About Beldock Levine & Hoffman LLP
In New York City's vast sea of BigLaw, mid-sized firms, and solo practitioners, Beldock Levine & Hoffman has made a name for itself as a boutique firm that meets its clients various needs with a personalized touch. The firm handles everything from general corporate law, litigation matters, intellectual property, real estate, criminal defense, and more. And BLH has been at the forefront of numerous notable civil rights cases, including the Central Park 5, Stop & Frisk, and the Eric Garner Case. With its high-profile work, BLH and its attorneys have been recognized by such publications as Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers, and Martindale-Hubbell.
Small Firm, Big Headlines
While BLH has fewer than 20 attorneys among its ranks, it is a force, especially when it comes to civil rights. The firm represents the family and Estate of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died in July 2014 after being put in a chokehold by police while under arrest for allegedly selling loose cigarettes. BLH negotiated with the City, and the matter was settled for settled the for $5.9 million.
In another high-stakes case, the late Myron Beldock—the firm’s founding partner—achieved a reversal of the kidnapping convictions of Everton Wagstaffe and Reginald Connor with assistance from co-counsel David B. Toscano of Davis Polk & Wardwell. The court found that Brooklyn prosecutors "bought" documents to prove the defendants to be guilty. This result came after a nearly 23-year legal battle.
In the renowned “Central Park Jogger” case, the five named defendants were convicted of brutally beating and raping a female jogger in Central Park in 1989. Myron Beldock and Karen Dippold participated in defending and vacating the conviction of Yusef Salaam in the criminal case. After the convictions of the five were overturned, Mr. Beldock, Ms. Dippold, and Jonathan Moore represented four of the five defendants in their civil rights action against New York City and the police personnel and prosecutors involved in securing the convictions by eliciting false confessions. The City agreed to pay a $41 million settlement.
Unafraid of a challenge, lawyers from BLH teamed up with the Center for Constitutional Rights and Covington & Burling to challenge New York City's controversial stop-and-frisk policy in the now infamous Floyd v. City of New York (“Stop & Frisk”) case. After 14 years of litigation, the class action lawsuit came to a dramatic conclusion when the district court found New York City liable for a decade-long pattern of discriminatory and unconstitutional stops-and-frisks. The federal court found that the NYPD's practices violated the Fourth Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Lawyers from BLH then assisted with a negotiation in which Mayor Bill De Blasio decided to withdraw the City's appeal.
The firm also defended the rights of many of those involved in the mass arrests—over 1,800—following the Republican National Convention held in New York City in 2004. Many of the individuals arrested were not engaged in criminal conduct, but were forced into detention and subjected to inhumane conditions at Pier 57. BLH filed a federal class action lawsuit on behalf of 24 individuals and others unconstitutionally arrested and detained. After 10 years of litigation, BLH negotiated a settlement of $6,600,000 for class members and their attorneys.
Grooming Civil Rights Advocates
Leading the charge in civil rights isn’t the firm’s only mission—it’s also committed to training a new generation of civil rights attorneys. Students in the firm’s summer associate program work solely in the Civil Rights practice group. And the firm has recently rolled out the Myron Beldock Civil Rights Fellowship, a one-year civil rights law fellowship for law school graduates.
IN THE NEWS
BLH lawyers, including Jonathan C. Moore and Luna Droubi, filed a class action complaint in Manhattan federal court challenging the NYPD’s “no beard” policy. The complaint charges that the policy, and the NYPD’s irregular enforcement of the policy, is unconstitutional. On September 24, 2018 a federal judge granted preliminary approval of a class action settlement on behalf of officers who wear beards due to sincerely held religious beliefs. Officers are now authorized to request a religious accommodation to wear their beards at the length they believe meets their religious beliefs. The NYPD previously banned all beards, accepting an accommodation for religious or medical reasons up to only 1 millimeter.
In February of 2018, a federal jury in the Southern District of New York found The Rockefeller University liable for discrimination based on race and national origin in its treatment of Dr. Effat Emamian—a young scientist from Iran. Dr. Emamian worked for Rockefeller from 2001 until she was refused re-appointment in August 2007. After three days of deliberation, the jury awarded Dr. Emamian, $2.25 million in damages. Dr. Emamian was subjected to this discrimination while researching cellular and molecular neuroscience. in the lab of, and under the supervision of, Dr. Paul Greengard, a Nobel Prize Laureate in Medicine. Dr. Emamian was represented by Beldock Levine & Hoffman LLP attorneys Jonathan C. Moore, David B. Rankin, and Luna Droubi.
In June of 2017, Civil Rights Attorneys David B. Rankin and Gillian Cassell-Stiga joined BLH. Mr. Rankin and Ms. Cassell join the BLH legacy of fighting tirelessly for the rights of those who are incarcerated and ensuring that human dignity and civil rights are preserved for the most marginalized members of society. For the last 10 years Mr. Rankin has represented hundreds of plaintiffs in lawsuits against the NYPD, the City of New York, and other municipalities. Over the last three years Mr. Rankin has settled three wrongful death cases against the New York City Department of Correction for over $1 million in each case. Ms. Cassell is actively working on a class action against the City of New York for its treatment of mobility disabled individuals incarcerated in the City’s police precincts and jails.
In October 2015, BLH founding partner, the late Myron Beldock, and Marc Cannan, filed a motion to vacate the 50-years-to-life conviction of Calvin Buari, who was framed for double murder. The motion was filed after several eyewitnesses had been located and provided information that identified the actual murderer and established that Mr. Buari could not have participated in the crime. After Mr. Beldock passed away, Mr. Cannan continued the litigation with Oscar Michelen of Cuomo, LLC. Building upon the foundation laid by Mr. Beldock, they convinced a Bronx judge to vacate Mr. Buari’s conviction on May 5, 2017. Mr. Buari was freed after being falsely impressed for a double homicide for 22 years.
99 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10016
Phone: (212) (212) 490-0400
Managing Partner: Jonathan Pollack
Hiring Partners: Luna Droubi, Jonathan Pollack, Jonathan Moore, David B. Rankin
Firm did not provide salary information.
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