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.


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


Emery Celli Files Lawsuit on Behalf of Rikers Inmate Who Died After Seven Days in Solitary Confinement Without Medical Care

ECBAWM, together with the Legal Aid Society’s Prisoners’ Rights Project (“PRP”), filed a federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of Beverly Ann Griffin, the mother of Bradley Ballard, a 39-year-old man suffering from schizophrenia and diabetes, who died on Rikers Island last year after he was improperly placed in solitary confinement and then inexplicably denied food, water, his medication, and other medical and mental health care for seven days. The City Medical Examiner ruled Mr. Ballard’s death a homicide. The lawsuit names as defendants the City of New York; several current and former high-ranking Department of Correction Officials; Corizon, the private corporation responsible for health care at Rikers Island; and the health care and correction workers responsible for Mr. Ballard’s care during the period of neglect. In an emotional press conference, Ms. Griffin told the City, “You are there to correct the inmate, not to destroy him.” Ms. Griffin is represented by ECBAWM’s Jonathan S. Abady and Hayley Horowitz, along with PRP’s Jonathan Chasan and Mary Lynne Werlwas.

“Family of Rikers Inmate Sues New York City Over His Death,” New York Times
“EXCLUSIVE: City suspects Rikers Island health care provider of criminality in death of mentally ill inmate,” New York Daily News