This Weeks News

Courtroom sketch of Ross Ulbricht in a Southern District courtroom in February

Life in Prison for Mastermind of 'Silk Road' Website

Mark Hamblett | June 1, 2015

Ross Ulbricht was sent to prison for life Friday for running a dark channel website with a thriving narcotics trade using the virtual currency bitcoin. The judge dismissed his tearful plea for mercy, denying every suggestion that he formed the Silk Road website for philosophical or ideological reasons.

Michael Cassidy in 2014

Parole Board Held in Contempt for Failure to Explain Denial

By Ben Bedell |

An Orange County judge has held New York state's Board of Parole in contempt for failing to abide by an order to give an explanation for denying parole to a convicted murderer "that did not simply restate the usual and predictable language with no specificity or other explanation to justify parole denial."

Carol Sigmond

New NYCLA Leader Targets Ethics, Administrative Hearings

By Andrew Denney |

Carol Sigmond, a solo practioner who focuses on construction law, came to the presidency of the New York County Lawyers' Association Thursday night with an ambitious to-do list to address both internal changes at the association and external issues affecting the justice system.

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

Panel Upholds Sanctions Against Lawyer, Defendants

By Ben Bedell |

Sanctions for bringing a frivolous summary judgment motion that was unsupported by admissible evidence were unanimously affirmed last week by the First Department in a long-running case stemming from allegations of fraud in the 2007 sale of a Swiss-based antique watch auction house.

Circuit Explains Ruling Barring Switch of Medication

By Michael Virtanen |

A federal appeals court has ruled that drug manufacturer Actavis' attempted switch of patented Alzheimer's medication, which halted distribution of the old drug before its patent expires this summer, violates U.S. antitrust law.

Meet the Affinity Bar Group Presidents

By Andrew Denney |

Brief bios of new bar association presidents, along with their goals for their upcoming terms.

Settlement Allows 'God' to Access His Credit File

By Associated Press and Jeff Storey |

A New York City man whose first name is "God" has settled a lawsuit with a credit reporting agency that had refused to recognize his name as legitimate.

Tax Ruling Could Open State to Bank Challenges

By Joel Stashenko |

TheNew York Tax Appeals Tribunal said that interbranch transactions by Italian bank UniCredit S.p.A. are not income subject to state taxation because they were established and operated separately from their parent corporation and kept separate books and records.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission building.

Goldman Attorney Named SEC Chief of Staff by White

By Jenna Greene |

Andrew "Buddy" Donohue, a top lawyer at Goldman, Sachs & Co., will serve as the SEC's next chief of staff, replacing Lona Nallengara. Donohue, an SEC veteran, headed the Division of Investment Management from May 2006 to November 2010, helping to develop regulations governing the $39 trillion asset management industry.

Circuit Upholds Ruling to Keep Apple Compliance Monitor

By Mark Hamblett |

Southern District Judge Denise Cote's refusal to remove a compliance monitor Apple Inc. claims has overstepped his bounds while the company appeals an injunction in an ebooks antitrust case has been upheld by a federal appeals court.

Ex-Dewey Partner Says Leaders Hid Concerns on Firm Finances

By Julie Triedman |

Prosecutors in the criminal trial of Dewey & LeBoeuf's three top executives hit their stride for the first time Thursday in questioning a well-liked retired partner and former executive committee member.

Gigi Jordan sat with her lawyers Earl Ward, left, and Norman Siegel at her sentencing hearing Thursday in Manhattan Criminal Court.

Jordan Sentenced to 18 Years in Death of 8-Year-Old Son

By Andrew Denney |

"Not one day goes by that I don't remember his beautiful face," former pharmaceutical executive Gigi Jordan said in remarks before her sentencing. But the trial judge said that she has not shown any regret in the years since her autistic son's death.

From left, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, John Flanagan, Carl Heastie

Shakeup of Legislative Leaders Likely to Slow Reform

By Joel Stashenko |

The unprecedented shakeups in the leadership of the Assembly and Senate have made somewhat bleak the prospect of moving significant reform measures through the Legislature before it ends its 2015 session on June 17. But advocates say they will continue to press for passage of bills that affect criminal justice, rent regulation, ethics and court administration.

Judge Kaplan

For-Profit Schools Lose Challenge to New Federal Aid Rules

By Scott Flaherty |

Southern District Judge Lewis Kaplan agreed to throw out a lawsuit over recent Department of Education rulemaking related to so-called gainful employment requirements in the laws that govern federal financial aid.

Steven Wise, standing left, president of the Nonhuman Rights Foundation, and Christopher Coulston, an assistant state attorney general, standing right, argue in court on Wednesday.

Manhattan Judge Hears Argument for Freeing Chimpanzees

By Jake Pearson |

A lawyer seeking to free two chimpanzees from a state university lab told a judge Wednesday that their confinement for research purposes is akin to imprisonment, slavery and the involuntary detention of mentally ill people.

Meet the New Bar Presidents: New York City, Long Island and Mid-Hudson Valley

By Andrew Denney |

Brief bios of new bar association presidents, along with their goals for their upcoming terms.

Justices Gonzalez and Scudder

Committees Review Nominations for PJ Posts

By Joel Stashenko |

Screening committees appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo are reviewing applications for the two presiding justice positions that will open on Dec. 31 with the mandatory retirements of Luis Gonzalez in the First Department and Henry Scudder in the Fourth Department.

Dean and Adam Skelos

Former Senate Leader and His Son Are Indicted

By Mark Hamblett |

Former New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son Adam were formally indicted Thursday on federal public corruption charges alleging a pay-to-play scheme that included bribery and extortion.

Judge Fines Con Ed After Firing of Injured Worker

By Joel Stashenko |

Consolidated Edison has been ordered to pay a fine and back pay and to reinstate the job of a $125,000-a-year electrical worker the state Division of Human Rights found was dismissed illegally because of an injury.

Judge Swain

Former Madoff Accountant Gets 1-Year Home Detention

Judge Laura Taylor Swain sentenced an accountant who certified fake financial records hiding Bernard Madoff's massive Ponzi scheme to one year of home detention, a light punishment he received by becoming a key cooperator.

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

Father Did Not Neglect Baby During Transit, Panel Says

By Andrew Keshner |

A father who snatched his newborn daughter from her mother and then began a three-hour trip home with an empty bottle and the child wrapped in a baby blanket did not neglect the child in the eyes of the law, a Brooklyn appellate court found.

Recognizing Family Court Service

The New York City Bar on Tuesday presented its Kathryn A. McDonald Award for excellence in service to the New York City Family Court.

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman announced his proposal to reform New York’s sentencing laws at John Jay College of Criminal Justice on Wednesday.

Lippman Moves to Reform Sentencing for Most Felonies

By Andrew Keshner |

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman is promoting a fixed end for the sentences of some 200 felonies, acting on the proposal of a commission that said a "fully determinate" sentencing plan would make the state's criminal justice system more transparent.

Joel Sanders, former CFO at Dewey & LeBoeuf, during a break on the first day of trial.

Dewey's CFO Was Just a 'Blunt' Talker, Defense Claims

By Nell Gluckman |

Dewey & LeBoeuf's former chief financial officer, Joel Sanders, may have referred in emails to the firm's "fake income" and requested a "clueless auditor" as the firm was struggling to remain profitable, but that is not evidence of fraud, his lawyer Andrew Frisch told a jury.

Larry Seabrook leaves Manhattan Federal Court in 2012.

Convicted Politician's Pension Can Be Forfeited, Court Rules

By Mark Hamblett |

A judge found that federal forfeiture laws trump restraints on the alienation of public pensions in the state Constitution in a lawsuit brought by former New York City Councilman Larry Seabrook, convicted for using nonprofits he controlled to siphon off money to his girlfriend and friends and relatives.

 poster promoting the Chagaev/Oquendo match

Boxer Is Entitled to Purse From Fight in Chechnya, Judge Says

By Andrew Keshner |

In addition to ordering a German promotional company to pay the remainder of a purse it owed heavyweight Fres Oquendo for a 12-round "surreal" slugfest, the judge blocked the company from promoting any match for his opponent Ruslan Chagaev for 18 months, or until the company schedules a rematch.

U.S. General Attorney Loretta Lynch holds a press conference in Brooklyn Wednesday to announce a 47-count indictment in an investigation of corruption centering around FIFA, the worldwide soccer governing body.

US Indicts 14 in Soccer Investigation

By Tom Hays and Jennifer Peltz |

The leaders of soccer federations corrupted the sport for nearly a quarter century by taking $150 million in bribes and payoffs, U.S. prosecutors said Wednesday as they laid out a sweeping case involving 14 people and marquee events as the World Cup.

Judge Refuses to Dismiss Education Suit Against State

By Joel Stashenko |

New York state has lost its bid to defeat a suit that claimed the distribution of education aid to charter schools violates students' constitutional right to properly funded schooling.

Judge Swain

Former Madoff Employee Gets Home Confinement

Southern District Judge Laura Taylor Swain sentenced a longtime trader for Bernard L. Madoff Securities LLC Wednesday to 10 months of home confinement after his testimony helped convict five former coworkers for their roles in history's largest Ponzi scheme.

Eric T. Schneiderman

Attorney General to Submit Ethics Reform Package

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said he will submit broad and detailed legislation aimed at ending public corruption in Albany, which he said lawmakers need to enact during a year when two leaders were arrested on federal charges.

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

Tribe's Challenge Dismissed on Jurisdiction Grounds

By Joel Stashenko |

A federal judge is steering clear of a Cayuga Indian tribe's dispute with an upstate municipality over its attempt to enforce an anti-gambling statute, ruling that the faction of Cayugas bringing the suit has not established standing under the U.S. Constitution.

On the Move

Four firms announce new additions, while Mintz Levin has promoted an attorney to member of the firm.

Correction

Steven Davis, Joel Sanders and Stephen DiCarmine

Fraud Trial Against Dewey Leaders Begins

By Nell Gluckman and Julie Triedman |

Jurors on Tuesday heard radically different characterizations of the alleged roles of three former executives who are facing criminal fraud charges in the 2012 collapse of Dewey & LeBoeuf.

Yankee Stadium

Partial Victory for Plaintiffs Challenging Sports Leagues

By Mark Hamblett |

Southern District Judge Shira Scheindlin has rejected class status for damages sought by consumers challenging the exclusivity of regional sports networks airing MLB and NHL games. But she certified a class seeking injunctive relief for baseball and hockey fans who say antitrust laws are being violated.

St. Mary's Park development in the Bronx

Widowed Tenant Not Given Due Process, Panel Concludes

By Ben Bedell |

The New York City Housing Authority failed to convince an appellate court that a trial judge had "shamelessly distorted" an administrative hearing record in a "vociferous effort to undermine NYCHA policy."

OCA Proposes Rule to Encourage Case Transfers

By Joel Stashenko |

State court administrators have issued proposed rules to clarify that criminal court judges, including those in town and village courts, can transfer criminal cases to one of the specialty "problem-solving" courts in their counties.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to students and faculty during a campaign stop at New Hampshire Technical Institute, Tuesday, April 21, 2015, in Concord, N.H.

Candidates Stir Debate About High Court 'Litmus' Tests

By Tony Mauro |

Unusually explicit comments by Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, who said that if elected they would nominate to the high court ­individuals who are committed to overturning 'Citizens United,' have resurrected the debate over the propriety of establishing "litmus tests" for potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees.

Tobacco Companies Defeat Judge's Order for 'Deliberately Deceived' Ads

By Zoe Tillman |

Tobacco companies, prosecuted under federal racketeering laws, will not have to publicly advertise a judge's conclusion that they "deliberately deceived" consumers about the health risks of smoking, the D.C. Circuit ruled on Friday, although they will have to make certain disclosures about the addictiveness of their products.

NY Attorney Sentenced in Phony Stock Scheme

By Joel Stashenko |

A New York attorney received 18 months in prison Tuesday from a federal judge in New Jersey for what authorities said was the effort he led to manipulate the prices of two stocks by creating phony trades and other fraudulent methods.

Settlement Reached in Wrongful Death Suits

By Joel Stashenko |

A $2.15 million settlement has been reached between the state and the family of a 33-year-old autistic man, Rasheen Rose, who died in 2012 while in a state-run institution in Queens.

Protesters outside the Staten Island Supreme Court on Feb. 5.

District Attorney Defends Garner Grand Jury Secrecy

By Andrew Keshner |

Organizations and officials trying to have the Eric Garner grand jury materials unsealed have failed to show their "particularized and compelling need" for the records, Staten Island prosecutors said Tuesday in appellate court papers.

Attorney's Nunchucks Case Deserves Trial, Judge Says

By Andrew Denney |

Whether New York's ban on possessing nunchucks violates a Port Jefferson attorney's Second Amendment rights is a question for trial, a federal judge ruled.

City Unions Granted Right to Disciplinary Materials

By Ben Bedell |

The First Department said New York City's Board of Collective Bargaining was acting within its discretion when it held public employee unions have the right to obtain discovery materials in disciplinary proceedings.

From left with hands folded: Dewey LeBoeuf attorneys Stephen DiCarmine; Zachary Warren; Joel Sanders; and Steven Davis are led into court.

Criminal Fraud Trial to Begin for Former Dewey Executives

By Chris Johnson And Julie Triedman |

Fourteen months after their indictment and two years after their firm failed, three former Dewey & LeBoeuf leaders will face a jury before Acting Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Robert Stolz Tuesday morning.

Circuit Backs Injunction On Distribution of New Drug

By Associated Press |

A federal appeals court has rejected a drug manufacturer's appeal and affirmed a judge's order that Actavis PLC keep distributing its widely used Alzheimer's medication until after its patent expires this summer.

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

Character and Fitness Panel to Interview Applicants

Approximately 128 applicants for the bar will be interviewed May 26 by the Character and Fitness Committee of the Appellate Division, First Department. The names of the candidates will appear in Court Notes in tomorrow's Law Journal.

DMV Rejection of License Plate Found Reasonable

By Joel Stashenko |

New York's Department of Motor Vehicles acted reasonably and within its authority when it refused to issue a "Choose Life" license plate because it feared being seen as taking sides in the volatile abortion debate, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has ruled.

Judge Rejects Proposal to Sell Development Rights to Farm

By Andrew Keshner |

In a dispute over a long-held family farm, a judge has refused to construe state laws on court-ordered property sales to permit the sale of development rights.

group of police officers

Police Lacked Reason to Search Wrong Man, Circuit Finds

By Mark Hamblett |

A police officer's claim that he acted reasonably when he searched the wrong man because the man resembled a robbery suspect has been rejected by a federal appeals court.

Guilty Pleas May Crimp Banks’ Pension Fund Activities

By Jenna Greene |

In the elite world of multibillion-dollar Wall Street banks, the U.S. Department of Labor rarely looms large. That changed this week. The agency will play a key role in determining whether five megabanks that pleaded guilty to criminal charges can effectively participate in the $7 trillion pension fund market.

Nassau Lawyers Award

The Nassau Lawyers’ Association of Long Island presented its William J. Gitelman Award to Nassau County Administrative Judge Thomas Adams, center, at the group’s annual dinner dance on Wednesday at the Carltun at Eisenhower Park

Department of Financial Services Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky

Lawsky to Step Down as NY Financial Regulator

By Associated Press |

Benjamin Lawsky, the state's top financial regulator who collected billions of dollars in penalties and fees from Wall Street giants, announced Wednesday that he will step down.

Brooklyn Prosecutor Denies Misconduct in Murder Case

By Andrew Keshner |

A Brooklyn prosecutor has disputed allegations of wrongdoing in opposing a man's effort to vacate his 2005 murder conviction.

Tree Cutter Loses Bid for Scaffold Law Protection

By Joel Stashenko |

Liability for a worker's injuries under the state's so-called Scaffold Law does not extend, as a general rule, to tree cutting and removal jobs, a state appeals court has affirmed.

Attorney Is Sentenced for Role in Mortgage Fraud

By Joel Stashenko |

An attorney has been sentenced to 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison and will forfeit her law license for her role in what authorities said was a years-long scheme to defraud home buyers and institutional lenders in the Syracuse area.

 jail cells

No Requirement to Weigh Lesser Penalty, Panel Says

By Joel Stashenko |

Judges are not under an affirmative obligation to consider whether defendants should receive indeterminate sentences for crimes they maintain were committed in response to physical, sexual or psychological abuse, an upstate appellate court ruled Thursday.