This Weeks News

Evan Marshall and Clinton Correctional Facility

Motion to Seal Records in Wrongful Death Settlement Denied

Melissa Hoffmann | April 1, 2015

A Nassau County judge refused to seal court documents in the settlement of a lawsuit stemming from a gruesome murder, citing a need for transparency in what he called the first case of its kind in New York—a suit against a voluntary mental health facility for the actions of a voluntary patient.

Evan Marshall and Clinton Correctional Facility

Motion to Seal Records in Wrongful Death Settlement Denied

By Melissa Hoffmann |

A Nassau County judge refused to seal court documents in the settlement of a lawsuit stemming from a gruesome murder, citing a need for transparency in what he called the first case of its kind in New York—a suit against a voluntary mental health facility for the actions of a voluntary patient.

 Dewey & LeBoeuf sign

Dewey Case Takes Shape Weeks Before Trial

By Christine Simmons |

In the run-up to the trial of former executives of Dewey & LeBoeuf, a Manhattan judge ruled Tuesday that the defense could argue that, if not for the departure of partners and publicity of the prosecutors' investigation, Dewey would have been able to "right itself and pay its debt."

Paul Spinelli, who took this Super Bowl XLVII image in 2013, is one of several photographers suing the NFL and the Associated Press.

Judge Tosses Antitrust, Copyright Suit Against NFL, AP

By Mark Hamblett |

The suit, brought by freelance professional photographers, claimed an exclusive arrangement between the defendants stripped them of their ability to sell higher-value commercial licenses and forced them to transfer all of their NFL photos to the AP if they wanted to continue offering commercial licenses.

Justices Weigh Patent Fight Over Spider-Man Toy

By Sam Hananel |

The U.S. Supreme Court was caught in a web of legal arguments Tuesday over whether an inventor could keep collecting royalties on a popular Spider-Man toy even after his patent expired.

The New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission chose the Nissan NV200 as the 'Taxi of Tomorrow.'

Court of Appeals Delays Start of Taxi of Tomorrow

By Joel Stashenko |

The state Court of Appeals granted a stay Tuesday to prevent New York City's "Taxi of Tomorrow" program from taking effect on April 20, as scheduled, pending the court's consideration of an appeal of the program's validity.

Child Support Cancels Bid to Block Access, Judge Rules

By Andrew Keshner |

A judge said a divorcing wife who successfully petitioned to have her husband pay temporary child support cannot turn around and ask to have the man's access to one child revoked.

Douglas Hallward-Driemeier of Ropes & Gray and Mary Bonauto of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders will argue for gay marriage on April 28 in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Advocates Picked to Present Same-Sex Marriage Position

By Marcia Coyle |

Mary Bonauto of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders and Douglas Hallward-Driemeier, a partner of Ropes & Gray, will address the U.S. Supreme Court April 28 to argue against state bans on same-sex marriage.

Legal Podcast Available on State Court Website

By Joel Stashenko |

New York's Unified Court System has posted the first of what it plans to be an ongoing feature on its website—podcasts containing conversations with figures of importance to the courts, criminal justice and the legal system.

The Eastern District Courthouse in Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn

Eastern District Seeks Magistrate Candidates

Applicants must be in good standing of the bar of the highest court of the state for at least five years, have practiced law actively for five years and not be related to a judge of the district court.

Supporting Civil Legal Services

Legal Services of the Hudson Valley raised more than $85,000 for programs and services at its 2015 Equal Access to Justice Dinner Thursday.

Bronx Household of Faith co-pastor Robert Hall stands in front of P.S. 15/P.S. 291 in the Bronx, where the church held services, in December 2011.

De Blasio to Revise Ban Against Worship Services in Schools

By Ben Bedell |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday left standing a lower court ruling that upheld a New York City regulation banning the use of school buildings for after-hours religious worship services. But a spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio said that church groups using school space for services would be allowed to stay.

Court Again Rules Invalid Change in Judges' Insurance

By Andrew Denney |

A trial court has ruled for the second time that a change in state law to decrease the state's contribution to judges' health care insurance premiums was unconstitutional.

Gillian Lester

Columbia Dean Promotes Global World View

By Andrew Denney |

At a time of uncertainty for law schools across New York and the country, Columbia Law School seems to be weathering the storm, keeping its place among the country's premier law schools. But Gillian Lester, who is entering her third month as dean, said there's still room for improvement.

Group's Bias Bid Against Ramapo Is Rejected

By Mark Hamblett |

An Orthodox Jewish group has lost its suit alleging that four villages in the Town of Ramapo and their officials used zoning concerns as a pretext for discrimination in blocking a large multi-family development.

David Ferstendig

State Bar Finds a New Editor for 'Must-Read' Law Digest

By Joel Stashenko |

While David Ferstendig said no one can hope to duplicate the verve and humor longtime editor David Siegel brought to the New York State Law Digest, he sees new directions for its commentaries.

Proposed LSAT Disability Accommodations Are Challenged

An expert panel's proposals for liberalizing disability accommodations for the Law School Admission Test would undermine the exam's integrity, the organization that administers the test has argued in court papers.

A. Gail Prudenti and Barry Cozier

Group Chosen to Study Attorney Discipline Rules

By Joel Stashenko |

Chief Administrative Judge A. Gail Prudenti and former Appellate Division, Second Department, Justice Barry Cozier will lead a commission created by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman to study the state's attorney discipline system and recommend improvements.

Man Convicted of Murder Claims Misconduct by ADA

By Andrew Keshner |

John Giuca, who could not convince Brooklyn prosecutors to undo his conviction in the high-profile 2003 killing of college student Mark Fisher, has filed a motion to set it aside, claiming a Brooklyn Assistant District Attorney's purported misconduct deprived him of a fair trial.

The Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn was flooded during Hurricane Sandy.

Habeas Bid Over Evidence Buried by Sandy Rejected

By Andrew Keshner |

The unavailability of police evidence, thought to be on the first floor of a warehouse in Red Hook section of Brooklyn, which was slammed by Hurricane Sandy, is not grounds to grant a habeas corpus petition, a judge has ruled.

GNC, AG Reach Agreement Over Herbal Supplement

GNC has agreed to start using DNA barcoding to confirm the authenticity of all plants used in its herbal supplements prior to processing. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman had said in February that four out of five supplements from several retailers showed no trace of the labeled herb's DNA.

On the Move

Promotions and additions at Kelley Drye & Warren; Simmons Hanly Conroy; Mayer Brown; Akerman; Nixon Peabody; Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein; Duane Morris; and JAMS.

George Nemphos, top, and Jay Cohen

Corporate Chair, Partner Resign From Duane Morris

By Christine Simmons |

The chair of Duane Morris' corporate practice, George Nemphos, and corporate partner Jay Cohen have resigned from the partnership, effective Thursday, according to a firm spokesman.

Ruling Upheld Giving Inmate Visitation With Young Son

By Joel Stashenko |

A Family Court judge was on "sound and substantial" ground when he ordered an inmate to receive regular visits from his young son, despite objections from the child's mother that the boy believes another man is his father and that she does not want to tell him otherwise, an appellate court has ruled.

A home health aide assists a patient in her Bronx apartment

Federal Law Does Not Preempt NY Wage Law, Circuit Says

By Mark Hamblett |

New York's 2011 Wage Parity Law, which sets minimum compensation that employers must pay home health care workers to get Medicaid reimbursement in New York City, Westchester, Suffolk and Nassau Counties, was ruled not preempted by federal law.

From left, Toko Serita, presiding judge of the Queens Human Trafficking Intervention Court, testifies before the New York City Council on Friday with Judy Harris Kluger, executive director of Sanctuary for Families and Dr. Holly Atkinson of Mount Sinai Hospital.

City Asked to Boost Funds for Human Trafficking Courts

By Andrew Keshner |

With specialized human trafficking intervention courts taking root, victim advocates at a City Council budget hearing Friday spoke of accomplishments in pulling some women out of what they called "the life." But they also noted the rising demand for their services and unmet needs.

92nd Street in Rockaway, Queens, after Hurricane Sandy

Policy Doesn't Cover Removal of Sandy Debris, Court Says

By Charles Toutant |

Owners of a property damaged in Hurricane Sandy aren't entitled to reimbursement under the federal flood insurance program for removal of debris from elsewhere that was deposited in their yard, the Third Circuit has ruled in a case of first impression for federal appellate courts.

A group of immigrants from Honduras and El Salvador who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally are stopped in Granjeno, Texas, on June 25, 2014. On Tuesday, July 8, 2014, President Barack Obama asked Congress for $3.7 billion to cope with a tide of minors from Central America who are illegally crossing the U.S. border.

Jesuit Law Schools Team Up to Study Immigrant Needs

By Karen Sloan |

Fordham University School of Law and 12 other schools housed at Jesuit universities will collaborate to help unaccompanied children and immigrant families from Central America seek refuge in the United States.

Madeline Singas

LI Lawyer Charged With Stealing $185K From Client

By Andrew Keshner |

A Long Island attorney was arrested and charged Friday for allegedly stealing more than $185,000 in personal injury settlement funds awarded to her client.

Robert H. Jackson Federal Courthouse in Buffalo

New Chief Judge Takes Reins in the Western District

By Joel Stashenko |

Frank Geraci Jr. has become chief judge for the Western District of New York after a little more than two years on the federal bench, succeeding Judge William Skretny, who assumed senior status on March 8.

Drug Plea Was Not Entered Knowingly, Panel Finds

By Joel Stashenko |

The guilty plea of a drug law offender should be vacated because it was entered under the mistaken belief that he would qualify for a shock incarceration program, a divided appeals court ruled Thursday.

City Weighs Its Response to $25.2M Shooting Verdict

By Andrew Denney |

The City of New York has yet to determine whether it will appeal a Brooklyn jury's $25.2 million award to a man who was left paralyzed after he was shot during a 2009 arrest by a New York police sergeant.

Police Who Found Gun Acted Correctly, Panel Says

By Ben Bedell |

A 4-1 ruling by a panel of the First Department refused to overturn a lower court holding that the gun leading to Stanley Hardee's conviction and 16 years-to-life sentence was the fruit of an unconstitutional search.

Jewish Lawyers Guild Awards

The Jewish Lawyers Guild honored Justices George Silver, Jeffrey Oing and David Friedman at its 39th Annual Dinner Thursday at the New York Hilton Hotel.

The Court of Appeals in Albany

Court of Appeals Declines to Review Validity of Police Stop

By Joel Stashenko |

The court said Thursday it did not have authority to review two First Department decisions that were not "on the law alone or upon the law and such facts which, but for the determination of law, would not have led to reversal." In a separate ruling, the court addressed a question about sex offender risk assessments it had never faced before.

Judge Follows California Law in Partner's Visitation Bid

By Andrew Keshner |

Although a divorcing lesbian couple couched their arguments on standing entirely in New York statutory and common law, a Family Court judge applied California law, where they had lived when their children were born, concluding that the non-biological mother has standing to seek custody and visitation.

106-09 Guy Brewer Blvd., Queens

Panel Affirms Warrant Requirement for Entire Rooming House

By Andrew Denney |

The full interior of a rooming house—and not just a room—where a man lived when he was arrested for gun and marijuana possession should be considered his home under the Constitution, and thus a trial court correctly suppressed evidence gathered at the scene, an appellate court ruled.

Judge Spatt

Suit Over Involuntary Mental Health Commitment Proceeds

By Mark Hamblett |

The line between state and private action is at issue in the forced commitment of a Suffolk County man who is suing after being confined at a private hospital for 10 days by two private doctors who allegedly took the word of a state doctor and did not examine him themselves.

Ex-Goldman Sachs VP's Suit Moved From Delaware to NJ

By Charles Toutant |

Goldman Sachs has successfully moved to transfer a suit over legal bills for Sergey Aleynikov, a former vice president who was charged with stealing computer code from the company.

Stephen Breyer.

Divided Court Revives Challenge Over Alabama Redistricting

By Zoe Tillman and Marcia Coyle |

Challengers who accused Alabama officials of unlawfully using race to craft political boundaries will get another chance to argue against the new districts. A divided U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday sent the case back for further review, finding lower court judges made a series of legal errors.

Turning Stone Casino

Judge Upholds Tax Break for Oneida Indian Nation

A federal judge has rejected a challenge to the U.S. Interior Department's decision to put more than 13,000 acres the Oneida Indian Nation had reacquired two centuries after they last possessed it in trust and exempt from state and local taxes.

Appellate Division, Third Department, courthouse in Albany

Panel Orders Another Look at Unemployment Benefits

By Joel Stashenko |

An appeals court Thursday overruled the finding of a state unemployment insurance appeal board that a man fired for getting into a fistfight with a co-worker at a Christmas Party in 2011 should be allowed to collect unemployment insurance benefits.

Justice Quits After Charges of Misconduct Are Lodged

By Joel Stashenko |

The non-attorney justice of Mansfield Town Court in Cattaraugus County has resigned. He was accused of reducing or dropping charges against defendants without the prosecution's consent and for using "undignified" or "discourteous" language from the bench, among other charges.

Lincoln Center

Lincoln Center Launches First CLE

By Christine Simmons |

The first session in Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts' CLE with CuLturE program will be presented on May 6, with panelists including top in-house counsel from media, sports and entertainment companies, along with an optional performance.

Morgenthau Award

By Rick Kopstein, Photographer |

The Police Athletic League presented its Robert M. Morgenthau Award Thursday to Sandra Leung of Bristol-Myers Squibb and Vincent Pitta of Pitta & Giblin.

Judge Orders Parties to 'End the Madness' With Pleadings

By Mark Hamblett |

Fed up with massive pleadings filled with irrelevance and redundancy, a federal judge has ordered the lawyers in a franchise dispute to scale their offerings way back.

Platinum Pleasures club in the Bronx

Panel Overturns Cancellation of Strip Club's Liquor License

By Ben Bedell |

Violations by Platinum Pleasures, in the absence of a finding of willfulness, did not warrant the cancellation of its liquor license, the First Department ruled over a dissent that said the "maxim that ignorance of the law is no excuse applies in the context of article 78 proceedings."

Court Rejects Right to Fee Requested After Settlement

By Andrew Keshner |

A judge rebuffed an attorney's fee application submitted more than a month after putting on the record a divorce settlement that said the husband and wife would be responsible for fees and costs.

Voters scan their ballots on election day in Albany in November 2014.

Albany County Told to Create New Minority-Majority District

By Joel Stashenko |

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered Albany County to redraw the lines of its county legislature to create a new district where minority voters are in the majority, finding that current lines dilute the voting strength of blacks in violation of the federal Voting Rights Act.

Study Finds Faculties Short on White Christians, Republicans

By Karen Sloan |

A working paper by Northwestern University School of Law professor James Lindgren challenges the notion that women and minorities are underrepresented in teaching the law. Those groups actually have made significant gains, he said. But viewpoint diversity did not improve.

Judge Seybert

Man Charged With Filing Bogus Liens Against Judges

By Andrew Keshner |

Federal prosecutors say a Long Island man filed bogus liens against three Suffolk County judges as payback for adverse rulings in a foreclosure action against him.

Dwane Smith, center

Attorney Is Sentenced in Client-Steering Scheme

By Andrew Keshner |

Attorney Dwane Smith was sentenced Wednesday for his role in an alleged conspiracy to bribe a Criminal Justice Agency employee for referrals of low-level arrestees who could afford private counsel.

State Fights Effort to Obtain Records of Abuse Probes

The Cuomo administration is fighting an attempt by a legal services group with federal oversight responsibility to obtain complete investigative reports about alleged abuse of the disabled and mentally ill in state care.

Judge Rejects Challenge to State Tax Cap and Freeze

By Joel Stashenko |

Albany Supreme Court Justice Patrick McGrath said that the statutes restricting increases in property taxes are not unconstitutional because of the way they provide incentives for voters to keep tax hikes within the rate of inflation.

Appellate Division, Third Department, courthouse in Albany

Filing Under Old Law, Ex-Wife Denied Counsel Fees

By Joel Stashenko |

A 3-1 appeals court upheld the denial of counsel fees to the wife in a divorce case, finding that it had to decide the issue under the Domestic Relations Law that existed at the time the divorce action was filed in August 2010 and not the amended statute that took effect in October 2010.

Reception for the Judiciary

The New York County Lawyers Association hosted a reception Monday to honor newly elected and appointed members of the judiciary.

On the Move

NYSARC Inc., a nonprofit supporting individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities and their families, has promoted Kathryn Jerian to general counsel, along with news from law firms.