This Weeks News

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

Deeply Divided Panel Orders New Trial in False Arrest Case

Ben Bedell | December 17, 2014

A First Department panel vacated a Bronx jury's $2 million verdict for false arrest and malicious prosecution and ordered a new trial for a woman who had been charged with criminally negligent homicide when her 5 1/2-week old breast-fed infant died of malnutrition.

The New York State Court of Appeals. Inset: Clifford Jones in June 2010

High Court Broadens Its Review of Motions to Vacate

By Joel Stashenko |

Abandoning a rule it has observed for nearly 40 years, the Court of Appeals said Tuesday it would begin exercising the power to review whether lower courts that deny CPL 440.10 motions to vacate convictions have abused their discretion.

Judge Smith

Search Found Invalid Where Police Had No Intent to Arrest

By Joel Stashenko |

A police search of an individual incident to arrest is invalid unless the police officer has actually arrested the person or is about to do so, the state Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.

Document Discovery Clarified in Foreign Criminal Cases

By Mark Hamblett |

A federal statute that authorizes courts to order document production for certain foreign proceedings also permits discovery for use in a criminal investigation conducted by a foreign magistrate, the Second Circuit has ruled.

The Turtles.

Judge Slams O'Melveny in Sirius XM Copyright Battle

By Lisa Shuchman |

Soon after agreeing to represent Sirius XM Radio Inc. in potentially industry-shaking copyright litigation, O'Melveny & Myers suffered a setback when a judge ruled that newly-cited precedent trumpeted by the firm had been overruled 60 years ago.

Sony Hires Boies Schiller to Quell Publication of Leaks

By Nathalie Pierrepont |

In response to an onslaught of reports about Sony's hacked documents, Boies, Schiller & Flexner's David Boies has sent a letter to news outlets demanding they stop using and destroy what he calls "stolen information." Whether the letter will have any effect remains to be seen.

Report of Sleeping Juror Leads to Reversal of Verdict

By Ben Bedell |

A murder conviction was reversed and remanded for a new trial when the First Department faulted the trial judge for not conducting a "probing and tactful inquiry" into a jury note saying one of the jurors "sleeps most of the time."

City Sues Virginia Tobacco Dealer Over Cigarette Sales

By Joel Stashenko |

New York City has brought what the New York City Law Department said is the city's first-ever lawsuit against an out-of-state store owner for conspiracy to distribute untaxed cigarettes in the city.

SUNY Buffalo Law School and its interim dean, James Gardner

Interim Dean to Take Helm at SUNY Buffalo Law School

By Christine Simmons |

After the University at Buffalo's law school dean announced plans to step down this month, the school named James Gardner, a specialist in election and constitutional law, as its interim dean.

Justices Allow Firefighter to Appeal Benefits Ruling

By Andrew Keshner |

After refusing to award accidental disability retirement benefits to a police officer who tripped over suddenly-swelling fire hoses, a Manhattan appeals court is allowing the man to challenge the decision.

Violi's Restaurant in Massen, which closed in September 2014.

Business to Pay $13,000 for Teen Worker's Accident

By Associated Press and Andrew Keshner |

The owner and manager of a northern New York restaurant will pay more than $13,000 in restitution after a 17-year-old employee lost part of his arm while cleaning a pasta-making machine.

Celebrating Asian American Legal Pioneers

By Rick Kopstein, Photographer |

The New York City Bar Association presented "Asian-Americans and the Law: New York Pioneers in the Judiciary" on Monday as its 2014 Stephen R. Kaye Memorial Program.

Apple's iBooks Store sells e-books from thousands of publishers.

At Circuit, Apple Defends e-Book Deal With Publishers

By Mark Hamblett |

An attorney for Apple insisted on Monday the computer giant's alleged price-fixing conspiracy with publishers only helped consumers and broke a monopoly held by

Unemployment Benefits Survive Worker's Lone Facebook Posting

By Joel Stashenko |

A speech pathologist who was fired for making one Facebook posting while on the job did not engage in conduct that disqualified her from receiving unemployment insurance benefits, an upstate appeals court found.

Elizabeth Glazer, director of the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice, left, testifies Monday at a City Council hearing on summons courts. At right is Melissa Jackson, administrative judge of New York City Criminal Court.

Panel Addresses Problems With Strained Summons Courts

By Andrew Keshner |

In response to the New York City Police Department's change in approach to low-level marijuana possession offenses, defense attorneys who have worked in the Summons Courts warned that the system is already strained enough.

Search Upheld in Face of Cop's Reasonable Mistake of Law

By Marcia Coyle |

Police officers who base searches and seizures on a mistaken understanding of the law do not automatically run afoul of the Fourth Amendment, according to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Monday in a case involving a faulty brake light.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission building.

Judge Rejects Bid to Challenge SEC Proceedings

By Scott Flaherty |

A Manhattan federal judge has injected new doubts into a string of cases challenging an increasingly common tactic by the Securities and Exchange Commission: pursuing fraud and insider trading claims in agency enforcement proceedings, rather than in federal court.

Top, left to right: Kathy Chin, Eugene Fahey, Hector Gonzalez, Erin Peradotto. Bottom: Mary Kay Vyskocil, Rowan Wilson, Stephen Younger

Bar Groups Rate Candidates for Court of Appeals Spot

By Joel Stashenko |

Bar organizations rating the candidates from whom Gov. Andrew Cuomo will fill an upcoming opening on the Court of Appeals have found all seven candidates qualified for the court, though they differ as to their highest recommended nominees.

Attorney Charged With Stealing $630K From Clients

By Andrew Keshner |

According to the Manhattan District Attorney's office, Stephen Krawitz of Stephen R. Krawitz LLC stole settlement money from more than 18 clients.

'Justice for All'

Students of New York law schools, alumni, administrators and their families were among more than 25,000 people who marched though Manhattan on Saturday to protest the failure of grand juries to indict white police officers in the deaths of black men Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

Suffolk County Supreme Court in Riverhead

Suit Proceeds Over Stripper's Nursing Home Performance

By Ben Bedell |

A Suffolk County judge refused to dismiss a complaint by an 85-year-old nursing home resident that she suffered "extreme emotional distress" when a "muscular, almost entirely nude" male stripper wearing "skinny white briefs" who had been invited to entertain the residents "straddled" her during his performance.

Ex-Madoff Account Manager Gets Six Years

JoAnn Crupi, one of five people convicted in March of helping Madoff carry out his $20 billion fraud, was sentenced Monday by Southern District Judge Laura Taylor Swain.


Protesters rally outside District Attorney Daniel Donovan's office Thursday night.

Multiple Parties Push to Open Garner Grand Jury Record

By Andrew Keshner |

The effort to make public the grand jury proceedings after the death of Eric Garner is intensifying, as the New York Civil Liberties Union, the New York Post and New York City Public Advocate Letitia James all filed disclosure motions this past week.

Southern District Judge Jed Rakoff

Bid for Records Under FOIA's Crime-Fraud Exception Fails

By Mark Hamblett |

A crime fraud exception to the federal open records law does not apply to emails sought by immigration lawyers who say government lawyers repeatedly deceived the courts about the ability of removed immigrants to return to the United States once they win a second chance in immigration court, Southern District Judge Jed Rakoff has ruled.

Panel Questions DA's Demand for Facebook Data

By Ben Bedell |

Although asserting in an oral argument Thursday that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance's demand that Facebook produce the account information for 381 of its users was "troubling," a First Department panel questioned whether Facebook had standing to challenge it.

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

Sanction Against Bank Lifted in Foreclosure Action

By Andrew Keshner |

A First Department panel upset a sanction against a lender in a foreclosure action, finding the lower court's punishment for a purported failure to negotiate in good faith put no weight on the homeowner's own actions and how they prolonged the case.

Key Figures in Rolling Stone Controversy Seek Legal Advice

By Zoe Tillman |

As criticism of Rolling Stone mounts over the magazine's sensational story of sexual assault at the University of Virginia, a UVA associate dean, a student featured in the article and others associated with the controversy are lawyering up.

Lawyer Arrested, Charged With Wire, Securities Fraud

By Christine Simmons |

Manhattan solo practitioner Charles A. Bennett was arrested Friday on charges he oversaw a scheme to defraud investors of more than $5 million through a Ponzi scheme.

Creedmoor Psychiatric Center

Appeals Panel Reverses Order to Release Patient

By Tania Karas |

A Second Department panel has reversed a lower court order to release a Queens psychiatric patient, calling the trial judge's decision to strike the testimony of a psychiatrist the result of a "personal displeasure" with the witness.

Clockwise from top left: Stephen Penn, Gerard Proefriedt, Neal Schwarzfeld and Sharyn Tritto

Norris McLaughlin Absorbs Partners From Closed Firm

By Christine Simmons |

A seven-attorney Manhattan real estate law firm has shut down, and four of its lawyers are joining 132-attorney firm Norris McLaughlin & Marcus.

Indian Point nuclear power plant

Panel: Power Plant Exempt From Waterfront Review

By Joel Stashenko |

The Indian Point nuclear power plant in Westchester County does not need to show compliance with New York's Coastal Management Program as part of its relicencing process, a state appeals court has ruled.

Lawyers Rock Out for Charity at "Law Rocks NYC"

By Rick Kopstein, Photographer |

Legal talent took the stage of the Gramercy Theatre Thursday night to perform at New York City's inaugural "Law Rocks" benefit, part of a national fundraising concert series.

A variety of boats raced to Battery Park City after the terror attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

'Jimmy Nolan's Law' Found to Violate N.Y. Constitution

By Mark Hamblett |

A New York state law that gave people claiming injuries from the World Trade Center cleanup extra time to file suit has been ruled unconstitutional when applied to the Battery Park City Authority.

Queens Family Court at 151-20 Jamaica Avenue

Panel Faults Ban on Visitation Without Adequate Hearing

By Andrew Keshner |

A Family Court judge erred by summarily tossing a mother's visitation bid after long presiding over various neglect proceedings against her, a split Brooklyn appellate court ruled.

Judge Rejects Double Jeopardy Claim in Motor Vehicle Case

By Joel Stashenko |

A driver's conviction for a traffic infraction for unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle does not preclude his criminal prosecution on double jeopardy grounds under the felony and misdemeanor analogues of the same offense, a judge has determined.

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

Court Upholds Ruling That Wife Pay Legal Fees in Divorce Case

By Ben Bedell |

The First Department said that even though the trial court had been unable to determine which of the parties was the "monied spouse," a finding that the wife had "unnecessarily delayed discovery and removed the parties' art collection" and "controlled the parties' liquid assets," justified the order to sell or encumber property to fund the fee.

Joshua Rosenkranz of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe

Court Weighs Time Limits on Claims Against Government

By Marcia Coyle |

Waging legal battle against the U.S. government is always difficult, but could become more so if the U.S. Supreme Court agrees with arguments the Obama administration offered on Wednesday that certain tort claims against the government are barred forever.

Donna Aldea

Q&A: Donna Aldea

By Jeff Storey |

Donna Aldea ended a 15-year career as a prosecutor in April 2013 to become a partner at a prominent criminal defense and civil rights law firm. She discusses appellate advocacy, her toughest cases, switching to the defense, and her continuing work defending the pre-arraignment interview program of the Queens District Attorney's Office.

James Vincequerra (L) and Gerard Catalanello (R) of Duane Morris visiting the planned new home of the New York City Opera.

Two Firms Seek Another Season for New York City Opera

By Nell Gluckman |

Thanks to pro bono efforts by attorneys from Duane Morris and Lowenstein Sandler, an agreement signed last week may revive the New York City Opera in time for a 2015 season at Lincoln Center if U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane in New York approves it.

Juror's Voir Dire Lie No Basis to Challenge Verdict

By Marcia Coyle |

Evidence that a juror lied during questioning by lawyers before trial can not be used to support a motion for a new trial, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday.

Judge Smith

Smith to Join Friedman Kaplan After Leaving Bench

By Joel Stashenko |

Robert Smith will join Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman as a partner following his retirement as associate justice on the Court of Appeals on Dec. 31. The 60-attorney firm announced Thursday that he will be an active litigation partner as head of Friedman Kaplan's appellate practice.

Final Ex-Dewey Partners in U.S. Settle Clawback Suits

By Christine Simmons |

Ex-Dewey & LeBoeuf partners in the United States have reached settlement agreements in clawback suits with the firm's liquidating trustee, a lawyer for the trustee said Thursday. Only clawback suits against former partners abroad remain active.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, left, and Police Commissioner William Bratton, holding a bag of oregano to symbolize the maximum amount of marijuana that will allow police to issue summonses rather than make arrests, announced the new policy on Nov. 10.

Hearing to Probe Workings of City Summons Court

By Andrew Keshner |

In the wake of a recent decision to issue summonses for low-level marijuana possession, the New York City Council has scheduled a hearing on Monday to delve into the workings of the city's Summons Courts.

Judge Cites 'Chutzpah' in Cutting Fee Request

By Christine Simmons |

A Southern District magistrate judge slashed the fees requested by two small law firms that sued debt collectors and settled, saying the fee application was "simply too greedy" and their "chutzpah" shouldn't be rewarded.

DA Urges Judge to Reject Eavesdropping Lawsuit

By Andrew Keshner |

Nassau County prosecutors say a lawsuit alleging they eavesdrop on attorney-inmate calls was "speculative and unproven" and should be rejected.

Woman of the Year Awards

By Rick Kopstein, Photographer |

This year’s winners of the Police Athletic League's 26th Annual Woman of the Year Awards were Julie Myers Wood, CEO of Guidepost Solutions; Rikki Klieman, a CBS News legal analyst and Linda Addison, U.S. managing partner at Norton Rose Fulbright.

NYLAG Receives Duboff Award

The Fund for Modern Courts presented the 2014 Samuel J. Duboff Memorial Award to the New York Legal Assistance Group Wednesday at a reception at the New York City Bar Association.

Todd Newman, former Diamondback Capital Management portfolio manager, and Anthony Chiasson, co-founder of Level Global Investors LP

Faulting Evidence, Circuit Rejects Insider Trading Verdict

By Mark Hamblett |

The convictions of former hedge fund portfolio managers Todd Newman and Anthony Chiasson have been reversed by the the Second Circuit, which said prosecutors failed to produce sufficient evidence to show that they had willfully engaged in either insider trading or an insider trading conspiracy or knew the sources of the insider information received a personal benefit.

Arab Bank lawyers (from left) Brett Ingerman, Shand Stephens and Anthony Coles entering Brooklyn federal court on Aug. 14, 2014.

Arab Bank Seeks to Avoid Damages Trial to Speed Appeal

By David Bario |

Three months after being soundly defeated in the liability phase of a landmark terror financing trial, lawyers for Arab Bank are hoping to evade a trial on damages altogether, asking a judge to adopt an award levied against Iran in a related case, and to enter judgment so that their client can immedately appeal.

Judge Says Lawyer's Error Not Enough to Overturn Conviction

By Joel Stashenko |

A defense lawyer's decision not to call his forensics expert to the stand because the attorney misunderstood procedural rules of expert testimony did not deprive his client of meaningful representation, a judge ruled.

Celebrating a 45-Year Career

By Rick Kopstein, Photographer |

Friends, family and colleagues of Norman Goodman gathered at the Manhattan Supreme Court building Wednesday evening to celebrate the end of his long career as New York County clerk.

Norman Dachs

Personal Injury and Insurance Lawyer Norman Dachs Dies at 81

By Tania Karas |

Norman H. Dachs, who practiced on Long Island for almost 60 years after co-founding Shayne, Dachs, Sauer & Dachs in 1955, died early Wednesday of lung cancer. He was 81.

Eric Garner's arrest and subsequent death has led to calls for a federal investigation into police tactics.

Legal Aid Seeks to Unseal Garner Grand Jury Record

By Andrew Keshner |

The Legal Aid Society has filed a motion to unseal the entire record of the proceedings of a grand jury that voted against criminal charges for a police officer who applied a fatal chokehold during the arrest of Eric Garner.

Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse at 40 Foley Square

Palestinian Groups Move to Stop Liability Trial

By Mark Hamblett |

The Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Liberation Organization have asked a federal appeals court to block an impending trial seeking to hold them liable for several terrorist attacks between 2001 and 2004.

BAE Systems in Endicott, NY

Man Fined for Calling His Supervisor a Foreign Spy

By Joel Stashenko |

An electrical engineer has avoided prison for his federal court conviction of falsely accusing his former supervisor, whom he believed took credit for work that the engineer claimed was his own, of being a spy.

New Home for Housing Court

After years of searching, New York City officials have proposed a new location for Brooklyn Housing Court.

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

Panel Upholds Dismissal of Screenwriter's Bias Suit

By Ben Bedell |

The dismissal of a black screenwriter's discrimination lawsuit against some of Hollywood's biggest talent agencies was unanimously affirmed Tuesday by the First Department.

Madoff Computer Programmer Sentenced

George Perez, an ex-computer programmer for imprisoned financial swindler Bernard Madoff, has been sentenced in New York to 2 1/2 years in prison for his role in a multibillion-dollar fraud.

Marshals Service Awards Three Purple Hearts

By Rick Kopstein, Photographer |

The United States Marshals Service hosted a Purple Heart Awards ceremony at the Eastern District courthouse in Brooklyn on Tuesday.