NEWS

SEPTEMBER 26, 2017

DAVID B. SHANIES ANNOUNCES THE HIRING OF JOEL A. WERTHEIMER, LITIGATOR AND FORMER AIDE TO OBAMA, CUOMO

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The David B. Shanies Law Office today announced that Joel A. Wertheimer, former Staff Secretary to Governor Andrew Cuomo and Associate Staff Secretary to President Barack Obama, is joining the firm’s litigation practice.

Mr. Wertheimer began his career with South Brooklyn Legal Services, a non-profit legal services organization working toward racial, social, and economic justice for low-income New Yorkers.

Mr. Wertheimer later joined two leading international law firms, Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP and Winston & Strawn LLP, where he worked on a broad spectrum of commercial litigation, arbitration, and antitrust matters.

From 2013 to 2014, Mr. Wertheimer clerked for the Honorable Lorna G. Schofield, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York.

Beginning in 2015, Mr. Wertheimer served in the White House under President Obama, remaining through the end of the President’s term.  Beginning in January 2017, Mr. Wertheimer served as Governor Cuomo’s Staff Secretary before deciding to return to the active practice of law.

“Joel’s distinguished background in both government and private practice, including his litigation and clerkship experience, will be a tremendous addition to our firm,” said David B. Shanies, the firm’s founder and principal attorney.  “I am thrilled, both for the firm and especially for our clients, that Joel is joining the team.”

Mr. Wertheimer received his J.D., cum laude, from the New York University School of Law in 2010, and received his B.A., magna cum laude, from Tufts University in 2005.


JUNE 29, 2017

DAVID B. SHANIES RECEIVES THE FEDERAL BAR COUNCIL'S THURGOOD MARSHALL AWARD FOR EXCEPTIONAL PRO BONO SERVICE

From L-R: Federal Bar Council First Decade Committee Chair Travis Mock; David B. Shanies; Willkie Farr & Gallagher partner and co-recipient of the Marshall Award Mary Eaton; Federal Bar Council President David Schaefer; and Federal Bar Council Public Service Committee Chair Lewis Liman. (NYLJ/David Handschuh)

From L-R: Federal Bar Council First Decade Committee Chair Travis Mock; David B. Shanies; Willkie Farr & Gallagher partner and co-recipient of the Marshall Award Mary Eaton; Federal Bar Council President David Schaefer; and Federal Bar Council Public Service Committee Chair Lewis Liman. (NYLJ/David Handschuh)

Today David was honored by the Federal Bar Council, which presented him with its Thurgood Marshall Award for Exceptional Pro Bono Service.  The Marshall award was presented by Federal Bar Council President David Schaefer and Public Service Committee Chairman Lewis Liman during the Federal Bar Council's Summer Kick-Off Reception at Battery Gardens in Lower Manhattan.

David was introduced at the award ceremony by Edward J.M. Little, Partner at Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP and Chair of the firm's White Collar group.  Mr. Little, who worked with David on numerous pro bono cases at Hughes Hubbard, described David's tireless pro bono work on cases involving wrongful convictions, prisoners' rights, LGBTQ rights, workplace and housing discrimination, and police misconduct.  David's co-recipient of the award, Mary Eaton, was honored for her own outstanding pro bono work, including high-profile wins in the areas of transgender rights and marriage equality.  Mary was introduced by Judith Goldiner, Attorney-In-Charge of the Legal Aid Society's Civil Law Reform Unit.

The award ceremony was covered by the New York Law Journal.

 


MAY 26, 2017

DAVID B. SHANIES SCORES IMPORTANT WIN IN FEDERAL WRONGFUL CONVICTION SUIT

Yesterday David and his co-counsel, Ronald L. Kuby, notched an important victory in Carlos Davis' wrongful conviction lawsuit.  Mr. Davis was exonerated through the Brooklyn District Attorney's comprehensive investigation of cases handled by disgraced NYPD detective Louis Scarcella.  David and Ron filed a civil rights lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in July 2016.  Yesterday the Court issued its ruling on the City's motion to dismiss the suit, rejecting most of the City's arguments and denying the bid for dismissal.

"This is a positive first step that will allow the case to go forward," David told the New York Daily News.  "We look forward to proving our client's claims."


MAY 9, 2017

DAVID B. SHANIES OBTAINS $4.5 MILLION FOR WRONGFULLY CONVICTED MAN

Today the New York Daily News and ProPublica covered David's recent multi-million dollar settlement of a wrongful conviction lawsuit in the New York Court of Claims.   We are very proud of the outstanding result we achieved for our client and our ongoing efforts to obtain justice for the wrongfully convicted.


 

MARCH 13, 2017

DAVID B. SHANIES critiques queens d.a.'s opposition to conviction review units

The New York Law Journal published David's Letter to the Editor regarding Queens District Attorney Richard Brown's staunch refusal to join the nationwide trend toward establishing independent "conviction review" units to investigate possible wrongful convictions.

D.A. Brown wrote a Letter to the Editor last week, explaining that he does not support a specialized unit to review suspect convictions because "every man and woman" in the D.A.'s Office shares the responsibility to prevent miscarriages of justice from occurring.

In response, David argued that independent and specialized review units are far more effective in identifying and correcting wrongful convictions than an "ad hoc" approach entrusted to the very prosecutors who obtained the suspect convictions and their close colleagues.  David noted that a growing number of prosecutors, including those in three of the five boroughs of New York City, have come to recognize the value of independent conviction review units as a prosecutorial "best practice."

In 2014, David authored the New York City Bar Association's recommendations to then-newly elected Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth P. Thompson regarding the D.A.'s expanded and revitalized conviction review unit.  Mr. Thompson's groundbreaking work in this area has received national attention and has been hailed as "visionary."  David has commended Mr. Thompson and his successor, Eric Gonzalez, for their noteworthy efforts to correct wrongful convictions, and David's own work on wrongful conviction cases (including his recent work on the cases of Ruddy Quezada, Carlos Davis, and Vanessa Gathers) keeps him engaged in this important and developing area of the law.  


 

NOVEMBER 28, 2016

DAVID B. SHANIES FILES WRONGFUL CONVICTION LAWSUIT FOR RUDDY QUEZADA

Today David filed a federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of Brooklyn exoneree Ruddy Quezada in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.  Ruddy Quezada served nearly 24 years in prison before his conviction was vacated on the basis of egregious prosecutorial misconduct uncovered during post-conviction legal proceedings.

Ruddy's story has received widespread media coverage, in particular because his case helped to expose former Brooklyn D.A. Charles J. Hynes' "Hotel Custody" program, which then-challenger Kenneth P. Thompson assailed as "Guantanamo on the Hudson" and a practice with "no place in a civilized society."

“Despite the great changes that Ken Thompson and Eric Gonzalez brought to the Brooklyn D.A.'s office, the Charles Hynes regime inflicted many wounds that have yet to be healed," David told The Daily News.   

Press coverage of the filing is available here:  


 

OCTOBER 13, 2016

DAVID B. SHANIES WINS SUMMARY JUDGMENT MOTION FOR POLICE SHOOTING VICTIM

David won a swift and decisive victory in a federal lawsuit brought on behalf of a 15 year-old boy shot numerous times by a New York City police officer in Brooklyn.  The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York took only a month to rule in favor of David's client and against the City, which sought to dismiss the case on summary judgment and without a trial.  The Court ruled that "a reasonable jury could conclude" that the 15 year-old boy "did not pose an immediate risk of harm" and, therefore, that his shooting was unjustified.   

“We are pleased by the Court's decision,” David told the New York Daily News. "This is a tremendously important issue and case, and we are eager to bring the facts to light at trial.”  

The Daily News sparked international coverage of the case after obtaining video laying waste to the police officer's claim his 16 shots were justified because the boy repeatedly pointed a toy pistol at him as he chased the boy through the public housing project in Brownsville, Brooklyn   which the video shows never happened.

Press coverage of the victory is available here:


 

AUGUST 26, 2016

DAVID B. SHANIES represents victim of unjust police shooting

David recently joined the legal team representing Keston Charles, a 15 year-old African-American boy shot without justification by a New York City police officer in December 2013.  The New York Daily News sparked international coverage of the case after obtaining video refuting the officer's claim that a toy gun was repeatedly pointed at him when he fired 16 shots at the boy, striking him three times.   The Daily News reported that surveillance video "clearly shows Charles running with his back to the cops" when the officer began shooting, and "the 15-year-old posed no threat at the time" he was shot in the chest, leaving him in a three-week coma.

Eyewitness News covers the Keston Charles shooting

David was quoted in various international, national, and regional media outlets, including ABC News, International Business Times, Eyewitness News, The Sun, The New York Daily News, Ebony, BET, and Gothamist.

Press coverage of the lawsuit is available here:


 

JULY 1, 2016

David B. Shanies Files Wrongful Conviction Lawsuit in Brooklyn Federal Court

Today David and his co-counsel, Ronald L. Kuby, filed a wrongful conviction lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.  David and Ron’s client, Carlos Davis, was exonerated after a re-investigation of his conviction by the Brooklyn DA’s Conviction Review Unit.  Mr. Davis was wrongfully convicted of  illegal gun possession in 1991 based on the testimony of a single witness – testimony that the Conviction Review Unit found was false.  The filing was covered in various news sources, including The New York Daily News, The New York Post, and Courthouse News Service.

Press coverage of the lawsuit is available here:


JUNE 16, 2016

David B. Shanies Is Honored At Federal Bar Council Event

Today David was recognized for his pro bono work along with 18 other members of the Federal Bar Council at the First Decade Committee's Summer Kick-Off Reception at Battery Gardens in Lower Manhattan.

Federal Bar Council President Vilia Hayes commended David for his outstanding pro bono work on the Ruddy Quezada and Vanessa Gathers wrongful conviction cases, together with his work on behalf of transgender inmates in Suffolk County, New York.


JUNE 16, 2016

david B. Shanies E-Discovery Win in Federal Court Covered By Bloomberg Law

Today Bloomberg Law covered David's e-discovery win in the case of Jem Sunderland in the Eastern District of New York.  

David and his former colleagues at Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP represent Ms. Sunderland in her civil rights case against Suffolk County and certain medical staff at the Suffolk County Correctional Facility.  The lawsuit alleges that Suffolk County refused Ms. Sunderland's requests for necessary medical treatment for gender dysphoria and engaged in a pattern of denying care to transgender inmates.

 

 


JUNE 7, 2016

David B. Shanies Is Honored at New York Law Journal "Rising Stars" Event

Today the New York Law Journal published a profile of David in a special "Rising Stars" section of Journal.

David and other recipients of the award, whom the Journal recognized as "attorneys ages 40 and under who have established a record of accomplishments and demonstrated that they are top contributors to the practice of law and their communities," were then honored at a reception at the Manhattan Penthouse.


JUNE 2, 2016

DAVID B. SHANIES IS appointed to city bar federal courts committee

David was appointed to a three-year term on the Federal Courts Committee of the New York City Bar Association.

The Federal Courts Committee addresses a wide range of issues concerning the practice of law in the federal courts, including amendments to the Federal Rules, judicial nominations, electronic discovery, and application of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.  The Committee also publishes a Handbook for Appeals to the Second Circuit.

David currently serves on the City Bar's Criminal Law Committee and its Subcommittee on Brooklyn Conviction Review. 

 

 


may 31, 2016

DAVID B. SHANIES files sex abuse lawsuit against nyc luxury spa

The New York York Daily News, New York Post, Gothamist, and other news outlets covered the filing of a five million dollar lawsuit by a young woman who was sexually abused by an unlicensed fiend masquerading as a massage therapist at Aire Ancient Baths, an upscale spa in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan.

The suit alleges that the spa negligently employed the abuser despite his lack of a professional license and two recent customer complaints reporting similar incidents of sexual misconduct at the spa.

"My client wants more than anything to prevent assaults like the one she was subjected to from happening to anyone else," David was quoted as saying by the New York Daily News.

"Spa businesses like Aire have a responsibility to put their clients in the hands of professionals, not predators," David was quoted as saying by the New York Post.

Press coverage of the lawsuit is available here:


april 5, 2016

david B. shanies is honored as one of the new york law journal's "rising stars"

The New York Law Journal named David Shanies as one of its "Rising Stars" for 2016.

David was among a group of young lawyers selected by a panel of 24 esteemed judges to honor "attorneys ages 40 and under who have established a record of accomplishments and demonstrated that they are top contributors to the practice of law and their communities."

Profiles of the 2016 Rising Stars will appear in a New York Law Journal special section on June 7th.


FEBRUARY 24, 2016

VANESSA GATHERS IS EXONERATED, HER 1998 MANSLAUGHTER CONVICTION VACATED

Vanessa Gathers and David Shanies celebrating her exoneration (Feb. 23, 2016)

Vanessa Gathers and David Shanies celebrating her exoneration (Feb. 23, 2016)

In the summer of 2013, David Shanies began working with Hughes Hubbard & Reed and The Legal Aid Society to review the conviction of their client, Vanessa Gathers: one of more than 50 cases involving the infamous former NYPD detective Louis Scarcella.

David's work on the case included coordinating the factual investigation and organizing an information-sharing network among the lawyers and law firms working on the Scarcella conviction integrity reviews.  David supplemented that work as a member of the Subcommittee on Brooklyn Conviction Review, under the aegis of the New York City Bar Association's Criminal Law Committee.  In that capacity, David authored a letter signed by the President of the City Bar to newly elected District Attorney Kenneth P. Thompson, making recommendations for the conviction integrity review process on behalf of the 24,000 members of the City Bar. 

On February 23, 2016, Ms. Gathers' conviction was vacated in Brooklyn Supreme Court.  The Gathers legal team presented a compelling case that Ms. Gathers was wrongfully convicted based on a false confession extracted by Scarcella. Brooklyn District Attorney Thompson told reporters that he intended not only to see Ms. Gathers' conviction vacated, but "to give her her good name back."

Highlighting the importance of this case, Ms. Gathers' was the first exoneration hearing that the District Attorney attended in person.  

David is proud and elated by the result the Gathers team achieved.  Press coverage of the exoneration is available here:

The press release by Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP, David's former firm, celebrated David and Hughes Hubbard Partner Marc Weinstein's recent involvement in the Ruddy Quezada case as well:

For Hughes Hubbard, and Messrs. Weinstein and Shanies specifically, this is the second exoneration from a wrongful murder conviction achieved in the past seven months.  Both lawyers were involved also in a Brooklyn state court proceeding seeking a new trial for incarcerated Firm pro bono client Ruddy Quezada.  Weinstein and Shanies succeeded in overturning that conviction by proving that prosecutors had withheld from the defense crucial evidence about a witness who was arrested and held captive in a hotel to compel him to testify for the government at trial.  Mr. Quezada was released after serving nearly 24 years in prison.

Hughes Hubbard's press release is available here:


NOVEMBER 9, 2015

DAVID B. SHANIES RECEIVES the PRO BONO PUBLICO AWARD

Pro Bono Publico Award

Pro Bono Publico Award

On November 9, 2015, David Shanies received the Legal Aid Society's 2016 Pro Bono Publico award for providing exceptional legal services to the Legal Aid Society and its clients.  David and his colleagues on the Vanessa Gathers team were selected for the award based on their work on the Kings County Homicide Conviction Review Project, an initiative through which Legal Aid teamed up with New York City's leading law firms to review problematic convictions connected to disgraced former NYPD detective Louis Scarcella.

David's contributions to the Project included coordinating the defense teams' joint investigation into Scarcella's alleged misconduct.  In that capacity, he managed a team of investigators, administered an information-sharing network for the Legal Aid and private lawyers working on the Conviction Review Project, and led joint defense strategy meetings.  

New York Court of Appeals Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman presided over the event and presented the awards at The Prince George Ballroom in Manhattan.