Norville v. Staten Island University Hospital
Jury verdict $6,030,744 in disability discrimination case. A nurse just needed a little help lifting, and the employer stubbornly refused. Federal Court, Eastern District of New York, 96 CV 5222 (RJD)
More about the Norville case reported in:
New York Jury Verdict Reporter, January 22, 2001 (liability verdict), January 2002 (damages verdict)
Staten Island Advance, December 14, 2001, “Ex-Nurse Wins $6M Damage Suit”
The final decision upheld the lower court's reduction of the judgment to 1.5 million dollars, which, unfortunately, eliminated the punitive damage award - awards that are hard to come by, and are always fought to the very end. 2004 U.S. App. LEXIS 21034 (2d Cir., October 8, 2004)
Muñoz v. Manhattan Club Time Share, Inc.
Total judgment exceeding $750,000 for retaliation against hotel worker for complaining that his supervisor discriminated against him, leading to his termination. Federal Court, Southern District of New York, 11 CV 7037 (JPO).
More about the Muñoz case reported in:
POZ, July/August 2014 ”Defying Discrimination”
The Center for HIV Law and Policy, 2014 (online repository of HIV law discussing Muñoz)
Above the Law, March 21, 2014 ”Congratulations To LeGaL On A Grand Gay Gala!”
New York Daily News, March 17, 2014 ”HIV Bias Slap”
Jury Verdict upheld by Trial Judge Paul Oetken, who held that the jury weighed the evidence, as the rules permit, and that my client's win was "a complete success," 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132166, fn.5 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 18, 2014)
Entire judgment in excess of $750,000 - including every penny of the jury's punitive damage award - is upheld by Second Circuit Court of Appeals within two days of oral argument. Summary Order, June 17, 2015.
Simmons v. New York City Transit Authority
Total jury and judge verdict $455,069 for disability discrimination in a case involving a train operator on the Times Square Shuttle who was removed from job because she might need an extra bathroom break during the day. Federal Court, Eastern District of New York, 02 CV 5222 (CPS). Jury Verdict Affirmed, Summary order, Second Circuit Court of Appeals, August 3, 2009.
More about the Simmons case reported in:
New York Daily News, December 4, 2007 ”Train Operator Suffering From Irritable Bowel Syndrome Sues For Lost Wages”
New York Daily News, December 12, 2007, “Irritable bowel conductor wins 150G”
Simmons was a hard-fought case with a major footnote that infuriates many local practitioners. I brought the case in Brooklyn for strategic reasons - a better jury pool. But the Circuit used that strategic decision to hold that attorneys from Manhattan who practice in Brooklyn - and all practitioners east of the River - are entitled to fewer fees. I struggled whether to appeal this aspect of the case, but I was near certain I would lose, and my client wanted it over. Many civil rights law firms and organizations, however, appealed the issue in a similar case that, as I predicted, failed.
Eze v. New York Health & Hospitals Corp.
Settlement, $115,000 in medical malpractice/civil rights case involving the confinement of an honors student to Kings County Psychiatric Hospital. Kings County Supreme Court,09/500122.
More about the Eze case reported in:
New York Times, January 13, 2011 "Former Student Sues College Over Stay in a Mental Ward"
Fielding v. Kupferman
Appellate victory: Appellate Division, First Department unanimously reverses lower court and reinstates doctor's malpractice claim against lawyer. 65 A.D.3d 437 (First Dept.2009).
(Note: after much litigation, the Appellate Court in 2013 found that my client, the doctor, could not prove that the attorney's negligence caused him harm. Ultimately, it was a loss on narrow grounds, but a former matrimonial judge served as our expert witness, who attested that it was a jury issue to determine whether the attorney's mistakes caused damage. The Appellate Court, the second time around, didn't buy the argument, which demonstrates that litigation can be unpredictable. In my opinion these cases are particularly disfavored by courts, and the experience prompted me to publish a letter to the editor of the New York Law Journal saying as much. You can see the letter here.
More about the Fielding case reported in:
New York Law Journal, August 12, 2009 ”Malpractice Claim Goes Forward Against Divorce Attorney"
D’Ascoli v. Maura & Relamed
Jury verdict $241,000 in race discrimination case. Federal Court, Southern District of New York, 02 Civ. 2684 (LMM).
More about the D’Ascoli case reported in:
Federal Jury Verdict Reporter, October 2005
Baker v. Dorfman
Verdict in the amount of $403,490.55 in legal malpractice and attorney fraud case involving an attorney’s failure to file suit against a testing lab for the false report of an HIV diagnosis. Federal Court, Southern District of New York, 96 CV 5222 (DLC), November 1998.
More about the Baker case reported in:
New York Law Journal, “Award Winning Lawyer Rebuked for Fraud,” April 6, 1999, discussing Gregory’s successful case against the defendant in the Baker case who unsuccessfully sought to overturn jury verdict.
Judgment affirmed in its entirety by appeals court, 239 F.3d 415 (2d Cir.2000) (Jacobs, J.).
New York Law Journal, “Award over Failure to File Suit Upheld,” September 1, 2000. (Article discusses first decision by appeals court to rule that a negligent HIV misdiagnosis is a basis to file suit for emotional distress and that a client can sue a lawyer for lies on his resumé that cause harm.)
Money judgment enforcement proceeding affirmed by appeals court, 232 F.3d 121 (2d Cir.2000) (Judges Joseph McLaughlin, Guido Calabresi, and now Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor were the three judges on the appeals panel)
New York Law Journal, “Judge Requests Contempt Prosecution,” April 18, 2006. (Article discusses Judge Denise Cote's Request of United States Attorney to prosecute criminal action against attorney based on complaint filed by Gregory Antollino on behalf of his client.)
New York Law Journal, “Lawyer Avoids Jail in Contempt Case,” December 12, 2007. (Article discusses how attorney barely avoids a jail sentence but must serve two years' probation and spend time in a halfway house based on complaint filed by Gregory Antollino.) The attorney later did spend 30 days in jail because he violated the judge's probation order by traveling out of the country without permission.
Matter of Dorfman, 81 A.D.3d 59 (1st Dept. 2011) (appeals court suspends attorney for misconduct based on complaint filed by Gregory Antollino on behalf of Ricky Baker, noting Judge Cote's decision that jail was the only alternative because the attorney, in the phrase of the day, just didn't get it). In the end, because the attorney defendant fought so hard to avoid paying my client, he lost his law license for a year, then it took him another year to convince the court that he was morally fit to be an attorney. It was a classic fight to the finish, and though he eventually got his license back, it was his loss, perhaps to the public. See Steven Gillers, “Lowering the Bar: How Lawyer Discipline in New York Fails to Protect The Public,” NYU J. Law & Public Policy, 2014 (“The mild sanctions that the court imposed on . . . Dorfman are deeply disturbing. That [he] was not disbarred is hard to understand. [His] behavior blatantly violated the standards of conduct we purport to demand of members of the bar. [He] acted [and lied] for personal advantage, harmed others, and continued [his] misconduct for lengthy periods.“) Click here to download the article, if interested.
Dent v. Medical Group
Settlement $222,500 for false HIV diagnosis Supreme Court, New York County (defendants remain confidential in this case defended by New York City's two premier medical malpractice firms.) The parties reached the settlement after the judge denied all motions for summary judgment. Justice Joan Lobis held that it was up to the jury to determine whether the lab or the medical group negligently swapped plaintiff's blood sample for someone else's, or whether the doctor was not quick enough to realize that something was amiss and have the client retested. Dent v. [Anonymous] Hosp., 926 N.Y.S.2d 343 (Sup. Ct. 2011)
Obabueki v. ChoicePoint
Jury verdict $450,000 for incorrect reporting of an expunged conviction by national consumer credit agency causing the loss of a prestigious job. Federal Court, Southern District of New York, 99 Civ. 11262 (AGS).
This verdict remains a victory to me: the conscience of the community spoke and validated my client's story as truth. Unfortunately, the jury was later disregarded, its finding thrown out. It need not have been; had the jury's finding been given every inference to which it was entitled, the verdict would have told a big corporation to watch its ways. ChoicePoint admitted it caused the loss of my client's job, yet somehow four judges found the result to be a "miscarriage of justice." My client moved on, but I never have, to this day haunted with questions about what I could have done differently, wondering what those judges were thinking. One is dead, the rest have probably forgotten the case. As it happened, the verdict, a dollar sign followed by six digits (and a comma, to be precise), could have made life better not only for Mr. Obabueki but for others. Years later, a huge data breach, the modern-day equivalent to a nuclear implosion (or at least a drone strike) occurred, and ChoicePoint was found to be asleep at the control panel. The media picked up on ChoicePoint's less-than-exacting methods of compiling and storing information - which probably included yours - and how it affected peoples' lives. More about the case was then reported in:
NPR Morning Edition, where you can hear me talking about the case, “Personal Info Database Raises Privacy Concerns," December 1, 2003. More reported in
Wired Magazine, March 23, 2005, “ChoicePoint's Checks Under Fire”
A hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Financial Services, noted the case in its record, dated May 4, 2005, p.110. No new legislation was adopted, unfortunately.
The legal system isn't perfect. Justice is sought and often not obtained. The decision, in my opinion, renders the Fair Credit Reporting Act, a set of laws set up precisely to protect people with imperfect arrest records, nugatory. I hope someday the case will be recognized for what it is, in my opinion: wrongly decided. The Re-Entry Legal Clinic in Los Angeles devoted a whole page to Obabueki on its website, and how to avoid its perils ,Click here, as if it were an obstacle that could be gotten around with precise planning. An intelligent writing was published in the Brooklyn Law Review criticizing the wooden thinking that went into the decision: "Combating Inaccuracies in Criminal Background Checks by Giving Meaning to the Fair Credit Reporting Act," Fall, 2012, 78 Brooklyn L. Rev. 271, 291 Fall 2012. Click here to download, if interested. There were some things that I could have done differently in that case, but the jury saw a grave injustice, and it was so certain that it took them less than an hour to decide in my client's favor. This was over a decade ago, and I would love another case exactly like it to allow justice to prevail given a second go-round. At the time what concerned me most was the monetary loss; what matters to me now is how justice was squelched without the foresight that this would happen again, and on a greater scale, as it did. The appellate oral argument, if you're interested, can be heard here.
Leung v. Goldberg
Settlement, $219,000 in legal malpractice case involving attorney's failure to advise his client to obtain independent tax advice before commencing risky legal strategy, New York County Supreme Court,06/108425.
Attard v. City of New York
In this age discrimination case, the Judge found, pretrial, that the City of New York was responsible for two years of discovery delays and ordered the City to pay attorneys fees and expert witness fees to correct its waste of time. The City paid over $66,000 in attorneys and expert witness fees. 05 Civ 2129 (JG)(RML), 2008 WL 1991107 E.D.N.Y. May 05, 2008, also reported in New York Law Journal, May 30, 2008; reargument and appeal by City denied, 2008 WL 3334028 E.D.N.Y. Aug 08, 2008
More about the Attard case reported in:
New York Law Journal, May 27, 2008, “City Is Sanctioned for Failure To Follow Discovery Orders”
In the end, the Attard case was not a victory in the traditional sense, because, after the City was sanctioned and finally turned over the evidence required, U.S. Judge John Gleeson held that the statistical evidence of age bias was insufficient to let the case go to trial. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. These decisions, however, were controlled by what I believed to be a defective precedent, and I petitioned to the United States Supreme Court for review. My argument for reversal had something going for it: another Circuit Court of Appeals, the Tenth, had a completely different rule on the question of law that got Ms. Attard's case dismissed, and courts in the Ninth Circuit had rejected the Second Circuit's analysis. In other words, a person in Colorado would have gotten to a jury. It was a gift to have this dispute by multiple courts in the country that I could not give up the chance to ask the nation's highest court to weigh in. The petition for certiorari to that court, the first I'd filed on my own, was noticed by SCOTUS Blog, a division of Bloomberg News, which thought Attard had a running chance for further review. It named my brief in the case Petition of the Day on March 21, 2012. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court doesn't have to take any case, even when two parts of the country disagree on a rule of law, and when her case came up for conference, the Justices denied all 127 petitions that were up for review, including mine. I'll never regret taking the case and consider it a victory in that I fought for what I knew was right and didn't give up until the final court of last resort denied further review, despite conflicting opinions in differing parts of the country.
Siagha v. Katz
Judge awards Gregory Antollino’s client judgment against his former attorney for gross overbilling amounting to $330,598. 16 Misc.3d 1130 (2007), appeal dismissed, slip op., December 18, 2008 (First Dept.)
More about the Siagha case reported in:
New York Law Journal, August 7, 2007, “Lack of Retainer Leads Court to Order Firm to Return Fees Beyond Contingency”
Gay Men’s Health Crisis
Recognition for Litigating for People with HIV, June 1996. In one case I was recognized by GMHC for a strategy I used in exploiting confidentiality laws against an insurance company, which publicly exposed the HIV status of a GMHC client in the attempt to cancel his coverage. The case settled very quickly.
My volunteer work for GMHC was also reported when I worked for Weil, Gotshal in:
New York Law Journal, “Pro Bono Digest,” January 7, 1994, discussing successful case against insurance company, which wrongfully cut off the disability benefits of a person with what was then known as full-blown AIDS.
Robinson v. Way
Jury verdict, June 2006, amount of $129,700, for legal malpractice in attorney's failing to appear at a real estate closing, Kings County Supreme Court, 04/31413. The jury's punitive damages were thrown out, but the finding of legal malpractice was upheld on appeal. 57 A.D.3d 872 (2d Dept.2008)
People v. Coppez
A unanimous (7-0) decision by the New York Court of Appeals, New York’s Highest Court, for Gregory Antollino’s client resulting in dismissal of the indictment. 93 N.Y.2d 249 (1999). I was less experienced at the time, but you can see me arguing the case right here:
Barnes v. Anderson
Reinstating civil rights claim based on the error of a judge who allowed the summary rejection of a black juror. Barnes was the first reversal in a civil case for this particular violation of law in the Second Circuit, the federal jurisdiction just below the U.S. Supreme Court that includes New York, Connecticut and Vermont. 202 F.3d 150 (2d Cir.1999).
More about the Barnes case reported in:
New York Law Journal, "Circuit Reinstates Civil Rights Action," August 25, 1999
Rivera v. Heyman
Reinstating plaintiff’s claims against the Smithsonian Institution brought because of employment discrimination on the basis of HIV diagnosis. 157 F.3d 101 (2d Cir.1998)
Fontaine v. Matthews
Affirming jury verdict for Gregory's client in legal malpractice case involving attorney who abandoned his client at trial. 25 A.D.3d 477 (1st Dept 2006). Case was successfully tried and defended on appeal by Gregory Antollino.
Jennings v. Parade Publications
Federal Judge Griesa rejects Conde-Nast's attempt to defend it's termination, and its cynical attempt to characterize a good employee's need to care for her autistic child as "babysitting." 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17088; 84 Empl. Prac. Dec. (CCH) P41,498, September 29, 2003.
More about the Jennings case reported in:
New York Law Journal, October 4, 2004, “Family Medical Leave Act and Enforcement of Attendance Policies”
McCoy v. NYC Police Dept.
Denying the Police Department’s attempt to shortchange formerly unrepresented prisoner of an oral settlement agreement. 1996 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11561 (S.D.N.Y., August 12, 1996)
New York Law Journal, “City Denied Settlement to Oral Agreement, August 15, 1996.
Ciaramella v. Reader's Digest Association, 131 F.3d 320 (2nd Cir. 1997). Appeals court adopts the reasoning in McCoy for all federal courts in New York State.
Gilbert v. Related Mgmt. Co., L.P.
Upholding the denial of summary judgment to the defense in (what was then commonly referred to as) AIDS discrimination case. 254 A.D.2d 53 (1st Dept.1998). The case later settled confidentially.
More about the Gilbert case was reported in
Crains New York Business, “Broker with AIDS Sues Ex-Employer,” November 16, 1998
Hyman v. Smith
Reversing the dismissal of a legal malpractice case. 39 A.D.3d 231 (1st Dept 2007).
Sullivan v. Con Edison
$245,000 settlement in HIV and mental health discrimination case where an electrician was harassed and forced to choose between his job and Con Ed's insistence that he take psychotropic medications. This was an unusual and, from my perspective, wonderful case wherein an oppressive employer, backed up by its experts on payroll, tried to corner a man who was a little nutty, but a fine performer, out of the company with nothing to speak for. He was an inventor, a good worker, and though unusual, was protected by the American with Disabilities Act. 98-cv-00979, Federal Court, Southern District of New York, January 1999.
Ferguson v. Interpublic
Sexual orientation/HIV discrimination case settled on confidential basis
More about Ferguson case reported in
Adweek, March 19, 1998, “Anti-Gay Bias Lawsuit; at Least $1 Mil. In Damages Sought”
Gay City News (formerly LGNY), "Mad Ave, Indeed: Homophobic Conspiracy Alleged at Manhattan Ad Agency," March 12, 1998
New York Blade, March 6, 1998
Lesbian/Gay Law Notes, September 1998
Coradin v. Jones and Reilly
$160,000 settlement for home seller's fraud and attorney's failure to reveal conflict of interest, New York County Supreme Court, 118423/2000
Brown v. City of New York
$150,000 settlement in false arrest case where the police, Kings County Supreme Court, 7030/1998
Herbert v. City of New York
$135,000 settlement in false arrest case involving suggestive photo identification, Bronx County Supreme Court, 14680/1999
People v. Missrie
Reversing defendant’s conviction, imposed by Supreme Court Justice James A. Yates, for conspiracy. 300 A.D.2d 35 (1st Dept 2002), lv. denied, 100 N.Y.2d 541 (2003). (The case was a little unusual in that the defendant was in his seventies and in jail at the time the alleged crime occurred. The first trial ended in a hung jury with 9 out of 12 in favor of acquittal. After the appeal, the client took a plea to what amounted to time served, though sadly he died in prison on the other charge.
People v. Lebron
Reducing defendant’s sentence for robbery from 50 years to 15 years. 261 A.D.2d 291 (1st Dept.1999). The judge actually sentenced him to a grandstanding 100 years to life, which is automatically cut down to fifty under the law. No one had died or been injured because of the criminal acts, however. It was merely a nasty robbery among drug dealers and the punishment - am effective life sentence - the appeals court recognized did not fit the crime. Chillingly, the first time around, the sentence was upheld and it was only because I asked the court to look more closely at the penological purposes in sentencing, in comparison to other crimes, that it changed the ruling on a motion for reconsideration.
∗ Most cases settle, and most settlements in the areas that I practice are confidential. I can't list them all here, though don't think this means there are many millions of dollars in settlements that I have under my belt, even if there are some. I've also listed my two biggest losses, Attard and Obabueki - even if I took both of those cases to the U.S. Supreme Court, that Court decided not to decide if the cases were properly decided. They both got attention and publicity, and I fought a decent fight, winning important battles along the way - a jury verdict and $50,000 in sanctions don't come often - but it would be accurate to say that my clients were the losers in both. I point this out to show that even though I firmly believed my clients were right under the law and facts, judges did not, and the Supreme Court can take a pass without argument. On the other hand, the battles I won in these cases were significant. However, along with my other complete, or substantial, partial victories, past performance cannot guarantee similar results. What matters most is what happened to you: Hire the right attorney to tell your story within the rules to get the best outcome. I get up and go to work because I believe I am an astute observer of life, and feel honored to pick which stories are the most compelling. This is attorney advertising.