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ECBA 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”), ECBA 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. ECBA’s Andrew G. Celli, Jr. and Debra Greenberger worked with APA’s Nathalie Gilfoyle to author the brief.

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Zoe Salzman Joins ECBA

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.

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Adam R. Pulver Joins ECBA

Adam R. Pulver joined the firm in May 2010. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Pulver served as a law clerk in the United States District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles and Riverside, California, for the Honorable Christina A. Snyder, Stephen G. Larson, and Virginia A. Phillips. He has also previously worked at Altshuler Berzon LLP, a union-side labor law firm in San Francisco; a New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, a civil rights non-profit; and the ACLU LGBT Rights and HIV/AIDS Projects.

In 2008, Mr. Pulver received a J.D. from Columbia Law School, where he was a James Kent Scholar and Dean’s Public Interest Law Fellow and was awarded the Allan Morrow Award for excellence in gender and sexuality law. While at Columbia, Mr. Pulver was an active member of the public interest community, serving as Vice President of the Columbia Public Interest Law Foundation and as Student Coordinator for Columbia’s participation in the City Bar Justice Center’s Legal Clinic for the Homeless. He participated in the Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic, directed by Professor Suzanne Goldberg, through which he successfully represented a gay prisoner alleging discrimination in the parole process in a lawsuit brought in the District of Massachusetts. He also served as Executive Editor of the Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems, and externed for the Honorable Gerard E. Lynch, then United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York.

Prior to law school, Mr. Pulver worked in a variety of capacities relating to children’s health.

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ECBA Wins Contempt Victory against City of New York for Enforcing Unconstitutional Loitering Laws

ECBA, 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. ECBA lawyers Katherine Rosenfeld and Matthew D. Brinckerhoff represent the plaintiffs, along with J. McGregor Smyth Jr. of The Bronx Defenders.

For more information on the decision, go to:  http://tinyurl.com/24tbr8f

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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 or go to http://nycstripsearch.com for more information and to ensure that we have their current address. A copy of the March 16, 2010 settlement, as well as the prior injunction settlement, may be found at http://nycstripsearch.com. Press may contact Richard D. Emery, Mariann Meier Wang, or Elizabeth S. Saylor at 212-763-5000 for more information.

To view the full press release in English and Spanish, click here. To view the New York Times article, click here.

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ECBA Files Suit on Behalf of Inhabitants off the Amazon Region of Ecuador

ECBA 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.

For more information, see the Complaint and this Press Release.

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Eisha Jain Joins ECBA

Eisha Jain joined the firm on January 4, 2010. Previously, she clerked for Judge Walter K. Stapleton on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. She has also worked at the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression in Charlottesville, Virginia, and at Bredhoff & Kaiser, a union-side labor law firm in Washington, D.C.

Ms. Jain received her J.D. from Yale Law School in 2007, where she was a director of both the Advocacy for Children & Youth Clinic and the Immigration Legal Services Clinic. She served as an executive editor for the Yale Human Rights & Development Law Journal and as an editor of the Yale Journal of International Law, and also served on the board for the Initiative for Public Interest Law. Her scholarship on employment discrimination law was awarded the Yale Law Journal’?s Michael Egger Prize. Ms. Jain worked as a torts teaching assistant for Professor Jules Coleman, and as a research assistant for Professor Amy Chua. She spent her law school summers interning at a human rights organization in Mumbai, and working in private practice in Washington, D.C.

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O. Andrew F. Wilson Elected ECBA Partner

ECBA 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.

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