Firm Files Amicus Briefs on Behalf of New York Council of Defense Lawyers

June, 2024 - New York, New York

Patterson Belknap recently filed two amicus curiae briefs on behalf of the New York Council of Defense Lawyers (NYCDL):

On April 3, 2024, the firm, along with co-counsel Christine H. Chung and Noam Biale of Sher Tremonte LLP, filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court of the United States in Colin Montague v. United States on behalf of NYCDL. The brief argued that the Supreme Court should grant Montague’s petition for a writ of certiorari to reverse a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  The brief argued that the Court of Appeals violated the petitioner's rights under the Grand Jury Clause by allowing him to be prosecuted for continuing criminal enterprise (CCE) charges in an indictment that did not plead the specific elements of the underlying narcotics offenses.  On June 17, the Supreme Court granted the petition following a confession of error by the Solicitor General, vacated the judgment, and remanded the case to the Second Circuit for further consideration.  Harry Sandick and Nadav Ben Zur worked on this brief.

On June 13, 2024, the firm filed an amicus brief in the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Connecticut on behalf of NYCDL relating to an adversary proceeding brought against a law firm, Despins v. Weddle Law.  The brief supports the law firm’s efforts to defeat an avoidance action brought by a Chapter 11 trustee who has claimed that an “alter ego” theory of liability allows the Trustee to claw back legal fees paid to the law firm.  The brief contends that permitting the clawback of legal fees in this context would burden the Sixth Amendment right to counsel by making attorneys hesitant to render services lest their fees be taken away in the future.  Harry Sandick, Kimberly Black, and Folasade Famakinwa worked on this brief.

Partner Harry Sandick is on the Board of Directors of NYCDL and has served on NYCDL’s amicus committee since 2019.  In connection with this work, Patterson Belknap has filed many amicus briefs in support of criminal defendants in the Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and other courts.

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