This Weeks News

Two Weeks Left to Nominate a Rising Star

Nominations are now open for NYLJ's Rising Stars, which recognizes the region's most promising lawyers who are no older than 40.

Melissa Mark-Viverito and Jonathan Lippman

Lippman Vows to 'Pull No Punches' in Criminal Justice Review

By Joel Stashenko |

In his first major public policy assignment since stepping down as the state's chief judge, Jonathan Lippman has been enlisted to head a commission to review New York City's Rikers Island jail complex and the criminal justice policies that keep it supplied with offenders.

Blank Rome Acquires 107 Dickstein Shapiro Attorneys

By Christine Simmons |

Blank Rome has absorbed the remaining lawyers at Dickstein Shapiro, including 13 in New York. Dickstein, a prominent Washington, D.C.-based firm founded in 1953, said Friday that it was no longer engaged in the practice of law.

Chidera Atuegbu

Poverty Justice Fellows Fight for Tenants in Housing Court

By Andrew Denney |

On a recent Thursday morning in Bronx Housing Court, Chidera Atuegbu, an attorney for tenants, scanned a packed, noisy hallway. She could not find her client, nor could she locate opposing counsel. This is the type of obstacle Atuegbu, a staff attorney with Urban Justice Center's Safety Net Project and a fellow with Poverty Justice Solutions, faces in her day-to-day work, along with difficult clients, difficult cases and getting hollered at by landlords' attorneys.

The Court of Appeals in Albany

Judges Find Removal of Counsel Over Possible Conflict Was Proper

By Joel Stashenko |

A trial judge correctly relieved a defendant's assigned counsel and appointed a conflict-free lawyer, despite the defendant's objections to having new counsel, the state Court of Appeals determined.

Panel Accepts 'Narrowly Drawn' Expert Medical Opinions

By Andrew Denney |

Physicians may offer an expert opinion on matters outside of their specialties as long as it pertains to the causes of a patient's injury and not the standard of care the patient received, an appeals court has ruled.

James Ryan, left, and Officer James Olivieri

Jury Finds Driver Caused Chain-Reaction Fatal Crash

A suburban New York man was convicted Thursday in the death of a police officer responding to a crash on the Long Island Expressway even though the officer was struck and killed by another motorist.

Morgan Stanley headquarters at 1585 Broadway

NY Gets Mortgage Relief From Morgan Stanley Deal

Morgan Stanley will pay $3.2 billion in a settlement over bank practices that contributed to the 2008 financial crisis, including misrepresentations about the value of mortgage-backed securities, authorities announced Thursday.

Raj Jadeja

Lawyer Pleads Not Guilty in Fatal Nassau Crash

By Associated Press/Andrew Keshner |

A lawyer has denied accusations he was driving drunk and on drugs in a fatal September crash that killed a 21-year-old mechanic.

Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park

Historical Society Program Features Law and Literature

By Andrew Denney |

The New York Courts Historical Society will host an event Wednesday to highlight court cases involving renowned works of literature.

Judge Whelan

Judges Named to Supervise Two Suffolk County Courts

By Andrew Keshner |

Family Court Judge Theresa Whelan and District Court Judge Karen Kerr have been selected to oversee Suffolk County's Family Court and its District Court.

Town Justice Who Stole Youth Sports Funds Resigns

By Joel Stashenko |

A town court justice who admitted to stealing some $4,200 from a pee wee football league of which she was treasurer has resigned her judicial office.

Law & Society Awards

The New York Lawyers for the Public Interest presented its 23rd Annual Law & Society Awards Thursday to John Savarese, a litigation partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, and Brian Moynihan, the chairman and CEO of Bank of America.

Brooklyn D.A. Kenneth Thompson speaks to reporters after Peter Liang was found guilty Thursday.

Officer Convicted of Manslaughter in Stairwell Shooting

By Andrew Keshner |

Officer Peter Liang was convicted Thursday of second-degree manslaughter in the 2014 shooting death of an unarmed man in a darkened public housing stairwell.

Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse at 40 Foley Square

Circuit Reverses Writ Granted in Bathtub Scalding Case

By Mark Hamblett |

The Second Circuit disagreed with Eastern District Judge Jack Weinstein, who had found in 2015 that the Confrontation Clause right of defendant Michael Duhs was violated at his trial because the child did not testify and prosecutors instead relied on the doctor who treated the burns to describe what the child said.

Mark Zauderer, court-appointed referee

Napoli, Bern Firms Told to Stop Soliciting Each Other's Clients

By Christine Simmons |

Months after the feuding partners of Napoli Bern Ripka Shkolnik signed a settlement agreement and joined separate firms, a court-appointed referee has prohibited the partners from soliciting each other's clients.

A GM ignition switch similar to those involved in litigation against the automaker

Judge Tosses Bid to Remove Plaintiffs Lawyers in GM Litigation

By Amanda Bronstad |

Southern District Judge Jesse Furman on Wednesday found that a motion filed by attorney Lance Cooper to eject attorneys leading the multidistrict litigation against General Motor Co. over ignition-switch defects lacked evidence to support what were at times "wild accusations."

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

Panel Overrules Attorney Disqualification in Divorce Case

By Ben Bedell |

The First Department said disqualification because the lawyer was co-counsel on an unrelated matter with an attorney from the opposing firm in the divorce "would mean that attorneys from different firms could never work together—even on a single case—without having the conflicts of interest of each firm imputed to the other."

In Surprise Move, Justices Block Obama's Energy Plan

The U.S. Supreme Court's action on Tuesday halting implementation of the Obama administration's clean energy plan even though the D.C. Circuit denied a stay in January and has not yet ruled on the merits of the dispute was an assertive move that surprised advocates on both sides.

Robert H. Jackson Federal Courthouse in Buffalo

Attorney Overreached in Qui Tam Case, Judge Says

By Joel Stashenko |

A federal judge dismissed with prejudice a suit filed by an attorney who contended that Allstate Insurance, Federal Express and dozens of other companies schemed to defraud Medicare.

Southern District Seeks to Fill Magistrate Judge Post

With the impending retirement of Magistrate Judge Frank Maas, the Southern District of New York is accepting applications for a full-time magistrate judge.

Chalfen Tapped as PIO for State Court System

By Joel Stashenko |

Chief Judge Janet DiFiore has brought her communications director as Westchester County district attorney, Lucian Chalfen, along with her to the state court system.

Ex-Lawyer Sentenced After Stealing $2.1M From Clients

By Andrew Denney |

According to the D.A., Philip Teplen represented a client who obtained a $3.5 million loan from a financing company. The client named Teplen as his agent, and Teplen used about $2 million of that money for his personal expenses and to pay back other clients from whom he had stolen.

New York City Police Officer Peter Liang, center, exits a Brooklyn courtroom Tuesday.

Judge in Liang Trial Rejects Call for Mistrial

By Andrew Keshner |

Justice Danny Chun rejected the defense claim that the prosecution's closing argument impermissibly alleged Officer Peter Liang intentionally shot at Akai Gurley.

Ex-Tyco CEO to Chair Fortune Society Board

L. Dennis Kozlowski, who served 6 1/2 years behind bars after he was convicted of looting millions of dollars from the security systems company, is now board chairman of a New York City nonprofit that helps former prisoners re-enter society, the group announced Tuesday.

Correction

New York City Police Officer Peter Liang, center, exits a Brooklyn courtroom Tuesday.

Closings Debate Whether Officer's Shot Was Reckless

By Andrew Keshner |

In their final appeal to the jury Tuesday, Brooklyn prosecutors clashed with the defense on whether rookie police officer Peter Liang's single fatal shot in a dark public housing stairwell veered into criminal recklessness.

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

Malpractice Suit Over Lawyer's Newspaper Comments Proceeds

By Ben Bedell |

A client's assertion that his attorney's "eagerness to get his name in the papers" caused him to lose a $1.3 million case states a claim for legal malpractice, a Manhattan appeals court ruled Thursday.

Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse at 40 Foley Square

Circuit Passes on En Banc Hearing Over Speedy Trial

By Mark Hamblett |

Second Circuit Judges Rosemary Pooler and Peter Hall sent the case of Raheem Bert back to a lower court judge who acknowledged that an 11-month delay in bringing Bert to trial on gun charges, without excluding time under the act, was her fault.

Hedge Funds Win Judgment Against Deutsche

By Christine Simmons |

Two related hedge funds won a $22.1 million judgment against Deutsche Bank AG in a dispute tied to contract rights in credit default swap agreements.

Full House at Court of Appeals

For the first time since last summer, the Court of Appeals has a full complement of seven judges.

Divided ABA Adopts Framework to Allow Nonlawyer Legal Services

By Susan Beck |

Over the objections of the New York State Bar Association and other groups, the ABA's House of Delegates on Monday adopted a resolution giving states a regulatory framework for allowing nonlawyers to provide simple legal services.

Firm Tapped to Assist Pro Se Litigant in HSBC Dispute

By Andrew Keshner |

A prominent media law firm has been appointed to represent a man trying to unseal a confidential bank monitor report on HSBC Bank's compliance in a money laundering deferred prosecution.

The downtown Buffalo campus of Erie Community College

Panel Sees No Injury to Politicians From Review

By Joel Stashenko |

An appeals court has ruled that two western New York officeholders cannot invoke environmental review laws to defeat a planned community college expansion that they opposed politically.

Judge Rules Lawful Police Detention of Fifth Grader

By Andrew Denney |

A Manhattan judge ruled that two New York City police officers lawfully detained a non-English speaking public school student who left school and went home without permission after his teacher told him that he could not take part in a class field trip.

Southern District U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara

Visiting Albany, Bharara Blasts 'Rancid Culture'

Speaking in Albany on Monday, Southern District U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said corruption has degraded the state's democracy, laying some blame at the feet of otherwise innocent lawmakers who allowed that culture to fester. "You think no one knew Sheldon Silver was corrupt before he was put in handcuffs? Not a chance," he said.

On the Move

Dechert, Cadwalader, Phillips Nizer and Hughes Hubbard & Reed each announce a new addition.

Born Delivers Ginsburg Lecture

Brooksley Born, a retired partner at Arnold & Porter and former chairwoman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, delivered the New York City Bar Association's Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Distinguished Lecture on Women and the Law Monday evening.

Abraham Lincoln

Note to Readers: Lincoln's Birthday, President's Day Closings

State courts will close Friday in recognition of Lincoln's Birthday and Monday for President's Day. Federal courts will be closed on Monday but open for business on Friday, except the Southern District and the Second Circuit, which will close Friday as well. The Law Journal will not publish on Friday and Monday.

Correction

Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, right, is applauded by Judges Eugene Pigott, center, and Sheila Abdus-Salaam after her ceremonial installation Monday.

DiFiore Pledges 'Self-Critical' Analysis of OCA Operations

By Joel Stashenko |

After Janet DiFiore was ceremonially installed Monday as chief judge of New York, she said reducing case backlogs in the court system will be her first priority.

NYPD officer Peter Liang arrives at Brooklyn Criminal Court for an arraignment hearing on Feb. 11, 2015.

'Gun Just Went Off,' Says Officer on Trial for Fatal Shooting

By Andrew Keshner |

A police officer on trial for recklessly disregarding his training and risk of death in an East New York public housing patrol that left an innocent man dead testified emotionally Monday but said officers could pull out their guns when feeling unsafe.

Michael Garcia stands in the Senate gallery with his children, Michael Garcia Jr., left, and Sofia Garcia, right, after his confirmation on Monday.

Senate Confirms Garcia to Court of Appeals

By Ben Bedell |

Michael Garcia was confirmed to the Court of Appeals Monday by the New York state Senate in a unanimous voice vote, becoming the first Hispanic man to sit on the state's highest court.

New York Law School at 185 West Broadway

Legal Operations Resume in Area of Crane Collapse

By Andrew Denney |

New York Law School and other segments of the legal community were back in business Monday after they were displaced by a plummeting construction crane Friday in the TriBeCa section of Manhattan.

Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum

Colleagues Recall Cedarbaum's Devotion, Integrity

By Mark Hamblett |

Tributes poured in Monday from friends and colleagues of Southern District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum, who died Friday at age 86. She was remembered as a woman who carved a unique path in the law and on the bench.

gavel

Court Takes On 'Tri-Parenting' Model for Same-Sex Couple in NJ

In a novel and lengthy opinion, a New Jersey family court judge has awarded joint custody of a child to three people—the biological father, his same-sex spouse, and the mother.

Evan Greebel is led from the federal building in New York in December.

Gibson Dunn Hired to Help Defend Kaye Scholer Partner

By Christine Simmons |

Evan Greebel, the Kaye Scholer partner who was arrested alongside former pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli, has added Gibson Dunn & Crutcher to his defense team.

Unarmed Court Officers Apprehend Slaying Suspect

By Andrew Denney |

Two off-duty, unarmed court officers who had just finished their shifts at the Bronx Criminal Court tackled a murder suspect Friday night near Yankee Stadium and held him until police arrived, a court official confirmed.

The Appellate Division, Fourth Department, M. Dolores Denman courthouse in Rochester

Panel Finds Man Convicted of Uncharged Crimes

By Joel Stashenko |

The Fourth Department has vacated a man's convictions on 20 counts related to the repeated sexual abuse of two girls, ruling unanimously that he may have been convicted on theories different from those set forth in the indictment, as limited by the bill of particulars.

Discipline for Prisoner's Note to Guard Upheld

By Joel Stashenko |

The disciplining of a state prison inmate for harassment for sending a note to a female guard warning her of the dangers of smoking has been upheld by the Third Department.

Devlin D'Zmura, a tending news manager at DraftKings, works on his laptop at the company's offices in Boston, on September 9, 2015.

Boston US Judge to Hear Fantasy Sports Lawsuits

In an order on Thursday, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation found that the more than 80 class actions against online daily fantasy sports sites DraftKings Inc. and FanDuel Inc., which included claims of consumer fraud and insider trading, should be coordinated for pretrial purposes before U.S. District Judge George O’Toole in Boston, where DraftKings is based.

On the Move

Among other announcements, Quinn Emanuel has added as a partner Chad Johnson, most recently chief of investor protection in the New York Attorney General's Office, and Simpson Thacher has appointed partner Jonathan Youngwood as co-head of its litigation practice.

Nationalized Bar Exam Endorsed by ABA

Bar admission authorities across the nation should move quickly to adopt the uniform bar exam, the American Bar Association's House of Delegates decided Monday.

The crane collapse Friday morning damaged a portion of New York Law School.

Crane Collapse Impacts Legal Community

By Andrew Denney |

The construction crane that fell in Manhattan's TriBeCa neighborhood Friday morning, killing one and injuring three, damaged a portion of New York Law School and shuttered two Legal Aid NYC offices, the Innocence Project office and the New York County Supreme Court building.

Prince's Point in Staten Island

Panel Declines to Order Return of $4M in Rescinded Deal

By Ben Bedell |

A real estate buyer cannot recoup a $4 million deposit because the sellers were relieved of any obligation to show they were ready to close when the buyer filed a rescission action before the closing date, an appellate court held.

Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse at 40 Foley Square

Court Can Hear Bias Claim by Former State Lawyer

By Joel Stashenko |

A former state lawyer's disability discrimination claim against the New York Attorney General's Office should be heard in a courtroom rather than in an administrative proceeding, the Second Circuit has ruled.

Justice Asher

Judge Dismisses Two Defenses to Attorney's Mortgage Claim

By Andrew Keshner |

Justice W. Gerard Asher rejected some of suspended matrimonial attorney Dominic Barbara's defenses in an action to establish a bank's mortgage rights to his multimillion-dollar Long Island house.

Bid to Coordinate Claims by Uber Drivers Is Rejected

By Amanda Bronstad |

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation last week appeared persuaded by Uber's arguments that classifications of independent contractors varied too much state-to-state to make coordination of lawsuits brought by its drivers over their employment status feasible.

Prosecutors Group Updates, Distributes Ethics Handbook

By Joel Stashenko |

The state District Attorneys Association has revised its handbook on the ethical obligations of DAs and distributed it to each of the approximately 2,800 prosecutors in New York state.

Harlan Levy

Winner of Modern Courts' John McCloy Award Named

By Christine Simmons |

Harlan Levy, a partner in Boies, Schiller & Flexner and former chief deputy attorney general, has received the Fund for Modern Courts' 2016 John J. McCloy Memorial Award, which recognizes lawyers who have made outstanding contributions to improving the administration of justice in New York state.

Tiffany Moller, left, and Bonnie Jonas

New Firm Will Offer Claims Administration, Monitorships

By Christine Simmons |

Two former Southern District prosecutors are launching a firm that will provide monitorships and claims administration to government agencies and corporations.

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

Panel Sets Aside $2.1M Commission on Land Sale

By Andrew Denney |

An appeals court has set aside a jury verdict to award more than $2.1 million to a brokerage firm claiming to have an oral agreement to receive a commission for the sale of land to a home improvement chain and that it was left out of the final negotiations for the sale.

Trial Lawyers Honor Judge

Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Marsha Steinhardt received a Distinguished Service Award at a reception hosted by the the Women's Caucus of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association.

<b>ALOHA:</b> Kamaile Turcan was a 2008 graduate of the University of Hawaii’s law school.

From Hawaii to High Court

The announcement last month that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has hired Kamaile Turcan as one of her law clerks next term, the first Native Hawaiian law clerk at the court, says almost as much about the justice as it does about Turcan.

Correction