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Cellino and Barnes Sue For Client Whose Employment Is Unknown Residual Pain of Break Up

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive video

SDNY COURTHOUSE, June 25 – Cellino & Barnes, Personal Injury Attorneys, filed a Federal case on April 18, 2019 against Columbia University. But when the case was called on June 25 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York courtroom of Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald, present were only two attorneys, the Judge and Inner City Press.

  Judge Buchwald asked plaintiff Douglas Welch's Cellino & Barnes personal injury attorney what her client's job is. She did not know. Judge Buchwald said to bring such information the next time - if there is a next time. For now there are deadlines for letters to the court: August 26, October 28, and by the end of the year. By then, where will Cellino & Barnes, or their post break up bete noir Cellino & Cellino, be?

Another SDNY case, another SDNY judge, a week before: it started with a fracture femur in a slip and fall accident on the sidewalk in front of 467 Bushwick Avenue in Brooklyn on July 2, 2015 - and led to the courtroom of Judge Jed Rakoff.

   Great American Insurance Company of Cincinnati is suing broker Joseph Zelik of 2405 Avenue U in Brooklyn about umbrella and excess liability coverage. Both sides wanted nothing to happen in the case for the next thirty days.

But they do no know Judge Rakoff.

He denied the request, and said that the parties' proposed dates for summary judgment motions would come after the trial - "unique in the annals of jurisprudence," he said.

Judge Rakoff moved each proposed date up, emphasizing that interrogatories are limited under local rules (as he would repeat, accompanied by the physical tearing up of non-conforming interrogatories, in a WOW Media case a few minutes later), and setting it down for trial on November 18.

  The final pre-trial conference will be on October 31 - "in honor of Haloween," Judge Rakoff said. The case is Great American Insurance Company v. Joseph Zelik, 19-cv-1805 (Rakoff).

Next case: It was just a photograph of a salted caramel apple pie. But when Hudson Yards-based WOW Media Products used it, and photograph Byron Smith sued in the SDNY it got assigned to Judge Rakoff. Torn up interrogatories ensued.

  On June 17 in the initial pre-trial conference to agree on a case management plan, Judge Rakoff first chided WOW Media's lawyer for proposing too much time to begin interrogatories or written questions. He replied that the plaintiff's lawyer had submitted interrogatories that went beyond Local Rule 33.3a which Judge Rakoff had cited.

  "Let me see then," Judge Rakoff said. The defense lawyer David S. Gold of Cole Schotz PC of Hackensack, New Jersey, after saying "May I approach" handed them up.

  "These are grossly in excess," Judge Rakoff said, again citing the Local Rule.

  And then he tore up the paper, saying "They are stricken." He added that he does not expect plaintiff's counsel Richard Liebowitz of Valley Stream, New York, to do it again. Nor do we - at least not before Judge Rakoff. It began with just a photo of a salted caramel apple pie, published without payment on as point 22 of "Things to Eat In Brooklyn: Salted Caramel Apple Pie at Four & Twenty Blackbirds."

 The case is Smith v. Wow Media Products, 19-cv-4119 (Rakoff).

Back in May before Judge Rakoff a Chinese firm claiming patent to so-called "soft SIM" technology presented a witness who couldn't remember what he'd said during his deposition, and insisted he owned the patent to the whole concept, the whole system, a SIM without a hard SIM card, a future of roaming like the Chinese Navy in the South China Sea.

Judge Rakoff repeatedly had to tell the witness to answer yes or no and not just nod; even in the deposition transcript read back he had said "hmm hmm." His colleagues followed it intently, one of them in the gallery with his laptop open. Had it been stripped of its network card? Or was this soft too? Inner City Press may have more on this.

Hours later on May 2 when Malik Gray came to be sentenced for his role in a scheme that defrauded and stole from drivers for Uber and Lyft in The Bronx, in the back of the
SDNY courtroom of Judge Jed Rakoff were two U.S. Marshals. They had been alerted to be ready in case Judge Rakoff ordered Gray immediately remanded.

   Gray has been under house detention for more than 13 months, and Judge Rakoff zeroed in on times he has gone out without excuse. The longest one cited was on April 18, from 4:31 pm to 7:36 pm. Gray's lawyer Arnold J. Levine was ready: this had been to attend Gray's son's birthday party at Chuck e Cheese, something Judge Rakoff himself had signed off on. Already remand seemed less likely. Another unauthorized stepping out of the house was to speak to his son's mother. Judge Rakoff asked why she couldn't come into the house. The family doesn't want her to come in, Levine explained, their inter-personal communication inside are not what they could be.

   Judge Rakoff, who slyly quoted his article in the New York Review of Books about eye witness identification at a March 19 proceeding in the case, also asked about Gray having impregnated two different women, and being left by the second of them when she found him texting with a third woman. Levine quoted divorce statistics - Rakoff shot back that Gray has short circuited the whole marry and divorce merry go round - and then said that staying together for the kids is not the best approach.

   Judge Rakoff said that Gray was cheating, or that the mother of his newborn son thought that he was cheating, "not without reason." He acknowledged that he did not have enough basis to form a conclusion, and turned to his other sentences in the wider ride share rip off case. He sentenced George Joseph to 42 months and Devon Williams to 36 months. Levine wanted 24 months for Gray and started arguing under the sentencing guidelines. Judge Rakoff told him that he did not consider those, but wanted to hear about relative culpability and any disparities in sentencing. The wider case is USA v. Pina, et al., 18-cr-00179 (JSR).

  Ultimately Judge Rakoff sentenced Gray to 36 months, the same as Devon Williams, and three years of Supervised Relief. They owe $441,775 in restitution.  But Gray was not remanded, the Marshals left into their corridor before Rakoff set June 25 for Gray to report to wherever he is assigned. He has requested near Bridgeport, Connecticut to be near his mother. He said he won't target Uber and Lyft drivers in the future because he wouldn't want it done to him, that he'd done it in order to feed his children. Call it the Chuck e Cheese defense.

Inner City Press and @SDNYLIVE are on the case(s)....


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