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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.

To read the Complaint, click here. To read the New York Times’ story on this case, click here. The New York Daily News covered Mr. Ballard’s case and the City’s refusal to defend Corizon here.

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ECBAWM defeats motion to quash subpoena issued pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1782

The Southern District of New York denied efforts to quash a subpoena ECBAWM had obtained on behalf of a foreign national to gather documents in the United States in aid of proceedings in Switzerland arising from the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme. ECBAWM attorneys O. Andrew F. Wilson and Sam Shapiro successfully argued that the materials were appropriately subject to the statutory and discretionary requirements of 28 U.S.C. § 1782. The matter is now on appeal to the Second Circuit.

To read the opinion, click here.

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City Agrees to $2.75 million Settlement in Death of Rikers Island Inmate, Ronald Spear

The City of New York has agreed to pay $2.75 million to settle a lawsuit brought by John Daniels, the father of Ronald Spear, a 52-year old man who was beaten to death by corrections officers while being held at Rikers Island. Mr. Spear, who suffered from chronic kidney disease, was killed after he requested medical treatment on December 19, 2012. Autopsy records revealed that Mr. Spear suffered blunt force trauma to his body and head. The City Medical Examiner ruled Mr. Spear’s death a homicide. Mr. Daniels is represented by ECBAWM’s Jonathan S. Abady and Zoe Salzman, along with co-counsel Jonathan Chasan and Mary Lynne Werlwas of the Legal Aid Society’s Prisoners’ Rights Project (PRP).

To read more about the case, click here.

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ECBAWM Defeats Challenge to City Law Banning Race-Based Stop-and-Frisks

The New York Supreme Court upheld a New York City law banning police stops based on race, national origin, citizenship status, gender, disability, housing status, or sexual orientation. ECBAWM attorneys Andrew G. Celli, Jr., Elizabeth Saylor, and Vasudha Talla , on behalf of the New York City Council, defended the law, which allows those subjected to illegal stops to sue for injunctive relief. The law, Local Law 71, was passed over former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s veto in response to unprecedented numbers of police stops that overwhelmingly targeted black and Latino residents. Mayor Bloomberg sued to invalidate the law on constitutional grounds, and the City Council retained ECBAWM to represent it and defend the statute. The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association and another police union, organizations that later joined the constitutional challenge to Local Law 71, have vowed to appeal the ruling.

To read the opinion, click here. To read the New York Daily News article, click here.

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ECBAWM Settles Race Discrimination Case Against Nassau County Landlord

A federal judge approved a settlement agreement in ERASE Racism, et al. v. LLR Realty, LLC , et al., a case filed by ECBAWM in 2013 alleging race discrimination at a 74-unit rental apartment building in the Nassau County village of Mineola based on a testing investigation conducted by the Fair Housing Justice Center (FHJC). The three-year agreement provides for injunctive relief, including the adoption of non-discriminatory rental policies, advertising available apartments, and attending fair housing training. It also provides ERASE Racism, the FHJC, and three African American testers with $165,000 in damages, attorneys’ fees, and costs. Plaintiffs were represented by ECBAWM’s Diane L. Houk and Sam Shapiro.

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ECBAWM Files Class Action Lawsuit Against New York For-Profit College

Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel, together with the New York Legal Assistance Group, filed a class action lawsuit in the Southern District of New York on behalf of thousands of current and former students of ASA College, Inc., a privately owned, for-profit career college based in New York City. The complaint, filed against ASA and a number of its officers, alleges that ASA’s students have been victimized by a large-scale scheme to obtain millions of dollars of federal and state financial aid by misrepresenting ASA’s certificate and degree programs to prospective and enrolled students, to federal and state governmental agencies, and to accrediting agencies. ASA lures students with promises that its programs will provide training, externships, and job placement services, and that ASA graduates have a proven track record of obtaining jobs in their fields of study. None of this has proven true. More than half of ASA’s students drop out within two semesters, and among those who do finish, few find jobs in their fields of study. As a result of ASA’s fraud, ASA procures access to student loans to fund ASA’s exorbitant tuition, leaving students with debts they cannot repay. The plaintiff s are represented by ECBAWM attorneys Matthew D. Brinckerhoff and Hayley Horowitz, along with attorneys from NYLAG’s Special Litigation Unit.

To read the complaint, click here. To read the press release, click here.

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ECBAWM files a housing discrimination lawsuit in federal court against the Village of Great Neck Plaza and the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency (NCIDA)

ECBAWM filed a housing discrimination lawsuit in federal court against the predominantly white Village of Great Neck Plaza and the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency (NCIDA). The suit alleges that the Village zoning code discriminates against African Americans by imposing eligibility criteria for affordable housing that gives a preference to local residents. The complaint also alleges that the code excludes certain applicants for affordable housing based on age and disability. Finally, the complaint alleges that the NCIDA provided financial assistance for affordable housing in the Village subject to the zoning code’s discriminatory requirements and preferences. The two non-profit plaintiffs, Long Island Housing Services and Fair Housing Justice Center, are represented by ECBAWM’s Diane L. Houk and David A. Lebowitz.

To read the complaint, click here.

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