This Weeks News

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. announces an indictment Monday of three lawyers and a paralegal for bribery.

Three Attorneys, Paralegal Indicted in Bribery Scheme

Andrew Keshner | September 30, 2014

District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said during a press conference that the defendants bribed a New York City Criminal Justice Agency employee to identify and steer wealthy, low-level arrestees who could become clients, promising them shorter arraignment times.

Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse at 40 Foley Square

Circuit Upholds Rejection of EEOC's Gender Pay Lawsuit

By Mark Hamblett |

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has lost its appeal of a case alleging that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey paid some of its female attorneys far less than their male counterparts.

Judge Upholds Suspensions Over Threatening Student Texts

By Joel Stashenko |

An upstate high school did not violate a student's constitutional rights by suspending him for sending texts to a friend while both were off school grounds that threatened to harm a third student, a federal judge has ruled.

Kyrgyzstan argued that Eugene Gourevitch stole $6 million from the republic.

Restitution Bid Fails in Wire Fraud Involving Kyrgyzstan

By Andrew Keshner |

In a wire fraud case against a onetime investment banker connected to a now-deposed regime in the central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan, a judge has ruled the prosecution's inability to identify exactly who the money was stolen from has made the task of restitution impossible.

Andrew Madoff

Madoff Son Was Under Investigation Until His Death

By Tom Hays and Larry Neumeister |

Bernard Madoff's last surviving son was under investigation for possible involvement in his father's multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme until the day he died from cancer earlier this month, but scrutiny over his $16 million estate lives on.

Eric T. Schneiderman

New Financing from NYAG Extends Homeowner Aid

By Tania Karas |

The New York Attorney General's Office has committed $40 million to organizations providing counseling and legal services to struggling homeowners through the state's Homeowner Protection Program. Those funds will extend the program another two years.

Westchester Justice Resigns After Traffic Ticket Probe

By Joel Stashenko |

Domenick Porco, a justice in Eastchester Town Court, has agreed to resign and not seek judicial office in the future after he was investigated for insufficient oversight of traffic cases before his court.

Panel Finds Proof Sufficient for Ex-Officer's Conviction

By Joel Stashenko |

The Fourth Department unanimously upheld the bribery conviction of a one-time upstate police officer who informed local contractors about days and locations of roadside safety inspections of commercial trucks in return for free work on his home.

Kenneth Minor, right, at a sentencing hearing on Apr. 4, 2011.

Challenge to Guilty Plea Planned in 'Assisted Suicide'

A man whose chance encounter with a despondent stranger led to a stabbing that he called assisted suicide pleaded guilty to manslaughter Monday after his murder conviction was overturned in a case that questioned the boundary between killing someone and helping him kill himself.

Recognition for Lawyers

Among other honors and awards, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has elected John Nonna, co-managing partner of Squire Patton Boggs' New York office, as co-chair of its board.

Immigrant's Concession Was Admissible, Circuit Holds

By Mark Hamblett |

A Guatemalan citizen lost his claim that the behavior of federal agents during a drug raid was such an egregious violation of his constitutional rights that a court should have suppressed statements he made about entering the country illegally.

Grooveshark Streaming Case Challenges Safe Harbor Rulings

By Suevon Lee |

Any of the 20 million registered users of online music streaming service Grooveshark can access thousands of songs recorded before 1972, including from the likes of The Who, Cat Stevens and The Temptations. But because the service never obtained a license from Universal Music Group, which owns these recordings, Universal claims Grooveshark should be held liable for willful copyright infringement and unfair competition.

The New York State Library at the Cultural Education Center in Albany.

Judge Orders Parole Hearing After Finding 'Lost' Records

By Joel Stashenko |

A judge who said his chambers took less than 30 minutes to find sentencing records from a Long Island murder case that the state claimed were missing since 2007 has ordered an immediate de novo parole hearing for a man imprisoned for 32 years.

Indigent Legal Services Board director William Leahy, second from left, discusses a request for more funding on Friday with ILS counsel Joseph 
Wierschem; far left, and Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman.

Indigent Defense Seeks Funding Increase to Fill Gap

By Tania Karas |

The board of the state Office of Indigent Legal Services voted Friday to ask Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature for an additional $34.6 million in the next state budget, which includes an additional $20 million toward reducing the caseloads of upstate attorneys who provide indigent legal services.

Stephen L. Kass

Lawyer Arrested Near Zuccotti Park Sues NYPD

By Christine Simmons |

Stephen Kass, an environmental partner at Carter Ledyard & Milburn, is suing New York City and four police officers claiming he was falsely arrested, handcuffed and detained near a protest.

Cuomo Signs Bill Permitting Affirmations as Affidavits

By Joel Stashenko |

Beginning Jan. 1, in New York civil actions, affirmations may be substituted for affidavits as admissible sworn statements of witnesses located in foreign countries, under a bill signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Judge Orders Wylys to Pay at Least $300M

By Jan Wolfe |

In one of the stiffest penalties ever imposed on individual defendants in a securities fraud case, Southern District Judge Shira Scheindlin has ordered billionaire Sam Wyly and the estate of his late brother Charles Wyly to hand over at least $300 million to the SEC.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Ginsburg Details Why She Won't Retire

By Tony Mauro |

In the latest of a series of press interviews this year, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg explained, in the most explicit terms yet, why those who are calling for her to retire are "misguided." But not everyone agrees with her analysis.

Eric Schneiderman, left, and John Cahill

Schneiderman's Lead Narrows in AG Race

By Joel Stashenko |

Democratic incumbent Eric Schneiderman holds a 50 percent to 34 percent lead over Republican John Cahill in their race for New York attorney general this November, according to a poll released Friday by the Siena College Research Institute.

AG Settles With Healthcare Provider Services in Jails

By Joel Stashenko |

A private healthcare provider will pay $440,000 in restitution to two counties under a settlement with New York state officials over its alleged failure to provide contracted-for medical services to jail inmates.

Circuit Ends Litigation to Claw Back $7 Billion

By Jan Wolfe |

In an order issued on Tuesday, the Second Circuit refused to reconsider its Aug. 5 ruling that the liquidation trust for Lehman Brothers Inc. can't claw back $7 billion in assets from Barclays. The court didnnot explain its decision, which capped six years of litigation involving Barclays, the liquidation trustee and various Lehman creditors.

I Witness

By Rick Kopstein, Photographer |

A Steven Spielberg movie is filmed at the New York City Bar Association on Friday.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

Holder Leaves His Imprint on Major Cases in New York

By Mark Hamblett and Christine Simmons |

Eric Holder Jr. on Thursday said he will resign from the U.S. Department of Justice, where he has served since 2009 as the country's first black attorney general.

Former Dewey Partners Fight Trustee's Clawback Suits

By Christine Simmons |

Eight former Dewey & LeBoeuf partners, in joint arguments, contend they don't have to return the more than $20 million that a bankruptcy trustee is collectively seeking because their legal work provided value to the firm and its creditors.

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

Drug Defendant Deprived of Right to Counsel, Panel Says

By Andrew Keshner |

A defendant who got his way in having jurors hear a guilty plea allocution from a co-defendant despite vigorous opposition from his attorney was deprived of his right to counsel, a Manhattan appellate court ruled.

Judge Rejects Sex Offenders' Challenge to Residency Laws

By Tania Karas |

The claims of nine convicted sex offenders that New York state, county and town sex offender registration requirements and residency restrictions are unconstitutional have been dismissed by a Eastern District judge.

Justice Department Weighs In in 'Hurrell-Harring'

By Joel Stashenko |

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is urging an Albany judge to ensure that New York state's system of public defense meets constitutional obligations and does not provide representation "in name only."

Occupy protesters gathered outside the U.S. Supreme Court on January 20, 2012. The D.C. Circuit on Tuesday heard argument over the constitutionality of a law that restricts certain expressive activity outside the high court.

Appeals Court Weighs Ban on Supreme Court Protests

By Tony Mauro |

A D.C. Circuit panel appeared ready on Tuesday to uphold a disputed law that makes it a crime to protest on the marble plaza in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan

Staten Island to Overhaul Video Tech in DA's Office

By Andrew Keshner |

The Staten Island District Attorney's office will be getting $380,000 to upgrade its videotaping system, which creates footage for matters including grand jury proceedings and trials.

 Dewey & LeBoeuf sign

Ex-Dewey COO Loses Bid to Toss $9.3M Clawback Suit

By Christine Simmons |

Dewey & LeBoeuf's former chief operating officer, Dennis D'Alessandro, lost his bid to dismiss a trustee's $9.3 million clawback suit against him.

Lawyer Convicted in Texas Is Disbarred in New York

By Andrew Keshner |

In May, Anthony Chiofalo pleaded guilty in Texas state court to a charge of first-degree felony theft, a crime the First Department said was "essentially similar" to second-degree grand larceny. He was sentenced to a 40-year prison term and ordered to pay his former employer $3 million in restitution.

Judge Scheindlin

Judge Sanctions Wylys $187 Million for Tax Fraud

A federal judge in New York has ordered a Texas businessman and the estate of his brother to surrender more than $187 million after a jury found that they engaged in a massive fraud to evade taxes.

Citing Double Jeopardy, Panel Blocks Retrial of Case

By Andrew Keshner |

After a judge refused to accept a partial verdict and declared a mistrial in a weapons case, a Brooklyn appellate court has blocked retrial on double jeopardy grounds.

Judge Tosses Challenge to Property Tax Cap

A judge in Rensselaer County has dismissed a legal challenge to New York's property tax cap from the state's largest teachers union in a ruling that Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday was a victory for taxpayers.

William J. Leahy, director of the Office of Indigent Legal Services

Report Sees Wide Gap in Resources for Indigent Defense

By Joel Stashenko |

A "vast" gap persists between the need for indigent criminal defense and available resources in counties outside New York City, the state Office of Indigent Legal Services reported Wednesday.

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

Elderly Sex Offender Given Highest Classification

By Andrew Keshner |

Unswayed by an 80-year-old sex offender's sobriety, his long term marriage and an expert's opinion that he was a low-risk re-offender, a Manhattan appellate panel overruled a lower court and gave the man the state's most restrictive classification.

Firm Ordered to Pay Toward Insurance of Contract Lawyer

By Joel Stashenko |

The Third Department has ruled that the terms and accommodations the West Law Firm made for a contract attorney who worked for the firm for two weeks supported a ruling that he was a West employee for purposes of unemployment insurance coverage, despite his agreement with the firm.

The federal correctional institution in Otisville in Orange County

Circuit Reverses Dismissal of Delayed Prisoner Suit

By Mark Hamblett |

A lawsuit claiming a man received inadequate medical care while in federal prison should not have been dismissed for failure to prosecute, despite an nearly two-year delay in filing court papers, the Second Circuit held Wednesday.

Nancy LeBlanc

Obituary: Nancy E. LeBlanc

By Tania Karas |

Nancy LeBlanc, a general practitioner in Wilmington, N.Y. who once led MFY Legal Services and shaped tenant defense law in New York City in the 1960s and 70s, died Sept. 15 after an illness. She was 81.

Designer Shoe Brand Founders Win $1.8M Wages Ruling

By Suevon Lee |

The founders of a designer women's footwear line are entitled to more than $1.8 million in back pay after a Manhattan state judge found they were fired without cause by a manufacturer who purchased a majority stake in their business eight years ago.

Judge Azrack

Azrack Nominated to Fill Eastern District Judgeship

By Andrew Keshner |

Magistrate Judge Joan Azrack has been nominated by President Barack Obama to fill the vacancy that opened when Eastern District Judge Joanna Seybert took senior status in January.

Past Meets Present

Current Southern District U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara joined his predecessors at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan Tuesday to celebrate the Southern District U.S. Attorney's Office's 225th anniversary.

CUNY School of Law

CUNY Law Announces Part-Time J.D. Program

By Tania Karas |

CUNY Law will provide a part-time option for people who can't afford to quit a job to attend law school for three years, said dean Michelle Anderson, and further the school's goal to increase diversity within the legal profession.

Suffolk Court Officers to Receive Retroactive Pay

By Joel Stashenko |

More than 100 current and retired court officers in Suffolk County began receiving retroactive pay Wednesday totaling about $3 million resulting from their union's successful court challenge to a decade-old reclassification of the job titles and salary grades.

Ex-Executive Apologizes for Insider Trading

Michael Lucarelli, a former executive at investor relations firm Lippert/Heilshorn & Associates, pleaded guilty to an insider trading charge Wednesday, blaming drugs and long work hours in part for using information from drafts of press releases to earn nearly $1 million.

Dinesh D'Souza after his sentencing yesterday

D'Souza Avoids Prison, Sentenced to Lengthy Probation

By Mark Hamblett |

Southern District Judge Richard Berman did everything but send conservative commentator and Obama critic Dinesh D'Souza to prison for funneling illegal campaign contributions to a college friend who was running for the U.S. Senate.

David Denenberg

County Lawmaker Accused of Falsely Billing Law Clients

By Christine Simmons |

Davidoff Hutcher & Citron is suing one of its former attorneys, Nassau County Legislator David Denenberg, claiming he sent hundreds of fake invoices to a client and stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the firm. Denenberg had been running for a seat in the state Senate, but withdrew after news of the suit broke.

Sulaiman Abu Ghayth, second from right, stands with his attorney Stanley Cohen in front of Southern District Judge Lewis Kaplan during his sentencing Tuesday.

Defiant Al Qaida Spokesman Sentenced to Life in Prison

By Mark Hamblett |

Sulaiman Abu Ghayth, who sat by Osama bin Laden on the night of Sept. 11, 2001 and vowed that the "storm of airplanes" would continue, received a life sentence Tuesday for urging Muslim men to join a relentless war of terror against the United States.

New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, at podium, and other City Council members announced a $1.9 million initiative to support legal representation for unaccompanied immigrant minors.

$1.9 Million Effort to Fund Lawyers for Immigrant Children

By Tania Karas |

More than a month after federal Immigration Court began holding a daily surge docket to speed deportations of undocumented Central American children, New York City Council and two charitable organizations have announced a $1.9 million program to fund lawyers for minors who would otherwise go unrepresented.

NYPD logo

NY Court Taps U.S. Doctrine in FOIL Suit Against NYPD

By Joel Stashenko |

Finding no guidance from higher courts in New York, Supreme Court Justice Alexander Hunter Jr. ruled that the NYPD may invoke the "Glomar doctrine" exception under the federal Freedom of Information Act to deny an Islamic group's request under the state Freedom of Information Law.

A 'Sea Change' in Criminal Justice

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was the keynote speaker at the Brennan Center for Justice's conference, "Shifting Law Enforcement Goals to Reduce Mass Incarceration." He noted that the past year has seen the first decline in federal inmate population since 1980. "Clearly, criminal justice reform is an idea whose time has come," he said.

Rikers Island

Mayor: 'It's a Very Bad Situation' in NYC Jails

By Jonathan Lemire and Jake Pearson |

A day after Southern District U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara warned he may take legal action to force New York City to reform its jails, and amid months of heightened scrutiny of jail conditions and guard behavior, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Tuesday that "it's a very bad situation," in the nation's second-largest jail system.

Joel Rudin, left, and his client Jabbar Collins. Collins was incarcerated for 16 years before his murder conviction was vacated.

Judge Approves $10 Million Wrongful Conviction Deal

By Andrew Keshner |

A federal judge has signed off on a $10 million settlement between Jabbar Collins and New York City, a pact that will award the wrongfully convicted man's attorney $1.525 million.

Makau Mutua.

Mutua Steps Down as Buffalo Dean

By Karen Sloan |

Makau Mutua will leave the deanship at SUNY Buffalo Law School on Dec. 17 after seven years, the school announced Monday. He will return to campus to teach full time after a yearlong sabbatical.

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

Allegations of Deceit Proceed Against Lawyer

By Andrew Keshner |

The First Department has refused to dismiss allegations brought by a limited liability company claiming an attorney tried to deceive a lower court during litigation connected to New York City commercial real estate.

City Hall

Law Department Hires New Lawyers, Fellows

The New York City Law Department has hired 35 attorneys and 16 post-graduate fellows from the graduating class of 2014 to work in its various departments.

Abely Awards

The Eighteenth Annual Abely Awards were presented on Monday at Davis Polk & Wardwell. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and Brenna DeVaney, pro bono counsel at Skadden Arps, were honored.

Personal Notes on Lawyers

Brown Rudnick has added Alfred Fabricant and Lawrence Drucker as partners in its intellectual property litigation group, among other moves.

Arab Bank headquarters in Amman, Jordan

Arab Bank Found Liable for Terror Support

By Andrew Keshner |

After almost two days of deliberations, capping a five-week trial, an Eastern District jury agreed with terrorism victim plaintiffs, determining the bank knew some of its customers had ties to Hamas and that transactions handled by the bank played a substantial role in the chain of events leading to terror attacks during several years of unrest in Israel.

Terror Aid Claims Reinstated Against U.K. Bank

By Mark Hamblett |

U.S. nationals who were victims of terrorist attacks in Israel have another chance to pursue claims that the National Westminster Bank supported Hamas by handling money for the Palestine Relief & Development Fund.

Panel Orders Company to Produce Source Code

By Suevon Lee |

A divided First Department panel last week reversed a lower court's denial of a motion to compel disclosure of additional source code in a computer software trade secrets dispute that tests the limits of discovery.

New York City Corporation Counsel Zachary Carter was among those testifying at a court-sponsored hearing on civil legal services Monday.

Justice Gap Remains Wide, Hearing Witnesses Say

By Tania Karas |

Speakers at a public hearing Monday said the state is nowhere near closing a "justice gap" in legal representation for low-income New Yorkers despite increased funding for civil legal services in recent years.

Law Schools Build With an Eye on the Future

By Karen Sloan |

Legal education's slump hasn't stopped a small boom in construction on campus. Four northeastern U.S. law schools have opened multimillion-dollar facilities within the past month, and more are being planned or built elsewhere across the country.

Bingham, Morgan Lewis Strike Up Merger Proposal

By Brian Baxter |

After months of partner departures, a leadership change and a vow to reverse its financial fortunes after a disastrous 2013, Bingham McCutchen's management has announced to its partnership a plan to merge with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.

Withdrawn Guilty Plea Clears Way for Discovery

By Andrew Keshner |

A man convicted of materially supporting terrorists has withdrawn his guilty plea in order to press ahead with discovery demands regarding warrantless surveillance used in his case.

New York State Senate Districts

Board Won't Fight Order to Alter Election Ballot

By Joel Stashenko |

The state Board of Elections is altering the ballots to reflect the decision by Justice Patrick McGrath that the word "independent" must be deleted from a referendum question proposing a new redistricting commission because it inaccurately describes the nature of the commission.

Explorers, Johnnie Walker Settle Lawsuit Over Name

By Suevon Lee |

Global spirits distributor Diageo and New York not-for-profit society The Explorers Club announced a settlement Friday that resolves litigation in New York's Commercial Division over the company's use of the club's name in a Johnnie Walker whiskey collection.

Personal Notes on Lawyers

Five firms announce new additions; New Orleans-founded firm McGlinchey Stafford has opened an office in Midtown Manhattan; and Bryan R. Williams was elected chair of the board of trustees of the National Conference of Bar Examiners.