This Weeks News

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder listens to Eastern District U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, after she was nominated to succeed Holder as attorney general, during a meeting at the White House in November.

NY Bar Groups Show Support for Lynch as Attorney General

Mike Sacks | January 27, 2015

Three major New York bar groups Monday weighed in with the U.S. Senate's Judiciary Committee to support Loretta Lynch's nomination by President Barack Obama as the next U.S. attorney general, all stressing her professional credentials and her personal integrity.

Judge Lohier

District Judges Must Decide Treatment, Circuit Rules

By Mark Hamblett |

A federal judge cannot delegate to probation officers a decision on whether a convict on supervised release should get drug treatment in an outpatient or inpatient program, the Second Circuit ruled Monday.

Howard Houses in Brownsville, Brooklyn

Housing Agency Criticized for 'Harsh' Eviction Attempt

By Ben Bedell |

Supreme Court Justice Doris Ling-Cohan held the New York City Housing Authority's attempt to evict a mentally ill senior citizen was "disproportionate to the offense of failing to appear at the scheduled hearing and, in light of all the circumstances, shocking to one's sense of fairness."

Manhattan Supreme Court and the Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse at Foley Square

Storm Closes Courts

The blizzard in the New York metropolitan area closed all state courts today in New York City, on Long Island and in the suburbs of Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties.

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

Plaintiffs Lawyers Urge Clients to File Claims With GM

By Amanda Bronstad |

Individuals who were injured or had loved ones killed allegedly because of a defect in the ignition switch of General Motors Co. vehicles must file claims through a victim-compensation fund before they can learn whether they have the option to sue.

<b>THE STAKES:</b> As attorneys prepared for Supreme Court test, marriages began in Florida.

Who Will Argue Same-Sex Marriage Cases Before High Court?

By Tony Mauro and Marcia Coyle |

History-making arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on same-sex marriage are still more than three months away, but the strategizing among lawyers has already begun.

Judith Kaye

Storm Cancels Events at State Bar Convention

By Joel Stashenko |

The New York State Bar Association has cancelled all events planned on Tuesday at its annual meeting due to the blizzard forecasted in the metropolitan New York region.

Assemblyman Keith Wright

Leading Democrat Asks Silver to Resign as Speaker

A senior Democratic member of the state Assembly called for Speaker Sheldon Silver to step down Monday as the longtime leader fought to maintain his grip on power in the wake of federal corruption charges.

U.S. Claims Three Were Part of Russian Spy Ring

By Mark Hamblett |

Federal authorities said they busted a Russian spy ring Monday, arresting a man who allegedly used his cover as a Russian bank employee in New York to try to obtain economic and political intelligence about the United States.

Panel Upholds Sentence in Vehicular Homicide Case

By Joel Stashenko |

A driver who was distracted as she texted on her cellphone was suitably blameworthy for criminally negligent homicide when she fatally ran over a woman who was mowing her lawn, an appeals court decided.

U.S. Attorneys Richard Hartunian of the Northern District of New York and John Walsh of the District of Colorado

Two Named to Lead USAG Advisory Committee

By Joel Stashenko |

Northern District of New York U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian has been appointed as vice chair of the Attorney General's Advisory Committee of United States Attorneys by Attorney General Eric Holder.Northern District of New York U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian has been appointed as vice chair of the Attorney General's Advisory Committee of United States Attorneys by Attorney General Eric Holder. John Walsh, U.S. attorney for the District of Colorado, has been selected as chairman.

On the Move

Eight firms announce promotions, while Fried Frank and Troutman Sanders have added attorneys.

Judge Andrew Carter Jr.

Hearing Highlights 'Newman' Effect on Insider Trading Cases

By Mark Hamblett |

Southern District Judge Andrew Carter asked the government for more information before he dismisses an indictment against insider trading defendants based on the Second Circuit's imposing a heightened standard for proof that a tipper received a personal benefit.

Panel Finds Wife's Book Deal Violated Divorce Agreement

By Ben Bedell |

The Appellate Division, Third Department, granted damages to an ex-husband in a divorce proceeding who claimed his former wife violated an agreement to share control and profits from any books or movies "dealing with" their artistically talented autistic son.

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

Panel Upsets Conviction Over Judge's Failure to Inquire

By Ben Bedell |

First Department Justice David Saxe in dissent said the defendant's request for new counsel "had all the hallmarks of a disruptive, dilatory tactic," but the majority said that was "based on assumptions, rather than the actual record."

The NYSBA Annual Meeting will be held January 26-31 at the New York Hilton Midtown.

State Bar Annual Meeting Starts Today in Manhattan

By Joel Stashenko |

Wrongful convictions and examinations of violent police-community interactions will be among the featured topics at the annual meeting of the New York State Bar Association, which begins Monday at the New York Hilton Midtown.

Ross Sandler, Preet Bharara and Anthony Crowell

Bharara: Get Angry, Demand Honesty

By Mark Hamblett |

In a speech at New York Law School just one day after the FBI charged state Assembly speaker and political powerhouse Sheldon Silver with making millions through bribes, kickbacks and extortion, Southern District U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara criticized how power in Albany has resided with "three men in a room."

CIA headquarters in McLean, Virginia.

U.S. Justice Department Defends Torture Report Secrecy

By Zoe Tillman |

When hundreds of pages of previously classified documents about the CIA's detention and interrogation program were released late last year, certain sections were blacked out. The U.S. Department of Justice wants to keep the redactions in place—and block the disclosure of thousands of pages that were not published.

Four Kasowitz Partners Join DLA Piper

By Christine Simmons |

DLA Piper has hired four New York partners from Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman, including the chair of its employment and litigation practices, Eric Wallach.

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

Defense Challenges Law on Warrantless Surveillance

By Andrew Keshner |

Eastern District prosecutors insisted Friday that a warrantless surveillance program that intercepted a terrorism defendant's communications was valid under the Fourth Amendment.

Injunction Granted in Goods Distribution Dispute Upheld

By Ben Bedell |

A state appeals court upheld a preliminary injunction in a dispute over a distributorship agreement that the defendant terminated, claiming the plaintiff had not used "commercially reasonable" efforts to sell pigment products, an assertion with which Acting Justice Melvin Schweitzer disagreed.

Panel Clarifies Policy Coverage in Fraud Cases

By Ben Bedell |

The First Department clarified the "manifest intent" standard for determining whether an insurance policy must cover losses resulting from the fraudulent acts of a bank employee.

Panel Supports Suspension, Not Disbarment, for Lawyer

By Andrew Keshner |

Despite an attorney's 2012 disbarment in New Jersey, the Second Department refused the same punishment in New York, saying Robert DePalma's "profound remorse" and "full acceptance of responsibility" were among the reasons why reciprocal disbarment for a single incident was not appropriate.

New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver speaks to the media as he leaves the Southern District federal court on Thursday after his arrest on public corruption charges. Silver is surrounded by his counsel, from left, Joel Cohen, a partner at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan; and Steven Molo and Justin Shur, partners at MoloLamken.

Silver Accused of Using Office in Public Corruption Scheme

By Mark Hamblett |

New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, used to wielding power for more than two decades in Albany, was forced to turn himself in for arrest and appear before a federal judge Thursday on charges he made millions through bribes, kickbacks and extortion.

Little-Known Firm Played Role in Silver's Alleged Fee Deal

By Christine Simmons |

The criminal complaint alleging public corruption charges against Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver features two law firms: the prominent personal injury firm of Weitz & Luxenberg and a little-known two-person tax certiorari firm, Goldberg & Iryami.

Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle, D-Rochester, with Democratic members of the Assembly, meets with reporters about the arrest of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on Thursday.

Speaker's Arrest Prompts Calls for Change and Patience

By Joel Stashenko |

As state lawmakers and other leaders absorbed Thursday's news of public corruption charges against Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, critics said they hoped his legal difficulties would lead to changes to the state's scaffold law and other statutes he has resisted altering during his long tenure.

A courtroom sketch of Khalid al Fawwaz at the U.S. District Court in Manhattan Tuesday

Trial of Alleged Osama Bin Laden Conspirator Begins

By Mark Hamblett |

Khalid al Fawwaz was a critical, top-level conspirator in Osama bin Laden's war against America, spreading the al Qaida leader's declarations of hate, training terrorists and leading the terror cell that bombed U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, a federal prosecutor told a jury Thursday.

The Eastern District Courthouse in Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn

Letter to Court Prompts Warning to Lawyers

By Andrew Keshner |

After a defense attorney assured a judge that he would vigorously defend his client, despite earlier comments, the judge nonetheless warned the lawyer of his professional responsibilities.

Shirley Werner Kornreich

Judge Rejects Disqualification of Law Firm in Joint Defense

By Amaris Elliott-Engel |

A Commercial Division judge has rejected a motion to disqualify a law firm from representing parties in a joint defense because "virtually all conflict waivers would be unenforceable" if the court did so.

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

Panel Rejects Woman's Bid for Anonymity in Fraud Case

By Ben Bedell |

A woman's request to proceed anonymously in a lawsuit alleging negligent and fraudulent transmission of genital herpes by a former boyfriend was rejected Tuesday by a Manhattan appellate court.

Scott Keller, former Chief Counsel to Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), and now Solicitor General of Texas.

Justices Appear Wary of Weakening Fair Housing Act

By Tony Mauro |

Oral arguments in a major housing discrimination case before the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday left some advocates more optimistic than they expected to be that a broad interpretation of the Fair Housing Act will survive.

Alicia Ouellette

Ouellette Named Dean of Albany Law School

By Rebecca Baker |

Alicia Ouellette, who has been acting dean of Albany Law School for the past three months, officially became the school's dean on Thursday.

Judge Tosses Guilty Pleas to Insider Trading Charges

By Mark Hamblett |

Southern District Judge Andrew Carter Thursday threw out the guilty pleas of four men who admitted to insider trading prior to an opinion by the Second Circuit that clarified the law.

Red Hook Terminal in Brooklyn

Cargo Operator Found Liable for Damaged Equipment

By Ben Bedell |

A Manhattan Commercial Division judge has granted summary judgment in favor of a leasing company whose cargo handling equipment was damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse at 40 Foley Square

Court Officer Found Dead in Federal Courthouse

A court security officer has died after apparently shooting himself at the Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse in Manhattan, according to authorities.

Peter Zimroth

City Bar to Honor Zimroth at 'Twelfth Night' Tribute

By Andrew Keshner |

Peter Zimroth, senior counsel at Arnold & Porter and a former New York City Corporation Counsel, will be fêted by the New York City Bar Association in an original musical comedy produced and performed by attorneys and judges.

On the Move

Ten firms announce promotions, while four more have added attorneys.

Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse at 40 Foley Square

Circuit Holds Parties to $1.5 Billion Filing Error

By Mark Hamblett |

The Second Circuit held that it did not matter that neither GM, nor its counsel at Mayer Brown, nor JP Morgan or its counsel at Simpson Thacher, intended a filing mistake that rendered a secured loan unsecured, the error will allow a group of creditors to pursue a clawback of some $1.5 billion in the GM bankruptcy case.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers his State of the State address and executive budget proposal at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center on Wednesday.

Cuomo Supports OCA Budget But Urges Continued Savings

By Joel Stashenko |

Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave a generally favorable assessment Wednesday to the Judiciary's spending plan for the next fiscal year, saying he thinks court administrators can keep increases within the targets he has set for the executive branch and the Legislature.

A panel hears testimony during a public hearing on adoption of the Uniform Bar Exam at City University New York School of Law on Tuesday. Members of the panel, left to right, are David Hernandez of David Hernandez & Associates; Michelle Anderson, dean of CUNY Law School; Diane Bosse, chair of the state Board of Law Examiners; Chief Administrative Judge A. Gail Prudenti; Court of Appeals Judge Jenny Rivera; E. Leo Milonas, former judge and now partner at Pillsbury Wintrop Shaw & Pittman; Hannah Arterian, dean of Syracuse University Law School; and Nitza Escalera, assistant dean of student affairs at Fordham University School of Law.

Panelists Hear Concerns About Adopting Uniform Bar Exam

By Andrew Keshner |

Law school educators, practitioners and even a student expressed concerns Tuesday about scrapping the state's current bar exam and adopting a test used in more than a dozen other states.

The faux tiki hut constructed on the Brooklyn set of the 2011 film

Warehouse Owner Found Liable for Film Crew Member's Injury

By Joel Stashenko |

A movie set dresser who was injured during production of the 2011 film "New Year's Eve" in Brooklyn made a prima facie showing that a warehouse owner violated state law by not providing him with better protection from falling, a judge determined.

Cadwalader's Chairman-Elect Leaves Firm for Hedge Fund

By Julie Triedman |

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft announced Tuesday that James Woolery, poised to become chair of the firm this month after nearly two years as chairman-elect, is leaving to co-found a new investment venture. Patrick Quinn, Cadwalader's managing partner-elect for the past year, is now sole leader of the storied Wall Street firm that made Woolery its highest-paid partner in early 2013.

David Denenberg

Ex-Nassau Legislator Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Client

By Christine Simmons |

David Denenberg, a former attorney at Davidoff Hutcher & Citron, resigned from his Nassau County legislative seat and pleaded guilty Wednesday to eight counts of mail fraud for bilking a former client of more than $2 million.

A. Gail Prudenti, Chief Administrative Judge

Judiciary Budget Hearings in Albany Set for February

By Joel Stashenko |

The state Legislature will hear testimony about the Judiciary budget and other spending issues related to the courts in the 2015-16 state budget on Feb. 26 in Albany.

A screenshot of newyorklegalethics.com

Hofstra, Law Firm Launch Online Ethics Publication

By Ben Bedell |

Hofstra Law School and Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz are teaming up to re-launch the New York Professional Responsibility Report. Renamed "NYLER," the website's monthly articles will be free.

Firefighters make their way over the ruins of the World Trade Center one month after the terrorist attacks.

Benefits to Ex-Officer for WTC-Related Injuries Upheld

By Joel Stashenko |

A former upstate police officer is entitled to special workers' compensation benefits related to the six days he spent at the site of the World Trade Center towers immediately following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, a state appeals court has ruled.

Court Upholds Wrongful Imprisonment Award

By Joel Stashenko |

An upstate appeals court upheld a $35,000 award to a man who spent 23 days wrongfully imprisoned in what the judges compared to a scene from a Franz Kafka novel.

Ruling Bolsters Law Firm's Suit Against Landlord

By Ben Bedell |

In a 3-2 ruling, the First Department found there were triable issues of fact as to whether a landlord "improperly interfered" with a law firm's efforts to find a replacement tenant and avoid $716,000 in rent when it moved out of the Helmsley Building 16 months before its lease expired.

Husband's Bid to Disqualify Wife's Divorce Counsel Rejected

By Andrew Keshner |

A divorcing husband, who is an attorney and town justice, failed to convince a judge that his wife's attorney was conflicted after the judge found the husband had contacted a number of divorce lawyers in order to disqualify them from representing his wife.

Frank Sedita III, the Erie County district attorney and president of the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York

DAs Offer Options to Special Prosecutor in Police Cases

By Joel Stashenko |

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is preparing to deliver a 2015 State of the State address that sources say will touch on the proper response to incidents such as the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. But in the wake of the murders of two NYPD officers last month, the head of the state's district attorneys group said he is hopeful for a balanced approach from Albany.

Port Newark

Car Buyers Lose Argument Over Seizure of 48 Cars

By Mark Hamblett |

Car buyers accused by the U.S. government of violating a sale-in-the-United-States-only rule have lost their argument against the seizure for forfeiture of dozens of cars and money used to fund the operation.

A gas plant in Nyack when it was still operational. It is now one of the seven cleanup sites at issue in the dispute between Orange and Rockland Utilities and its insurer.

Panel Finds Utility Failed to Notify Insurer of Hazard

By Amaris Elliott-Engel |

An insurance company no longer is required to cover an upstate New York utility company for the cleanup of hazardous waste at seven plants that provided gas lamps during the 1800s and early 1900s, an appellate court has ruled.

Fried Frank to Wind Down Hong Kong, Shanghai Offices

By Chris Johnson |

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson is pulling out of Asia. Firm chair David Greenwald informed partners in Hong Kong and Shanghai Thursday that the offices, which a source with knowledge of the situation said are operating at a loss, would be wound down by June 30 due to a lack of confidence in the long-term prospects for international legal business in Asia.

Barry Kamins

Kamins to Join Litigation Boutique as Named Partner

By Rebecca Baker |

Barry Kamins, a former state Supreme Court justice whose meteoric rise into the upper tier of the court administration ended in the midst of a judicial ethics investigation, will join a criminal defense firm that will become Aidala, Bertuna & Kamins, P.C.

 Dewey & LeBoeuf sign

Former Dewey Chairman Awarded Bail Refund

By Christine Simmons |

In search of money to fund his upcoming trial, former Dewey & LeBoeuf chairman Steven Davis has been allowed a refund of his $200,000 bail.

The Court of Appeals in Albany

Understaffed High Court Asks for Reargument

By Joel Stashenko |

The state Court of Appeals said Tuesday it will have to hold reargument in two cases after the five judges realized they were unlikely to reach a four judge majority.

Morgan Lewis Shuffles Leadership in NY Office

By Christine Simmons |

After absorbing some partners from Bingham McCutchen, Morgan Lewis & Bockius has reshuffled its New York leadership while the former head of Bingham's Manhattan office has left the firm.

Juveniles at the Highland Residential Center in Ulster County

Report Supports Hike in Age of Criminal Responsibility

By Joel Stashenko |

In a report released on Martin Luther King Day, Gov. Cuomo's Commission on Youth, Public Safety & Justice said that allowing more 16- and 17-year-olds to be treated as juveniles will help more youths avoid prison and a life of crime and incarceration.

Judge Sentences American Who Sent $67K to al-Qaida

A New Yorker who sent $67,000 to al-Qaida and pledged his support to the terror group was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years in prison by a judge who cited the defendant's remorse and medical problems that make his incarceration more difficult.

Correction