This Weeks News

Immigration Law Doesn't Implicate Right to Marriage

By Mark Hamblett |

The fundamental right to marriage is not implicated by an immigration law that allows authorities to block convicted sex offenders from obtaining visas for their spouses, a federal judge has ruled.

High Court Won't Rehear Union Fees Dispute

By Tony Mauro |

The high-profile challenge brought against the collection of public-sector union fees from non-union members in California ended Tuesday as the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request to rehear the dispute.

Mahmoud Raban outside his office in Brooklyn.

Muslim Attorneys Navigate Challenges of Ramadan

By Rebecca Baker |

Working as a criminal defense solo practitioner can be challenging work. But Mahmoud Rabah has had the additional challenge this month of handling a full caseload while fasting for more than 15 hours a day and catching a few hours of broken sleep as he honors the traditions of Ramadan.

Claire Gutekunst, incoming president of the New York State Bar Association, outside the association's offices near the Court of Appeals in Albany.

State Bar Urges Cuomo To Name Convention Panel

The president of the New York State Bar Association is urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to prepare the state for a possible constitutional convention.

Restaurant Negotiates Deals Of $2.5M in Crane Collapse

By Jeff Storey |

Owners of a recently opened restaurant shut down when the collapse of construction crane heavily damaged its building have won almost $2.5 million in settlements.

Jamell McCullough in 2014.

Appeals Court Tackles Expert Testimony on Eyewitness ID

By Christine Simmons |

Wrestling with expert testimony on eyewitness identification, the state's top court in a 4-3 opinion said a Rochester judge did not abuse his discretion when he precluded an expert during a murder trial.

U.S. Supreme Court

Citizenship Rule Favoring Women to be Reviewed

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to review a piece of U.S. citizenship law that treats men and women differently.

U.S. Supreme Court justice Elena Kagan.

Domestic Violence, Gun Control Groups Welcome High Court Ruling

By Robin McDonald |

The ruling reflected an underlying, broader debate that attracted amicus briefs from gun rights groups, gun-control groups and organizations advocating for victims of domestic violence.

Queens Judge Strikes Down Pedestrian Protection Law

By Andrew Denney |

A law enacted as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's initiative to eliminate pedestrian deaths that created a criminal penalty for motorists who strike and cause injury to pedestrians and cyclists is unconstitutional, a Queens judge has ruled.

Judiciary Does Not Reflect NYS Population, Report Says

By Katheryn Hayes Tucker/Jeff Storey |
Shira Scheindlin.

Three Wise Women And the Constitution

By Shira Scheindlin |

The former district judge asks, "Why do the women get it? Is there a lurking gender issue here?"

Kris Fischer, Law Journal Editor-in-Chief, Is Retiring

Kris Fischer, the New York Law Journal's longtime editor-in-chief, is retiring July 1. Fischer has been with ALM, the Law Journal's parent company, for 31 years in several different roles, spending the last 15 as the Law Journal's top editor.

On Nov. 30, 2015, a unanimous jury found former New York Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver, left, guilty on seven corruption charges. Former New York Senate majority leader Dean Skelos was convicted on corruption charges on Dec. 11, 2015.

Justices' McDonnell Ruling Raises Issues for Silver, Skelos Appeals

By Mark Hamblett |

Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos may think they have fresh ammunition for their appeals on political corruption charges following a major U.S. Supreme Court decision today, but prosecutors beg to differ.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman

AG's Office Receives Award for Best Brief

By Sarah Betancourt |

The office of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman received the "best brief award" from the National Association of Attorneys General for an amicus brief joined by 20 other states in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Evenwel v Abbott.

Brexit fall

U.S. Firms Ponder London Adjustments in Wake of Brexit

By Jennifer Henderson, Nell Gluckman and Gina Passarella |

The United Kingdom's historic vote to leave the European Union came among one of the busiest lateral hiring sprees by U.S. law firms in London, but that growth may be put to the test as clients themselves ponder exiting the market.

The Rikers Island complex consists of ten jails.

Panel Revives Guard’s Challenge to His Termination

By Andrew Denney |

A Manhattan appeals court has reinstated a wrongful termination claim filed by a probationary corrections officer on Rikers Island who says he was fired after he unsuccessfully attempted to assist an inmate who had swallowed a toxic ball of detergent.

Jonathan Lupkin, left, and Michael Rakower

New Rule Tightens Filing Of Confidential Documents

By Andrew Denney |

Beginning Friday, Commercial Division litigants no longer will have the option of using a work-around for filing confidential documents in which papers are submitted to judges' chambers but not filed with county clerks.

U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr. in his office at the U.S. Department of Justice, in Washington, D.C., on his last day in office. June 24, 2016.

Tie Vote in Immigration Case 'Not Ideal,' Says Outgoing U.S. Solicitor General

By Marcia Coyle and Tony Mauro |

Departing U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. said Friday it was “not ideal” for the U.S. Supreme Court to leave unresolved in a “provisional” tie the dispute over President Barack Obama’s immigration policy.

VW Agrees to $14.7 Billion Accord Over Faulty Emissions Controls

By Amanda Bronstad |

Volkswagen AG has agreed to pay up to $14.7 billion to resolve consumer class actions filed over last year’s emissions scandal.

Ex-Lawyer Sentenced Over Theft of $4.5M

By Andrew Denney |

A former Manhattan real estate lawyer who was convicted of stealing a combined $4.5 million from seven clients was sentenced Monday to four to 12 years in prison.

Brexit Fallout Begins for the Legal Industry

By Staff |

What was once unthinkable became reality early Friday, when the U.K. voted by a healthy margin to leave the European Union. For U.S. and global law firms and their clients, the reverberations from Britain's exit will be felt immediately and will continue for years. Some will take advantage of opportunities in the transition, while other consequences of Brexit for the industry may be dire.

Supreme Court Strikes Down Abortion Restrictions in Texas

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday ruled 5-3 in favor of abortion rights, striking down restrictions imposed by Texas on abortion clinics that the court said posed an “undue burden” on a woman’s access to abortion.

Fishkill Correctional Facility

Sex Offenders' Suit Challenges Continued State Imprisonment

By Andrew Denney |

A group of persons convicted of sex offenses has filed a class action suit against both New York City and New York State, alleging the state is continuing to hold them behind bars beyond their release dates and that the city has not been providing them with shelter beds.

Failure to Verify FLSA Threshold Results in Rule 11 Sanctions

By Mark Hamblett |

It pays to check the menu before ordering from a restaurant—or suing one. A federal judge has ordered sanctions in a Fair Labor Standards Act case where plaintiffs attorneys claimed, but did not verify, that a restaurant satisfied the $500,000 annual revenue threshold required for a suit under the act.

Landlord Found Not Liable in Lease Dispute With Firm

By Joel Stashenko |

One of Manhattan's most prominent commercial landlords was under no obligation to help a law firm defray 15 months' worth of rental costs when the firm vacated its offices before its lease expired, the state Court of Appeals ruled unanimously Thursday.

Robert Plant (left) and Jimmy Page (right) of Led Zeppelin, in concert in Chicago, Illinois. 1977.

'Stairway' Verdict Seen as Bolstering Songwriter Rights

Thursday's verdict for Led Zeppelin in the copyright trial over the 1971 hit song "Stairway to Heaven" reaffirms the creative rights of songwriters while demonstrating the difficulties in pursuing infringement over sheet music, according to legal experts following the case.

Cullen and Dykman Acquires 14 Lawyers From Sokol Behot

By Christine Simmons |

Cullen and Dykman, one of largest law firms based in Long Island, is absorbing 14 attorneys from New Jersey firm Sokol Behot, creating a 151-attorney regional firm.

Richard Rosario, center, with his attorneys Rebecca Freedman and Glenn Garber during the March 23 court proceeding where his murder conviction was overturned.

Wrongfully Convicted Man Wants Case to Stay Open

After 20 years behind bars for a murder he says he didn't commit, Richard Rosario was about to get the charges dropped Friday. Until he said no.

Lawyer Charged With Stealing From Client

By Christine Simmons |

Barbara Maleno, a Nassau County solo practitioner, was arrested Friday for allegedly stealing more than $120,000 from a client in a matrimonial action between 2011 and 2015.

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

Father Must Pay Support Despite Tardy Calculations

By Andrew Denney |

Despite a delay by Suffolk County's child support unit in calculating interest on a father's account, which resulted in the father receiving statements that neglected to report that he owed more than $246,000, the unit may collect on the debt, an appeals court ruled.

'Too Much Money' Withheld for Two Debts, Judge Says

By Sarah Betancourt |

Freeh Portrait Unveiled

By Rick Kopstein, Photographer |

A portrait of Louis Freeh, a former Southern District judge and a former director of the FBI, was unveiled Thursday at the Thurgood Marshall Courthouse on Foley Square.

People attend an immigration rally outside the Supreme Court on June 23, 2016. The court, 4-4, delivered a heavy blow to the Obama administration's immigration program by allowing to remain in place a ruling that blocked the program.

Deadlock Blocks Obama's Deportation Deferral Program

By Marcia Coyle and Zoe Tillman |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday deadlocked in a challenge to an Obama administration program that would defer deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants, issuing a 4-4 ruling that keeps in place an injunction blocking the immigration directives.

New York police conduct a stop and frisk in 2009.

Panel Upholds NYC Measure That Prohibits Biased Policing

By Andrew Denney |

State law does not pre-empt a New York City law prohibiting discriminatory policing that was enacted in 2013 amid concerns about the NYPD's increased reliance on stop-and-frisk tactics, a Manhattan appeals court ruled.

Matter Involving Disbarred Attorney, Queens Firm Referred to U.S. Prosecutors

By Christine Simmons |

A disbarred lawyer directed attorneys affiliated with a small firm in Queens to appear in an employment case and then paid them, according to a decision by a New York federal judge who has directed the matter to federal prosecutors.

Headquarters of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington D.C.

$415M Merrill Lynch Settlement Spurs SEC to Boost Enforcement

By Mark Hamblett |

Gambling with customer money that was supposed to be set aside for its own rainy day cost Bank of America's Merrill Lynch $415 million in a settlement Thursday and prompted a stepped-up enforcement and monitoring effort by the SEC.

Plaintiff Abigail Fisher after arguments in <i>Fisher v. University of Texas</i> at Austin. December 9, 2015.

Slim Majority Upholds Texas Affirmative Action Program

By Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court's surprise ruling on Thursday upholding the affirmative action program at the University of Texas may bring a pause—but not an end—to decades of attacks on race-conscious admissions policies nationwide.

Airlines Try to Stop Class Action Over Passenger Bag Fees

By R. Robin McDonald |

Two national airlines are fighting to persuade a federal judge in Atlanta to stop ongoing antitrust litigation over baggage fees from proceeding as a class action on behalf of an estimated 28 million passengers.

Report Finds No Link Between Quality-of-Life Crimes, Felonies

By Deepti Hajela |

The report from the inspector general for the NYPD took pains to make clear it was not commenting on the overall "broken windows" policing approach, but critics of the policy said the findings were proof that going after low-level crimes as a way of deterring larger ones doesn't work.

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

Conviction Reduced Based on Victim's Minor Injuries

By Andrew Denney |

Because a robbery victim suffered only minor injuries during the offense and did not seek medical treatment nor testify about his pain, there was insufficient evidence to convict his assailant of second-degree robbery, a divided Manhattan appeals court ruled.

Law Makes NY Lenders Maintain 'Zombie' Homes

New York is imposing new requirements on mortgage lenders to maintain abandoned houses before foreclosure.

Edward Gersowitz being sworn as president of NYSTLA by Judge Jenny Rivera on July 14.

New President of State Trial Lawyers Takes Helm

By Joel Stashenko |

Edward Gersowitz, who specializes in personal injury and medical malpractice at Gersowitz Libo & Korek, will take over July 1 as the new president of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association.

St. John's University School of Law

Donation Allows St. John's to Open Real Estate Institute

By Sarah Betancourt |

Joseph M. Mattone Sr., a St. John's University School of Law alumnus, has donated $3.5 million to establish The Mattone Family Institute for Real Estate Law.

State Enacts Limitation to Painkiller Prescriptions

New York is limiting opioid drug prescriptions to seven days of painkillers following a patient's initial visit to a doctor.

Airbnb Seeks Veto of Bill to Restrict Ads for Available Rentals

By Joel Stashenko |

The accommodations service said a bill that would bar residents from advertising apartments available for short-term occupancy in violation of rental laws would deter New Yorkers from making money on units that are eligible for temporary rental.

U.S. Supreme Court.

Microsoft Looks to 'RJR' as Support in Warrant Fight

One day after the U.S. Supreme Court decided a key question on the global application of federal laws, Microsoft Corp. seized on the decision to bolster its argument that the United States cannot enforce a search warrant for emails stored on a foreign computer.

Uber Pushes to Move Price-Fixing Claim to Arbitrator

By Mark Hamblett |

Uber Technologies Inc. is revving up efforts to push a New York antitrust case into arbitration. Attorneys for the ride-hailing company say the law requires that an arbitrator, and not Southern District Judge Jed Rakoff, must decide a customer's price-fixing claim—and that Rakoff shouldn't even decide the "gateway" issue of arbitrability.

Steven Arenson, center, a partner at Arenson, Dittmar & Karban, speaks at a press conference announcing a settlement for car wash workers.

Small Firm Faced Challenges in Car Wash Wage Litigation

By Andrew Denney |

After more than four years of litigation in both federal court in New York and bankruptcy court in New Jersey, a group of immigrants who formerly worked at car washes in both states received on Tuesday the final portion of a $1.65 million settlement for unpaid wages.

(l-r) Robert Wilkins, Douglas Ginsburg, and Sri Srinivasan.

Nonprofit on the Hook for Employee Who Lied About Being a Lawyer

A federal court of appeals in Washington ruled on Tuesday that the Council on American-Islamic Relations Action Network must face claims for damages from former clients duped by an ex-employee who falsely identified himself as an attorney and collected legal fees.

Latham & Watkins offices in Washington, D.C. April 1, 2015.

Flush With Cash, Latham & Watkins Embarks on Lateral Spree

Latham & Watkins is on a lateral hiring spree, with prime partners at lockstep firms proving to be favored targets.

Evidence Suppressed Over Miranda Doubts

By Andrew Denney |

Prosecutors failed to prove that a Haitian immigrant with a low IQ score and limited language skills understood Miranda warnings after he was arrested on suspicion of robbing two stores in Brooklyn, an appeals court said in a ruling to give the man a new trial.

NYPD officer

TRO Blocks Enforcement of NYPD Beard Policy

A federal judge has ordered the New York Police Department to pay salary and benefits to a Muslim officer who was suspended for violating the department's beard policy.

Bronx Judge Seeks to Halt Meritless Pro Se Motions

By Sarah Betancourt |

"While the court is well aware of the importance of the post-conviction review process, especially in light of the power of DNA evidence to exonerate a defendant, this defendant has had more than an ample opportunity to litigate any and all issues with respect to this case," Justice Steven Barrett wrote.

Merrick Garland.

ABA Panel Praises Supreme Court Nominee

A committee of the American Bar Association on Tuesday ranked U.S. Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland as "well qualified" for the high court—its highest rating for judicial nominees.

Recognition for Lawyers

Among other honors and awards, Albany Law School has named three professors to endowed and distinguished professorships.

Giving a Legal Hand in Brooklyn

By Rick Kopstein, Photographer |

Legal Hand Brownsville Center, part of a network of walk-in sites to assist low-income New Yorkers with civil legal needs, held an open house on Wednesday to welcome area residents.