This Weeks News

Martha Moran holds her 6-year-old son while listening to President Barack Obama’s speech on immigration policy on Nov. 20 at the New York City offices of 32BJ SEIU, a workers' union.

Agencies Gear Up to Help Immigrants Gain Legal Status

Tania Karas | November 24, 2014

Weeks before President Barack Obama announced sweeping changes to the nation's immigration system Thursday, New York's legal services providers began pulling together a plan to help tens of thousands of New Yorkers now eligible for legal status.

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

Attorney-Client Ties Ruled by Facts, Not Form, Panel Finds

By Andrew Keshner |

Deciding when the clock started running on the statute of limitations for a legal malpractice action, a Brooklyn appellate court said an attorney's representation effectively ended sooner than the filing of a document formally switching counsel.

 Apple iPad with e-book reader software

Apple E-book Settlement Receives Final Court Approval

By Mark Hamblett |

Southern District Judge Denise Cote on Friday gave final approval to the unusual settlement reached between Apple, 33 states and class action counsel in the e-book price-fixing litigation. The settlement calls for Apple to pay $450 million should Cote's 2013 liability ruling be upheld in the computer giant's appeal to the Second Circuit.

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

Lawyer Says Fitness Club Banned Him Over Prior Suit

By Ben Bedell |

Employment discrimination lawyer Douglas Wigdor sued SoulCycle on Thursday for banning him, claiming the New York fitness club was retaliating against him for representing a former club employee in a minimum wage case.

 A chart of pending cases in New York's immigration courts; there are currently 60,941.

Immigration Courts Backlog Grows as Obama Plans Action

By Zoe Tillman |

More than 420,000 cases are pending in U.S. immigration courts, a steadily growing backlog that immigration lawyers say they hope will be eased by the executive actions President Barack Obama announced Thursday.

 Dewey & LeBoeuf sign

Dewey Defendants Seek Delay as Funds Run Out

By Christine Simmons |

Supreme Court Justice Robert Stolz has adjourned the trial of indicted Dewey & LeBoeuf leaders for a month after defense attorneys told him a Bermuda-based insurer has refused to advance defense costs.

Deborah Misir of Lally & Misir, left, and Southern District Judge Kenneth Karas

Pregnant Lawyer's Request to Postpone Trial Is Denied

By Associated Press and Andrew Keshner |

A judge has denied a lawyer's request to postpone a trial until next fall because she is in the sixth month of a high-risk pregnancy.

Judge Denny Chin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Court History Program to Focus on Asian-Americans

By Joel Stashenko |

The Historical Society of the New York Courts will sponsor a presentation titled "Asian-Americans & the Law: New York Pioneers in the Judiciary" on Dec. 15.

Aereo CEO and Founder Chet Kanojia departs the U.S. Supreme Court after oral arguments in April. The court found Aereo’s service violated broadcaster’s copyrights.

Supreme Court Ruling Drives Aereo to Bankruptcy

Online streaming service Aereo says that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, saying an unfavorable ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court was too difficult to overcome.

Albany County Court

'Golb' Ruling Leads Judge to Dismiss Case Against Lawyer

By Joel Stashenko |

Criminal charges against a former state attorney have been dismissed and his parole supervision terminated because the harassment statute he admitted to violating was later ruled unconstitutional by the state Court of Appeals.

Fishman Awards

By Rick Kopstein, Photographer |

The New York Lawyers for the Public Interest presented the 2014 Felix A. Fishman Awards Thursday at the New York City Bar Association.

Lawyers Without Rights

By Rick Kopstein, Photographer |

The New York City Bar Association on Thursday hosted "Lawyers Without Rights," an exhibit sponsored by the German Federal Bar and the American Bar Association that covers the persecution and murder of Jewish lawyers and judges under the Nazi regime.

Mary Veronica Santiago-Monteverde in her rent-stabilized apartment

Rent-Stabilized Lease Is a Public Benefit, Court Rules

By Joel Stashenko |

An elderly woman's rent-stabilized lease is protected from the reach of her bankruptcy trustee, a divided state Court of Appeals ruled Thursday in declaring the lease a "local public assistance benefit" under state law.

Laser Spine Institute in Tampa, Fla.

Judges Limit Jurisdiction in Medical Malpractice Suit

By Joel Stashenko |

Wary of extending the jurisdiction of New York courts over out-of-state providers in medical malpractice actions, the state Court of Appeals barred a suit Thursday filed by a New York resident against a Florida surgical practice.

Judge Batts

U.S. Judge Takes Witness Stand in Seabrook Inquiry

By Mark Hamblett |

Southern District Judge Deborah Batts took the witness stand Wednesday in a hearing to determine whether her courtroom was closed to the public during jury selection for the public corruption trial of former New York City Councilman Larry Seabrook in violation of the Sixth Amendment.

Judge Daniels

Jury Trial Nears in Decade-Old Lawsuit for Terrorist Attacks

By Mark Hamblett |

The decks have been cleared for a billion-dollar trial where American terrorism victims are trying to hold the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority liable for several attacks in Israel.

Mary Jo White.

SEC Adopts Rules Addressing Stock Market Vulnerability

By Jenna Greene |

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday approved rules to address the technological vulnerabilities of stock market exchanges and other key securities market participants.

Noah J. Hanft

Q&A: Noah Hanft

Noah Hanft retired in April from MasterCard, where he was general counsel and chief franchise officer, to become the new president and CEO for the International Institution of Conflict Prevention & Resolution, which promotes techniques for more effective alternatives to increasingly costly and burdensome litgation.

Eric Holder Jr.

DOJ Secures $24.7B in Settlements in Fiscal 2014

By Andrew Ramonas |

The U.S. Department of Justice in fiscal 2014 secured $24.7 billion from its cases, more than tripling the amount from fiscal 2013, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. announced Wednesday. The money flows mostly from deals JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. reached to settle financial fraud claims stemming from the 2008 financial crisis.

Justice Leslie Stein

Modern Courts Urges Quick Confirmation of Stein

By Joel Stashenko |

The Fund for Modern Courts is urging the New York State Senate to hold confirmation hearings before January for Leslie Stein, the Appellate Division, Third Department, justice who has been nominated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to fill a opening on the state Court of Appeals.

Debtor Scheme Lands Attorney in Prison

By Mark Hamblett |

A federal judge handed a suspended New York attorney a nine-year prison term on Wednesday for running a debt collection relief scheme as a manager of the now-shuttered Mission Settlement Agency.

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

Conviction Stands Despite Destruction of Evidence

By Andrew Keshner |

Though an imitation gun stored at a Brooklyn evidence facility could not be produced for trial after flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy, a Second Department panel said the defendant had "ample opportunity" to question witnesses about the pistol and was not prejudiced by its unavailability.

Queens Assistant District Attorney Eric Rosenbaum

Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Prosecutor

By Andrew Keshner |

An inmate's claim against a prosecutor failed because the assistant district attorney's conduct, such as work on the inmate's extradition, fell squarely in the scope of absolute immunity, ruled a judge.

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

Panel Orders New Damages Trial for False Arrest Claim

By Andrew Keshner |

A man's failure to include a trial transcript in his attempt to set aside a jury verdict should not have doomed his effort, a Brooklyn appellate court said as it ordered a new trial on damages.

Fordham Honors SEC Chair

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Jo White accepted the annual Fordham-Stein Prize Tuesday at Fordham Law School.

Mollen Awards

Former Appellate Division, Second Department, Justice Milton Mollen joined the 2014 recipients of the annual Milton Mollen Commitment to Excellence Awards Wednesday at the Second Department in Brooklyn.

NYPD logo

Judge Declines Police Motion to Dismiss FOIL Request

By Andrew Keshner |

Though the NYPD denied a Muslim student's request for surveillance records by refusing to acknowledge their existence, a state judge said he would not adopt the federal legal doctrine allowing such a response.

Rosie, with her owner Stephanie Aaron

Tenant and 'Support' Dog Gain Temporary Reprieve on Eviction

By Ben Bedell |

"Rosie," a pit bull/boxer mix that her owner claims is an "emotional support dog" needed to remediate mental illness, has won a reprieve in the Southern District, as Judge Edgardo Ramos issued a temporary restraining order barring their eviction.

New York City showroom of Republic of Fritz Hansen, at 22 Wooster St.

Absent Jury Charge Leads Panel to Upset Conviction

By Tania Karas |

A trial judge erred when he failed to instruct jurors in a check fraud case to find that the conduct they were weighing took place in New York State, a First Department panel has found.

A classroom in a Greece Central School District school

Challenge to State Public School Financing Moves Forward

By Joel Stashenko |

Supreme Court Justice Manuel Mendez has denied the state's motion to dismiss "potentially meritorious" claims that New York has reneged on its promise to significantly improve public school funding, rejecting the argument that the litigation must include plaintiffs from each of the 690 districts in the state.

Lady Gaga

Songwriter Who Claims She Found Lady Gaga Wins $7.4M

By Charles Toutant |

A federal jury in Newark has ordered Robert Fusari, a record producer credited with launching the career of Lady Gaga, to pay $7.3 million to a songwriter who claimed she brought the two together.

Neena Dutta, chair of the American Immigration Lawyers Association's New York chapter, speaks at a press conference Wednesday prior to President Obama's announcement on immigration relief.

Legal Services Groups Prepare for Obama Plan

By Tania Karas |

New York's legal services providers are mobilizing to help undocumented New Yorkers who may be protected from deportation by an executive order President Barack Obama is expected to unveil at 8 p.m. Thursday.

Former Dewey & LeBoeuf client relations manger Zachary Warren enters Criminal Court on Friday.

Attorneys Debate Timing of Dewey Manager's Trial

By Christine Simmons |

The indicted ex-leaders of Dewey & LeBoeuf said the trial of junior manager Zachary Warren should be held first because he is a "crucial exculpatory witness" for their own trial.

Robert De Niro

De Niro Ends Assessment Fight With Upstate NY Town

Actor Robert De Niro said he will reimburse a town nearly $130,000 in legal fees it spent defending its assessment of the actor's upstate New York property.

Court Expands Website for Unrepresented Litigants

By Ben Bedell |

The official New York state court website devoted to assisting unrepresented litigants has undergone a redesign, with new sections as debt-related matters and foreclosures, as well as more links to free legal resources.

Panel Orders New Trial in Upstate Murder Case

By Joel Stashenko |

The refusal by a Monroe County judge to give jurors a missing witness charge has led a Fourth Department panel to reverse a second-degree murder conviction, saying prosecutors' statements about a witness' intention to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights if called were insufficient to establish his unavailability.

Second Department Lists Attorneys Facing Suspension

The Appellate Division, Second Department, has published a list of attorneys who are facing suspension for failing to re-register.

Legacy Award

By Rick Kopstein, Photographer |

Eastern District U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch presented New York City Corporation Counsel Zachary Carter, who preceded her as Eastern District U.S. Attorney, with the Brennan Legacy Award at an annual benefit and awards dinner Tuesday.

Paul Napoli and Marc Bern

Receiver Appointed to Forestall Crisis at Napoli Bern

By Christine Simmons |

Napoli Bern Ripka Shkolnik, a well-known personal injury firm, is facing implosion and a court-appointed receiver has been designated to oversee firm finances.

Juror Number 2, author Laura K. Curtis

Defendants Not Biased by Juror's Tweets, Judge Finds

By Mark Hamblett |

An outbreak of juror tweeting was not enough to derail the convictions of two lawyers in a sweeping immigration scheme to submit thousands of fraudulent asylum applications.

The Merry-Go-Round Playhouse's apartment building on Genesee Street in Auburn

Court: Arts Group Entitled to Property Tax Exemption

By Joel Stashenko |

The state Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that two very different different organizations—a theater group and a pagan religious order—qualify for local tax exemptions under the same law. In another ruling, the court said a woman may be prosecuted again without violating double jeopardy after determining that a mistrial was declared at her behest.

Peter Costanzo and Richard Tuske examining a glass case containing books and papers to be auctioned off.

NYC Bar Plans 'Landmark' Auction of Rare Books, Documents

By Jeff Storey |

After acquiring a treasure trove of rare books and documents, the New York City Bar Association is turning back the clock and selling off much of the material in auction.

Justice York

Justice Louis York of Manhattan Dies at 76

By Tania Karas |

Supreme Court Justice Louis York, who spent 28 years on the bench in New York City, died Sunday.

Split Panel Rejects Bid to Suppress Gun in Weapons Case

By Andrew Keshner |

The majority of a divided Brooklyn appellate court has found that the police had reasonable suspicion to chase a juvenile after hearing gunshots anywhere from minutes earlier to more than an hour before the chase.

The Turtles.

Sirius XM Suffers Another Loss in Turtles Copyright Crusade

By Lisa Shuchman |

In a decision that upsets the status quo for the music and copyright worlds, Southern District Judge Colleen McMahon ruled Friday that the owners of pre-1972 sound recordings have performance rights to their songs, and that Sirius XM therefore infringed copyrights held by the two founding members of the 1960s rock band The Turtles.

Justice Leslie Stein

Court of Appeals Action 'Can Wait,' Skelos Says

By Joel Stashenko |

The New York State Senate will not take up Gov. Andrew Cuomo's nomination of Third Department Justice Leslie Stein to the state Court of Appeals until after the first of the year.

A view of Buffalo and Lake Erie on Nov. 18.

Snow Closes Courts in Erie County

By Joel Stashenko |

All state courts in Buffalo were to be closed Wednesday due to snow off Lake Erie which totaled several feet in parts of Erie County as of Tuesday evening.

Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ headquarters

Bank to Pay $315 Million for Misleading N.Y. Agency

Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ agreed to pay $315 million and sanction some employees to resolve allegations it misled state regulators about transactions that violated U.S. economic sanctions against several countries, including Iran, Sudan and Myanmar.

Sushi Yasuda on East 43rd St.

Judge Cuts Attorney Fees in Fair Labor Case Settlement

By Mark Hamblett |

Lamenting the absence of an adversarial process when determining legal fees in fair wage class actions, a federal judge slashed the award to plaintiffs lawyers who settled a lawsuit against a prominent sushi restaurant in Manhattan.

James Brady and Andrew Rossig, along with Marko Markovich, acknowledged BASE jumping off the 1 World Trade Center tower in September.

Court Retains Charges Against Tower Skydivers

By Associated Press and Andrew Keshner |

A judge says three extreme-skydiving enthusiasts displayed "inexcusable self-indulgence" by parachuting off the 1 World Trade Center tower, and he will not dismiss the felony charges against them.

Columbine High School shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold caught on security cameras in the cafeteria shortly before their suicides.

Judge Finds Unprotected Reference to Columbine

By Andrew Keshner |

A Brooklyn art teacher arrested for making a terrorist threat by mentioning the infamous Columbine High School shootings had her case against the city tossed by Eastern District Judge Jack Weinstein, who ruled the teacher went too far.

After Reviewing Facts, Judge Reverses His Discovery Ruling

By Ben Bedell |

Saying he had "misapprehended the facts," Justice Manuel Mendez reversed an earlier discovery ruling and held for the plaintiff in an insurance coverage dispute.

Deputy Is Not Entitled to Light Duty, Panel Says

By Joel Stashenko |

The Erie County Sheriff's Department is not obligated to create a position for an epileptic deputy sheriff whose illness prevents her from safely guarding inmates at the county's jail, a Fourth Department panel has decided.

Vineyard 48

N.Y. Winery Defeats Bid to Have License Revoked

By Ben Bedell |

A Manhattan judge, in a case of first impression, has reversed the State Liquor Authority's decision to revoke of the liquor license of a Long Island farm winery that had permitted "a dance party type atmosphere," according to the Liquor Authority.

Panel Orders a New Trial for 'Suggestible' Defendant

By Joel Stashenko |

A criminal suspect with an IQ of 68 could not have understood the Miranda warnings given to him in a "relatively rapid" way, so the statements he gave police were inadmissible, an upstate appeals court has ruled.

Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse at 40 Foley Square

Circuit Lays Out Sources for 'Occasions' of Crime

By Mark Hamblett |

The Second Circuit ruled that judges calculating a defendant's prior convictions under the Armed Career Criminal Act are limited to the same sources when determining whether crimes took place on "occasions different" from one another as they are when determining the "character of the offense."

Judge Blasts Parole Board for Denying Inmate's Release

By Joel Stashenko |

Calling the parole board's last determination "so irrational as to border on gross impropriety and illegal action," Sullivan County Acting Supreme Court Justice Frank LaBuda has ordered, for the second time in less than a year, a new hearing for an inmate who has served 28 years of a 15-years-to-life sentence for killing his wife.

<b>SENTENCING:</b> New guidelines took effect this month that reduce the potential prison time for offenders in certain federal drug prosecutions.

Courts, Defenders Brace for Early Release Petitions

By Zoe Tillman |

More than 46,000 federal prisoners could be eligible for early release under new sentencing guidelines that took effect this month, putting a new burden on already strained resources in the judiciary and in public defender offices.

Morgan Lewis to Expand by Adding 227 Bingham Partners

By Brian Baxter and Gina Passarella |

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius partners voted early Friday afternoon to admit 227 Bingham McCutchen partners into the firm and hire additional lawyers and staff from the firm in the future. Morgan Lewis confirmed the mass lateral move in a press release, which explicitly omitted mention of a merger. Five sources briefed on the matter say that the deal is indeed not a merger but an acquisition of assets by Morgan Lewis.

Michelle Anderson, left, and Hannah Arterian, center, were among those named to the committee to review a proposal to adopt the Uniform Bar Examination, which is chaired by Judge Jenny Rivera

Lippman Names Panel to Study Bar Exam Proposal

By Joel Stashenko |

Two law school deans are among eight members of a committee named by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman to review his proposal to adopt the Uniform Bar Examination as the basis of New York state's test.

Irving Picard

Trustee Collects Over $10 Billion for Madoff Investors

The trustee recovering money for thousands of Bernard Madoff's victims reached a $497 million settlement with two financial funds that invested with the Ponzi schemer, lifting the total raised for cheated investors to over $10 billion.

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

Panel Overturns Conviction of Ex-Police Detective

By Joel Stashenko |

An appeals court ordered a new trial for a former police detective who was found guilty of falsely reporting a burglary in progress after finding the trial judge improperly denied a defense request to define what constitutes burglary for the jury.

Three-Quarter House Can't Evict Tenant, Judge Rules

By Tania Karas |

A city housing program may not evict a man from his bunk without first holding a proceeding that follows city and state protections for tenants, a Brooklyn Housing Court judge has ruled in restoring the man's tenancy.