This Weeks News

New York police conduct a stop and frisk in 2009.

Police Unions' Motion Denied in Stop/Frisk

Andrew Keshner | July 31, 2014

Southern District Judge Analisa Torres said police unions' intervenor bids opposing the settlement between New York City and plaintiffs in stop-and-frisk litigation were untimely and the unions had "no significant protectable interests relating to the subject of the litigation that would warrant intervention."

New York Court of Appeals Judges Jenny Rivera and Shelia Abdus-Salaam

Two Newest Top Court Judges Often Take Different Stands

By John Caher and Joel Stashenko |

Over the past year, the Court of Appeals' newest judges, Jenny Rivera and Sheila Abdus-Salaam, have frequently found themselves on the opposite sides of cases, usually criminal appeals, articulating not only a difference of opinion on the results, but also on how those results should be reached.

BofA Ordered to Pay $1.27 Billion Over Mortgage Fraud

By John Caher |

Judge Jed Rakoff's decision, which also slapped a former executive with a $1 million personal judgment, followed a trial last fall in which jurors found that the Countrywide financial unit defrauded Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae by peddling at break-neck speed what they knew were substandard loans.

Microsoft's data center in Dublin, Ireland

Microsoft Braces for Long Battle Over U.S. Warrant

By Andrew Ramonas |

Microsoft Corp. and its allies have prepared for a long battle in the courts and in Congress over a 1986 electronic communications law as the technology giant fights a U.S. search warrant to give up customer data it has on a server in Ireland.

Jacoby & Meyers is the name of multiple separate law firms in the U.S. Andrew Finkelstein, managing partner in the personal injury firm Jacoby & Meyers LLP in New York, a separate entity from the bankruptcy firm, said the general public may not understand the distinction.

Jacoby Keeps Alive NY Suit Over Non-Lawyer Investors

By Christine Simmons |

Although Jacoby & Meyers has dropped its New Jersey lawsuit, the firm continues to pursue its battle to overturn bans on nonlawyer investments in law firms through federal litigation in New York, said Andrew Finkelstein, who leads the regional personal injury firm.

Aspiring attorneys review their notes before beginning the bar exam at the Jacob J. Javits Center on Tuesday.

Technical Glitch Delays Bar Exam Submissions

By Tania Karas |

Hundreds of bar exam takers in New York and across the U.S. were unable to turn in their completed tests Tuesday due to a glitch with ExamSoft, a software program used by many state bar examiners.

Solo Faces Sanction for Litigation Conduct

By Christine Simmons |

Richard Savitt, a solo practitioner who has been repeatedly scrutinized by judges, is facing another $10,000 sanction for conduct a Manhattan judge found frivolous.

Lawyer Indicted for Alleged Sex Act With Teenager

By Tania Karas |

A Queens solo attorney stands accused of sex abuse for allegedly paying a 16-year-old girl to perform oral sex on him as her friend watched, according to an indictment released Wednesday.

Attorney Gets Maximum for His Real Estate Scams

By Andrew Keshner |

Long Island attorney Robert Cassandro, who was convicted of defrauding investors in real estate deals, was sentenced to 1 1/3 to 4 years and is subject to a $5.8 million restitution order.

Judge Finds No Precedent to Recuse Himself

By John Caher |

A federal magistrate judge in Buffalo declined to step aside from a case in which one of the attorneys joined the judge on a volunteer board while the trial was underway.

Personal Notes on Lawyers

DLA Piper, Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, Sullivan & Worcester and Schulte Roth & Zabel have each added an attorney.

Merck Eprova AG Headquarters in Schaffhausen, Switzerland

Circuit Offers More 'Clarity' in False Advertising Case

By Joel Stashenko |

A district court's award of treble damages and legal fees against a dietary supplement maker that falsely advertised the chemical composition of its product was upheld Tuesday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Sanction Sends Firm Partners To Rule 11 CLE

By Christine Simmons |

A Southern District judge has ordered partners in a law firm he sanctioned to attend a legal education program, after one of the attorneys improperly removed a suit from state to federal court.

Art Students League of New York building, 215 West 57th Street

Judge Tosses Air Rights Suit Against Art Students League

By Suevon Lee |

Three months after refusing to block the Art Students League of New York's $31.8 million transfer of air rights over its historic West 57th Street building, Manhattan Acing Supreme Court Justice Melvin Schweitzer has disposed of a suit challenging the sale brought derivatively by a segment of the league's membership.

Presiding Justice Karen Peters of the Third Department, which includes the 3rd, 4th and 6th Judicial Districts and covers 28 counties.

Panel Declines to Enforce 'No Contest' Clause in Will

By John Caher |

An upstate appellate court has refused to enforce a "no contest clause" in a will because doing so would subvert the overall intentions of the decedent.

 Bar Exam

Bar Exam Day

By Tania Karas |

Aspiring Attorneys gathered at Manhattan’s Jacob J. Javits Center early Tuesday morning for the beginning of New York’s grueling two-day bar exam.

Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein testifies before a Senate panel in April 2010.

Judge Rejects Banks’ Defense in Freddie and Fannie Suit

By Jan Wolfe |

A group of banks that sold residential mortgage-backed securities to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the run-up to the subprime meltdown failed to prove the two mortgage giants willfully ignored false guarantees allegedly made to them about home loans underlying the securities at issue, a federal judge in New York has ruled.

Alan Gura speaks to reporters in front of the Supreme Court in 2008 after the court struck down the District's handgun ban. Gura represented the challengers in the latest case.

‘Conservative’ New York Judge Strikes Down D.C. Gun Ban

By Mike Scarcella |

U.S. District Senior Judge Frederick Scullin Jr.—the federal judge who struck down the District of Columbia’s ban on carrying handguns in public for self-defense—has a reputation as a no-nonsense jurist who adheres to the text of the law.

The Eastern District Courthouse in Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn

'Make it Count,' Gleeson Says In Cutting Inmate's Sentence

By Andrew Keshner |

A federal judge concluded Tuesday that a man who has spent approximately 19 years of a 58-year sentence in prison for multiple armed carjackings had paid his debt to society and resentenced him to time served.

Manslaughter Replaces Vacated Murder Charge

By Tania Karas |

A Queens inmate who had insisted that he was innocent of a 1993 murder was sentenced to 5 to 15 years for the lesser charge of second-degree manslaughter Monday as part of a plea deal with the Queens District Attorney's Office.

New York's highest court will hear arguments about whether local governments should be allowed to prohibit fracking operations like the one in southwestern Pennsylvania, above.

Landowners to Appeal Ruling in Fracking Case

By Joel Stashenko |

A group of upstate landowners have filed a notice they will appeal a state Supreme Court ruling that denied their attempt to have the courts compel the Cuomo administration to decide whether or not commercial fracking for natural gas is legal in New York state.

Cheerleaders Can Proceed With Labor Case, Judge Says

By John Caher |

Five former Buffalo Bills cheerleaders scored a pre-season victory after a judge sustained their unfair labor practice case against the professional football franchise.

Ex-NYC Councilman Convicted of Bribery

A federal jury in White Plains took about 90 minutes Tuesday to convict former New York City Councilman Daniel Halloran of bribery charges in a scheme to buy a spot on the mayoral ballot for state Sen. Malcolm Smith.

Modell’s Widow Can Proceed With Trustee Removal Action

By Joel Stashenko |

The widow of the former half-owner of the Modell's Sporting Goods store chain may continue trying to have her brother-in-law and another man removed as trustees of trusts set up for her and her children upon her husband's 2001 death, a Manhattan surrogate has ruled.

The Eastern District Courthouse in Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn

U.S. Agrees to Sentence Reduction in Carjacking Case

By Andrew Keshner |

A federal judge who has questioned whether a nearly 58-year sentence was overly harsh for multiple armed robberies has applauded Eastern District prosecutors for consenting to a modified conviction rather than let the full sentence run its course.

Co-Op Can't Evict Couple Over Maintenance, Judge Rules

By Brendan Pierson |

A Co-op cannot evict two shareholders over unpaid maintenance and electric bills because the co-op could not show how the building's maintenance charges were determined, a Manhattan housing court judge ruled.

The U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in the aftermath of the August 7, 1998, al-Qaida suicide bombing.

Court Awards $8 Billion to Embassy Bombing Victims

By Zoe Tillman |

Victims of deadly terrorist attacks in 1998 at the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were awarded more than $8 billion on Friday by a federal judge in Washington, D.C.

NYC Prosecution Budget

By Tania Karas |

Six prosecutors' offices in New York City have been allocated a total of more than $314 million for the fiscal year that began on July 1, an increase of 6.1 percent over the amount set aside by the city at the beginning of the 2013-14 fiscal year.

Federal Judge Allows Review Of Inmate Emails to Lawyers

By Andrew Keshner |

A second judge has denied a motion to restrain federal prosecutors from reading the emails of jail inmates to their attorneys.

Eric Schneiderman, left, and John Cahill

Cahill Calls for AG to Speak Out About Moreland Panel

By John Caher |

Attorney General hopeful John Cahill yesterday called on incumbent Eric Schneiderman to end his silence over allegations that the governor's office interfered with the workings of the Moreland Commission, which was created to root out public corruption.

Second Suit Challenging Teacher Tenure Is Filed

By Joel Stashenko |

The current teacher tenure, seniority and dismissal rules in New York state are preventing schools from delivering on the promise set by the state Constitution that all students are to receive a "sound, basic" education, a group contended in a suit filed Monday.

Attorney Who Stole $1.8M From Client Is Disbarred

By Brendan Pierson |

A unanimous Appellate Division, First Department, panel last Thursday disbarred Manhattan attorney Shigetaka Ogihara, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to stealing $1.8 million that he was supposed to hold in his IOLA account for a client.

Panel Disbars Two Suspended Attorneys

By Andrew Keshner |

Two suspended attorneys who did not respond to the disciplinary proceedings filed against them have been disbarred by a Brooklyn appellate court.

Mayor Bill de Blasio

Mayor Appoints Members to Judicial Advisory Panel

New York Mayor de Blasio on Friday announced the 16 appointees who will serve on the Mayor's Advisory Committee on the Judiciary.

Correction

Judge Voids Foreign-Based Marital Agreements

By Andrew Keshner |

A Judge has voided marital agreements drafted under foreign laws in two separate divorce actions, saying the agreements in both cases had procedural defects that rendered them unenforceable.

U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York

Ruling Blocks Lawyer's Bid to Recover Fees

By Mark Hamblett |

A lawyer trying to recover money from a long-dead fee referral arrangement with another law firm on personal injury cases has been blocked from pursing a remedy in bankruptcy court.

Courts Asked to Weigh In on Teacher Tenure, Discipline

By Joel Stashenko and Karen Matthews |

While a California judge recently found that state's teacher tenure system unconstitutional, similar suits against New York's tenure and discipline laws are less certain of achieving a similar outcome, education law experts say.

Barry D. Epstein of The Epstein Law Firm in Rochelle Park, N.J.

N.J. Judge Removes Pro Hac Vice Lawyer for Signing Papers

By Mary Pat Gallagher |

In a case that illustrates the potential pitfalls out-of-state attorneys face when practicing pro hac vice, a New York lawyer defending a New Jersey lawsuit was removed from the case after he signed papers that were to be signed only by a lawyer licensed to practice in New Jersey.

Judge Castel

Circuit Upholds Veteran Attorney's Sanction

By Mark Hamblett |

The removal of defense attorney Ivan Fisher from the rolls in the Southern District has been upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Bar Exam Starts Tuesday

By Tania Karas |

Nearly 12,000 aspiring lawyers are sitting for the New York bar exam Tuesday and Wednesday. The multiple-choice test takes just over 12 hours to complete and is spread across two days.

A Lyft car

Ride Sharing Service Lyft Resolves Dispute with AG

The on-demand ride-sharing app Lyft announced it would start offering limited service in New York City Friday night after resolving regulatory issues that prompted a lawsuit by the state.

Eric T. Schneiderman

New York Urges High Court To Support Lending Act

By John Caher |

New York is leading a coalition of 25 states urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the rescission right of consumers under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) to back away from a loan simply by giving written notice to the creditor.

Raymond J. Dearie - Chief Judge, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York

Immigration Attorney to Serve 2 Years for Fraud

By Andrew Keshner |

An immigration attorney convicted on felony charges has been sentenced to two years in prison and three years of supervised release.

Governor Andrew Cuomo

New Law Ends Requirement for Duplicate Motion Filings

By Joel Stashenko |

Litigants filing motions such as those for reargument, renewal or vacatur do not need to file copies of new papers if they would duplicate materials already filed electronically in the original case, under a bill signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Samuel Hamilton will remain behind bars .after a deeply divided upstate appellate panel embraced a hands-off approach to parole reviews.

Split Panel Upholds Parole Denial for Exemplary Inmate

By John Caher |

A State prison inmate with an extraordinary record of institutional achievement and a network of supporters ranging from top corrections officials to the prosecutor who put him away in the early 1980s will remain behind bars after a deeply divided upstate appellate panel embraced a hands-off approach to parole reviews.

Judge Finds Mother "Cannot Be Trusted" With Custody

By John Caher |

A Westchester County woman who shepherded her young son to forensic psychologists in what a court said was a concerted effort to undermine his relationship with his father, and paid a former soap opera actress $57,000 to prep her for a "role" as a witness, has been stripped of custody.

Street food vendors similar to those who filed a successful claim against the food cart owners for whom they worked.

Food Cart Workers Awarded $60,000 in Unpaid Overtime Wages

By Brendan Pierson |

A Manhattan judge has awarded more than $60,000 to two food cart workers, ruling that they were owed unpaid overtime and illegally forced to pay tickets that should have gone to the carts' owners.

Junior Accountants Found Exempt From Overtime Rule

By Mark Hamblett |

Entry-level accountants are learned professionals who are exempt from the requirement that companies pay overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act, a federal appeals court has ruled.

Barclays Moves to Dismiss AG's Suit Over 'Dark Pools'

By Suevon Lee |

Barclays is challenging the authority of New York's top lawyer to sue the bank for fraud over allegedly deceptive statements it made to investors concerning high frequency trading in its "dark pool," or private stock exchange.

Q&A: Robert Pigott

By Jeff Storey |

Want to know where Judge Joseph Force Crater had his last meal before disappearing forever? Robert Pigott can tell you. His just-completed book, "New York's Legal Landmarks: A Guide to Legal Edifices, Institutions, Lore, History and Curiosities on the City's Streets," is stuffed with such trivia and more momentous events besides.

Eric T. Schneiderman

AG Defends Disclosure Rule Against Citizens United

By Joel Stashenko |

New York's attorney general is urging a federal judge to reject a motion for a preliminary injunction that would prevent enforcement of a requirement that the conservative advocacy group Citizens United file a list of its confidential donors with the state.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr

Attorney Faces Indictment Charging Immigration Scam

By Andrew Keshner |

An immigration attorney has been indicted for allegedly defrauding clients by misrepresenting legal requirements, filing defective applications and taking their money.

The US attorney provided a mountain of evidence that includes dozens of bottles of fake wine and photos of hundreds of wine labels, corks and other items associated with the fraud along with photos of the his kitchen sink window being covered so he could allegedly soak wine labels he printed to make them look vintage.

Sentencing Delayed Over Amount of Bogus Wine Sold

By Mark Hamblett |

A dispute over how much bogus wine was actually sold by a man convicted of defrauding wealthy wine buyers caused a federal judge Thursday to postpone sentencing.

Panel Tosses Courier's Suit Over Lifting Bag of Coins

By Andrew Keshner |

An armored car courier who injured himself lifting a bag of coins had his personal injury suit dismissed by a Brooklyn appellate court.

Addiction Poses Threat, Panel Says in Disbarment

By Andrew Keshner |

A Brooklyn appellate panel has disbarred an already-suspended attorney battling a prescription painkiller addiction.

Personal Notes on Lawyers

Jones Day and Troutman Sanders have added partners and Dr. James Tacci has rejoined Hiscock & Barclay.

Governor Andrew Cuomo

Cuomo Signs Bills Aimed at Domestic Violence Prosecution

By Joel Stashenko |

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law Wednesday bills that he said would aid efforts to combat domestic violence by refining New York's stalking and aggravated harassment laws.

Gravity Knife

Using Bill's Arguments, Judge Tosses Knife Conviction

By John Caher |

A Bronx judge has dismissed criminal charges against a man accused of carrying a "gravity knife," despite the fact that a court system reform bill seeking to lighten penalties for carrying such a device never made it through the state Legislature.

Judge Upholds Corporate Veil in Home Construction Case

By Brendan Pierson |

A Suffolk judge has refused to pierce the corporate veil against the principal of a construction company to enforce a $2.2 million judgment over a failed project, ruling that the plaintiffs failed to show that the principal misused the corporate form and deliberately dissipated the company's assets.

Judge Cites Inequity in Law in Same-Sex Custody Suit

By Andrew Keshner |

Lamenting what he called an "imbalance of remedies," Nassau County Family Court judge has denied joint custody to a woman now separated from her same-sex partner, even though current law might make custody available to a man under similar circumstances.

Judge Probes Possible Attorney Conflict in Terror Case

By Mark Hamblett |

Southern District Judge Lewis Kaplan will hold a hearing into whether the lawyer for a man accused in the al Qaeda African embassy bombing plot is conflicted because his client's defense is being funded by the Libyan government.

Coalition Wants More Openness From U.S. Supreme Court

By Tony Mauro |

A coalition formed to urge the U.S. Supreme Court to increase transparency criticized the justices on Tuesday for not doing more to boost public access to court proceedings in the term just ended.

Correction

David Boies of Boies Schiller & Flexner and David Ellenhorn, senior trial counsel for the Attorney General's Office

JCOPE Finds State Attorney Violated Travel Rules

By John Caher |

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics said Assistant Attorney General David Ellenhorn improperly accepted a plane ride from an adversary without first obtaining permission from his boss. But the panel declined to impose a fine or sanction.

William Rapfogel

Former Charity CEO Gets Minimum Term of 40 Months

The politically connected former CEO of a prominent New York City charity was sentenced to prison Wednesday for helping to steal more than $9 million from the anti-poverty organization.

divorce decree

Queens Opens Help Center for Uncontested Divorces

By Tania Karas |

The Queens County Supreme Court has opened a help center to assist people with online forms available through the state court system's DIY Uncontested Divorce program.

The Eastern District Courthouse in Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn

Bankrupt Company Sues Two Firms for Malpractice

By Christine Simmons |

A biotechnology company in bankruptcy has brought malpractice claims against Nixon Peabody and Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents process unaccompanied children in Brownsville, Tx. Officials say that the impact of the situation along the border will ripple through the entire nation's Immigration Courts, including an already overburdened facility in New York.

NYSBA Advocates Counsel for Child Immigrants

By Tania Karas |

Unaccompanied immigrant children who entered the country illegally and face deportation need legal representation at their immigration hearings, New York State Bar Association president Glenn Lau-Kee wrote in a letter to state congressional representatives Tuesday, urging them to make it a "top priority."

Inmate Faced Burden to Religion, Court Says

By Mark Hamblett |

A Muslim inmate who was placed in solitary confinement conditions for more than two months after refusing to drink water during the Ramadan fast to provide a urine sample has had his First Amendment claim reinstated.

A $7 million fake Max Ernst painting by German artist Wolfgang Beltracchi. A New York dealer sold another of Beltracchi’s forged Ernst paintings for $2.5 million.

Art Dealer Denied Tax Refund for Forged Painting

By Joel Stashenko |

While not responsible in any way for the fake Max Ernst painting called "La Forêt," Manhattan art dealer Richard Feigen was deemed ineligible for a $215,625 sales tax refund because he filed too late to qualify.

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

Panel Rebuffs Challenge to Foie Gras Production

By Joel Stashenko |

The Third Department said that the petitioners, a California-based animal rights group and a New York resident it represents, could not demonstrate an injury in fact based on more than "conjecture or speculation."

Jury Awards $1.5 Million for Death at Nursing Home

By John Caher |

A jury in Clinton County has awarded $1.5 million, including $800,000 in punitive damages, on behalf of a 94-year-old nursing home resident who died after he was mistakenly administered morphine intended for another patient.

Judith Levy, introducing her family during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Obama Names Record Number of Gay Federal Judges

By Todd Ruger, John Council and John Pacenti |

Robert Pitman's uncontroversial nomination last month—Sen. John Cornyn called Pitman's sexuality "irrelevant"—was Obama's 11th nomination of an openly gay or lesbian lawyer to a federal district judgeship. His record on the issue reflects both the president's stated mission to diversify the courts and the widespread cultural shift in acceptance of gays and lesbians in public life.

 Dewey & LeBoeuf sign

Two Ex-Dewey Leaders Settle Clawback Suit

By Christine Simmons |

Joel Sanders, the firm's former CFO, and Stephen DiCarmine, former executive director, have settled a trustee's clawback suit, clearing another piece of civil litigation as they prepare for a criminal trial.

Judge Denies Standing to Empire State Investors

By Associated Press/Joel Stashenko |

Disgruntled investors in the Empire State Building cannot sue over the 2013 initial public offering that they said intentionally undervalued their shares in the iconic Manhattan skyscraper, a Supreme Court justice ruled.

Suspended Attorney Charged with Bank Fraud

By Andrew Keshner |

A suspended Long Island attorney is one of four people accused of conspiring to bilk Bank of America out of more than $500,000 in a real estate scheme.

Circuit Upholds Judge's Deliberation Order to Jury

By Mark Hamblett |

A federal appeals court has affirmed a trial judge's decision to tell a jury to keep deliberating after a poll showed its verdict was not unanimous.

Judge Shira A. Scheindlin, Southern District of New York

MBIA Wins Fees Coverage in Restructuring Litigation

By David Bario |

After toiling through four years of litigation over MBIA Inc.'s controversial 2009 restructuring—and finally putting the case to rest last year—the bond insurer's lawyers at Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman won a ruling that makes Lloyd's of London and other underwriters responsible for a hefty portion of MBIA's defense tab.