On February 24, 2020, ECBA filed a federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of Darlene McDay and Temple McDay, the mother and grandmother of Dante Taylor, a 22-year-old man who committed suicide in Wende Correctional Facility on October 7, 2017. As detailed in the complaint, Mr. Taylor—who had a history of depression and suicide attempts—was confined in isolation for long stretches at Wende, and providers and staff ignored many glaring risk factors for his suicide in the months leading up to his death. Mr. Taylor was brutally beaten by Wende correction officers the night before he died, thrown into isolation, and denied access to a mental health care provider. Mr. Taylor’s is one of many suicides that have occurred in recent years at Wende and other facilities run by the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
“Dante Taylor’s death at age 22 was foreseeable and preventable,” said Katie Rosenfeld, one of Mr. Taylor’s lawyers. “Dante’s family calls for an open and full investigation into the circumstances of his death, and seeks accountability for the vicious, extra-legal beating by the rogue correction officers that triggered his death.”
“We hope this lawsuit promotes public awareness of DOCCS’ failure to improve medical and mental health care for people in prison, even in the face of an epidemic of suicides by people confined in our state’s prisons, particularly people who are in solitary confinement conditions,” said Marissa Benavides, an ECBA associate working on the case.
To read the complaint, click here. To read coverage of the suit in the Washington Post, click here, and to read coverage by the Associated Press, click here.
ECBA’s Katie Rosenfeld and Marissa Benavides represent the McDay family in the suit.
On February 19, 2020, ECBA filed suit on behalf of Erick Diaz Cruz, an unarmed 26-year-old Mexican man, who was shot in the left hand and cheek by a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer in Gravesend, Brooklyn. As detailed in the complaint, the shooting occurred on the morning of Thursday, February 6, 2020 while Mr. Diaz Cruz was on vacation with his girlfriend visiting his mother on a valid tourist visa.
“Along with millions of New Yorkers, we are heartbroken and sickened by ICE’s senseless and unjustified shooting of Erick,” said ECBA partner Katie Rosenfeld. “A young, hard-working and law-abiding man was gunned down on the streets of Brooklyn in broad daylight in front of his family, shot in the face at point blank range, by an agent of the United States government. Erick posed no threat to anyone, at any time. Erick’s face is shattered, and he and his family are traumatized. We are a nation of laws, equality and justice; Erick’s case demands that we live up to those values.”
“Erick was the victim of a horrific and life-threatening attack,” Scout Katovich, an ECBA associate working on the case, added. “We hope this lawsuit will send a message that ICE cannot violate the U.S. Constitution with impunity.”
To read the complaint, click here. Read the press release, here and coverage of the story on ABC News and the Daily News.
ECBA’s Katherine Rosenfeld and Scout Katovich represent Mr. Diaz-Cruz in the suit.
On January 11, 2019 the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York granted ECBA client Equan Yunus a preliminary injunction removing his unconstitutional designation as a sex offender. Although Mr. Yunus has never committed sexual misconduct, he had been forced to register as a sex offender under New York’s irrational and overbroad offender registration laws. Because of this designation, Mr. Yunus was subject to numerous overbearing parole conditions designed to deter sex offenses that bore no relation to his crime of conviction, including limitations on his ability to access a cell phone or computer and to interact with minor members of his own family.
While the New York Court of Appeals had upheld this law as rational years earlier in another case, the federal court agreed with Mr. Yunus and ECBA that this treatment as a sex offender violated his constitutional right to substantive due process. Mr. Yunus’s designation and its accompanying oppressive restrictions must be removed as a result of the Court’s ruling.
ECBA Attorneys Andrew G. Celli, Jr. and David Berman represent Mr. Yunus. To read the Court’s opinion granting Mr. Yunus a preliminary injunction, click here. To read the Guardian’s profile of Mr. Yunus’s case, click here. To read coverage of the case in the New York Law Journal, click here.
“The New York City Victims of Gender-Motivated Violence Protection Act”
Civil Rights Litigation columnist Ilann M. Maazel writes: “Here in New York City, we have another statute, virtually unknown and unused. It is the New York City Victims of Gender-Motivated Violence Protection Act (for present purposes, “the Act”). In the #MeToo era, every civil rights lawyer in New York City should know, and where appropriate, use, the Act.”
December 3, 2018: New York Law Journal featured Daniel J. Kornstein as a panelist at the New York City Bar’s Second Annual First Amendment Program: “Freedom of Speech in 21st Century America.” The other panelists were: Roger Juan Maldonado, Nadine Strossen, Alex Abdo, Jamal Greene, Floyd Abrams, and Carmelyn Malalis.
CBS news program “48 Hours” presented an in-depth review of the fatal police shooting of Danroy “DJ” Henry, a PACE University student. The segment investigates the cause of the tragedy and includes interviews with DJ’s family, witnesses, DJ’s childhood friend, Brandon Cox, and others. Mr. Cox was seated beside DJ in the car when an officer shot into their vehicle, killing DJ, and wounding Mr. Cox. A link to the story can be found here.
ECBA attorneys Jonathan S. Abady, O. Andrew F. Wilson, Debra Greenberger, and Jessica Clarke represented Brandon Cox in the related civil case against the police shooter and others.
Nov. 14, 2018: Ilann M. Maazel spoke at the 2018 PILnet Global Forum in Berlin. The Global Forum is an annual international gathering of leading public interest lawyers throughout the world. Ilann’s panel presented Alternative Business Models for Public Interest Lawyering, including the ECBA public interest/commercial law firm model. The other panelists were Kimberley Motley, Amelia Weidner, and Gearóid Ó Cuinn.
ECBA, along with the law firm of Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP, has filed a nationwide class action lawsuit on behalf of four individuals and a putative class against Donald J. Trump and the Trump Corporation, as well as Donald Trump, Jr., Eric Trump, and Ivanka Trump, alleging that Plaintiffs were victims of three businesses promoted by Mr. Trump, in his personal capacity, and the other defendants. The Complaint alleges that Mr. Trump and the other defendants conspired to deceptively endorse a series of sham businesses including ACN, the Trump Network, and the Trump Institute. In exchange for undisclosed endorsement fees, the Complaint alleges, defendants promoted these businesses with the power of the Trump brand — all to persuade vulnerable parties such as the Plaintiffs to invest in opportunities defendants knew had little chance of success. The filing was covered by, among other outlets, the New York Times.
Andrew G. Celli, Jr., Matthew D. Brinckerhoff, Katie Rosenfeld, and O. Andrew F. Wilson are leading the team at ECBA for the plaintiffs.
ECBA partner Zoe Salzman was named as one of City & State’s 2018 40 Under 40 Rising Stars.
Each year, City & State identifies 40 members of the next generation – all under the age of 40 – who are already leaders in elected office and in state offices, in labor and in business, in advocacy and in academia, in government affairs and in journalism.
Ms. Salzman told City & State, saying the “diverse docket” she has at Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady “is ideal for her skill set.” “‘It keeps you sharp,’ she says. ‘It’s thinking really creatively about legal problems.”
Read Ms. Salzman’s profile in City & State here.
Yesterday, ECBA 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.