On September 19, 2018, ECBAWM filed a Petition pursuant to Article 78 of the CPLR on behalf of New York City Council Member Rory I. Lancman, MTA Board Member David R. Jones, and the Community Service Society of New York (“CSSNY”) seeking an order to compel the New York City Police Department to comply with a New York City Law which requires it to post reports on its website regarding arrests made and civil summonses issued to individuals for fare evasion at each of the 472 subway stations in New York City.
After CSSNY issued a detailed report reflecting that the vast majority of arrests and summonses for subway fare evasion occur in poor African-American communities, Council Member Lancman introduced legislation requiring the Police Department to release quarterly reports detailing the number of arrests under New York Penal Law § 165.15 and summonses under MTA Rule of Conduct § 1050.4 that were issued for fare evasion at each subway station throughout New York City and to break down the data by various demographic criteria, such as the race, gender, and age range of each person arrested or summonsed. Council Member’s Lancman’s proposed bill was unanimously approved by the City Council and went into law as New York City Administrative Code § 14-172 in January 2018. Three required reporting periods have passed since the law’s enactment and the Police Department has brazenly refused to comply with its statutory obligation.
The Petitioners are represented by ECBAW\M attorneys Richard D. Emery and David Berman. A copy of the Petition is available here, and coverage of this lawsuit in the New York Times, New York Post and New York Daily News is available here, here, and here.
The National Trial Lawyers recently announced that ECBAWM Co-Founder Richard Emery was named to its prestigious Top 100. This invitation-only organization is composed of the premier civil plaintiff and criminal defense trial attorneys across the country. Each member of The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 is chosen for their demonstration of success, experience, influence and leadership.
You can learn more about the National Trial Lawyers organization here.
Yesterday, ECBAWM filed an EEOC charge against New York State on behalf of Patricia Gunning, alleging sexual discrimination and retaliation by her former boss at the Justice Center, James Kiyonaga. Today, after a thorough investigation, the New York State Inspector General issued a report condemning Mr. Kiyonaga, and the State fired him. Ms. Gunning is represented by Richard D. Emery, Ilann M. Maazel, and Debra Greenberger.
For more information, read coverage from the New York Times, New York Post, Times Union, and NY Daily News.
On May 29, 2018, ECBAWM filed a charge of discrimination with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of Patricia Gunning, a former Special Prosecutor/Inspector General at the NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs. In the charge, Ms. Gunning alleges that James Kiyonaga, who served as Acting Executive Director and Executive Deputy Director during her years at the Justice Center, engaged in a pattern of sexual discrimination and sexual favoritism, creating a hostile work environment. The charge alleges that when Ms. Gunning complained about the abuse, she was retaliated against, leading to her termination. Mr. Kiyonaga currently serves at Executive Deputy Commissioner of the Office of People with Developmental Disabilites.
For more information, read coverage from the New York Post, Times Union, and NY Daily News.
Patricia Gunning is represented by Richard D. Emery, Ilann M. Maazel, and Debra Greenberger.
On April 25, 2018, ECBAWM filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Committee for Environmentally Sound Development and the Municipal Art Society of New York seeking to halt the unlawful construction of a 668-foot residential mega-tower at 200 Amsterdam Avenue which, if completed, would be grossly out-of-character with the neighborhood and cast long shadows. The lawsuit alleges that the zoning lot upon which the mega-tower would sit—the only justification for the tower’s height—was cobbled together using partial tax lots, in violation of the New York City Zoning Resolution.
On May 14, 2018, plaintiffs secured their first legal victory in the case, obtaining a Stipulation and Order from the Court preventing the developer from using its continued construction efforts to argue that its rights have “vested” – that is, that construction has progressed to the point that the project can no longer be halted. The developer continues work now at its own peril while the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals decides the pending administrative appeal.
The plaintiffs are represented by ECBAWM attorneys Richard D. Emery, Katherine Rosenfeld, and Ashok Chandran. A copy of the complaint is available here, and Politico’s coverage of the dispute can be found here.
The Cooper Union has just announced a plan designed to return to free tuition. This plan was the result of a lawsuit filed by ECBAWM on behalf of the Committee to Save Cooper Union (CSCU), which challenged the school’s decision to charge tuition for the first time in its history.
CSCU is a coalition of current and prospective students, alumni, and faculty. The case argued that the school’s decision to charge tuition violated the terms of the trust established by Peter Cooper. As a result of the CSCU lawsuit, the Attorney General of the State of New York launched a confidential investigation into Cooper Union. The settlement reached between CSCU, the school, and the Attorney General imposed an independent financial monitor; established a Board committee made up of alumni, students, and faculty to develop a plan for the return to free tuition; required the school’s leadership to make a good faith effort to return to free; and expanded the presence of alumni, students, and faculty on the Board of Trustees. The recent plan announced by the school is the result of this settlement agreement.
Read more about the plan to return to free here and here.
CSCU was represented by ECBAWM attorneys Richard D. Emery, O. Andrew F. Wilson, and Zoe Salzman.
This week, the New York Law Journal published a two-part column by ECBAWM Founder Richard Emery addressing the persistent issue of judges who use the power and prestige of their office to benefit themselves and others.
In part one, Emery discusses the problematic trend of the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct’s decisions on this matter. In his review of recent cases, Emery demonstrates the Commissions’ troubling leniency in disciplining judges using their office for personal benefit. He argues that this inability to properly address and punish this misconduct not only sets a dangerous precedent for judges, but also damages public perceptions of judicial integrity.
In part two, Emery focuses on precedents set by the Court of Appeals in judicial discipline cases. Tracing precedents set in recent decades, Emery ends his review with an encouraging analysis of the Matter of Ayres, a case from this month that signals the Court of Appeals’ increasing lack of tolerance for judge misconduct that threatens the public’s confidence in the judiciary. The decision bolsters Emery’s view that despite the need for some constraints on the investigation and discipline of judges, these individuals must still be bound to the strictest standards of conduct.
Read part one of the column here, and part two of the column here.
On October 25, 2017, Governor Andrew Cuomo, ECBAWM founder Richard Emery, and Barry Diller announced an agreement that would revive the construction of Diller Island, a performing arts center off of pier 55 in the Hudson River. In response to the new agreement, Richard Emery stated: “On behalf of the plaintiffs City Club, Tom Fox and Rob Buchanan, the completion of Hudson River Park and the protection of the Estuary have always been of utmost importance to the entire environmental, civic and preservation community. Today’s historic commitment by Governor Cuomo to finish the Park and protect the Estuary is a great victory for park users and all New Yorkers. In that spirit, we will not litigate against Pier 55 and will work with the Governor to realize his visionary plan for completion of the Hudson River Park and for protection of the Hudson River.”
Read New York Times’ coverage of the agreement here, and New York Law Journal coverage here.
ECBAWM is proud to announce that partners Richard Emery, Andrew Celli, Matthew Brinckerhoff, Jonathan Abady, Ilann Maazel, Earl Ward, Hal Lieberman, Dan Kornstein, Andrew Wilson, and Elizabeth Saylor were named as Super Lawyers for 2017. Associate Alanna Kaufman was named as a Rising Star. The Super Lawyers list is issued by Thompson Reuters. A description of the selection methodology can be found here.
Following ECBAWM’s victory in federal district court on behalf of clients the City Club of New York, Barry Diller (the billionaire backer) pulled his support for “Pier 55,” a proposed island performance venue in the Hudson River in Manhattan. This victory ensures the preservation of the estuarine sanctuary of the Hudson River as the legislature intended. The controversy could have been avoided if the Hudson River Park Trust had been candid with the Legislature and the public and done a full participatory environmental review. When an agency flouts the law by cutting corners, public-spirited citizens can and should be able to get justice in court. The real lesson of Diller Island is that the Hudson River Park Trust—like every agency that stewards precious public resources—should rededicate itself to core principles of openness, transparency, and conservation. The decision to end the project was covered by the New York Times and New York Daily News, among others.
ECBAWM lawyers Richard Emery, Elizabeth Saylor, Doug Lieb, and David Berman represent the City Club, as well as the other petitioners. Read more about ECBAWM’s work on this project here, here, and here.