ECBAWM Attorneys Represent the Public Advocate in an Action to Unseal Grand Jury Materials in the Eric Garner Case

ECBAWM, on behalf of New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, filed an action to unseal grand jury materials related to the killing of Eric Garner by NYPD officers in Staten Island. On December 10, 2014, Richmond County Supreme Court Justice Stephen Rooney ordered that Ms. James’ motion must itself be filed in secret and withheld from the public. Ms. James then lodged an emergency appeal with the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, Second Department, which swiftly ruled in her favor and directed that her motion be disclosed and made available to the public. In the wake of this ruling, Justice Rooney has scheduled a public hearing for December 19, 2014 on whether to unseal grand jury materials related to the death of Eric Garner. ECBAWM attorneys Matthew D. Brinckerhoff and R. Orion Danjuma are representing the Public Advocate in this action.

“Multiple Parties Push to Open Garner Grand Jury Record,” New York Law Journal
“Letitia James ‘Somewhat Confident’ Judge Will Unseal Garner Grand Jury Minutes,” New York Observer



Court Orders Madoff Ponzi Scheme Documents Turned Over to European Court

In a matter of first impression in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel successfully obtained materials concerning the Bernard Madoff Ponzi Scheme for use in a Swiss criminal proceeding. The Court held that the materials sought were appropriately subject to disclosure under 28 U.S.C. § 1782, a statute that permits discovery in the United States for use in foreign or international proceedings. Rejecting arguments that the Swiss proceeding was not a “foreign or international tribunal” as that term is defined in the statute, the Court held that the Swiss proceeding is “exactly the type of proceeding” that the statute is intended to reach. ECBAWM attorneys O. Andrew F. Wilson and Sam Shapiro litigated the case on behalf of a Swiss national.


$5 Million Settlement Awarded to Brothers Starved by Their Foster Parents

Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel settled a $5 million lawsuit against the Division of Youth and Family Services (“DYFS”) for neglecting to remove four brothers from the custody of foster parents who had been systematically starving their adopted children. Under the care of the Jackson parents, the oldest brother, age 19, stood at four feet tall and weighed 45 pounds. The three younger brothers, ages 14, 10, and 9, each weighed less than 40 pounds. The DYFS placed the children in the custody of the Jackson family and made numerous visits to the family home. Despite contact with the obviously abused children and warnings from caseworkers, the DYFS failed to remove the boys from the Jacksons’ custody. The three youngest brothers were represented by ECBAWM founding partner Richard Emery.

“$12.5 Million Settlement in Boys’ Starvation Suit,” New York Times


New York City and Officer Found Liable in Fatal ’05 Shooting of Leonel Disla

After less than an hour of deliberations, a unanimous jury in Bronx Supreme Court found New York City and an NYPD Sergeant liable for the shooting death of 19-year-old Leonel Disla on October 30, 2005. Ilann M. Maazel, Zoe Salzman and paralegal Ian Wahrenbrock represented the Disla family at trial. Prior ECBAWM lawyers and paralegals who represented the Disla estate include Matthew D. Brinckerhoff, Earl Ward, Elora Mukherjee, Alba Morales, Leda DeRosa, and Jessica Buchanan.

“New York City and Officer Found Liable in Fatal ’05 Shooting of a Teenager,” New York Times


New York City and State Agree to Pay $6.7 Million in Settlements for Wrongful Conviction Cases

The City and State have agreed to pay $6.7 million to the widow of Israel Vasquez, who was wrongfully convicted and incarcerated for more than 12 years for a 1995 homicide. Mr. Vasquez was jointly indicted with five others for two separate homicides, that of a taxi driver and a Federal Express employee. ECBAWM attorneys Jonathan S. Abady, Earl S. Ward, Elizabeth S. Saylor, David Lebowitz and Orion Danjuma, together with co-counsel Julia Kuan of Romano & Kuan, PLLC, represent Mr. Vasquez’s widow. ECBAWM, along with Julia Kuan, also represents Michael Cosme and Carlos Perez, two of the five other wrongfully convicted individuals who spent 18 years in prison for two murders they did not commit. Mr. Cosme and Mr. Perez’s cases are still pending.

“New York City and State to Pay $6.7 Million to Settle Murder Conviction Lawsuit,” New York Times


United States District Judge Denies Pine Bush Central School District’s Motion for Summary Judgment

In a 76-page opinion today, United States District Judge Kenneth M. Karas denied Pine Bush Central School District’s motion for summary judgment. The School District sought dismissal of a case brought by five Jewish students represented by ECBAWM, who were the victims of severe and pervasive anti-Semitic harassment and bullying at school. The bullying included anti-Semitic slurs, Holocaust jokes, physical assaults, coin throwing, white power chants, Hitler salutes, and anti-Semitic graffiti on textbooks, lockers, walls, desks, and a classroom poster of President Obama. In denying the District’s attempt to dismiss the case, Judge Karas ruled that a jury could reasonably find that the children had “suffered severe and discriminatory harassment, that the district had actual knowledge of the harassment, and that the district was deliberately indifferent to the harassment” and that the district “failed to take reasonable steps to combat anti-Semitic harassment.” The Plaintiffs are represented by Ilann M. Maazel, O. Andrew F. Wilson, and Zoe Salzman of ECBAWM, as well as Public Justice, P.C., and Michael Meth, Esq.

“Judge Denies Motion to Dismiss Lawsuit Over Anti-Semitic Bullying in a New York School District,” New York Times


Emery, Celli, Brinckerhoff, Abady, Ward and Maazel Named 2014 “Super Lawyers”

The New York Super Lawyers Magazine has named ECBAWM’s Richard D. Emery, Andrew G. Celli, Matthew D. Brinckerhoff, Jonathan S. Abady, Earl Ward, and Ilann M. Maazel “Super Lawyers,” and Debra L. Greenberger a “Rising Star.” For more information, please access