Firm News

Cooper Erving & Savage LLP obtains a significant decision in support of victims of sexual assault.

Cooper Erving & Savage obtained an important decision that will significantly protect victims of sexual assault in civil actions.  In Lisa I. v Manikas, 183 A.D.3d 1096 (3d Dept 2020), the Appellate Division, Third Department affirmed the trial court’s decision granting a protective order pursuant to CPLR 3103(a) to bar defendants’ counsel from questioning the minor plaintiff about her past sexual history.  The action involved claims of sexual assault and battery committed upon a 14-year-old girl, who was sleeping over a friend’s house.  During discovery, plaintiffs’ counsel, Carlo A. C. de Oliveira, moved for a protective order, pursuant to CPLR 3103(a), to preclude defendants from questioning the child during her deposition about her sexual history and drug use.  The trial court granted plaintiffs’ motion finding that the Rape Shield Law protections to victims of sexual assault in criminal proceedings applied equally to victims of sexual assault in civil actions. In affirming the trial court’s decision, the Appellate Division did not decide whether the Rape Shield Law applied to civil cases.  However, the Appellate Division, in essence, brought the policy considerations of the Rape Shield Law to civil actions, thereby protecting victims of a sexual assault from being questioned about their prior sexual history in civil actions.  The evidentiary significance of the Manikas decision is significant in that victims of sexual assault may seek the same protections available to sexual assault victims in criminal proceedings through the Rape Shield Law to civil action via a protective order.


New York Court Declines to Enforce Non-Compete Clause Against Veterinarian.

On December 4, 2018, Judge Richard D. Northrup, Jr., of the New York State Supreme Court, County of Delaware, declined to grant an employer’s motion for a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order in the case of Jonathan H.F. Davis, DVM v. Mathew R. Zeh, DVM, Index No. 2018-1073 (Sup Ct., Delaware County 2018).  Dr. Davis owns a veterinarian clinic that used to employ Dr. Zeh.  After terminating Dr. Zeh’s employment, Dr. Davis sought to prohibit Dr. Zeh, a veterinary doctor, from continuing to practice veterinary medicine in his own clinic.  Dr. Davis relied on a non-compete agreement clause in the employment agreement that prohibited employees from engaging in any business that competed with Dr. Davis’ veterinarian business for a period of 3 years.  In a decision that recognizes New York’s disfavored view of restrictive covenants, Judge Northrup, Jr., denied the employer’s injunctive relief finding that the employer failed establish likelihood of success on the merits and that the non-compete provision was enforceable. Click here for decision.

Teacher will go to trial in sex and age discrimination lawsuit.

On July 4, 2018, Judge Brenda K. Sannes of the NDNY denied summary judgment in the case of Colistra v. Cairo-Durham Central School District. Against opposition from the School District, the Court ruled that Ms. Colistra, the former Director of Special Education and Curriculum and Instruction, was entitled to a trial on her claims of sex and age discrimination, concluding that there were issues of fact for a jury to decide as to whether she was belittled in her position because she was female and whether she was retaliated against because she asserted that the District operated as a “boys’ club.”

Steck re-elected for New York State Assembly.

On November 6, 2018, Phil Steck won re-election as a member of the New York State Assembly. Steck received 10,000 more than his opponent out of about 49,000 votes case. Steck’s 29,000 votes are among the highest for any Member of Assembly in a competitive district. Steck, a Democrat, represents the Town of Colonie, the Town of Niskayuna, and the City of Schenectady.

Court grants permanent injunction against RPI.

Court annulled determination by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) that unaffiliated student violated RPI’s Student Sexual Misconduct Policy, and issued injunction preventing RPI from disseminating improper investigation materials and allegations to unaffiliated student’s academic institution.  Court ordered RPI to delete and purge John Doe’s statement and annul their determination that John Doe allegedly violated RPI’s student sexual misconduct policy.  Matter of John Doe v. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Larry Hardy as Title IX Coordinator for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Rensselaer. Cnty. Sup. Ct. 2017).


Greene County man, in lawsuit, alleges excessive force by two Saugerties police officers

Cooper Erving & Savage, LLP files a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of a disabled man assaulted by Saugerties police officers working undercover for a drug enforcement inter-agency task force operated by the County of Ulster and the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office [Johndrue Mabb v. The Town of Saugerties et al., 1:18-cv-0866 (N.D.N.Y. 2018)].

Cooper Erving & Savage LLP Obtains Judgment

Cooper Erving & Savage LLP obtains judgment against the City of Schenectady Police Department and New York  State Troopers for the excessive use of force

In 2008, Cooper Erving & Savage LLP commenced suit in the United States Federal District Court – Northern District of New York against the City of Schenectady Police Department, individual police officers of the City of Schenectady Police Department and two Troopers of the New York State Police for excessive force used against an individual in the City of Schenectady. It was claimed that in April 2006, the Schenectady police officers, with the assistance of the New York State Police, used excessive force and that the City of Schenectady failed to properly train and supervise its officers in the use of force. On March 26, 2010, Judgment was entered against the City of Schenectady and the individual officers.

After suit was commenced, the attorneys from Cooper Erving & Savage LLP were able to obtain documentary evidence, as well as pre-trial testimony, which confirmed that seven officers tackled the individual to the ground, punched and kneed him multiple times, subjected him to pressure point manipulation and chemical spray, and repeatedly struck him with a steel baton. A videotape was obtained by the attorneys of Cooper Erving & Savage LLP which appeared to show an officer repeatedly kicking him.

The individual was never charged with anything stemming from the evening of the attack.