In February of 2015, Schlam Stone & Dolan won a tremendous victory for client Winston Chiu in Chiu v. Chiu in the Appellate Division, Second Department concerning his withdrawal and payout as a member of an LLC that owned real estate in Long Island City. As a result of the firm's efforts, Mr. Chiu obtained over $4 million and the firm made new law on the valuation of minority interests in business divorce cases. The Second Department Decision was listed as one of the #1 business divorce case of 2015 on Peter Mahler's blog, New York Business Divorce, the preeminent blog in this area of the law.
On December 18, 2015 the firm won a significant dismissal of a $27 million RICO case brought by the New York State Catholic Health Plan against our client, Academy Orthotic & Prosthetics Associates, IPA and its principals. The Health Plan argued that it was defrauded in violation of RICO because it paid millions of dollars in claims to Academy thinking it was a provider of medical equipment when in actuality it was a network of medical equipment providers. Judge Jack B. Weinstein granted SSD's dismissal motion in a 52 page decision on the basis that the fraud predicates were duplicative of the contract between the parties and that no deception occurred as a matter of law, and thus there could be no RICO or common law fraud claims.
The New York Daily News reported today on a case filed in the SDNY in which two Broadway actors were wrongfully arrested by the police after being subjected to racial and homophobic abuse by a New York City taxi driver. After they left the cab—and paid the fare, angering the cab driver—they were arrested by the NYPD when the driver claimed they had not paid. The police refused to look at the receipt the passengers had been given. Charged with theft and resisting arrest, the case was dismissed in criminal court by the DA’s office, and two days ago Schlam Stone filed an action against the city and the cab driver on their behalf. Schlam Stone partners Michael Battle and Douglas Grover are representing the two passengers.
On July 23, 2015, the New York Daily News reported on a lawsuit filed by Schlam Stone & Dolan on behalf of Marta Ibarrondo in New York County Supreme Court. The lawsuit alleges that a philanthropist couple forced Ms. Ibarrondo out of Philanthropic Bling, a company she founded to market awareness bracelets. Schlam Stone & Dolan partner Jeffrey Eilender was quoted, saying Ms. Ibarrondo "wants the profits that she and the company would have been able to make if it hadn't been hijacked." Ms. Ibarrondo is being represented by Mr. Eilender, Hillary Zilz Prudlo, and Vitali Rosenfeld.
On July 7, 2015, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York and the City Bar Justice Center cut the ribbon on their Federal Pro Se Legal Assistance Project (FedPro), to provide information, advice, and limited-scope legal assistance to people proceeding pro se in a variety of federal civil cases. Schlam Stone & Dolan partner Bennette Deacy Kramer is member of the Eastern District Civil Litigation Fund which is providing half of the first-year funding for the FedPro.
Schlam Stone & Dolan partner Jonathan Mazer assisted a Florida trial team as local counsel in the high profile trial against entertainment personality 50 Cent a/k/a Curtis James Jackson III over the unauthorized publication of a private sex tape depicting the plaintiff. Following a lengthy trial, the jury awarded compensatory damages totaling $5 million on plaintiff's claims for emotional distress and violation of her civil rights. Mr. Jackson filed for personal bankruptcy the day the he was to be required to testify about his net worth in connection with plaintiff's punitive damages claim, but the bankruptcy court refused to stay the punitive damages hearing and the jury awarded an additional $2 million in punitive damages against him.
The New York Law Journal reported today on the firm's June 30, 2015, motion to vacate the conviction of its client Harold Turner, in light of the United States Supreme Court's decision in Elonis v. United States, No. 13-983, 575 U.S. ___, 2015 WL 2464051 (June 1, 2015). Turner was an internet shock jock who was convicted of threatening three Seventh Circuit judges by posting on his website a commentary sharply criticizing the judges' decision upholding two local gun ordinances. The defendant in Elonis was convicted under a similar threat statute for a series of Facebook postings found to constitute threats to his ex-wife, co-workers, and law enforcement personnel. The Supreme Court reversed Elonis's conviction because the jury had been erroneously instructed that the postings could be threats if a "reasonable person" would find them to be threatening, without regard to whether the defendant subjectively intended them to threatening. The district court in Turner's case gave essentially the same instruction. The motion to vacate argues that the conviction should be set aside for the same reason the Supreme Court reversed Elonis's conviction, namely, because in omitting an essential element of the crime—the requirement of the defendant's criminal intent—the jury instruction allowed Turner to be convicted for conduct that was not criminal. Partners Harvey Stone, Richard Dolan, and Elizabeth Wolstein are handling the case.
On May 8, 2015, the California Second District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles reinstated an action brought by Schlam Stone & Dolan against the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS). The plaintiff, Cesar Baez, alleges that CalPERS forced him out of private equity firm Centinela Capital Partners, where he was a partner, by threatening to withhold promised investments, and that CalPERS was motivated by Baez's friendship with Latino businessmen who were being investigated by CalPERS in an unrelated matter. Schlam Stone partner Jeffrey Eilender was quoted by the Sacramento Bee, saying CalPERS harmed Baez’s reputation, and that Baez has struggled to find work since leaving Centinela. Eilender and Schlam Stone & Dolan partner Michael Battle are representing Mr. Baez in the action.
On March 31, 2015, the United States Supreme Court heard oral argument in Kimble v. Marvel Enterprises, a patent case in which Schlam Stone & Dolan represents a group of nine amici curaie, including Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, The Rockefeller University, and the Association of American Medical Colleges, supporting the petitioner, an inventor who patented a toy that allows users to mimic Spiderman's web-spinning abilities by shooting foam from their hands using a can strapped to the waist or wrist.
On March 31, 2015, The Guardian reported on an amicus brief filed by Schlam Stone & Dolan on behalf of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, among others. In Stephen Kimble v Marvel Enterprises, a toy inventor asked the Supreme Court to reverse a 1964 decision that preventing inventors from receiving royalties after their patents expire. The firm's clients filed an amicus brief in support, arguing that allowing post-expiration royalty payments could promote “the transformation of scientific research into potentially life-changing therapies and inventions that benefit the public.” The amici were represented by Schlam Stone & Dolan partner Elizabeth Wolstein, along with Richard Dolan and Harvey Stone.