Attorney At Law
Monday, May 29, 2023
Monday, May 15, 2023
The New York Courts During COVID-19 and Beyond
The scheduled panelists are
Jessica Cherry, Esq. — Assistant Deputy Counsel for the New York State Unified Court System, Office of Court Administration
Hon. Craig J. Doran — New York Supreme Court Justice and Chair of the Commission to Reimagine New York's Courts’ Pandemic Practices Working Group
Hon. Fern Fisher (ret.) — Special Assistant for Social Justice Initiatives to the Dean of the Maurice A. Deane School of Law and Visiting Associate Professor of Law at Hofstra University
This free Zoom program is open to the public. CLE credit is available for attorneys who attend. Registration is required.
For more information, including registration, click here.
Thursday, May 11, 2023
Schuyler County issues state of emergency over relocation of illegal immigrants.
Blowers has issued an executive order that places the county under a Local State of Emergency that prohibits municipal programs from housing illegal migrants/asylum seekers. It also prohibits any hotel, short-term rental and motel in the county from entering into a contract to house them, or risk daily fines.
According to Blowers’ order there is reason to believe that these migrants could be transported to Schuyler County, with no reason to believe they will leave. The order finds a potential emergency for the public with the threat of large numbers of people being transported to the county.
The order notes that New York City Mayor Eric Adams has put in place plans to send illegal aliens to other areas and that Governor Kathy Hochul issued a May 9 Executive Order to boost support for asylum seekers. It also notes that Tompkins County, which borders Schuyler County is a sanctuary county, increasing the chances of migrants finding their way to Schuyler County.
The county doesn’t have the appropriate services to take in large numbers of people, especially given its small population, and there is no legal basis to provide services to them through the Department of Social Services, the order states.
Under the order, anyone found in violation of the emergency rules may be liable for a civil penalty of up to $2,000 per migrant/asylum seeker per day, and could be found guilty of a Class B Misdemeanor. The Schuyler County Sheriff is authorized to issue appearance tickets for any violation and the County Attorney may commence civil lawsuits against violators as well.
Blowers has set the emergency order to be in effect for five days unless sooner modified, extended, or revoked, and may be extended for additional periods.
A complete conformed copy of the Local Emergency Order is available below
Monday, May 8, 2023
Second Amendment Legal Update: May 2023
Monday, May 1, 2023
Schuyler County Commemorates Monday May 1 as “Law Day”
The legislature passed a resolution at its April 10, 2023 meeting, recognizing “Law Day” as an occasion of public acknowledgement of our Nation’s heritage of justice, liberty, and equality under the law.
The resolution was submitted to the legislature by Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman.
“Promoting collaboration and civility is an important component in the civic education of the citizens of the United States, the State of New York and the County of Schuyler so that we might respectfully resolve our disputes, strengthen the bonds between citizens, and protect the promise of freedom,” Getman wrote.
However, the resolution noted, “overly-entrenched political beliefs, unwarranted personal attacks, efforts to silence those with whom one disagrees, and a national news media often prone to sensationalism and partisanship may erode civility, collaboration and the blessings of liberty.”
In passing the resolution, the legislature called upon all Schuyler County residents “to observe this day by renewing their commitment to civic engagement, civility, and collaboration, to promote justice, liberty, and equality under the law.” It was supported unanimously by the members present.
May 1, 2023 is the 65th Law Day. In 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first Law Day Proclamation to mark our nation’s commitment to the rule of law. Each year the American Bar Association selects an annual theme for Law Day.
A copy of Schuyler County’s resolution “Recognizing and Commemorating May 1, 2023 as ‘Law Day’ in Schuyler County” is available below:
RECOGNIZING AND COMMEMORATING MAY 1, 2023 AS “LAW DAY” IN SCHUYLER COUNTY – COUNTY ATTORNEY’S DEPARTMENT by Steven Getman on Scribd
Monday, April 24, 2023
County Officials Warn: Be aware of unsolicited property offers. “Know your rights before you sign.”
Schuyler County Clerk Theresa Philbin and County Attorney Steven Getman are warning property owners to be aware of unsolicited offers to buy land in Schuyler County, often at a deep discount from the actual value.
|County Attorney Steven Getman, |
County Clerk Theresa Philbin
While the offer may be perfectly legal, signing and sending back the agreement, Getman pointed out, would create a binding contract. That contract, Getman said, may obligate the owners to conditions or expenses they did not understand before signing.
“For example, the offer may state the buyer will pay all closing costs, but also require the seller to clear up any liens or encumbrances on the property at the seller’s own expense before the sale,” Getman explained. “That could include mortgages, property taxes or even electric, water and sewer bills. If the sale price does not cover those expenses, the sellers could be left paying out more than they are getting for the property.”
In another case, Getman noted, the offer required to seller to convey to the buyer all personal property located on the land.
Philbin and Getman offered several tips to property owners who receive unsolicited offers to buy their land:
- Never sign anything until you are sure you want to move forward
- Have your own attorney review the document before your sign them. If you do not have an attorney, the New York State Bar Association may be able to refer you to an appropriate attorney via the NYSBA Lawyer Referral and Information Service: https://www.findalawyernys.org.
- Check out the would-be buyer online. If someone is legitimately interested in buying your home, you should be able to retrieve information about them. Look for any red flags such as bad reviews or lawsuits.
- Ask for references. If the buyer will not offer any, something is wrong. If their references are sketchy and cannot be verified, you need to rethink doing business with that person.
- Find out the fair market value of your home before you agree to a price.
- Consider bringing in a real estate professional to represent you and give you a fair opinion of your land’s value. If the buyer is legitimate they should be willing to discuss terms with your agent.
- If selling your property seems like a good idea, do not jump at the first offer made (especially if it represents just a small fraction of the land’s worth).
Finally, if you receive anything in the mail about your property that seems questionable, Philbin and Getman said that you can contact the County Clerk or, in the event of possible criminal activity, local law enforcement.
“Keep in mind that this is often totally legitimate,” Getman said. “The goal here is to understand what you may sacrifice for convenience.”
“Know your rights before you sign,” Philbin said.
The Schuyler County Clerk is responsible for all books, files and other necessary equipment for the filing, recording and depositing of deeds, maps, papers in actions and special proceedings of both civil and criminal nature, judgment and lien dockets and books for the indexing of the same as directed or authorized by law.
The Schuyler County Attorney is the legal advisor for county government and its various officials. The County Attorney prosecutes and defends civil actions on behalf of the county and county employees acting pursuant to their official duties.
Monday, April 17, 2023
Fair Trial/Free Press Conference: Local media, the law, and alleged police misconduct
Hear from a distinguished panel of judges, prosecutors, print and broadcast journalists, media counsel, and other practicing attorneys during the Fair Trial/Free Press Conference.This free event is open to the public. Lunch will be provided and CLE credits are available to attorneys who register and attend.
The conference combines a discussion of a hypothetical scenario with an overview of media law. Panelists will discuss the legal, political, and ethical issues that arise after a reporter is arrested while covering a police-involved shooting.
Lester Pollack Colloquium Room, 9th FloorThe event will be live-streamed as well. For more information, including how to register, click here.
NYU School of Law
245 Sullivan Street
New York, NY 10012
Monday, April 10, 2023
Schuyler County in line to receive $362,000 opioid settlement
Three national pharmacy chains—CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart--will pay Schuyler County up to $362,000 to settle claims the companies contributed to the ongoing opioid crisis in that county, under a settlement agreement to be voted on by the Schuyler County Legislature at its April meeting.
On Monday (March 27), the county’s Management and Finance Committee, chaired by Watkins Glen legislator Phillip Barnes, voted to recommend the settlement and authorized Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman to execute the necessary legal documents upon approval by the Schuyler County Legislature. The legislature will consider the measure on Monday (April 10).
The county is estimated to receive $125,031 from CVS, $158,486 from Walgreens and $79,038 from Walmart, Getman said.
According to Getman, the three companies all agreed to the settlement with the county as a part of a nationwide agreement to resolve all opioid litigation brought by states and local political subdivisions, including a pending lawsuit filed by the county, as well as later claims brought by the New York State Attorney General’s office. The agreement calls for the three chains to pay the county over the next fifteen years, with payments expected to begin in late 2023.
Getman said that the settlement funds can be used for a variety of purposes.
“Potential uses include treating opioid addiction, law enforcement expenditures, funding social services and similar anti-drug efforts,” Getman explained.
The proposed settlement also orders the companies to implement changes to prevent fraudulent prescriptions, Getman noted. Those changes include the companies addressing their compliance structures, pharmacist judgment, diversion prevention, suspicious order monitoring, and reporting on blocked and potentially problematic prescribers.
If approved, the agreement would be one of several opioid settlements Schuyler County has been a part of over the past five years. In 2021, the county legislature authorized Getman to accept up to $121,000 from Johnson & Johnson and up to $546,000 from distributors McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health Inc. and Amerisource Bergen Drug Corporation to treat, reduce and prevent opioid abuse. A similar agreement, for $41,000, was obtained from defendant Actavis, Inc. in early 2022. In January, the county legislature authorized Getman to accept up to $116,000 from Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.
If these latest agreements are approved, the county will be in line to receive nearly $1.2 million total to date for opioid prevention and remediation.
“One cannot put a price on lives lost and families torn apart,” Getman said, “but with nearly $1.2 million expected to be delivered to Schuyler County, we can provide our community with financial assistance to continue this battle and hold these companies responsible for their role in the opioid epidemic.”
The settlements stem from a 2018 lawsuit the county filed against approximately thirty defendants, including some of the biggest names in the pharmaceutical industry. The lawsuit alleged the defendants had long known that opioids were addictive and subject to abuse, particularly when used long-term for chronic non-cancer pain, and should not be used except as a last-resort. However, the lawsuit stated, the defendants spent hundreds of millions of dollars disseminating scientific materials and advertising that misrepresented the risks of long-term opioid use.
Schuyler County was one of many local governments that filed lawsuits against the manufacturers and distributors of opioid pain killers. At least 14 counties across New York sued the pharmaceutical companies for fraudulent marketing practices.
After the counties sued, in March 2019, the New York State Attorney General’s office brought its own lawsuit on behalf of the state. In 2021, Attorney General Letitia James championed legislation to create an opioid settlement fund and in 2022 she announced a tentative deal with CVS, Walgreens and Walmart that she says will deliver over $13 Billion for communities nationwide to combat the opioid crisis.
Schuyler County’s lawsuit against other defendants remains pending, Getman said, with the possibility of more settlements and additional funding to the county still to come.
The three companies involved in the latest proposed agreement have each issued their own statements denying liability and supporting settlement.
Monday, April 3, 2023
Second Amendment Legal Update, April 2023
Monday, March 27, 2023
New York Courts’ Equal Justice Initiative Issues Progress Report
“Equal Justice in the New York State Courts: 2022 Year in Review,” highlights the court system’s statewide efforts over the past year "to promote diversity and inclusiveness on the bench and in the courts’ workforce and foster a safe, welcoming and bias-free environment."
▪ Mandating comprehensive racial bias training for all judges and nonjudicial staff.
▪ Expanding the resources of the court system’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI).
▪ Revising human resources and interview practices.
▪ Creating Equal Justice Committees in each of the court system’s 13 judicial districts to implement reforms at the local level.
▪ Developing a bench card for judges, with tips on using LGBTQ+-inclusive language and pronouns.
▪ Expanding Virtual Court Access Network (VCAN) sites to help bridge the digital divide by providing remote access to courts in locations such as libraries, houses of worship and community centers.
▪ Appointing a Statewide Equal Justice Coordinator.
The full report is available online here.