ECBAWM Files Amicus Brief in New York Court of Appeals on Behalf of the American Psychological Association in “Wrongful Conviction” Case

Representing the American Psychological Association (“APA”), ECBAWM filed an amicus curiae brief in the New York Court of Appeals presenting the outcomes of research on why innocent people confess to crimes that they did not commit. The case, Warney v. State of New York, involved a man with low IQ and AIDS-related dementia who falsely confessed to murder after intense questioning by police. The man was later exonerated by DNA evidence. ECBAWM’s Andrew G. Celli, Jr. and Debra Greenberger worked with APA’s Nathalie Gilfoyle to author the brief.


Zoe Salzman Joins ECBAWM

Zoe Salzman joined the firm in 2010. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Salzman clerked for the Hon. Sterling Johnson, Jr. in the Eastern District of New York and worked with the International Human Rights Clinic at NYU School of Law.

Ms. Salzman graduated magna cum laude from NYU School of Law in 2007. She received her LL.M. from NYU School of Law in 2008. In law school, she was a Senior Notes Editor for the Journal of International Law & Politics. She spent her law school summers with the New York Legal Assistance Group, the Brennan Center for Justice, and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.


ECBAWM Wins Contempt Victory Against City of New York for Enforcing Unconstitutional Loitering Laws

ECBAWM, along with co-counsel The Bronx Defenders, today prevailed on its motion to hold the City of New York in contempt of court. Acting through the NYPD, the City had continued to enforce void and unconstitutional loitering laws decades after these laws were struck down by courts. Ruling on plaintiffs’ motion, Judge Shira A. Scheindlin of the Southern District of New York held: “The city’s obstinance and uncooperativeness throughout the present actions is offensive to the rule of law. The human toll, of course, has been borne by the tens of thousands of individuals who have, at once, had their constitutional rights violated and been swept into the penal system.” Judge Scheindlin ruled that following a six-month grace period, the City would be subject to progressively larger fines for continued enforcement of the void laws. ECBAWM lawyers Katherine Rosenfeld and Matthew D. Brinckerhoff represent the plaintiffs, along with J. McGregor Smyth Jr. of The Bronx Defenders.

The New York Times‘ coverage can be found here:


New York City to Pay $33 Million in Damages for Illegal Strip Searches

New York City has agreed to pay $33 Million in money damages to approximately 100,000 pretrial detainees arraigned on misdemeanors and lesser offenses who were illegally strip searched at admission to a City jail between 1999 and 2007, even though there was no reason to believe they were concealing drugs or contraband. These humiliating strip searches required groups of detainees to fully undress in front of each other and in front of multiple guards, lift their genitals or breasts, spread their buttocks, cough while squatting, and allow guards to inspect their private body cavities. Those illegally strip searched were being held on minor offenses – such as jumping turnstiles, failing to pay child support, shoplifting, and trespassing – and there was no reason to believe they were concealing drugs or contraband.

The March 16, 2010 settlement, which the Court preliminarily approved today, provides for monetary awards, with a maximum amount of $2900, for those pretrial detainees strip searched during the initial admission process to a New York City Department of Corrections (“DOC”) facility between July 15, 1999 and October 4, 2007. Richard D. Emery, lead attorney for the class, said: “We are pleased that this serious deprivation of rights has been redressed for the tens of thousands of people who suffered these humiliating strip searches. We hope in some small way these damage awards will stand for some semblance of justice for these victims.”

The Court preliminarily approved the settlement today. In approximately three months, notice and a claim form will be sent to all 100,000 persons in the class. Class members must return the claim form to be eligible for payment. Persons who think they are in the class may call 800-760-5508 for more information and to ensure that we have their current address. Press may contact Richard D. Emery, Mariann Meier Wang, or Elizabeth S. Saylor at 212-763-5000 for more information.

To view the New York Times article, click here.


ECBAWM Files Suit on Behalf of Inhabitants of the Amazon Region of Ecuador

ECBAWM filed suit in federal court on behalf of approximately 30,000 inhabitants of the Amazon region of Ecuador in an effort to hold Chevron accountable for what some experts consider the world’s worst oil-related contamination — a disaster so severe it has been referred to as the “Rainforest Chernobyl.” Plaintiffs’ Complaint alleges that, for some 26 years, Chevron systematically and deliberately discharged approximately 16 billion gallons of toxic “formation water” into the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador, one of the most pristine and biologically diverse ecosystems on the planet, resulting in environmental destruction and a human catastrophe on a massive scale.


O. Andrew F. Wilson Elected ECBAWM Partner

ECBAWM has elected O. Andrew F. Wilson partner. Mr. Wilson represents clients in commercial and civil rights matters. His commercial practice has included securities fraud, contract, antitrust, intellectual property, and merger litigation. His civil rights practice has included First and Fourth Amendment litigation, employment discrimination, constitutional litigation, children’s rights, and political asylum.

Mr. Wilson joined the firm in 2005. He received his B.A. from Harvard College in 1996, where he graduated magna cum laude, received the John Harvard Scholarship, Bowdoin Prize for English Composition, and Barbara Miller Solomon Prize. He received his L.L.B. from the University of Toronto where he was a Senior Editor of the Law Review, and received the Lang Michener Prize in Property Law. Mr. Wilson was an associate at Simpson Thacher and Bartlett LLP. He clerked for the Hon. Harold A. Ackerman of the District of New Jersey. Mr. Wilson has also worked at Tory Tory DesLauriers & Binnington in Toronto, at the World Health Organization in Geneva, and at Profamilia Legal Services in Bogota. He is a director of Equitas.