This Weeks News

Circuit Adopts Employer-Backed Intern Pay Standard

Ben Bedell | July 6, 2015

The Second Circuit unanimously rejected the Department of Labor's six-factor test championed by the plaintiffs, three aspiring filmmakers who worked at Fox Searchlight Pictures, saying "the proper question is whether the intern or the employer is the primary beneficiary of the relationship."

Appellate Panel Throws Out Sanction Against Kramer Levin

By Christine Simmons |

The First Department said that a ruling that Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel and its client failed to notify their adversary of a mistaken representation "is not based on a fair interpretation of the evidence."

The Court of Appeals in Albany

Judges Criticize Prosecution, Defense in Reversing Verdict

By Joel Stashenko |

A prosecutor's contention at trial that defendants "left their DNA all over the crime" overstated the scientific evidence against two men in a Rochester rape-murder, and a defense attorney's failure to challenge the declarations merits a new trial for one of the defendants, the Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.

Steven Davis, Joel Sanders and Stephen DiCarmine

Dewey Defense: Accounting Adjustments Were Not Illegal

By Nell Gluckman |

During cross examination of former Dewey & LeBoeuf director of budget and planning, defense counsel for the firm's ex-CFO, Joel Sanders, tried to break down the idea that accounting adjustments made at year's end were illegal.

Bullying of Student Didn't Rise to Disability, Judge Finds

By Joel Stashenko |

The bullying of a Long Island middle school youngster did not rise to a level of creating a disability nor merit the student's placement in a non-public school at public expense, a state judge has concluded.

Peter Skelos

Skelos Announces Departure From Appellate Bench

By Andrew Keshner |

Peter Skelos, a justice in the Appellate Division, Second Department for 11 years, is retiring from the bench to join private practice.

Gowan, Texas Firm Settle Dispute Over Trustee Fee

By Christine Simmons |

Former Diamond McCarthy partner Sheila Gowan agreed to pay the firm $700,000 to resolve its lawsuit over the trustee fee she received in the Dreier bankruptcy, said Gowan's attorney, George Gibson.

Malcolm Smith

Former State Senator Sentenced to 7 Years

Malcolm Smith was sentenced Wednesday to seven years in prison in a scheme to bribe his way onto the ballot for the 2013 New York City mayoral election.

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

Character and Fitness Panel to Interview Applicants

Approximately 163 applicants for the bar will be interviewed July 7 by the Character and Fitness Committee of the Appellate Division, First Department.

Mayor's Panel Schedules Hearing on Judicial Picks

By Andrew Denney |

The candidates are Diane Costanzo, a court attorney for Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Patricia Henry who seeks an appointment to the Family Court, and Judith Waksberg, director of The Legal Aid Society's juvenile rights appeals unit, who seeks an interim Civil Court appointment.

First Department Panel Disbars Suspended Attorney

By Ben Bedell |

Peter Anderson, a Bronx-based solo practitioner, was disbarred Tuesday by the First Department. He had been suspended in October for his failure to refund a $65,000 deposit made into his escrow account as a down payment on a home purchase by a client.

 Apple iPad with e-book reader software

Split Panel Affirms Apple Conspired to Fix Ebook Prices

By Mark Hamblett |

A finding that Apple engaged in a price-fixing conspiracy with five publishers as it broke into the ebooks market dominated by was upheld by a divided U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit this morning.

Chief Judge Lippman

Debt Law and Attorney Regulation Can Coexist, Ruling Says

By Mark Hamblett |

A New York City law protecting debtors from harassing collection activities does not conflict with New York's power to regulate attorneys, the New York Court of Appeals held Tuesday.

Dewey Financial Controller Testifies to Falsifying Records

By Nell Gluckman |

Dewey & LeBoeuf's former financial controller, Ilya Alter, testified at the trial of the firm's top executives Tuesday that he helped falsify accounting entries in order make it look like the firm had fewer expenses than it did at the end of 2008.

The Alden, at 225 Central Park West

Two Rulings Emphasize Proper Execution of Prenups

By Ben Bedell |

Holding that "there is a strong public policy in New York favoring the enforcement of duly executed prenuptial agreements," a First Department panel rejected one attempt to nullify a pre-nup, but, in a separate case, affirmed a decision to nullify another on the grounds that the wife was induced to sign it by fraud.

Sheila Birnbaum and Barry Cozier

Birnbaum, Cozier Chosen for Judicial Pay Panel

By Andrew Keshner |

Sheila Birnbaum, a partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, and Barry Cozier, senior counsel at LeClair Ryan and a former state judge, have been chosen by the state court system as members of a commission on judicial compensation.

Kathleen Massey

Dechert Taps Massey to Lead NY Office

By Christine Simmons |

Thomas Munno, who has served as Dechert's New York managing partner for the past 21 years, retired from the partnership Tuesday. The firm has appointed Kathleen Massey to succeed him in overseeing Dechert's largest office, which has more than 200 lawyers.

60 Centre St.

Judge Narrows Malpractice Claims Against Firm

By Christine Simmons |

Claims that 20-attorney Gilbride Tusa Last & Spellane failed to perfect two investment funds' security interest in life insurance policies, leading to more than $84 million in damages, have been partially dismissed.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr.

Vance Creates Program to Combat Terrorism

By Andrew Keshner |

The Manhattan District Attorney's Office has created a program to focus on terrorist financing, planning and activity. It will be housed within the Major Economic Crimes and Rackets Bureaus and led by Assistant District Attorneys Deborah Hickey, Rachel Hochhauser and David Stuart.


Crispell middle School, in Pine Bush, is where many of the acts of bullying against Jewish students are alleged to have occurred.

School to Pay $4.48M to Settle Claims of Anti-Semitism

By Mark Hamblett |

Allegations that school officials ignored anti-Semitic bullying and harassment of five students over several years have been settled by the Pine Bush Central School District.

Dewey & LeBoeuf's former office

Witness: News of DA's Probe Led to Dewey's Collapse

By Julie Triedman |

A senior partner in top management at failed Dewey & LeBoeuf indicated to jurors at the criminal trial of the firm's former top executives that news of the investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office was linked to both the end of merger talks and the collapse of the firm a month later.

Plaintiff Angie Cruz

Lawsuit Proceeds for Funding of Sex Reassignment Surgery

By Mark Hamblett |

Claims that New York state's new policy on Medicaid funding for sex reassignment surgery falls short because it doesn't cover cosmetic procedures such as breast augmentation and voice therapy will go forward following a judge's order Friday.

Defendants' Reliance on Business Judgment Rule Fails

By Ben Bedell |

In allowing a shareholder suit to proceed, a Commercial Division judge has found the "business judgment rule" is inapplicable where a company's directors ignored red flags and rushed into an ill-advised acquisition in order to avoid losing their investments.

Coal burning electrical power plants are among those called on by President Barack Obama’s climate change plan to reduce toxic pollutants.

Ruling Strikes Down Limits on Power Plant Emissions

By Sam Hanahel And Mark Sherman |

A divided Supreme Court on Monday ruled against federal regulators' attempts to limit power plant emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants. It's a blow to U.S. efforts to inspire other countries to control their emissions as they approach Paris talks on a new global climate treaty later this year.

James Yates

Former Judge Leaving Post as Counsel to Speaker

By Joel Stashenko |

With the 2015 regular legislative session history, James Yates said he will be stepping down as counsel to the state Assembly's speaker and the chamber's Democratic majority.

Officer Escorted From Courthouse Wins Award

By Joel Stashenko |

A senior court officer has been awarded a total of $388,026, most of it for mental anguish she suffered when she was escorted from a state courthouse in Troy to her home and made to surrender guns she kept there.

The Rikers Island complex consists of ten jails.

City to Pay $1.25 Million in Death of Jail Inmate

By Associated Press |

New York City will pay $1.25 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the family of a Rikers Island inmate who allegedly was fatally beaten by guards in an area without surveillance cameras four years ago after a confrontation with a guard, an attorney said Monday.

Agron Hasbajrami making his initial appearance in a New York City courtroom in September 2011.

Conditional Plea Lodged in Surveillance Case

By Andrew Keshner |

A defendant challenging the constitutionality of warrantless surveillance used against him in a terrorism case has conditionally pleaded guilty.

LA Firms Merge to Create 16-Lawyer NY Office

By Christine Simmons |

The merger of two Los Angeles-based law firms will create a 16-attorney New York office focusing on corporate, securities and litigation matters.

Jury Finds Gay Conversion Program Violated Fraud Law

By David Gialanella |

A New Jersey jury has decided that a religious organization violated the state's consumer fraud statute when it touted the efficacy of a form of therapy aimed at converting homosexuals to heterosexuals.

Demonstrators outside the U.S. Supreme Court moments before the court announced its opinion in the same-sex marriage case <i>Obergefell v Hodges</i>.

Same-Sex Marriage Wins in Historic Supreme Court Ruling

By Tony Mauro and Marcia Coyle |

Same-sex couples have a constitutionally protected right to marry, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Friday in a history-making victory for the gay civil rights movement.

A. Gail Prudenti, Chief Administrative Judge

Legislature's Resolution Supports Civil Gideon

By Joel Stashenko |

While the Legislature's just-completed regular session included bills expanding efiling and refining pre- and post-divorce maintenance guidelines, court administrators say a symbolic gesture by the Senate and Assembly will have lasting significance as well.

Divorce Lawyer Sanctioned for Action in His Own Divorce

By Ben Bedell |

Sanctions were levied Tuesday against a divorce lawyer who represented himself in a bitter matrimonial trial against his wife.

The Eastern District Courthouse in Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn

Judge Explores 8th Amendment Impact of Child Porn Sentence

By Andrew Keshner |

Before imposing a sentence on a man who admitted to having child pornography and sexually exploiting a child, an Eastern District Judge called for more information about whether the defendant can understand the consequences of his guilty plea and whether the 15-year mandatory minimum sentence he faces would be cruel and unusual punishment.

Justices Gonzalez and Scudder

Courts Seek Comments On Certification Applications

By Joel Stashenko |

The two presiding justices of the Appellate Division who are facing mandatory retirement have applied for certification to remain on their courts after Jan. 1, 2016, though Justices Luis Gonzalez and Henry Scudder will have to give up their presiding positions if allowed to stay on.

Suit Proceeds in Shooting Of Student by Police

By Andrew Keshner |

A Long Island judge has ruled a lawsuit filed by the family of a Hofstra University student killed in an off-campus police shooting can move forward.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

New Surrogate Takes Bench in Westchester County

By Andrew Keshner |

A new surrogate has taken the bench in Westchester County. Surrogate Brandon Sall was appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and confirmed by the state Senate last month.

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

Property Owners Found Not Liable for Tenants' Actions

By Andrew Denney |

Two Rockland County property owners cannot be held responsible for an incident in which their tenants' associates attacked a neighbor who had called the police to break up a party at the property, an appellate court has ruled.

Pro Bono Service Recognized

The First Decade Committee of the Federal Bar Council, in conjunction with its Public Service Committee, presented awards for pro bono service.

Appellate Division, Third Department, courthouse in Albany

Panel Upholds Fines Levied On Security Guard Company

By Joel Stashenko |

An upstate appeals court has upheld the fine imposed by New York's Secretary of State against a large security firm for violations of the state's Security Guard Act at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in 2009.

Evan Goldberg getting sworn in as president of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman.

Goldberg to Head Trial Lawyers Association

By Andrew Denney |

On July 1, Evan Goldberg, a partner at the personal injury firm Trolman, Glaser & Lichtman, will begin a term as president of the more than 4,000-member New York State Trial Lawyers Association.

Man Who Posed as Lawyer Expected to Plead Guilty

By Jasmine Grays |

A Bronx man, who Nassau County prosecutors allege was posing as an attorney working on mortgage loan modifications, is expected to plead guilty to a grand larceny charge, according to his attorney.

The New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission chose the Nissan NV200 as the 'Taxi of Tomorrow.'

Court Backs 'Taxi of Tomorrow' Program

By Joel Stashenko |

New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) was within its "extremely broad" legal mandate under the City Charter when it designated a Nissan model as the "Taxi of Tomorrow," a unanimous Court of Appeals ruled this morning.

The scene outside the Supreme Court on Thursday, June 25.

Averting ‘Death Spiral,’ Justices Back Obamacare Subsidies

By Marcia Coyle and Zoe Tillman |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld federal health insurance subsidies for an estimated 6.4 million moderate and low-income Americans. The ruling was the second time in three years that the high court prevented the complete unraveling of the Obama presidency's signature legislative achievement: the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Dewey & LeBoeuf's former office

Ex-Partner Says He Wasn’t In Loop on Dewey Finances

By Julie Triedman |

A partner at failed Dewey & Leboeuf who advised the firm on a $150 million private debt offering in 2010 testified Thursday that he was never in the loop on the firm's finances and relied completely on assurances by the finance department that the firm was on sound financial footing.

Joseph Yannai outside the Brooklyn Federal Court in 2011

Circuit Denies New Trial to Man Who Attempted Suicide

By Mark Hamblett |

A defendant who overdosed on Valium during jury deliberations at his trial on forced labor and immigration charges intentionally absented himself from court and waived his right to be present, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit said Thursday.

Chief Judge Lippman

Attorney Discipline System To Be Addressed at Hearings

By Joel Stashenko |

A commission appointed by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman announced Thursday it will hold three public hearings on New York state's system of attorney discipline and ways to improve it.

Ira Warshawsky

Judge Moves Up Date To Hear Napoli Bern Dispute

By Christine Simmons |

In the dispute between the equity partners of Napoli Bern Ripka Shkolnik, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Eileen Bransten on Thursday moved up the date that she will hear a request of Marc Bern to hold Paul Napoli in contempt and to seek other emergency measures.

From left, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan announce a framework for the end of legislative session on Tuesday.

Legislature Fails to Vote on Criminal Justice Issues

By Andrew Keshner, Joel Stashenko |

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders came close but failed to close deals on two of the highest-profile issues of the 2015 session: raising the age of criminality to 18 from 16 and creating a permanent review process for when police kill members of the public.

Appellate Division, Third Department, courthouse in Albany

Panel Faults Explanation of Rights Being Waived

By Joel Stashenko |

An appeals panel decided Thursday that a trial judge did not elicit enough from a defendant to show he made a knowing and voluntary waiver of his right to appeal. However, the appellate judges concluded that the issue was not preserved for their review.

Alan Levine

Cooley Partner Levine to Take Helm of JTS Board

By Andrew Denney |

Alan Levine, a senior litigation partner in Cooley's New York office, on July 1 will become the chair of the board of trustees for The Jewish Theological Seminary, the flagship institution for Conservative Judaism.

Panel Finds Eviction Shocking to Fairness

By Ben Bedell |

The eviction of an elderly public housing tenant and his disabled girlfriend of 30 years—based on a 1998 infraction by the woman's teenage son—"shocks our sense of fairness," a panel of the Appellate Division, First Department, said Tuesday.

Q&A: McGregor Smyth

By Jeff Storey |

McGregor Smyth, 41, is the executive director of New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI), part of what he calls a "community lawyering" movement that "augments the necessary work of traditional legal services by combining individual representation and impact litigation with policy advocacy and community organizing. "