaintiffs to file lawsuits alleging pay discrimination, he and executive branch regulatory agencies have focused on ensuring that men and women are paid equally.

How AT&T's $85B Time Warner Deal Could Pass Regulatory Scrutiny

By C. Ryan Barber and Rebekah Mintzer |

AT&T Inc.’s proposed $85 billion purchase of Time Warner Inc. will face intense regulatory scrutiny from antitrust enforcers, members of Congress and consumer advocates. But, even in an aggressive antitrust climate, the deal could still find a path to regulatory approval.

States Aim to Give Teeth to National Pay Equity Measure

By Rebekah Mintzer |

It has been nearly 20 years since the Paycheck Fairness Act, meant to remedy pay inequality between men and women in the workplace, was first introduced in Congress. Since then, this legislation has been reintroduced and failed to pass over and over. With the federal legislation languishing, equal-pay advocates and politicians have turned to statehouses across the country to get equal-pay laws passed.

Camera Removal Charge Dismissed Against Lawyer

By Andrew Denney |

A petit larceny charge was dismissed against public interest lawyer Arthur Schwartz for removing surveillance cameras outside of his client’s apartment, with the attorney agreeing to make restitution of $720.

William Hochul, Jr.

Hochul to Be GC of Sports Entertainment Company

By Joel Stashenko |

Western District U.S. Attorney William Hochul Jr. will become general counsel of the corporation that owns the Boston Bruins hockey team when he retires, the entertainment and hospitality group Delaware North Companies announced Monday.

Sentence for Violating Monitoring Found Improper

By Joel Stashenko |

An appeals court said a man was improperly sentenced when he could not pay the fee for a court-ordered monitoring device following his felony drunken-driving conviction.

Newburgh, NY

Court OKs Threat Charge Against Woman Who Implied Violent Response to Housing Decision

By Andrew Denney |

An Orange County judge said prosecutors may charge a woman who sued the Newburgh Housing Authority with making a terroristic threat for implying to an attorney for the housing authority that she would kill people in a church unless there was a settlement in the case.

State University of New York at Plattsburgh

Panel to Hear Student's Claim of False Expulsion

By Joel Stashenko |

An appeals court's intervention is needed to determine the fairness of a student's dismissal from a State University of New York campus for alleged unwanted sexual contact with another student, a Supreme Court justice decided.

Former state Attorney General Kathleen Kane leaves in handcuffs after her sentencing at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania, on Oct. 24, 2016. Kane is sentenced to 10-to-23 months in county prison and eight years probation.

Ex-Attorney General Gets Jail in Pennsylvania Case

Kathleen Kane, Pennsylvania's former attorney general, has been sentenced to 10 to 23 months in jail and eight years of probation for perjury, official oppression and related charges, after a jury found that she was guilty of deliberately leaking secret investigative information, then lying about it under oath.

U.S. Federal Trade Commission building

Judge Smacks Down FTC for Venue Shopping

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A federal judge in Pennsylvania admonished the Federal Trade Commission for threatening to "pick up its marbles" and go elsewhere for not getting the desired ruling in a reverse payment case involving painkillers.

Airbnb Files Lawsuit After Cuomo Signs Bill Imposing Fines for Ads

By Joel Stashenko |

Home-sharing service Airbnb has filed a lawsuit in the Southern District after Governor Cuomo signed a bill Oct. 21 imposing high fines on users who advertise rentals on home-sharing sites that can't be legally rented under NY state and NYC laws.

Former Dewey & LeBoeuf finance director Francis Canellas outside the firm's Manhattan offices in May 2012.

Cooperator in Dewey Case Admits to Lesser Charge

By Nell Gluckman |

With a retrial looming for Dewey's former leaders, a key prosecution witness has reached a new plea agreement that could help reduce his sentence.

City Bar Groups Wary of Proposed 18B Change

By Jeff Storey |

Right now, most indigent homicide defendants in New York City are defended by individual attorneys who are vetted by appellate court committees and appointed by trial judges. Starting in July, the city apparently plans to give institutional providers first crack at the homicide cases.

Court Urged to Reject 'Blanket Sealing' of Monitor's Report in HSBC Case

A Second Circuit panel was urged Thursday to allow the public to read a 1,000-page report from the compliance monitor who is overseeing a deferred-prosecution agreement between HSBC Bank USA and the U.S. Justice Department.

Anthony Scarpino Jr., left, and Bruce Bendish

Debate May Break Quiet in Race to Become New Westchester DA

By Andrew Denney |

Westchester voters are set to choose a new district attorney in the general election Nov. 8, and what has been a quiet race may be reshaped by two upcoming televised debates.

Protesters outside the U.S. Supreme Court on the day the Court heard arguments for Bush v. Gore. Dec. 11, 2000.

'Bush v. Gore' Lawyers Sound Off on Trump's Debate Comments

By Zoe Tillman |

Donald Trump supporters went on defense after the debate where he said he would keep the country "in suspense" about whether he'd accept the results of the election, comparing his stance to Gore's decision to contest the results in Florida in 2000. In interviews with, lawyers involved in 'Bush v. Gore' had mixed reactions to the comparison.

FCC, Industry Groups Spar Over Robocall Regulations in DC Circuit

The Federal Communications Commission defended its "robocall" regulations Wednesday against tough questions from a Washington appeals panel, which appeared sympathetic at times to arguments from companies that the rules extend too far and open a door to class actions.

Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ginsburg, Sotomayor to Join Circuit Anniversary Event

U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor will sit with the judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Wednesday in a special session to commemorate the circuit's 125th anniversary.

Tighter Bar-Pass Rule Adopted by ABA Accrediting Body

By Karen Sloan |

The American Bar Association body that accredits law schools voted on Friday to tighten the bar exam-passage standard that schools must meet in order to get the organization’s accreditation blessing.

Sketch of the costume that Ruth Bader Ginsburg will wear in her role as The Dutchess of Krakenthorp on Nov. 12 in “The Daughter of the Regiment.”

Though Not the Diva, Justice Ginsburg Snags Juicy Part in Opera

By Angela Morris |

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—a passionate, lifelong opera fan—will have a speaking part as The Duchess of Krakenthorp in the Nov. 12 opening night of "The Daughter of the Regiment," presented by the Washington National Opera.

David Frederick, left, and Stephen Tillery, right.

US Agency Paid Two Firms Over $1 Billion in Battle With Banks

Kellogg Huber Hansen Todd Evans & Figel and Korein Tillery together earned more than $1 billion for helping the National Credit Union Administration pursue many of the world's largest banks over their roles in the subprime mortgage meltdown, the NCUA said Thursday.

Note to Law Firm Bullies: Your Managing Partner is Afraid of You

By Roy Strom |

Big Law rainmakers enjoy some well-known privileges. The cash. The prestige. Maybe even some free weekends. But there is another, less-heralded aspect of the job: You can be a jerk. And get away with it.