Welcome Back for Spring 2015

We would like to welcome everyone back for the Spring 2015 semester!

We’re looking forward to writing about current events in family law in our Weekly Round-Ups, as well as upcoming pieces on New York Law School events. All students are welcome to contribute to the blog, and we encourage anyone who is interested in writing to reach out to us.

We wish you all luck with this upcoming semester!


Thank you,

Lori Vergara and Mallory McGee… <Read More>

Domestic Violence and the Workplace

By Mallory McGee


The physical signs of domestic violence are hard to miss: cuts, bruises, and broken bones. However, there are many effects of domestic violence that may be hard to see, including mental and emotional abuse, financial exploitation, and problems in the workplace. Victims of domestic violence report that their abusers often use their place of work to stalk and harass them. The physical abuse may have ended, but the residual abuse and its aftermath can create just as much turmoil in the lives of domestic violence victims.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that victims of domestic violence can experience a decrease in job performance because of the abuse. They are also at risk for absenteeism and lateness because of the emotional effects, physical injuries, and court appearances linked to the abuse. Abusers can affect a victim’s workplace environment by calling the office repeatedly or showing up throughout the day. Abusers can also withhold car keys giving the victim no way to get to work, keep the victim from getting sleep, or refuse to provide childcare; thus, forcing the victim to stay home and miss work.

There have been initiatives to help domestic violence victims keep their jobs and for employers to provide resources or assistance, instead of firing or disciplining employees in this situation. In 2009, Governor Paterson signed a law prohibiting an employer from discriminating against an employee who is known to be a victim of domestic violence or stalking. This prohibits an employer from not hiring someone because of his or her victim status, firing the employee, or determining compensation based on the employee’s status as a victim.… <Read More>

Weekly Round-up December 2nd, 2014

311 App Update Allows Tenants to Submit Heat and Hot Water Complaints via Mobile Devices:

  • On November 26, 2014, the 311 Executive Director, Joseph Morrisroe,  the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) Commissioner, Anne M. Roest, and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner, Vicki Been, announced an update to the 311 Mobile Application. The new update allows tenants to make heat and hot water complaints from the application on their phone. The 311 Mobile Application is available to Android and iPhone users.
  • The application is user friendly, and making a complaint is as simple as opening the application, clicking on “complaints,” and then on, “Heat or Hot Water.” The tenant will then enter: his or her address and personal contact information, as well as information about the owner of the property (if available), the kind of condition, and whether one unit or the entire building is experiencing the problem. Once the tenant submits the complaint, it is forwarded to HPD in the same manner as a complaint made in the call center or online. Users can track the progress of their complaint by checking the complaint screen in the 311 mobile app.
  • Before filing a complaint, a tenant should make the building owner, managing agent, or superintendent aware of the problem. If the heat or hot water is not restored, then the tenant should make a complaint with HPD via the 311 app, call center, or online website.
  • Once a complaint is filed with HPD, attempts will be made to contact the manager or building owner to get the heat or hot water running.
<Read More>

Supporting Immigrant Worker Safety and Rights

By: Beth Rosner


From Poverty to Opportunity Symposium Series Part 5



This symposium session began with an introduction from Veronica Cruz, who is the Director of the Division of Community Services at the New York State Department of State. Ms. Cruz provided context for the discussion by highlighting the importance of immigrant workers to the national and local economy and the various rights and protections for immigrant workers.

The panel was comprised of four speakers. The first half of the session concerned the legal rights of undocumented workers. The second half of the session dealt with the protections and processes that take place once a worker files a complaint for violation of those rights.


Eunice Chang, Workers’ Rights Legal Clinic

The first panelist was Eunice Chang. Ms. Chang works as a Staff Attorney in the Workers’ Rights Legal Clinic at the MinKwon Center for Community Action. The organization provides various services to the Korean and Chinese American communities and others in Flushing, Queens. Ms. Chang explained the various laws that protect immigrant workers by providing an example of a typical client interaction in which an undocumented worker expresses concerns about workplace safety and fair payment.… <Read More>

Weekly Round-up November 24th, 2014

Manhattan DA’s Pledge to End Rape-Kit Testing Backlogs:

  • Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. has pledged to use $35 million in funds received as the result of civil forfeitures to help end the backlog in rape-kits around the country. The money comes from the settlement with BNP Paribas for violating financial sanctions.
  • The funding is meant to help cities with extensive backlogs such as Memphis and Las Vegas. Between these two cities the backlog in testing rape kits is estimated between 15,000 and 16,000. Rape kits contain the evidence including photographs, blood samples, clothing, and bodily fluids collected by health care officials following a sexual assault.
  • The District Attorney’s Office has teamed up with the Joyful Heart Foundation. The Foundation’s president is Mariska Hartigay, the star of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. The funding will first go to any backlog in New York. Then, the Joyful Heart Foundation will provide technical assistance and advise the District Attorney’s Office on the most efficient ways of distributing the funds.
  • Since Federal and State officials are generally not required to keep track of rape-kit backlogs, there is no official number of how many kits have gone untested. It is estimated that there are about 100,000 backlogged kits.


Parent’s Dispute In Family Court Over Donating Two Year Old Daughter’s Organs Comes To An End:

  • On Monday, November 17, 2014, a Brooklyn Family Court judge ruled that the medical professionals at Brookdale Hospital would have to keep two year old Thaiya Spruill-Smith on life support for at least another day.
<Read More>