Friday, October 31, 2014


From The Harvard Law School Library Blog:

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Just passing this on.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


This is my first day of volunteering as a student mentor. This program is offered through the Nassau County Bar Association:

"Student Mentors
Provide valuable adult guidance and serve as a role model for at-risk middle school students in one-on-one sessions at a local middle school. The commitment is twice a month for less than an hour, but the rewards you receive are immeasurable. Mentors are always in demand.
→Contact Demi Tsiopelas at NCBA 516-747-4070 or"

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


This has been reported in the NYLJ and others - JFD v. JD from Nassau Supreme Court Judge Goodstein:

"Accordingly, it is this Court’s belief that the forensic evaluator’s raw data, recordings, notes, tests, test results, and all material relied upon and created during the evaluation process are discoverable by both parties and by the Attorney for the Children. Likewise, this Court, while coming to this decision, shall, from this day forward, allow the parties themselves to read the report, as well as the raw material. However, the parties shall not be provided a copy of the report or the raw materials, but will be allowed to review the report and raw materials in their attorney’s office with an attorney present. They will be permitted to take notes, but will be precluded from taking photos and/or copies of the report and/or the raw data. This Court’s orders appointing forensic evaluators for custody purposes will address the evaluator’s responsibility to maintain and provide copies of all the raw data materials to the Court, which in turn, will provide same to counsel as set forth above with the signing of a Stipulation for Release and Use of Forensic Reports and Order as outlined above. Only in doing this can a party truly assist their counsel in preparing for an effective crossexamination."

Monday, October 27, 2014


As I attend a mandatory settlement conference this morning, I am reminded that the Appellate Division, Second Department recently ruled that a mortgagee's conduct in evaluating a borrower's loan modification application should be judged using the "totality of the circumstances" standard to determine whether the mortgagee negotiated in good faith during mandatory foreclosure settlement conferences. Applying that standard in US Bank N.A. v. Sarmiento, 2014 NY Slip Op 05533 (2d Dep't July 30, 2014), the Appellate Division affirmed a lower court's holding that a foreclosing plaintiff failed to negotiate in good faith, stating in part:

"Therefore, we hold that the issue of whether a party failed to negotiate in "good faith" within the meaning of CPLR 3408(f) should be determined by considering whether the totality of the circumstances demonstrates that the party's conduct did not constitute a meaningful effort at reaching a resolution. We reject the plaintiff's contention that, in order to establish a party's lack of good faith pursuant to CPLR 3408(f), there must be a showing of gross disregard of, or conscious or knowing indifference to, another's rights. Such a determination would permit a party to obfuscate, delay, and prevent CPLR 3408 settlement negotiations by acting negligently, but just short of deliberately, e.g., by carelessly providing misinformation and contradictory responses to inquiries, and by losing documentation. Our determination is consistent with the purpose of the statute, which provides that parties must negotiate in "good faith" in an effort to resolve the action, and that such resolution could include, "if possible," a loan modification (CPLR 3408[f]; see Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v Meyers, 108 AD3d at 11, 18, 20, 23; Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v Van Dyke, 101 AD3d 638 [the defendants did not demonstrate that the plaintiff failed to act in good faith because nothing in CPLR 3408 requires a plaintiff to make the exact settlement offer desired by the defendants]; HSBC Bank USA v McKenna, 37 Misc 3d 885 [Sup Ct, Kings County] [the plaintiff failed to act in good faith based upon, inter alia, a referee's finding that the plaintiff rejected an all-cash short sale offer]).

Where a plaintiff fails to expeditiously review submitted financial information, sends inconsistent and contradictory communications, and denies requests for a loan modification without adequate grounds, or, conversely, where a defendant fails to provide requested financial information or provides incomplete or misleading financial information, such conduct could constitute the failure to negotiate in good faith to reach a mutually agreeable resolution."

Friday, October 24, 2014


I had a consultation on this yesterday at the pro bono fair:

1. This is the problem:

2: This is the current action the state education department and AG office is taking:

But what should a parent do at the moment if the school does not accept the child due to lack of residency documentation? First, it is suggested for the parent to contact his/her church to see if they can range some temporary education. Next, documents can be created to establish residency, viz., affidavit of residency, to satisfy the school until this issue is resolved. If the school does not accept, appeal to the commissioner:'

Thursday, October 23, 2014


The Nassau County Bar Association’s Pro Bono Fair is today Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 from 3-7pm.  I have agreed to be one of many volunteers.

For information, etc., contact:

Nassau County Bar Association
15th and West Streets
Mineola, NY 11501
(516) 747-4070 x 203