This Weeks News

Steven Schlesinger and Surrogate Reilly

Surrogate Removes Schlesinger as Receiver of L.I. Foundation

By Andrew Keshner |

A high-profile Long Island attorney was relieved of his role as receiver of a charitable foundation by a judge who questioned the distributions he made and faulted him for not seeking court approval for disbursements or disclosing relationships with intended beneficiaries.

Retention of Hard Drive in 'Good Faith,' Full Circuit Says

By Ben Bedell |

Without reaching the ultimate issue of whether the government's actions violated the Fourth Amendment, the Second Circuit, sitting en banc, held Friday that the 2 1/2-year retention of seized hard drives, followed by a new search of them leading to a tax evasion conviction, was allowable.

Stephen DiCarmine leaving the courtroom after a mistrial was declared in the Dewey & Leboeuf trial, Oct. 19, 2015.

Dewey Defendant Taps New Counsel for Retrial

By Nell Gluckman and Christine Simmons |

Former Dewey & LeBoeuf executive director Stephen DiCarmine, who continues to battle multiple criminal charges related to his firm's 2012 collapse, chose a new white-collar defense lawyer for his upcoming retrial.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg takes part in a discussion at the U.S. Court of Appeals Second Circuit Judicial Conference on Thursday, May 26, 2016, in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Scalia Was 'Man of Many Talents,' Ginsburg Recalls

The late justice Antonin Scalia was not just a dear colleague and friend, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Thursday at the judicial conference of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit at Saratoga Springs. He was also a "discerning shopper."

Hulk Hogan.

Hulk Hogan Case Rattles Litigation Funding Firms

As if Hulk Hogan's courtroom brawl with Gawker Media wasn't already spectacle enough, this week brought news that PayPal billionaire and Sullivan & Cromwell alum Peter Thiel has been funding the litigation, possibly thanks to a personal vendetta against Gawker. One group that's not thrilled with the latest twist? The established litigation finance industry.

Robert Tendy, Putnam County District Attorney

Putnam DA Key Player in Release of Man Found Innocent of Arson

By Mark Hamblett |

A man who spent eight years in prison has been cleared of the arson charge that landed him there, and is now free because of a big assist by the Putnam County District Attorney.

City to Offer Lawyers Education on Immigration

By Andrew Denney |

The Padilla Support Center will hold immigration consequences training sessions and disseminate resource guides for criminal defense attorneys and others, as well as operate a hotline attorneys can call for advice or to be connected with immigration lawyers who can handle non-criminal needs, like residency applications and deportation proceedings.

Judge Declines to Suppress Heroin in 'Abandoned' Bag

By Joel Stashenko |

Changing his position, a judge has ruled that heroin police said they found in a handbag left in a car may be used as evidence over the objections of the handbag's owner.

Carey Gabay

Police Make Arrest in Slaying of Cuomo Aide

By Associated Press/Andrew Denney |

A man has been arrested and charged with murder in connection with the shooting death of an aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo who was caught in the crossfire between two gangs last year.

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

Panel Finds Rights at Issue in Election Inspectors' Suit

By Joel Stashenko |

A state appeals court declined to dismiss a challenge to the Orange County Board of Elections' decision not to assign some non-Hasidic election inspectors to work at voting places in the Hasidic community of Kiryas Joel.

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

Man Sentenced to 40 Years for 'Horrific' Bombing Plot

A Vietnamese man was sentenced Friday to 40 years in prison by a judge who said she believed he plotted to carry out a suicide bombing at London's Heathrow Airport.

Community Fellowship Through Worship

The Judicial Friends Association gathered recently at Staten Island's First Central Baptist Church for its 38th annual Law Sermon.

From left, Eastern District Magistrate Judges Gary Brown, Cheryl Pollak and Ramon Reyes Jr.

Eastern District Expedited Resolution of Sandy Claims

By Andrew Keshner |

About a year after Hurricane Sandy bore down on the East Coast, a steady flow of insurance cases began pouring into the Eastern District. But only 73 of 1,400 cases remained as of May 23. Attorneys involved said one important reason for the quick resolution was the work done by Magistrate Judges Cheryl Pollak, Ramon Reyes Jr. and Gary Brown.

Eastern District Judge Frederic Block

Judge Weighs Consequences of Offense as He Shuns Prison Term

By Andrew Keshner |

A woman has been spared a prison sentence by Eastern District Judge Frederic Block who reasoned the collateral consequences she will face for her drug smuggling felony was sufficient punishment.

Douglas Wigdor in front of a SoulCycle studio on 18th St. in Manhattan.

Suit by Lawyer Banned From SoulCycle Dismissed

By Ben Bedell |

A lawyer who sued SoulCycle for terminating his membership, alleging it was retaliation for having represented a SoulCycle employee in a wages-and-hours case against the popular workout chain, had his case dismissed Thursday by the First Department.

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

Ruling Bars Arbitrator From Modifying Original Award

By Ben Bedell |

A Brooklyn appeals panel has affirmed a lower court's holding that an arbitrator may not "modify" a ruling two years after making it based on "new information in the matter."

Richard Cordray.

Professors Oppose Use of Arbitration to Block Class Actions

More than 200 law professors and other scholars rushed out of the gate to back the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's plan to prohibit arbitration clauses preventing class actions, as the formal comment period on the proposal opened this week.

Josh Dubin

Q&A: Josh Dubin

By Jeff Storey |

Lawyers often rely on consultants like Josh Dubin, whose Dubin Research & Consulting, in the words of its website, "crafts litigation strategy that translates into victories at trial." He discusses trial strategies, juror psychology, and some of the cases in which his work had a significant impact.

AG Claims 'Joint Employer' Liability in Domino's Suit

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman made a strong statement on Monday when he announced that he would include Domino's Pizza Inc. as a defendant in a wage theft case against three Domino's franchisees that operate a total of ten stores in the state. It is the first wage theft case Schneiderman has brought that invokes "joint employer" liability.

The new emblem that indicates a menu item contains more than the recommended daily limit of sodium.

Salt Warnings to Be Enforced While Court Case Proceeds

By Joel Stashenko |

New York City plans to enforce a first-of-its-kind requirement for warning icons on salty chain restaurant foods beginning June 6 after an appellate court gave the go-ahead to start issuing fines. But it's not the final word on whether the regulation will stand.

Trial Rule Proposal Supports Use of Witness Affidavits

By Ben Bedell |

A proposed Commercial Division rule aimed at promoting the use of affidavits rather than live direct testimony in bench trials has been released for comment by the Administrative Board of the Courts.

Inconsistencies Doom Gang Assault Verdicts

By Andrew Denney |

An appeals court has thrown out a gang assault conviction for a man accused of slashing a victim in the face during a street fight in Queens, citing inconsistencies in the testimonies of the victim and witnesses.

New Commissioner Named to Oversee Suffolk Juries

By Andrew Keshner |

Lawrence Voigtsberger, who has served as case management coordinator in Suffolk County Supreme Court since 2009, was appointed jury commissioner on Tuesday. He replaces Michael O'Donohoe, who served as the commissioner for 22 years before retiring earlier this year.

NYLAG Gala Honors Fisher, Genirs

The New York Legal Assistance Group held its annual gala May 24, where it honored Judge Fern Fisher, deputy chief administrative judge for New York City courts and Kevin Genirs, U.S. general counsel of the Royal Bank of Canada.

Nassau Lawyers Award

The Nassau Lawyers' Association of Long Island honored Kathryn Driscoll Hopkins, chief clerk of the Nassau County Supreme Court, with the William J. Gitelman Award, which recognizes an outstanding legal professional who demonstrates an extraordinary degree of integrity, honesty and commitment to serving others.

Correction

Attorney Charged With Larceny in Judge's Estate Case

By Andrew Denney |

An attorney accused of stealing almost $600,000 from the estate of John Phillips Jr., a late Brooklyn Civil Court judge who died without leaving a will, was charged on Wednesday with second-degree grand larceny.

Mayor Bill de Blasio

Mayor's 'Agents of the City' FOIL Exemption Stirs Debate

By Andrew Keshner |

A state open government watchdog has panned what he called a "ridiculous" determination by the administration of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio that certain communications with "agents of the city" who are not employees are exempt from Freedom of Information Law disclosure.

Injured Firefighter's Claim Against Restaurant Proceeds

By Joel Stashenko |

Possible violations of state and local laws restricting smoking in public give a firefighter the sufficient basis to pursue his personal injury claim against the operators of the Italian restaurant where he was hurt while responding to a call, a judge determined.

Chief Judge Katzmann

Circuit Takes Civic Education Effort to Community

By Mark Hamblett |

Addressing the annual Second Circuit Judicial Conference, Chief Judge Robert Katzmann said a civic education initiative is well underway, with committees that cover everything from helping teachers develop social studies curricula that increase understanding of the justice system, to the creation of learning centers, to regular visits to courthouses for students.

Donald Trump speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on February 10, 2011.

Trump's Testimony in Decade-old NJ Case Draws Interest Anew

With Donald Trump's finances becoming a contested issue in the presidential race, a 2006 libel suit he filed in New Jersey is getting renewed attention in political circles.

Attorney Tracy Catapano-Fox

Ex-Attorney for NY Agency Settles Her Gender Bias Suit

By Mark Hamblett |

The former executive director of the police oversight Civilian Complaint Review Board has reached a settlement with New York City on gender discrimination and other charges in a lawsuit where she claimed the administration of Bill de Blasio torpedoed her chances for a judgeship.

City Hall

Council Votes to Divert Minor Offenses From Court

By Andrew Keshner and Associated Press |

The New York City Council passed legislation Wednesday that would reduce penalties for minor offenses such as littering, violation of park rules and public urination.

County Sues Over Missed US Supreme Court Deadline

By Christine Simmons |

A Western New York county has bought a legal malpractice lawsuit against Harris Beach, claiming $10 million in damages, arguing the firm missed a deadline to file critical appeal papers to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Unanimous Legislature Votes to Repeal Tampon Tax

By Joel Stashenko |

The state Senate gave final legislative approval Wednesday to a bill to repeal New York state's sales tax on feminine hygiene products

New York State Capitol in Albany

Ethics Agency to Hire Two Additional Attorneys

By Joel Stashenko |

The executive director of the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics, Seth Agata, said at a meeting of the board Tuesday that "business is brisk" and there is a need for two attorneys with investigative experience.

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

Character and Fitness Panel to Interview Applicants

Approximately 218 applicants for the bar will be interviewed on Tuesday, May 31 by the Character and Fitness Committee of the Appellate Division, First Department.

Brooklyn Treatment Court Marks 20th Anniversary

By Rick Kopstein, Photographer |

According to Acting Supreme Court Justice Jo Ann Ferdinand, presiding judge of the Brooklyn Treatment Court, more than 3,000 participants had overcome their substance abuse and resumed lives as contributing members of society.

Court Employees Union Rallies for Contract

By Rick Kopstein, Photographer |

COBANC, a union representing nonjudicial employees in Nassau County, rallied at the County Courthouse in Mineola Tuesday. The union has not had a contract since 2011.

Arab Bank headquarters in Amman, Jordan

Damages Judgment Clears Way for Arab Bank Appeal

By Andrew Keshner |

A federal judge entered a $100 million damages award in a terrorism financing case against Arab Bank but paused enforcement, clearing the way for the bank to appeal an underlying liability verdict.

Tompkins Square Bagels at 165 Ave. A

Bagel Shop Ruled Not Liable for Worker Who Punched Patron

By Joel Stashenko |

Justice Carol Edmead held that Nathan Bershadsky was not acting within his capacity as an employee of Tompkins Square Bagels when, taking exception to a vulgarity a customer directed at a waitress, he followed the patron outside of the shop and across the street and punched him in the jaw.

Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia, circa 1942.

Prison Official Shielded From Suit Over Rastafarian Holiday

By Mark Hamblett |

A prison official walking the fine line in the scheduling and observances for the various religions practiced by inmates is shielded by qualified immunity for taking one Rastafarian holiday off the calendar and replacing it with another, a judge has ruled.

U.S. Supreme Court

Citing 'Focus on Race' in Picking Jury, Justices Reverse Conviction

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday reversed the conviction of a black man in Georgia sentenced to die for the murder of a white retired schoolteacher, saying that "the focus on race in the prosecution's file plainly demonstrates a concerted effort to keep black prospective jurors off the jury."

Justice Joseph in 2001

Burton Joseph, Retired Nassau County Justice, Dies

By Andrew Denney |

Burton Joseph, who was a Family Court judge for 12 years before joining the state Supreme Court, was known for his charitable contributions, working with We Care, the charitable arm of the Nassau County Bar Association, the American Cancer Society and the Levittown United Cerebral Palsy Association.

New Jersey Panel Stresses Rules for Lawyer Accolades

By Charles Toutant |

The New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Attorney Advertising has issued a warning that many lawyers are failing to comply with its rules governing promotion of comparative accolades like "Super Lawyers" and "Best Lawyers."

After a fourth trial, Calvin Harris, left, has been acquitted of the murder of his estranged wife Michele, right.

Man Acquitted of Killing Wife After Fourth Trial

By Joel Stashenko |

A state judge acquitted an upstate businessman Tuesday of murdering his estranged wife on Sept. 11, 2001, in the fourth time the defendant stood trial for the crime.

Town Justice Is Admonished for Delegating Functions

By Joel Stashenko |

The state Commission on Judicial Conduct has recommended that a town court justice in Westchester County be admonished for improperly letting a deputy town attorney decide on the disposition of traffic cases before her court from May 2011 to May 2012.

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

Citing Double Jeopardy, Panel Reverses Conviction

By Ben Bedell |

A trial court that convicted a defendant of a lesser included charge without first stating before summations that the lesser charge would be considered did not cure the error by allowing defense counsel to reargue his summation several months later, the First Department said.

AG Accuses Domino's Pizza of Underpaying Workers

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Tuesday sued Domino's Pizza Inc., affiliates and three franchisees alleging they underpaid workers based on payroll reports generated by the parent company's computer system.

Metropolitan Black Bar Association Gala Honorees

The Metropolitan Black Bar Association held its 32nd annual awards gala on May 20.

Fund for Modern Courts Awards

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman presented the Fund for Modern Courts' 2016 John J. McCloy Memorial Award to Harlan Levy, a partner at Boies, Schiller & Flexner and former chief deputy attorney general.

Fenwick Opening New York Office to Tap Tech Transactions

By Christine Simmons |

Silicon Valley firm Fenwick & West, in a growth spurt amid rising revenue from tech transactions, will open a six-partner New York office next month, the firm has announced.

Hunton & Williams Eying Transatlantic Tie-Up with UK's Addleshaws

By James Booth |

Hunton & Williams is in merger talks with midmarket U.K. firm Addleshaw Goddard, Legal Week has learned. If successful, a merger between the pair would create a firm with more than 1,300 lawyers and combined gross revenue of around $809 million.

Bank of America bought Countrywide in 2008.

Finding No Evidence of Fraud, Circuit Reverses $1.27B Verdict

By Ben Bedell |

A Bank of America predecessor, Countrywide Home Loans, was accused of knowingly selling defective home mortgages to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as the 2008 financial crisis accelerated. But a unanimous panel of the Second Circuit accepted defense arguments that all the government had proven was an intentional breach of contract by Countrywide.

Tom Brady

Brady Seeks En Banc Review of 'Deflategate' Suspension

By Mark Hamblett |

The lead lawyer for New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady Monday launched a long-shot bid to win reversal of the four-game suspension the National Football League leveled against Brady for an alleged conspiracy to tamper with footballs in 2015.

Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse at 40 Foley Square

Court Reinstates Claim Banks Manipulated LIBOR

By Mark Hamblett |

Judge Dennis Jacobs, writing for the Second Circuit, said the banks urged on appeal that LIBOR is not itself a price, but "LIBOR forms a component of the return from various LIBOR-denominated financial instruments, and the fixing of a component of price violates the antitrust laws."

Firm Victim of Check Scheme Loses Bid to Sue Banks

By Christine Simmons |

A judge found that a small firm that fell victim to a counterfeit check scheme targeting attorneys failed to provide any authority for the proposition "that ordinary care" requires a collecting bank to identify false routing numbers, use fraudulent-check detection devices or investigate the source of counterfeit checks.

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

Panel Rejects Firm's Motion to Dismiss Bank's Suit

By Ben Bedell |

The First Department rejected arguments by Tonino Sacco and Elias Fillas, partners in 29-lawyer Sacco & Fillas, that Credit Suisse did not have standing to sue for damages caused when a Sacco & Fillas lawyer, who later pleaded guilty to mortgage fraud, allegedly closed a transaction using forged documents, and stole a portion of the loan proceeds.

United States Postal Service Headquarters Building in Washington, D.C.

Ruling Allows More Time for Filing Workplace Bias Claims

By a 7-1 vote Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court said the 45-day deadline for initiating a constructive-discharge claim can begin running from the day the employee resigns—not the day of the last discriminatory workplace incident.