Schlam Stone & Dolan LLP partners Jeffrey M. Eilender and Thomas A. Kissane represent James Otis, whose interests as a collector of artworks and memorabilia and as a peace activist overlapped as he gathered and subsequently offered for sale a group of items that had belonged to Mohandas Gandhi, father of today's India. When James Otis decided to auction off his Gandhi memorabilia he expected excitement but not so much controversy. The items he put on offer included a rare watch, which is the house specialty at Antiquorum Auctioneers on New York's Madison Avenue, which conducted the auction, as well as eyeglasses, leather sandals, a brass bowl and a brass dish. According to the New York Times, Mr. Otis had hoped the auction would bring in funds to support peace movements the Mahatma might well have approved. But then developments took some surprising turns. Mr. Otis soon realized events were unfolding in a manner that made him uncomfortable. After the Indian government expressed, through diplomatic channels, strong objections to the sale and an Indian court issued an injunction against it, Mr. Otis wrote the auction house stating that he wanted to withdraw the items from sale. The auction house proceeded, however, and in the end Vijay Mallya, whose business interests include Kingfisher beer and an airline, agreed to buy the items for a reported $1.8 million. Press accounts differ but in general the media seem to agree that Mr. Mallya said he would bring the Gandhi relics back to India and also make some arrangements that would provide public access if not public ownership. By the time the auction had been completed (whether valid or not) the story had drawn attention worldwide.
Not long ago this newsletter [44th Street Notes, A Publication of The Association of the Bar of the City of New York] wrote about attorneys who left the law for more creative passions. But in many cases the opposite occurs, as people who start out in other careers find a law degree is exactly what they need to fulfill life's goals. All night study sessions, the Socratic method, and financial depletion; all daunting enough for a student right out of college. So why would someone already successful and settled want to take on the challenge of law school later in life? Here is the story of one City Bar member revealing why he left stability and employment behind for study groups, outlines and blue books. Cold Warrior To Litigator An attorney who has spent 20 years around cannons, rockets, missiles and nuclear warheads does not get easily rattled when taking a deposition. Ask John Lundin, an artilleryman who rose through the ranks in the U.S. Army from enlisted man to major. A civil litigator for Schlam Stone & Dolan, he marches into court armed with the self-discipline, focus and attention to detail that he acquired in the military. He noted that he decided to make the Army a career after visiting the border between what was then East Germany and West Germany. "I was deeply moved at seeing the fences, guards, minefields and dogs focused on keeping their own people in," he remembers. "I became committed to seeing that we were protected from that." After almost five years as an enlisted man, he attended Officer Candidate School, serving in, a month other places, Germany, Hawaii and Korea. During a spate of urban terrorist threats in Europe, he was responsible for the security of nuclear warheads. In the first Gulf War, he spent six months in the desert in Saudi Arabia and Iraq, helping run the command post responsible for all artillery in the 101st Airborne Division. Describing his decision to retire and go to law school, he noted, "At 38, I was already one of the old guys," he says. "It was time to move on, I wanted to find another job as rewarding, interesting and fun for me, and that provided for my family." In 1997, he graduated from Columbia Law School, where he was a Kent Scholar for two of his three years. After law school, he clerked for the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco and then spent four years as a litigation associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York. In 2002, he left Cravath to join Schlam Stone & Dolan. He believes that, above all, the military gave him perspective: "Our cases are extremely important to our clients and us, and we take them very seriously, but if I lose a motion, it's not like I compromised the fate of Western democracy. At the end of a day, as an attorney, win or lose, we all walk out of the courtroom basically okay. If course, it would be different if I were defending capital cases." While his military years may be behind him, his army experiences undoubtedly shaped his opinions of the current problems regarding the treatment of detainees in Guantanamo. In January his team from the Federal Bar Council Inn of Court made a presentation on the legality of the use of torture, based in part on the City Bar Association's reports on detention and deportation of suspected terrorists. [Reproduced with permission from 44th Street Notes, A Publication of The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, June 2005. Copyright © 2005 Association of the Bar of the City of New York.]
On May 2, 2013, New York City finally released emails from the Mayor’s office relating to the hiring of former Schools Chancellor Cathie Black. The emails had been the subject of a FOIL request made by journalist Sergio Hernandez, who is represented pro bono by SSD attorneys Elizabeth Wolstein and Raffi Melkonian. In a series of decisions, New York trial and appellate courts rejected the City’s claims that the emails should be considered privileged, and on May 2, 2013, the New York Court of Appeals denied the City’s request for leave to file a final appeal. The Hernandez litigation has received significant coverage in the local and national media, and many news organizations and legal commentators have criticized City’s failure to turn over the emails more promptly.
Schlam Stone & Dolan partner Jeffrey M. Eilender and counsel Hillary Zilz Prudlo are representing Nathalie De Clercq, who was misidentified by People and Corbis (Splash News) as being the mistress of Google co-founder Sergey Brin. Ms. De Clercq recently filed an action for defamation and invasion of privacy (under New York's Civil Rights Law) against the magazine and the photo agency in New York County Supreme Court.
Schlam Stone & Dolan partners Bennette Kramer and Jeffrey Eilender represented a former partner of Dewey LeBoeuf, who was being sued by the Dewey bankruptcy trustee for recoupment of around $814,000. The case was settled for an undislcosed amount.
Schlam Stone & Dolan partner Richard H. Dolan has been elected as President of the New York American Inn of Court as of January 2014. Erik S. Groothuis, another partner of the firm, has been elected Vice President of the Inn. The mission of the Inn is to foster excellence in professionalism, ethics, civility, and legal skills. The Inn's membership of approximately 150 attorneys consists of judges, government and public interest lawyers, and private practitioners of all ages.
Schlam Stone & Dolan LLP is proud to announce the launch of its Commercial Division Blog. Consistent with our substantial presence in New York's Commercial Divisions, we now provide up to the minute news and insights on the new decisions from New York's Commercial Division judges as well as their rules and practices changes as they come out. You also will find out about commercial division cases as they make their way through New York's appellate courts, and be able to read summaries and analyses of appellate court decisions along with announcements of upcoming oral arguments in the New York Court of Appeals and access links to transcripts and video recordings of those oral arguments. We also provide helpful links to the various Commercial Division websites and interviews with Commercial Division Justices about commercial litigation in New York.
On October 7, 2013, Justice Oing of New York County's Commercial Division ruled from the bench on a motion to dismiss claims brought by SSD's client, the producers of a Broadway musical based on the novel Rebecca, against the production's former press agent, Marc Thibodeau. The court ruled that two of the three claims brought by the producers (for breach of contract and defamation) survived while dismissing a third (for breach of fiduciary duty). The case will continue into the discovery phase against Defendant Thibodeau. The case was argued by Erik S. Groothuis, a partner of the firm.
Schlam Stone & Dolan partner Jeffrey Eilender is representing a group of Jewish residents in their efforts to display a Chanukah menorah in a public park in Ridgewood, New Jersey. The menorah would be in addition to the town's existing holiday decorations. Mr. Eilender's efforts in explaining to the Village government the group's legal rights to display the menorah are described in detail by the Villadom Times newspaper.
Schlam Stone & Dolan partners Richard H. Dolan, Thomas A. Kissane, Jeffrey M. Eilender, David J. Katz, and Robert L. Begleiter, and counsels Stanley N. Alpert and Ronald G. Russo, have all been listed among the New York metro area's 2013 SuperLawyers, published in the special New York Metro Annual List 2013 edition of SuperLawyers Magazine