Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP (ECBA) is lead counsel representing the Estate of Tamir Rice. Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old child, was tragically shot and killed by Cleveland police officers on November 22, 2014 in a case which has now received widespread attention across the nation. The firm also represents Tamir’s mother, Samaria Rice, and his sister. ECBA is co-counseling the case with The Chandra Law Firm, LLC from Cleveland, Ohio and FirmEquity of Chicago, Illinois.
The City has agreed to pay $50,001 as well as ECBA’s attorneys’ fees and costs to resolve the federal civil rights lawsuit of Kelly Schomburg, who was pepper sprayed without provocation and falsely arrested during an Occupy Wall Street protest. ECBA attorneys Debra L. Greenberger and Earl S. Ward represent Ms. Schomburg. The Daily News, the New York Law Journal, the Associated Press, NPR, and the Guardian, among other outlets, covered the lawsuit.
ECBA on behalf of the 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’s 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. ECBA attorneys Matthew D. Brinckerhoff and R. Orion Danjuma are representing the Public Advocate in this action.
To read The New York Law Journal coverage, click here. To read The New York Observer coverage, click here.
To read “Policing the Police,” please click here.
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-yr old Leonel Disla on October 30, 2005. Ilann M. Maazel, Zoe Salzman and paralegal Ian Wahrenbrock represented the Disla family at trial. Prior ECBA lawyers and paralegals who represented the Disla estate include Matthew D. Brinckerhoff, Earl Ward, Elora Mukherjee, Alba Morales, Leda DeRosa, and Jessica Buchanan.
To read more, click here.
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 ECBA’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.
After being wrongfully accused of rape in 2006, three Duke University lacrosse players have reached a settlement with the City of Durham. Under the agreement, the City agreed to pay $50,000 to the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission, a state agency dedicated to investigating and evaluating post-conviction claims of factual innocence. Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady founding partner Richard Emery represents Reade Seligmann, one of the three lacrosse players.
The circumstances surrounding the original criminal case revealed a determined attempt on the part of Durham police officers, prosecutors, and government officials to incriminate the three young men on charges they knew to be fraudulent. As Mr. Emery said, this case is “one of the most vile and abusive acts by government officials . . . and prosecutors in the history of the United States.” Mike Nifong, the District Attorney who was in charge of the original case, has since been disbarred for his actions during the investigation and trial.
To read more about the settlement, click here.
To read “Good Stop/Bad Stop (and Frisk)” please click here.
ECBA has been selected to represent the New York City Council in two cases where Mayor Bloomberg has challenged the legality of duly-enacted local legislation.
In Mayor v. City Council, # 451543/2013, the firm is defending the constitutionality of the Community Safety Act (Local Law 71), which creates a civil remedy for persons subjected to bias–based policing. The Act, which allows private suits against the New York Police Department for injunctive relief, was enacted in the wake of a federal court finding that the NYPD’s “stop & frisk” activities violate the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. Mayor Bloomberg vetoed the legislation, but the City Council voted to override the Mayor’s veto. In the lawsuit, the Mayor alleges that the Act is preempted by state Criminal Procedure Law. Unions representing NYPD sergeants and line officers have joined the suit against the City Council. ECBA lawyers Andrew G. Celli, Jr., Elizabeth Saylor, and Vasudha Talla are handling the case.
Separately, in New York State Association for Affordable Housing et al. v. City Council, # 158093/2013, a trade organization of real estate developers has sued to invalidate Local Law 44, an amendment to the City’s Administrative Code that requires developers to report the wages of workers employed on City-financed housing construction projects. The Bloomberg Administration, joining with the plaintiff trade group, alleges that the law is preempted by state minimum wage and housing finance statutes. ECBA lawyers Andrew G. Celli, Jr., Elizabeth Saylor, and Debra Greenberger are handling the case.
Today, ECBA and The Bronx Defenders filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal court on behalf of five Bronx residents, charging the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) with targeting Black and Latino communities for marijuana arrests and “manufacturing” misdemeanor crimes against residents in order to meet departmental quotas. All five plaintiffs were falsely accused by NYPD officers of possessing marijuana in “public view,” arrested, held in custody, and charged with misdemeanors. In fact, however, each man possessed only a small amount of marijuana for personal use in his pocket — discovered after an illegal stop and search — for which each should have received a simple ticket under New York law. By lying about the facts, and claiming the marijuana was in “public view,” the NYPD officers turned what would have been, for most New Yorkers, a minor incident, into a full-blown ordeal.
The plaintiffs are represented by Katherine Rosenfeld and Sam Shapiro.
To read the complaint, click here. To read the New York Times article about the case, click here.