This Weeks News

Judge Finds Arrest to Be Illegal by Just a 'Matter of Inches'

By Joel Stashenko |

While the axiom that a man's home is his castle is ingrained in the Anglo-American legal tradition, a state judge says the question of where the castle's gate begins is not so well defined.

60 Centre St.

New Commercial Division Deposition Rule to Take Effect

By Ben Bedell |

New rules that seek to encourage business and government agencies to produce deponents who can most effectively address inquiries about an entity's practices with respect to the issues in the case were announced Thursday and will take effect Dec. 1.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan U.S. Courthouse, Southern District of New York, at 500 Pearl St.

Political Sign Ordinance Found to Violate First Amendment

By Mark Hamblett |

A town ordinance that limits political signs on private property to 21 days before an election and five days after violates the First Amendment, a federal judge found.

An ignitition interlock device

State Faults City Oversight of Ignition Overlock Devices

By Joel Stashenko |

Ignition interlock devices were installed in only about 5 percent of the DWI cases in which New York City courts ordered their use, the state comptroller's office said in an audit of Department of Probation records from August 2010 to December 2014.

Panel: Nurse With Sanitizer Allergy Entitled to Benefits

By Joel Stashenko |

An appeals court has upheld a state Workers' Compensation Board's finding that a former nurse lost almost all of her wage-earning capacity when she developed a severe allergy to hand sanitizer.

Judge Jeanette Ruiz, left, has succeeded Judge Edwina Richardson-Mendelson as New York City Family Court's chief administrative judge.

City Family Court Gets a New Top Administrator

By Joel Stashenko |

Judge Jeanette Ruiz was named new administrative judge of New York City Family Court Thursday, succeeding Edwina Richardson-Mendelson, who served nearly six and a half years in the post.

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

Panel Adopts 'Garner' Privilege Test for Fiduciary Situations

By Ben Bedell |

The Appellate Division, First Department, has adopted the "Garner test" for determining whether an attorney-client privilege claimed by a corporation and its lawyers may be overcome by the "fiduciary exception."

MTA Ordered to Allow Ads for Film About Muslim Comedians

By Mark Hamblett |

Southern District Judge Colleen McMahon said the First Amendment right of free speech requires the MTA to permit advertisements for a documentary about Muslim comedians on buses and in subway cars, regardless of its new policy to avoid controversy and litigation over political ads.

Queens Criminal Court Judge Toko Serita addresses the National Summit on Human Trafficking and the State Courts on Thursday.

Summit on Human Trafficking Focuses on Victim Assistance

By Andrew Denney |

While awareness of human trafficking by the courts and the public has grown in recent years, panelists and guests at a two-day national summit held in Manhattan Thursday agreed there is work to be done to change the way the justice system treats sex trafficking victims.

The toxic waste site in the Love Canal section of Niagara Falls in the 1970s.

Panel Reinstates Causes of Action in Love Canal Case

By Joel Stashenko |

In a suit alleging the unsafe handling of chemical contamination that dates back to the infamous Love Canal landfill discovered in the 1970s, a Fourth Department panel has found that plaintiffs were not blocked by judicial estoppel from bringing their action in state court, despite a related federal ruling on the same project.

Alexandra Shapiro, left, and Cynthia Arato

Q&A: Cynthia Arato and Alexandra Shapiro

By Jeff Storey |

Cynthia Arato and Alexandra Shapiro left partnerships at Gibson Dunn and Latham & Watkins respectively to launch their own litigation boutique in January 2009, a seemingly "risky proposition" in the best of times and particularly daunting during the financial crisis. But "for us, the time was right," they say.

 Dewey & LeBoeuf sign

Dewey Jury Quiet on Day After Partial Acquittal

By Nell Gluckman |

No questions were asked and no decisions were made Thursday by the jury deliberating the case against Dewey & LeBoeuf's former leaders—a stark contrast from Wednesday when the panel of seven women and five men threw out more than a dozen charges against each of the three defendants.

Robert Capers

Capers Nominated to Replace Lynch in the Eastern District

By Andrew Keshner |

Robert Capers, a senior federal prosecutor in the Eastern District U.S. Attorney's Office, has been nominated by President Barack Obama to head that office.

Nicholas Allard

Brooklyn Law Dean Allard Adds Role at Dentons

By Andrew Denney |

Brooklyn Law School Dean and President Nicholas Allard has taken a new second job as senior counsel at Dentons for the global law firm's public policy and regulation practice. He has resigned his position as a partner at Squire Patton Boggs.

Disbarred Attorney Faces 21 Counts in Real Estate Scams

By Andrew Keshner |

Brooklyn prosecutors have accused a disbarred attorney of stealing more than $1 million in real estate scams on two homes facing foreclosure.

Attorneys' Email Agreement Was Binding, Judge Finds

By Ben Bedell |

A Bronx Housing Court judge ruled that an email exchange between two attorneys constituted a binding settlement agreement, even though one client disowned it prior to a stipulation of settlement being signed.

Input Sought on Proposed Rule for In-House Counsel

By Joel Stashenko |

State court administrators are circulating for public comment a proposal that would allow the Appellate Division departments to register as in-house counsel attorneys who are lawyers in good standing in foreign jurisdictions.

Steven Davis, Joel Sanders and Stephen DiCarmine leave the courtroom yesterday after jurors acquitted them on some counts.

After Partial Verdict, More Dewey Deliberations

By Christine Simmons and Nell Gluckman |

A Manhattan jury found Dewey & LeBoeuf chairman Steven Davis, executive director Stephen DiCarmine and chief financial officer Joel Sanders not guilty Wednesday on some of the felony charges facing the firm's former leaders, but the jury was ordered to keep deliberating on the remaining counts.

Steven Davis, right, with his attorney Elkan Abramowitz outside court on Wednesday.

Observers Say Partial Dewey Verdict Is Good Sign for Defense

By Julie Triedman |

Reactions among several longtime New York-based white-collar counsel was unanimous: Wednesday's partial verdict acquitting three former Dewey & LeBoeuf executives on multiple counts of falsifying business records is very good news for the defense.

Weinstein Refers Definition of 'Flushable' to FTC

By Andrew Keshner |

Faced with a slew of consumer class action suits over supposedly flushable wipes but no consensus on the meaning of the word "flushable," a judge has decided to pause one of the cases to get a definition of the term from federal regulators.

Paul Smith's College is a private college located in Paul Smiths in Franklin County.

College's Bid for Name Change Blocked by Original Will

By Joel Stashenko |

A state judge has denied the request by a small college in the Adirondacks that it be released from the conditions of the will of a 20th century benefactor so that it can add the name of a 21st century benefactor.

James T. Foley Courthouse, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York

Policy Denying Electric Wheelchairs to Inmates Is Upheld

By Joel Stashenko |

While noting that the majority of state prison systems and the Federal Bureau of Prisons allow motorized wheelchairs, Northern District Judge Mae D'Agostino found that the New York state's policy was not discriminatory as applied in the case of Nathaniel Wright, who was provided with alternative means of helping him cope with his disability.

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

Panel Upholds Conviction of Ex-Nassau Police Official

By Andrew Denney |

A Brooklyn appeals court has upheld a conviction of conspiracy and official misconduct for a former police chief who took part in a scheme to shield a high school student whose father gave money to a police nonprofit from being arrested for stealing electronics.

Human Trafficking Summit Convenes in New York City

By Joel Stashenko |

New York and national experts are gathering in Manhattan this week for a "summit" on human trafficking and effective ways that state-level courts can respond.

The New York City Fire Department battles a seven-alarm fire at a storage facility in Brooklyn that held thousands of documents from the court system, law firms and others.

City Bar Offers Advice on Destroyed Files

By Andrew Denney |

Attorneys have an ethical obligation to tell their clients if documents such as wills, deeds and negotiable instruments or active case files are destroyed, according to an advisory opinion issued by a committee of the New York City Bar Association.

Ex-Public Defender Pleads to Illegal Gun Possession

By Joel Stashenko |

A former public defender in Monroe County has admitted to a federal charge of possessing a handgun in furtherance of a marijuana-growing operation at his home.

Feerick Center Awards

By Rick Kopstein, Photographer |

The Feerick Center for Social Justice held its 2015 awards & benefit reception at Bank of America on Monday.

Judicial Friends

New York Court of Appeals Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam recently presided at the installation of officers of the Judicial Friends Association, an organization established in 1976 by African-American judges.

 Dewey & LeBoeuf sign

Dewey Juror in E.R. Expected to Return; Judge Will Ask if Partial Verdict Is Possible

By Christine Simmons |

One of the 12 jurors weighing the criminal charges against three Dewey & LeBoeuf executives reported Wednesday she was in the emergency room, delaying discussions among the attorneys on how to respond to the jury's note that they were deadlocked.

Johnny Hincapie cries in Manhattan Supreme Court Tuesday as he learns he will be granted a new trial after 25 years in prison for murder.  At right is his defense lawyer, Ronald Kuby.

Judge Tosses Conviction in 1990 NYC Killing of Tourist

By Andrew Denney |

A man who maintains he was wrongly convicted in a notorious 1990 tourist killing deserves a new trial, a judge said Tuesday, throwing out a verdict in a case that helped crystallize an era of crime and fear in New York City.

From left, Defendants Steven Davis, Stephen DiCarmine and Joel Sanders enter court on Thursday.

Dewey Jury Says It Can't Agree on Most Charges in Fraud Case

By Nell Gluckman |

The jury deliberating in the trial of the former top executives of the now-defunct Dewey & LeBoeuf said in a note Tuesday that they could not agree on most of the charges against the defendants. Acting Supreme Court Justice Robert Stolz told them just after 4 p.m. to continue working and that he would respond in greater detail Wednesday morning.

A ship discharging ballast water

Circuit Orders EPA to Toughen Ballast Discharge Regulations

By Mark Hamblett |

Environmental groups trying to stop the unintentional transfer of invasive species from foreign bodies of water into U.S. waterways have won a shot at tougher regulations with a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Software Developer's Claims Revived in Trade Secrets Case

By Ben Bedell |

A software inventor had his claims for misappropriation of confidential ideas and breach of fiduciary duty revived Tuesday against an early investor who allegedly provided the inventor's trade secrets to the founders of Pinterest.

Former General Assembly President John Ashe in 2013

Prosecutor Finds 'Platform for Profit' at United Nations

By Larry Neumeister and Tom Hays |

A former president of the United Nations General Assembly accepted over $1 million in bribes and a trip to New Orleans from a billionaire Chinese real estate mogul and other businesspeople to pave the way for lucrative investments, Southern District U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara charged Tuesday.

Joan Illuzzi-Orbon and Michael McMahon

Democrat Has Financial Edge in Staten Island DA Race

By Ben Bedell |

In the final fundraising push before the Nov. 3 vote in Staten Island's hotly contested district attorney race, Democrat Michael McMahon garnered more than eight times the contributions Republican Joan Illuzzi did in September, according to campaign finance records filed Monday.

'First Monday' Argument

By Rick Kopstein, Photographer |

The Office of the Appellate Defender presented its 22nd annual "First Monday in October," a mock Supreme Court argument at New York University School of Law on Oct. 5.

Proskauer Creates Full-Time Pro Bono Partner Position

By Christine Simmons |

Proskauer Rose has tapped William Silverman to head the firm's pro bono efforts. Silverman, who is leaving Greenberg Traurig, will be the first partner-level lawyer to lead Proskauer's pro bono practice on a full-time basis.

City Fights $28M Verdict in Crash Involving Police

By Joel Stashenko |

A Bronx judge has set an Oct. 15 filing deadline for New York City's request that he set aside or reduce a $28.2 million jury verdict against the city for injuries a man suffered when hit by a car that was being followed by a police van.

States Ask High Court to Hear Texas Abortion Case

By Joel Stashenko |

The New York State Attorney General's Office is taking the lead among 12 states in urging the U.S. Supreme Court to grant certiorari in a case involving a Texas law it says restricts access to abortion clinics in Texas.

Mock Trial Event Seeks Volunteer Judges

The nonprofit Empire Mock Trial is seeking attorneys to volunteer to judge a competition at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District in Brooklyn on Oct. 24-26.

On the Move

Four firms have announced new additions, and Tracey Cushing Gilliam has joined MetLife Inc. as senior vice president and chief counsel in litigation.


King & Spalding associate Ethan Davis outside the U.S. Supreme Court after arguing his first case before the court, Ocasio v. United States.  October 6, 2015.

King & Spalding Associate Reflects on 'Intensity' of High Court Debut

By Zoe Tillman |

King & Spalding associate Ethan Davis made his high court debut on Tuesday - a rare feat for a law firm associate. Davis argued for a former Baltimore police officer charged in an extortion conspiracy. "The intensity of it was something that you can’t prepare for," he said.

Preet Bharara

High Court Declines to Hear 'Newman'; Circuit Ruling Stands

By Mark Hamblett |

Southern District U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has lost his last chance to reverse a decision that makes it more difficult for prosecutors to win convictions in insider trading cases.

Lawrence K. Marks

Family Court to Get Advice on Issues of Immigration

By Joel Stashenko |

The state's chief administrative judge, Lawrence Marks, announced Monday the formation of a council to study the impact of immigration issues on Family Court proceedings.

Students in Quanaysha Ash's classroom.

New High School Weaves the Law Into Lessons

By Andrew Denney |

This past Sept. 11, the students of the Charter High School for Law and Social Justice in the Bronx were like most other students talking about the terrorist attacks that struck the city 14 years ago. But unlike most students, the charter school students were asked to argue about how the attacks continue to affect their lives and the laws that govern them.

Southern District Judge Richard Berman

Judge Vacates Arbitrator's $9.4M Award to Software Company

By Ben Bedell |

Southern District Judge Richard Berman said the arbitrator in an employment termination case had "severely prejudiced" the employee in denying him the right to present evidence that was "clearly germane."

Nassau County Acting DA Madeline Singas

Nassau Policy Sparks Debate on Prosecutors With Guns

By Michael Balsamo and Jennifer Peltz |

After a suburban district attorney barred her prosecutors from keeping handguns, even at home, her office said the goal was safety. But the now-changed restriction has touched off debate about whether prosecutors should possess firearms.

The Slants

'Slants' Case Stirs Strong Response at Federal Circuit

By Scott Graham |

Just as the national debate over offensive trademarks such as the Washington Redskins has been sharply divided, so too was the Federal Circuit on Friday, when it held an en banc hearing on whether the government can withhold registration of "disparaging" trademarks under Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act.

Parties Pick Challenger to Clark for Bronx DA

By Andrew Keshner |

Bronx Republicans and Conservatives have chosen Robert Siano, 38, a solo practitioner, as their candidate for Bronx district attorney, to run against Democratic party nominee Darcel Clark.

Dewey Jurors Ask for Testimony Readback

By Christine Simmons |

Jurors in the criminal case against Dewey & LeBoeuf leaders on Monday considered the testimony of a key witness relating to accounting adjustments.

Steven Stimell

Bryan Cave, Day Pitney Appoint Managing Partners

By Christine Simmons |

Steven Stimell, a former co-leader of Bryan Cave's labor and employment practice group, will succeed Vincent Alfieri as managing partner for the firm's 130-attorney New York office, while Ellen Knarr will lead Day Pitney's New York office, succeeding Sabino "Rod" Rodriguez.

An 11-year-old boy receives a vaccine injection in Brooklyn in 2009.

Court Rejects Challenges to Two Circuit Rulings

The justices Monday let stand a ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that said the state's requirement that all children be vaccinated before they can attend public school does not violate students' constitutional right of religious freedom.

Basil Seggos

Cuomo to Nominate Aide for Environmental Post

By Joel Stashenko |

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday he will nominate Basil Seggos, who has been his deputy secretary for the environment since 2013, as state environmental conservation commissioner.

On the Move

Gibson Dunn, Sullivan & Worcester and Herrick Feinstein have each added an attorney.

Report: 2015 Could Set Record for Number of Law Firm Mergers

By Nell Gluckman |

There have been 68 law firm mergers through September 2015, according to a report released Monday by legal consultancy Altman Weil. The number is the highest through the third quarter of any year since the firm began tracking such deals nearly a decade ago.

A Customs and Border Protection officer watches travelers at Miami International Airport.

Copying Justified by Border Search Doctrine, Circuit Says

By Mark Hamblett |

Affirming the conviction of stock manipulator David Levy, the Second Circuit said that border officers can act on the reasonable suspicion of another federal agency when they go beyond inspection of a traveler's document, photocopying it for possible use in a criminal trial.

Rebbe Menachem Schneerson in 1987

Copyright Claims Over Rabbi's Teachings Dismissed

By Andrew Keshner |

In a fight over who could publish the teachings of a revered Jewish spiritual leader, a federal judge said that although the plaintiff entity "made an invaluable contribution to the publication" of the collected talks of the Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson, "their contribution was not of a type giving rise to a copyright in that work."

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

Officer's Account Justified Search, Divided Panel Finds

By Andrew Keshner |

A traffic stop based on allegedly obstructive items dangling from a rearview mirror that led officers to discover a handgun was lawful, a divided appeals court ruled.

U.S. Patent & Trademark Office in Washington, D.C.

IP Boutiques Adjust to Client Use of Patent Office Reviews

By Christine Simmons |

The trend of resolving patent disputes in the government's patent office, which costs a fraction of the price of litigation, has had an uneven effect on intellectual property practices across the country.

A map displayed at the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office shows the gas stations that Jason Golson-Orelus is accused of robbing.

Police Use of GPS Devices Raises Fourth Amendment Issues

By Michael Balsamo |

For months, police trying to solve a Long Island robbery spree had little more to go on than grainy surveillance footage of a man in a ski mask holding up one convenience store after another. That was until the gunman made off with a stack of bills that investigators had secretly embedded with a GPS tracking device.

From left, Defendants Steven Davis, Stephen DiCarmine and Joel Sanders enter court on Thursday.

Judge Delays Question of Partial Verdict in Dewey

By Nell Gluckman |

The prospect of hearing whether the jury in the case against the former Dewey & LeBoeuf leaders has reached a partial verdict was taken off the table Friday, at least for now. The day ended without a verdict or word from the jury, except for a request for more Post-It notes.

 An interview room at the new Staten Island courthouse

Legal Aid Sues to Remove Cameras in S.I. Courthouse

By Andrew Keshner |

Though the city maintains the cameras in interview booths in the arraignment facilities of the new Staten Island courthouse are a valid safety measure and insists attorney-client conversations are not monitored, Legal Aid says they violate attorney-client privilege and defendants' Sixth Amendment right to counsel.

Panel Finds Factual Issue in Testimony on Withdrawal

By Ben Bedell |

A divided Second Department panel ruled a bank had presented an issue of fact as to whether it had properly debited a customer's checking account for $50,000 based on a phone authorization the customer denied ever giving.

Carey Gabay

Fellowship, Scholarships Created to Honor Slain Aide

By Joel Stashenko |

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday the creation of a fellowship in the governor's counsel's office in honor of Carey Gabay, his former assistant counsel, who was killed by stray gunfire last month in Brooklyn.

NYLS Hosts Moot Court Competition

New York Law School held its 39th Annual Charles W. Froessel Moot Court Competition September 17 through 20.