In a ceremony on October 8, 2014, Gibson Dunn was honored with the Legal Aid 2014 Pro Bono Publico Award for providing excellent legal services to low-income New Yorkers.
Members of Gibson Dunn’s “D-SNAP Team” were awarded for a second consecutive year for their representation of disabled New Yorkers in a suit to obtain disaster food stamp benefits (so-called “D-SNAP” benefits) that those individuals were unable to apply for in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The essence of the complaint is that the program violated city, state, and federal anti-discrimination laws by failing to provide disabled applicants with reasonable accommodations (such as permitting them to apply by phone or conducting home visits). The amended complaint names city, state, and federal agencies and their officials as defendants. After successfully obtaining the denial of the City’s and State’s motions to dismiss last year, Gibson Dunn this year led briefing in opposition to motions for judgment on the pleadings, in addition to briefing several other substantive motions to keep the Federal Government in the case. At the same time, the D-SNAP Team spearheaded an intensive discovery effort, reviewing tens of thousands of documents, issuing interrogatories, and taking depositions. The State and Federal Government have already issued new policies constituting a great deal of the prospective relief being sought in the case. D-SNAP Team members who will be honored at the ceremony include: Randy Mastro, Goutam Jois, Eric Yuen, Christine Demana, Seth Rokosky, David Crowley-Buck, Christian Hudson, Alyssa Kuhn, Genny Ngai, and former associate Ben Mishkin.
The Legal Aid Society also honored Gibson Dunn attorneys representing the plaintiffs in De Ping Song, et al. v. 47 Old Country Road, et al. For the past two years, Gibson Dunn has joined the Legal Aid Society to fight for plaintiffs, six Chinese immigrants who were exploited by their employers, the defendant owners of multiple nail salons on Long Island. In March 2012, following a jury trial conducted by Legal Aid, a federal jury awarded our clients a nearly half-million dollar judgment as a result of defendants’ illegal wage practices. Legal Aid approached Gibson Dunn to assist with the difficult matter of judgment collection. The defendant employers proceeded to sell their homes and businesses, flee the country, file fraudulent bankruptcies, obstruct court orders, and otherwise evade the judgment. Through motion practice, depositions, and numerous hearings in the United States District Court and the United States Bankruptcy Court, the Gibson Dunn team worked tirelessly to track down Defendants and their assets. And during this past year, the team’s efforts have begun to paid off. The team has secured financial settlements with several third-party creditors and successors to the defendants, resulting in our clients’ receipt of $60,000 and expected receipt of an additional $54,000 soon. toward the outstanding judgment. The Legal Aid Society and Gibson Dunn will continue to work on behalf of our clients until they receive the entire judgment they are owed under the law. Members of this team honored at the ceremony were: Richard Mark, Matthew Benjamin, Lisa Umans, Yi Sun, Shira Weiner and former Gibson Dunn associates Michelle Katz and Will Han.
Finally, Paul Kremer was honored for his work on behalf of a disabled husband and his wife in a termination of benefits proceeding before the NYC Housing Authority in which he obtained dismissal of the proceeding based on showing that NYCHA had sought to terminate benefits based on the client’s refusal to move to housing that did not reasonably accommodate his disabilities.