This Weeks News

Magistrate Judge Ellis

Bid for Pretrial Sanctions in Terror Case Is Rebuffed

Mark Hamblett | October 21, 2014

Plaintiffs attempting to win sanctions and gain an advantage at an upcoming trial over terror attacks in Jerusalem have been rebuffed by Southern District Magistrate Judge Ronald Ellis, who said there was no proof to support allegations the PLO and the Palestinian Authority intentionally withheld documents.

Lawrence Fisher (left), a partner at Cohen & Willwerth in Pittsburgh, speaks to the press about a libel suit against ESPN brought by his client Laurie Fine (second from left) in 2012 in Geneva, New York.

Documents From Investigation of Coach Must Be Disclosed

By Joel Stashenko |

Documents related to Syracuse University's 2005 investigation into molestation allegations against former basketball coach Bernie Fine are not shielded from disclosure in a lawsuit filed by Fine's wife as attorney work-product, a federal magistrate judge decided.

Great Meadow Correctional Facility

Inmate Sought Higher Award, But Panel Gives Him Nothing

By Joel Stashenko |

An appellate court has rebuffed a state prison inmate's claim that a damage award of $80,000 he received was inadequate to compensate him for injuries he suffered in an altercation with guards—in the process ruling that he was entitled to no money at all.

Citigroup Centre, London

Citigroup Directors Prevail in Second LIBOR Lawsuit

By Ben Bedell |

For the second time this year, a shareholder derivative case against Citigroup's directors that alleged they should be held personally liable for losses stemming from the bank's misstatement of LIBOR has been rejected by the Commercial Division.

Samuel Pryor III

Obituary: Samuel Pryor III

By Christine Simmons |

Samuel Pryor III, a retired corporate partner at Davis Polk & Wardwell, died Oct. 17 of an infection following a long bout with pulmonary hypertension, said his son, Joseph Pryor. He was 86.

Facebook Sues Law Firms Over Ceglia Litigation

By Ben Bedell |

Facebook on Monday sued DLA Piper and three other law firms alleging they "knew or should have known" that the claim made by their client, Paul Ceglia, that he owned half of Facebook was a fraud.

City Hall

City Comptroller's Subpoena for Tax Data is Upheld

By Andrew Keshner |

A state judge has ordered New York City's Department of Finance to comply with a city Comptroller's subpoena seeking tax information from 2008 to 2012.

Ex-Clerk Gets Prison Term for Stealing Court Funds

By Joel Stashenko |

A former upstate town court clerk was sentenced to 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison Monday for stealing $198,397 in court funds in 2011 and 2012.

Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson

After 'Terror' Conviction Upset, Man Found Guilty

By Andrew Keshner |

Almost two years after the Court of Appeals said Bronx prosecutors incorrectly invoked anti-terrorism laws in a gang member's case, another jury has found the man guilty on retrial.

Bench Trial to Begin on Defense of Indigent

By Joel Stashenko |

Acting Justice Gerard Connolly is expected to open the bench trial in 'Hurrell-Harring v. State of New York' by indicating his decision on whether the proceedings will be bifurcated or the issues of liability and a remedy decided at the same time.

Justice Leslie Stein

Cuomo Picks Third Dept. Justice for Top Court

By Joel Stashenko |

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday he is nominating Appellate Division, Third Department, Justice Leslie Stein to replace Victoria Graffeo on the Court of Appeals.

East River Housing Corp., and

Court Bites State Agency in Dog Eviction Dispute

By Ben Bedell |

New York State's Division of Human Rights has been ordered to pay legal fees to a New York City co-op for botching a disability discrimination claim brought by a tenant threatened with eviction over her pit bull, "Rosie".

The plaintiff slipped on an icy sidewalk adjacent to 339 Convent Ave. in Harlem.

Panel Revives Slip-and-Fall Lawsuit From Icy Sidewalk

By Tania Karas |

The First Department, reinstating a case that underlines the role wintry weather often plays in litigation in northeastern courts, has held that New York City had enough time after a snowfall to clear a sidewalk on which a woman slipped four days later.

Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse at 40 Foley Square

Circuit Finds Debt Calls Barred by Federal Law

By Andrew Keshner |

A man who ended up on a collection agency's call list after discontinuing the electricity at his deceased mother-in-law's apartment convinced a federal appeals court that the calls were prohibited by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

Class Status Recommended in Air Freight Price Case

By Amanda Bronstad |

Eastern District Magistrate Judge Viktor Pohorelsky has issued a report and recommendation certifying a class of tens of thousands of direct purchasers of air freight shipping services suing more than two dozen airlines in an alleged global price-fixing conspiracy.

Panel Rejects Attempt to Revive RMBS Claims

By Julie Triedman |

The First Department on Thursday unanimously affirmed a lower court decision dismissing breach of contract claims by monoline insurer Ambac against a Bear Stearns mortgage unit acquired by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Attorney Quits After Taking $600,000 From Client Escrow

By Tania Karas |

The First Department accepted the resignation of real estate attorney Bernard Weintraub, who "without his clients' consent...'borrowed' $600,000 'to meet certain obligations in the face of the economic downturn and [his] consequent inability to borrow the money from regular institutional sources.'"

Law Firm Sued Over Text Message Ads

By Christine Simmons |

A Connecticut resident is attempting to bring a class action suit against a New York law firm for allegedly violating a consumer protection law by sending out unsolicited text message advertisements.

On the Move

Hodgson Russ has appointed Gary Schober, former firm president and CEO, as managing partner of its New York City office; Kirkland & Ellis and Goodwin Procter announce several promotions; and four other firms have added partners.

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

Panel Finds Suspect Failed to Understand Miranda Rights

By Andrew Keshner |

An illiterate young man confused about his right to counsel and unfamiliar with the criminal justice system did not make a knowing and intelligent waiver of his rights against self-incrimination, a Manhattan appeals court ruled Thursday.

Fashion Institute of Technology campus in Chelsea

Ruling Upholds Town Fee for College Costs

By Joel Stashenko |

A 1994 law did not relieve towns and cities from paying a share of the schooling for local residents attending public community colleges outside of their counties, the Court of Appeals held Thursday.

Justice Freedman

After 36 Years, Freedman Is Leaving Bench for JAMS

By Ben Bedell |

Asked why she was stepping down, Appellate Division, First Department, Justice Helen Freedman quipped that she was following another longtime player into retirement. "When Derek Jeter said he was ready to move on to something new, I had to consider whether I was too," she said.

North Shore Animal League's mobile rescue & adoption unit

Dog Bite Victim Can Proceed With Lawsuit Against Shelter

By Andrew Keshner |

A woman bitten by a dog can proceed with her suit against the shelter from which she adopted the animal, on claims that it failed to tell her the dog had been adopted and returned twice before.

Frank Grad

Obituary: Frank Grad

Frank Grad, a longtime professor at Columbia Law School and an expert in environmental and public health law, died Tuesday at age 90.

Airbnb's web site for rooms to rent in New York City.

Most Airbnb Listings Violate Law, AG Says

By Karen Matthews |

A report released Thursday by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said that many of the listings on short-term rental service Airbnb are placed by commercial operators running illegal hotels, not by New Yorkers renting out a spare room.

Howard Robbins at the opening night of the Metropolitan Opera season

Q&A: Howard Robbins

By Jeff Storey |

As rehearsals continued for the opening of the new season at the Metropolitan Opera, contract talks with the unions representing approximately 2,400 workers sounded some sour notes. Observers increasingly wondered if there would be a Met season at all. Playing a central role in the contentious process was Howard Robbins, a Proskauer Rose partner who counseled the Met's general manager.

William Jay of Goodwin Procter

Justices Ponder Deference to Trial Courts in Patent Cases

By Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday appeared torn on a contentious patent litigation issue: whether a trial court's factual findings about a patent claim deserve deference from the federal court that reviews such disputes on appeal.

Equal Justice Awards

Legal Services Corp. honored six New York lawyers and three firms for their commitment to equal justice at an Oct. 6 ceremony at the New York State Bar Association in Albany.

15 Counties Back State Defense of the Indigent

By Joel Stashenko |

Fifteen counties outside New York City are calling on the state to take over administration and funding of a system that provides legal representation to indigent criminal defendants.

General Motors Headquarters in Detroit, Michigan.

Class Action Complaints Target General Motors

By Amanda Bronstad |

Plaintiffs lawyers leading the fight against General Motors Co. over its ignition-switch recalls have filed two consolidated class actions on behalf of 30 million consumers across the country.

Mark Dreier arriving at court for a plea hearing during his 2009 trial

Bankruptcy Settlement Avoids Dreier Testimony

By Christine Simmons |

Marc Dreier, imprisoned since 2009 for a series of frauds that led to his law firm's collapse, was expected to be brought from a Sandstone, Minn., prison in late October to appear as a witness in the bankruptcy case of his firm.

Personal Notes on Lawyers

Abraham George, formerly a deputy bureau chief in the Brooklyn D.A.'s Office's Major Narcotics Investigation Bureau, has become general counsel at The Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation For Justice, and other moves.

First Department to Hold Call of Dismissal Calendars

The call of the calendars required by Section 600.12(c) of the Rules of Practice of the Appellate Division, First Department, will be held on Oct. 23, beginning at 10 a.m.

NYPD officers participate in a stop and frisk training exercise.

Circuit Grills Union Lawyers Over Stop and Frisk Delay

By Mark Hamblett |

Lawyers for police unions who want to upset New York City's settlement of litigation over police stop-and-frisk practices ran into some tough questions Wednesday at the Second Circuit.

David McCallum, left, who spent 29 years in prison, answers questions from the media after his conviction was vacated in Brooklyn Supreme Court Wednesday. With him are his mother Ernestine and his attorney Oscar Michelen.

Man Walks Free After Brooklyn Conviction Vacated

By Andrew Keshner |

Nearly 30 years after David McCallum was convicted of murder at age 17 on the strength of a confession he said was beaten out of him—and no other evidence tied him to the crime—he walked out of a Brooklyn courthouse Wednesday as a free man.

New York State Capitol in Albany

JCOPE Proposes Change to Limitations on FOIL Requests

By Joel Stashenko |

The state's government ethics panel is seeking input on a proposal that would lift restrictions on former state employees who seek public information from their former agencies within two years of leaving state service.

Jefferson Houses at First Ave. and 112th St.

Judge Upholds Arrest, Citing Officer's 'Custodian' Role

By Ben Bedell |

What started as an unlawful police pursuit in a public housing project eventually turned into a proper arrest, a state court judge has ruled.

Cadwalader Hails Nobel-Winning Client Malala Yousafzai

By MP McQueen |

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft hailed its 17-year-old pro bono client Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan for winning this year’s Nobel Peace Prize for her global advocacy of girls’ education, making her the youngest-ever recipient.

John B. Pessala

Obituary: John B. Pessala

By Tania Karas |

John Pessala, a retired Family Court and District Court judge in Nassau County who spent nearly his entire career in public service, died Tuesday at age 65 following a long illness.

Dentist office.  Photo: Gunay Mutlu/

Justices Tackle Antitrust Impact on Licensing Boards

By Marcia Coyle |

In a case that could affect thousands of state licensing boards, the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday wrestled with whether a panel that drove nondentists offering teeth-whitening services out of the market violated federal antitrust laws.

Ronell Wilson was sentenced to death in 2007 and 2013.

Panel Reinstates Death Row Inmate's Paternity Petition

By Tania Karas |

The Second Department panel wrote that the state law that declares any person sentenced to prison for life "civilly dead" does not apply to Ronell Wilson since he was sentenced to death in federal court.

White Plains City Court, left, and Mount Vernon City Court

Court Upholds Pay of City Judges in Westchester

By Andrew Keshner |

An appellate court has found a rational basis for the discrepancy in salaries between full-time White Plains City Court judges and full-time judges in Mount Vernon City Court.

Judge Criticized for Evicting Non-English Speaking Man

By Joel Stashenko |

The Commission on Judicial Conduct ruled that it was Niagara Falls City Court Judge Robert Merino's responsibility to discern that a Spanish-speaking tenant was unable to understand English enough to participate meaningfully in the eviction proceeding against him.

Ticket-Fixing Investigation Wins First Conviction

A police lieutenant was convicted Wednesday of leaking information about a ticket-fixing investigation that embarrassed the NYPD. Lt. Jennara Cobb was found guilty of divulging an eavesdropping warrant, official misconduct and obstruction of governmental administration.

Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson

New DA Bureau to Target Violent Crime in Brooklyn

By Andrew Keshner |

The Brooklyn District Attorney's office is fusing its Gang Bureau and Major Narcotics Investigations Bureau to form a Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau.

NYU 2031 will create the buildings in white on the two large Greenwich Village blocks bordered by LaGuardia Place and Mercer, West Houston and West 3rd streets.

NYU Wins Bid for $6 Billion Greenwich Village Expansion

By Tania Karas |

A Manhattan appeals court has paved the way for New York University to proceed with a controversial expansion plan, overturning a lower court's ruling that would have blocked much of the development.

Deputy Solicitor General Anisha Dasgupta and Columbia Law School Professor Ronald Mann, left photo, argued in the Court of Appeals Tuesday that a rent-stabilized lease is

Judges Ponder if Rent Stabilization Is a 'Benefit'

By Joel Stashenko |

The value of rent on a stabilized apartment is conferred by the landlord, not the government, an attorney told the state Court of Appeals Tuesday in arguing for the proposed sale of a lease by a tenant's bankruptcy trustee.

Justices Thomas, Ginsburg, and Scalia joined in dissent Tuesday over the court's denial to review a sentencing dispute from the D.C. Circuit.

Justices Fall One Vote Short in Bid to Weigh Sentencing

By Tony Mauro |

An unusual lineup of three U.S. Supreme Court justices on Tuesday scolded the majority for declining to resolve a long-running dispute over judicial discretion in sentencing.

Ex-Prosecutor Demands Piece of Government Suit Against Sprint

By Ross Todd |

In an odd sort of reverse qui tam, a former prosecutor whose case against telecom companies was dismissed in 2009 is trying to insert himself into the government's action against Sprint, which is similar on its face, to lay claim to 15 to 25 percent of any potential government proceeds.

Penelope Andrews

Albany Law School Dean Says She Will Step Aside

By Andrew Keshner |

Penelope Andrews, the president and dean of Albany Law School, has announced she will resign at the end of the school year, concluding three years in the role.

Denis McInerney

Justice Department Official Rejoins Davis Polk

By Christine Simmons |

Denis J. McInerney, a former top official within the U.S. Justice Department, is returning to Davis Polk & Wardwell as a partner in its litigation and white-collar criminal defense and investigations practices.

Attorney Who Took $83,000 for Treatment Resigns

By Joel Stashenko |

Howard Hornstein admitted taking $83,000 in fees owed to his firm, Cozen O'Connor, and using most of the money to treat his Parkinson's disease.

A worker is seen force-feeding a duck recently at the Hudson Valley Foie Gras farm in Ferndale, N.Y.

High Court Won't Hear Challenge to Foie Gras Ban

By Joel Stashenko |

Hudson Valley Foie Gras of Ferndale, N.Y. was among the companies seeking to challenge a California law banning the production and sale of foie gras law on the ground that it impeded interstate commerce.

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

Family Hires New Attorney in Fatal Chokehold Case

Eric Garner's family is hiring civil rights attorney Jonathan Moore, a partner in the law firm Beldock Levine & Hoffman. They previously had hired Sanford Rubenstein, who removed himself from the case after a woman accused him of sexual assault.

Mary Veronica Santiago-Monteverde, 79, in her rent-stabilized apartment in September 2003. The Court of Appeals court will decide whether her lease can be treated as an asset in a bankruptcy proceeding.

City, State Warn Case Could Undermine Rent Stabilization

By Joel Stashenko |

The ability of an elderly woman to keep her rent-stabilized apartment in Manhattan may hinge on the state Court of Appeals' interpretation of whether her lease is protected against sale in a bankruptcy proceeding.

Judge Bars Firm from Pursuing Breach of Contract Claim

By Christine Simmons |

Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman cannot pursue a breach of contract claim for $2.3 million in legal fees against a former client's company, a judge has ruled.

Arab Bank headquarters in Amman, Jordan

Arab Bank Moves for Judgment in Its Favor in Terror Case

By Andrew Keshner |

Three weeks after a jury found Arab Bank civilly liable for the material support of Hamas terror attacks, the bank moved for judgment in its favor, arguing the verdict was unsupported and riddled with factual and legal errors.

2000 Broadway, Copley Condominium

Owners of Foreclosed Condo Can't Return, Judge Concludes

By Ben Bedell |

A claim by owners of a condominium that they were illegally locked out of their apartment was rejected by a Manhattan Housing Court judge who noted that the apartment was in foreclosure and their eviction was inevitable.

Eric Schneiderman, left, and John Cahill

Candidates for AG Release Tax Returns, Set Debate

By Michael Virtanen |

The Republican challenger for New York attorney general would take a steep pay cut if elected.

60 Centre St.

Judge Makes Key Ruling in Family Business Fray

By Suevon Lee |

A Manhattan Commercial Division judge has awarded damages and attorney fees—plus a 25 percent share of a company valued at nearly $9 million—to a minority shareholder who was squeezed out of a family-run textile business.

Stephen Juris

Morvillo Partner Leaves to Join Fried Frank

By Christine Simmons |

Stephen Juris, a partner of white-collar defense boutique Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello, has left to join Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson as a partner in its commercial litigation and white-collar criminal defense and securities enforcement practices.

Attorney Quits After Neglecting Client Matters

By Andrew Keshner |

Suspended Manhattan attorney Andrew Chin, who acknowledged that he could not defend himself against disciplinary charges, has been stricken from the roll of attorneys after resigning.

Judge Bridles at Inmate's Multiple Court Actions

By Ben Bedell |

Justice Dominic Massaro said Wilson Rodriguez, who was convicted of murder in 1994, had filed four previous §440 motions, plus a direct appeal, two coram nobis attacks on his appellate counsel, and a federal habeas corpus petition, and that further §440 motions could not be filed without court permission.

Broadway Scam Draws Term of Nearly Three Years

A once high-flying stockbroker who admitted conning the producers of Broadway's "Rebecca" was sentenced Friday to nearly three years in prison as one of the show's top producers looked on.

Manuel Noriega as depicted in the game publisher's 2012 game,

Giuliani Defends Video Game in Suit by Noriega

Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani will defend Activision in court against a lawsuit filed by disgraced Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega over the "Call of Duty" franchise, the video game maker said Thursday.

Judge Weinstein

Weinstein Allows Reargument on Dismissed Case

By Mark Hamblett |

Saying he was acting to "correct a possible injustice," Eastern District Judge Jack Weinstein has given an assistant principal a second chance to argue that she was a victim of retaliation for refusing to frame African-American teachers for disciplinary violations.

a classroom

Judge Upholds City's Firing of 'Disgraceful' Teacher

By Joel Stashenko |

A judge has refused to stop New York City education officials from firing a Bronx schoolteacher for what they described as years of abusive behavior toward students and insubordination toward administrators.

David Siegel

David Siegel, Author of New York Practice, Dies at 82

By Tania Karas |

David Siegel, a longtime Albany Law School professor who was considered the state's foremost authority on New York civil practice, died Thursday at home in North Egremont, Mass., after years of declining health. He was 82.

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

Panel Finds Student Acted in Self-Defense

By Andrew Keshner |

A boy involved in a fight that left another student partially blind raised a viable self-defense argument, a Brooklyn appellate court ruled after studying surveillance footage of the fight inside a Brooklyn junior high school cafeteria.

An employee grabs boxes off the conveyor belt to load in a truck at their Fernley, Nev., warehouse.

Justices Ponder How and When the Workday Ends

By Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday appeared uncertain whether workers at an Amazon warehouse in Nevada should be paid for the time it takes for them to go through anti-theft security screenings at the end of the workday.

Southern District Judge Richard Berman

Meet the Judges: Southern District Judge Richard Berman

By Photographs by Rick Kopstein |

The judge discusses his philosophy about the role of a judge, how he was influenced by your pre-bench experience, and the role clerks play in running of chambers.

Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson

Thompson Taps Veteran ADA as Chief Assistant

By Andrew Keshner |

District Attorney Kenneth Thompson has chosen longtime Brooklyn prosecutor Eric Gonzalez as his top lieutenant.

Citigroup Unit to Return $16 Million in Advisory Fees

A Citigroup unit has reached an agreement with the state of New York to return almost $16 million to more than 31,000 customers across the country who were charged higher advisory fees than they negotiated.

Aafia Siddiqui

Judge Rejects Habeas Bid in Pakistani's Terror Case

By Mark Hamblett |

A federal judge has rejected the habeas petition of a Pakistani-born, U.S.-educated neuroscientist who was convicted of attempted murder of U.S. nationals for picking up an M-4 rifle and firing it as she was being interrogated in Afghanistan in 2008.

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

Panel Disbars Attorney Who Falsified Names

By Andrew Keshner |

John Headley, once an outside counsel for the New York City Transit Authority, was disbarred after a March conviction. Headley falsified names on documents in order to permit the agency's law department to hire his medical examination company.

Sanford A. Rubenstein

Lawyer Accused of Rape Bows Out of Chokehold Case

Sanford Rubenstein, known for winning large settlements in police brutality cases, will no longer represent the family of Eric Garner, who died after being placed in a police chokehold.

Pro Bono Awards

In-House Counsel Award

The Office of the Appellate Defender presented its inaugural OAD Counsel for Justice Award was presented to Ellen Oran Kaden, chief legal and government affairs officer at Campbell Soup at the "First Monday in October" event.