Civil Rights

  • First Amendment: Free Speech, Religion, Petition, Association
  • Fourth Amendment: Unreasonable Searches and Seizures, False Arrest and Imprisonment, Malicious Prosecution, Excessive Force
  • Sixth Amendment: Denial of Right to Counsel
  • Eighth Amendment: Cruel and Unusual Punishment
  • Fourteenth Amendment: Procedural and Substantive Due Process, Equal Protection
  • New York State Human Rights Law
  • The Freedom of Information Law
  • Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Cases
  • Election Law

SOKOLOFF STERN WINS MALICIOUS PROSECUTION CASE FOR SULLIVAN COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY

In Hutchins v. Solomon, the plaintiff alleged the District Attorney conspired with members of the Monticello Police Department to maliciously prosecute a Village Board member for attempting to truncate a background investigation to help his friend secure a job as a police officer. Southern District Judge Kenneth M. Karas granted Sokoloff Stern’s motion to dismiss the claims against the District Attorney on the grounds of absolute immunity.

Steven C. Stern and Alexander J. Eleftherakis drafted the successful motion.

 

SOKOLOFF STERN WINS FIRST AMENDMENT CASE FOR FORMER CLARKSTOWN POLICE CHIEF

In Black Lives Matter v. Town of Clarkstown, plaintiffs allege the police department conducted illegal online surveillance of the local Black Lives Matter chapter, and intimidated them by positioning rooftop snipers at one of its rallies. Although Judge Nelson Román of the Southern District of New York allowed the case to proceed against the Town and another individual, he dismissed the claims against former Police Chief Michael Sullivan based on his lack of personal involvement. The Court also dismissed Black Lives Matter from the case because it lacked organizational standing.  Click here for article

Steven C. Stern and Chelsea Weisbord drafted the successful motion for Chief Sullivan.

 

FEDERAL COURT DISMISSES FIRST AMENDMENT ESTABLISHMENT CLAUSE CASE AGAINST VILLAGE OF KIRYAS JOEL AND ITS OFFICIALS

In 1977, the Village of Kiryas Joel was incorporated in Orange County, New York. Since its incorporation, the Village has become home to a large number of Hasidic Jews. In Kiryas Joel Alliance v. Village of Kiryas Joel, plaintiffs, a group of Satmar Hasidic Jews, got national media coverage when they brought a federal case under the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause alleging that the Village is run by the majority faction of Hasidic Jews as a “theocracy.” Plaintiffs sought, among other things, to have the court dissolve the Village. Sokoloff Stern, representing the Mayor and Trustees of the Village, filed a pre-answer motion to dismiss along with all defendants. Southern District Judge Jed S. Rakoff granted the motions on a variety of grounds, including lack of standing, statute of limitations, and res judicata.

Brian S. Sokoloff and Leo Dorfman drafted the successful motion.

DECEASED FIREFIGHTER COMMEMORATED ON FALLEN FIREFIGHTER MEMORIAL

In Brady v. NYS Office of Fire Prevention and Control, the State refused to commemorate deceased Village of Malverne firefighter Paul Brady on the NYS Fallen Firefighters Memorial.  The State claimed Firefighter Brady, who was tragically killed during training exercises, did not perish in the “line of duty.”  While the Nassau County Justice Michelle M. Woodard sided with the State, the Appellate Division, Second Department reversed, finding Firefighter Brady did in fact perish in the “line of duty” and ordered his name to be inscribed on the memorial.  In October 2012, Firefighter Brady’s name was inscribed on the NYS Fallen Firefighter’s Memorial alongside his fallen comrades at a ceremony with his friends and family in attendance.

Adam Kleinberg and Mark Radi successfully fought for Firefighter Brady in this matter.

 

SOKOLOFF STERN SECURES SUMMARY JUDGMENT DISMISSAL OF FEDERAL FOURTH AMENDMENT CLAIM

In Parker v. Fantasia, the Rockland Drug Task Force investigated drug trafficking in Rockland County. Acquiring evidence through wiretaps, the Task Force suspected plaintiff of using his apartment to sell and store cocaine and heroin. The Task force applied for and received a search warrant for plaintiff’s premises. After the Task Force searched plaintiff’s apartment, it arrested him.  The Rockland District Attorney’s Office successfully tried and convicted plaintiff. Thereafter, he sued various defendants, including the Spring Valley police officer who applied for the search warrant.  Sokoloff Stern represented Spring Valley and its police officer.  Plaintiff claimed the search warrant was invalid either because the officer lied on the warrant application of because the officer forged the judge’s signature on the warrant.  Plaintiff also claimed police officers damaged his property during the search. U.S. District Judge Kenneth Karas dismissed some of plaintiff’s claims on a pre-answer motion, and he dismissed the remainder of plaintiff’s claims in a 28-page summary judgment decision. Judge Karas found a lack of evidence supporting plaintiff’s claim of warrant forgery, and he found no evidence to support plaintiff’s claim of property damage. 

Brian S. Sokoloff drafted the successful motions to dismiss and for summary judgment.

 

SOKOLOFF STERN DEFEATS STUDENT’S FIRST AMENDMENT CASE REGARDING SCHOOL VARIETY SHOW

In Vetrano v. Miller Place Union Free School District, a high school senior was banned from the second day’s performance of the school variety show, after he violated the rules by ad-libbing a disparaging remark about the Superintendent. United States District Judge Arthur D. Spatt held the student’s speech was not protected because the variety show bore the imprimatur of the school subject to restrictions related to legitimate pedagogical concerns; the decision to discipline the student was based on the plaintiff’s failure to abide by the rules; and the disciplinary penalty was de minimis and therefore not a constitutional violation. The Court also dismissed plaintiff’s due process and void for vagueness claims regarding the school’s code of conduct.

Steven C. Stern and Chelsea Weisbord defended the school district and several administrators named in the case.  Click here for decision.

 

FEDERAL COURT REJECTS CONSTITUTIONAL CLAIMS REGARDING INVOLUNTARY COMMITMENT TIED TO BIZARRE AND
DELUSIONAL ONLINE MESSAGES

In Heller v. Town of Pound Ridge, plaintiff sued the Town’s police department and its chief alleging he was coerced to consent to be transported to a mental health facility, where he was ultimately committed.  He claimed this “mental health arrest,” occasioned by his online instant messages and recent firearms purchases, punished him for engaging in First Amendment activity, violated his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable seizures, violated his Fourteenth Amendment substantive due process rights, and resulted in the loss of his right to own a firearm under the Second Amendment.  In a thorough 48-page decision, Southern District Judge Katherine B. Forrest dismissed all claims against the Town of and its chief, holding that plaintiff failed to state any plausible constitutional claims, there was probable cause for the seizure, and the Chief of Police is entitled to qualified immunity for what was “well within the boundaries of what is considered objectively reasonable.”

Steven C. Stern drafted the successful motion.

 

SOKOLOFF STERN WINS WRONGFUL DEATH POLICE PURSUIT CASE FOR CITY OF NEW ROCHELLE

In Valdovinos v. City of New Rochelle, a young woman complained to police that her intoxicated boyfriend had assaulted her at her home. While they were interviewing her, the suspect drove by, and the police initiated a vehicular pursuit. Within 88 seconds after the pursuit began, the police came upon the overturned vehicle from which both the driver and passenger had been thrown. Westchester County Supreme Court Justice Sam D. Walker held the police were immune from liability under VTL 1104, as the officer did not drive in reckless disregard for the safety of others. Click here for decision

Steven C. Stern and Gil Auslander drafted the successful motion for summary judgment.

 

FEDERAL COURT TOSSES LAND USE CASE AGAINST VILLAGE OF SAGAPONACK 

In Sagaponack Realty, LLC v. Village of Sagaponack, the plaintiff attempted to drag the Village into a decade-long partnership dispute over the development of a multimillion-dollar beachfront property. Judge Denis R. Hurley of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York dismissed all claims against the Village based on principles of standing, subject matter jurisdiction, ripeness, and because plaintiff failed to show sufficient similarity between applications to support a disparate treatment claim. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the decision.

Steven C. Stern and Alexander J. Eleftherakis drafted the successful motion. 

 

FEDERAL JUDGE REJECTS ORTHODOX SCHOOL’S ZONING DISCRIMINATION CLAIMS

In Sheri Torah, Inc. v. Village of South Blooming Grove, a religious corporation sued the Village in federal court claiming the Village was using zoning restrictions to prevent it from converting leased property to a private religious school. Southern District Chief Judge Loretta A. Preska granted Sokoloff Stern’s pre-answer motion dismissing the case, holding that the Village was engaging in a legitimate review process, and plaintiff’s religious discrimination claims were not ripe for review.

Brian S. Sokoloff and Leo Dorfman drafted the successful motion.

 

FEDERAL COURT GRANTS SUMMARY JUDGMENT TO POLICE IN SHOOTING OF EMOTIONALLY DISTURBED PERSON

In Cruz v. City of New Rochelle, several New Rochelle police officers attempted to remove an emotionally disturbed person from his apartment to bring him to a hospital. When they entered, Mr. Cruz charged at them with a knife; when efforts to Taser him failed, one of the officers shot him and killed him. After protracted discovery, United States Magistrate Judge Lisa Margaret Smith issued a 74-page decision granting Sokoloff Stern’s motion for summary judgment, dismissing all federal civil rights and state law claims.

Steven C. Stern and David Gold defended the litigation and drafted the successful motion.

 

FEDERAL COURT REJECTS CLAIM THAT VILLAGE OFFICIALS’ VISITS TO A RESIDENTIAL HOME WERE ILLEGAL

In Oriental and Vernard v. Village of Westbury, plaintiffs sued the Village and its officials, alleging various constitutional claims relating to an alleged unlawful search of their property. U.S. District Court Judge Denis R. Hurley granted Sokoloff Stern’s motion to dismiss the case, finding the Village did not violate plaintiff’s constitutional rights because it never entered the home, the backyard, or any area behind a fence.

Steven C. Stern and Chelsea Weisbord successfully defended the litigation.

 

JUDGE WEXLER DISMISSES EQUAL PROTECTION CLAIMS BY RESTAURANT THAT RECEIVED SUMMONSES FOR TOWN CODE VIOLATIONS

In 4 West Associates LLC v. East Hampton Town, plaintiff corporation brought a federal suit in the Eastern District of New York against the Town of East Hampton alleging that the Town selectively applied the Town Code and violated the corporation’s right to equal protection.  Judge Leonard D. Wexler granted Sokoloff Stern’s motion to dismiss on statute of limitations grounds.

Steven C. Stern and Mark A. Radi drafted the successful motion.

 

RACIALLY CHARGED WRONGFUL DEATH FEDERAL LAWSUIT DISMISSED

In Almonte v. Village of Patchogue, et. al., the estate of a Hispanic man who died from injuries sustained as a result of a racially-based assault by a group of teenagers sued the Village and other municipal entities. The estate alleged that the municipalities were indifferent to racial tensions in the community in violation of the decedent’s due process rights. The lawsuit sought more than $30 million in damages.

Eastern District Judge Leonard D. Wexler granted Sokoloff Stern’s motion to dismiss the complaint on behalf of the Village of Patchogue. The Court agreed that the Constitution does not impose a duty on a municipality to protect individuals from the infliction of private harm and that plaintiff did not sufficiently allege the existence of a “special relationship” or “state created danger” to permit an exception to this general rule.

Adam I. Kleinberg and Leo Dorfman defended the Village and drafted the successful motion.

 

SECOND CIRCUIT AFFIRMS DISMISSAL OF FIRST AMENDMENT TEXAS HOLD’EM TOURNAMENT CASE

In A.K. Tournament Play v. Town of Wallkill, plaintiffs claimed that their “not-for-profit” Texas Hold’em poker tournament club was entitled to the First Amendment protections of freedom of expression and association. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the case, determining that engaging in social gambling, even if legal, is not protected by the Constitution. Read the story in the Wall Street Journal

Steven C. Stern and Leo Dorfman defended the Town and its public officials and drafted the successful motion.

 

SOKOLOFF STERN WINS FEDERAL CIVIL RIGHTS TRIAL FOR OLD BROOKVILLE POLICE OFFICERS

In Amid v. Lamb, the plaintiff alleged Fourth Amendment claims for false arrest, unlawful search of her home, and excessive force against three Village of Old Brookville police officers who brought her to the hospital for psychiatric evaluation after she called a Mortgage Crisis Hotline threatening suicide and then wielded a kitchen knife in the officers’ presence. Mark Radi and Steven Stern tried the case before Judge Leonard D. Wexler in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The jury returned a swift verdict in favor of the defendants on all claims.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the decision.

 

NASSAU COUNTY COURT REJECTS RETALIATION CLAIM PREMISED ON COMPLAINTS OF FAMILIAL STATUS DISCRIMINATION

In Bibeau v. Great Neck Park District, the plaintiff was an ice-skating instructor who alleged the park district violated the Human Rights Law by retaliating against her for complaints of “familial status” discrimination. In what may be a case of first impression, Nassau County Supreme Court Justice R. Bruce Cozzens, Jr. granted Sokoloff Stern’s motion to dismiss, finding that the complaint failed to state a cognizable legal claim.

Adam I. Kleinberg and Kevin Levine drafted the successful motion.

 

SUMMARY JUDGMENT GRANTED TO SCHOOL OFFICIALS IN FALSE ARREST LAWSUIT

In Castro v. County of Nassau, et al., plaintiff was a former school security guard who was arrested and then acquitted of calling in a false bomb threat to the school at which he worked.  He sued several officials and employees of the Great Neck Union Free School District, claiming, inter alia, that they conspired to have him falsely arrested and retaliated against him for exercising his First Amendment rights.  Judge Joseph F. Bianco granted the school district defendants’ motion for summary judgment, dismissing all claims against them.

Steven C. Stern and Melissa Holtzer drafted the successful motion for summary judgment.

 

COURT OF APPEALS AFFIRMS DISMISSAL OF FIRST AMENDMENT LAWSUIT

In Cuff v. Valley Central School District, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a First Amendment lawsuit.  A student and his parents challenged discipline imposed by the school district after the student wrote on a school project that he wished to “blow up the school with the teachers in it.”  The Second Circuit determined that school administrators are entitled to great deference in their decision-making and that the student’s writing presented a substantial risk of material disruption to the school.  The decision received widespread media attention, and was featured on the front page of the New York Law Journal.

Adam I. Kleinberg and Leo Dorfman successfully handled the appeal.

 

TWO COURTS REJECT CLAIMS BASED ON MAYOR’S REMOVAL OF HOUSING AUTHORITY COMMISSIONERS

In DeCintio v. Village of Tuckahoe, the petitioners alleged they were improperly removed as Commissioners of the Tuckahoe Housing Authority by the Mayor.  Though the Westchester County Supreme Court agreed, the Appellate Division Second Department reversed, holding the controversy moot by expiration of petitioners’ terms of office and finding they were not entitled to a name clearing hearing.  Petitioners then brought a separate lawsuit asserting various state law claims arising from their removals.  The court dismissed the action as time-barred.

Steven Stern and Mark Radi successfully defended both actions.

 

RETALIATION SUIT AGAINST EAST END PUBLIC OFFICIAL DISMISSED

In Ellis v. Wilkinson, the plaintiff sued in federal court, asserting various constitutional and state law claims alleging that the former East Hampton Town Supervisor proposed the construction of a storm water retention pond near his residence in retaliation for the plaintiff’s report of environmental violations.  Judge Joseph Bianco dismissed the action in its entirety prior to discovery, finding plaintiff’s claims barred by the statute of limitations.

Steven C. Stern and Mark Radi drafted the successful motion to dismiss.

 

FEDERAL COURT DISMISSES IMPROPER SEARCH CLAIM

In Ford v. Village of Spring Valley, plaintiff alleged that the search of her apartment in connection with an arrest warrant for plaintiff’s son violated her Fourth Amendment rights. Southern District Judge Cathy Seibel granted Sokoloff Stern’s summary judgment motion, finding that the search was conducted in a proper manner and the police officer was entitled to qualified immunity, as there was a reasonable belief that the suspect was present in plaintiff’s apartment.

Adam I. Kleinberg and Leo Dorfman drafted the successful motion.

 

JUDGE KARAS DISMISSES CIVIL RICO CLAIMS

In Grim v. Baker, the plaintiff filed a federal lawsuit asserting a civil RICO claim and various other claims alleging fraudulent probate of her mother’s will.  Judge Kenneth Karas dismissed the action in its entirety on the pleadings finding it barred by prior state court judgments and, in any event, failed to state a plausible RICO claim.  The dismissal was upheld on appeal.

Brian S. Sokoloff and Mark Radi successfully defended the case.

FEDERAL COURT DISMISSES FIRST AMENDMENT AND WHISTLEBLOWER CASE AGAINST TOWN ADMINISTRATOR

In Harisch v. Goldberg, a police lieutenant claimed the Town Administrator retaliated against him after he complained about overtime abuse in the department.  He alleged violations of the First Amendment and New York Civil Service Law’s “whistleblower” provision. U.S. District Court Judge Katherine B. Forrest granted Sokoloff Stern’s motion to dismiss all claims against the Town Administrator, finding plaintiff engaged in no constitutionally protected speech and could not bring Civil Service Law claim for procedural reasons.

Brian S. Sokoloff and Kevin Levine drafted the successful motion.

 

FEDERAL COURT REJECTS CLAIM THAT VILLAGE SEARCH OF ABANDONED BUILDING WAS ILLEGAL

In Hausch v. Village of Tuckahoe, plaintiff sued the Village and its officials in federal court, alleging an unlawful search of a building under the Fourth Amendment.  Judge Nelson S. Román granted Sokoloff Stern’s motion to dismiss the case, finding that the Village did not violate plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment rights because it entered the building lawfully under the administrative search exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement.  The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal.

Steven C. Stern and Kevin Levine drafted the successful motion.

 

NINE YEAR LITIGATION ENDS IN DISMISSAL OF NATIVE AMERICAN FAMILY’S DISCRIMINATION CLAIMS AGAINST SCHOOL DISTRICT

In J.E. ex rel. Edwards v. Center Moriches Union Free School District, four sibling students were suspended from school for engaging in melee on school grounds.  The four—all African-American/Native Americans who live on an Indian reservation—sued for a host of federal and state discrimination and civil rights claims.  The Honorable Roslyn R. Mauskopf granted defendants’ comprehensive motion for summary judgment, dismissing the case in its entirety.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed, ending nine years of litigation.

Steven C. Stern and Leo Dorfman drafted the successful motions and appellate brief.

 

DEFENSE VERDICT IN EXCESSIVE FORCE LAWSUIT

In Jackson v. City of Middletown, an arrestee brought a federal lawsuit against the City of Middletown and its police department.   According to plaintiff, the police officers falsely arrested him and utilized excessive force by hitting him with a flashlight during the course of the arrest.

Sokoloff Stern sought, and defendants were granted, summary judgment on all of plaintiff’s claims except for plaintiff’s state law claim for assault and battery.  Following a four-day trial before the Honorable Lisa Margaret Smith, the jury unanimously found in favor of defendants on the assault and battery claim.

Steven C. Stern and Anthony F. Cardoso successfully represented the City of Middletown at trial.

 

SECOND CIRCUIT AFFIRMS DISMISSAL OF CONSTITUTIONAL CLAIMS BY FORMER COACH ALLEGED TO HAVE ENGAGED IN INAPPROPRIATE SEXUAL CONTACT WITH STUDENTS

In Jones v. Bay Shore UFSD, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of claims for First Amendment retaliation, and violations of Equal Protection and Due Process arising from the school district’s restrictions of a former employee from campus and, in particular, a school board meeting. The three-judge panel held, “No rational jury could conclude that the defendants were motivated by retaliatory animus rather than by legitimate concerns about student safety”; that appellant failed to show others similarly situated who were given preferential treatment; and appellant’s interest in attending board meetings without providing advance notice was de minimis.

Steven C. Stern and Kaitlyn R. McKenna handled the appeal and underlying litigation.

 

FEDERAL COURT DISMISSES TEACHER’S FIRST AMENDMENT LAWSUIT

In Kelly v. Huntington UFSD, plaintiff pulled and gathered elementary students from their classes to suggest that they tell their parents to complain to the Board of Education about the downsizing of a gifted program.  After she was charged with misconduct, she filed suit in federal court alleging a violation of her First Amendment rights.  Eastern District Judge Joseph F. Bianco granted Sokoloff Stern’s motion for summary judgment, finding that plaintiff’s discussion with the students was not protected by the First Amendment.

Steven C. Stern and Mark Radi drafted the successful motion for summary judgment.

 

FEDERAL COURT REJECTS TEACHER’S FIRST AMENDMENT RETALIATION CLAIM

In Malgieri v. Ehrenberg, plaintiff teacher sued a school board member in federal court, alleging, inter alia, retaliation for speaking out school board meetings in violation of his First Amendment rights. U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel granted Sokoloff Stern’s motion to dismiss, holding that plaintiff failed to show she suffered any adverse employment action or that any alleged adverse actions were causally related to her speech.

Brian S. Sokoloff and David A. Gold drafted the successful motion to dismiss.

 

DISMISSAL OF TOW TRUCK OPERATOR’S DUE PROCESS CLAIM AGAINST TOWN AFFIRMED BY U.S. COURT OF APPEALS

In Martine’s Service Center v. Town of Wallkill, plaintiff sued in federal court, alleging, inter alia, violations of procedural due process and equal protection, deriving from the Town’s removal of plaintiff from a list of tow truck operators used by the municipality.  Judge Kevin Thomas Duffy granted Sokoloff Stern’s motion to dismiss.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the decision, finding, inter alia, that the existence of a meaningful post-deprivation remedy barred plaintiff’s due process claims.

Brian S. Sokoloff and David A. Gold drafted the successful motion and appellate brief.

 

FEDERAL COURT DISMISSES CIVIL RIGHTS CASE ARISING FROM SCHOOL PHYSICAL EXAMINATION

In Masciotta v. Clarkstown CSD, a student brought federal civil rights claims claiming that a brief physical examination by the school nurse violated her Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Karas granted Sokoloff Stern’s motion to dismiss, finding that the District’s policies did not violate the Constitution and the defendants were otherwise entitled to qualified immunity.

Adam I. Kleinberg and Anthony F. Cardoso drafted the successful motion.

 

VILLAGE WINS FEDERAL WRONGFUL ENTRY AND SEARCH CASE

In McKay v. Village of Spring Valley, plaintiffs alleged that the Village violated their constitutional rights when one of its officers, along with several agents of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, wrongfully entered and searched their home.  Judge Cathy Seibel granted Sokoloff Stern’s motion for summary judgment, holding that it was reasonable for the Village’s officer to rely on the warrant that the federal agents obtained.

Brian S. Sokoloff and Melissa L. Holtzer defended the case and drafted the successful motion.

 

SECOND CIRCUIT AFFIRMS DISMISSAL OF FIRST AMENDMENT CASE AGAINST SCHOOL DISTRICT AND SCHOOL OFFICIALS

In Munoz-Feliciano v. Monroe-Woodbury Central School District, plaintiff unsuccessfully ran for school board and then sued in federal court asserting First Amendment retaliation for speaking out on matters of public concern. After the case was summarily dismissed in the trial court, plaintiff appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  In affirming the dismissal, the Circuit held that plaintiff failed to state a claim based on an alleged “smear campaign” and failed to allege facts sufficient to permit an inference that the alleged conduct was caused by any protected activity.

Adam Kleinberg, Anthony Cardoso, and Kevin Levine successfully defended the school district in this matter.

 

SUMMARY JUDGMENT GRANTED TO SCHOOL DISTRICT IN AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT CASE

In Pinto v. Massapequa Public Schools, plaintiff, an elderly woman with osteopenia, tripped outside of a school after voting in a general election. She alleged claims for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and general negligence. Eastern District Judge Leonard D. Wexler granted summary judgment, agreeing that plaintiff was not a “qualified individual with a disability” to place her within the protections of the ADA.

Steven C. Stern and Kiera J. Meehan defended the school district and drafted the successful motion.

 

FEDERAL COURT DISMISSES EQUAL PROTECTION AND DUE PROCESS CLAIMS PRE-DISCOVERY

In Puckett v. City of Glen Cove, 631 F.Supp.2d 226 (E.D.N.Y. 2009), plaintiff asserted that the City of Glen Cove violated its own laws when it granted a building permit to a private builder who built a so-called “McMansion” that blocked her view of the harbor.  In rejecting plaintiff’s Due Process and Equal Protection claims, the Honorable Judge Leonard D. Wexler determined that plaintiff was not treated differently than any similarly-situated homeowners and that she was not deprived of any cognizable property or liberty interest.  While plaintiff was permitted to proceed with discovery only based on her First Amendment claim, the Court noted, “The facts alleged … tend to show that Plaintiff was afforded extraordinary access to public officials in stating her position.”  Following the decision, the plaintiff voluntarily withdrew the case, with prejudice.

Steven Stern and Kiera Meehan wrote the successful motion.

 

FEDERAL COURT DISMISSES CLAIMS AGAINST TOWN OFFICIALS RELATING TO HARASSMENT PROSECUTION

In Robinson, III v. Town of Kent, plaintiff sued the Town and several Town officials, claiming that his due process and First Amendment rights were violated when he was prosecuted for harassment – a charge leveled by his brother. The Honorable Edgardo Ramos granted defendants’ motion to dismiss and dismissed the case in its entirety.

Adam I. Kleinberg and Leo Dorfman drafted the successful motion.

 

COURT DISMISSES HUMAN RIGHTS LAW DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION CLAIM

In Romero v. Westco F.G. Corp., Sokoloff Stern successfully defended a construction company against a suit by a former welder, claiming that the company violated the NYS Human Rights Law by terminating him after he requested a reasonable accommodation. Justice Leon Ruchelsman granted Sokoloff Stern’s summary judgment motion, holding that plaintiff did not establish a prima facie case of disability discrimination and plaintiff’s abusive conduct presented a non-discriminatory reason for his termination.

Adam I. Kleinberg and Susan H. Odessky successfully defended the case.

 

U.S. COURT OF APPEALS DISMISSES PAIR OF CIVIL RIGHTS CASES REGARDING VILLAGE CODE VIOLATIONS

The Second Circuit affirmed dismissal of the two latest in a series of cases brought by a pro se plaintiff: Terry v. County of Suffolk and Terry v. Inc. Village of Patchogue.  Mr. Terry alleged that the Village of Patchogue and several officials improperly targeted him and his business in various way.   In affirming the dismissal, the Circuit held that plaintiff’s arguments were “unconvincing,” “implausible,” and time-barred, and he failed to demonstrate that he suffered “concrete harm.”

Brian S. Sokoloff and Melissa L. Holtzer successfully defended the Village and its officials in these matters.

 

LOCAL BUILDER’S CIVIL RIGHTS CLAIM DISMISSED BY APPELLATE DIVISION

In Zarabi v. Village of Roslyn Harbor, plaintiff alleged that the Village and its Building Inspector harassed him through multiple inspections and the delay of approvals on a house he built in the Village.  He alleged due process violations, equal protection violations based on national origin discrimination, and that the Building Inspector conspired with the architect on the project.  After eight years of litigation, Sokoloff Stern secured summary judgment for the Village and the Building Inspector, which the Appellate Division affirmed.

Steven C. Stern and Mark Radi successfully defended the case.