Archive for March, 2014

NRA asks Supreme Court justice to block law banning high-capacity magazines

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

Article by: Associated Press
Updated: March 10, 2014 – 4:29 PM

WASHINGTON — The National Rifle Association is asking Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy to block enforcement of a California city ordinance that bans gun magazines capable of holding more than 10 bullets.

The ban in Sunnyvale went into effect Thursday after 66 percent of voters approved it in November. The NRA challenged the law, but a federal judge ruled last week that it does not violate the Second Amendment right to own guns for self-defense.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco denied the NRA’s request for an emergency order to stop the ban from taking effect pending appeal.

The new ordinance allows gun owners to have police destroy the magazines, sell them out of state or to a licensed gun dealer, or move them out of town.

JUDICIAL BRANCH IMPLEMENTS NEW EXPUNGEMENT CERTIFICATION PROCESS

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, state law requires every petition for expungement in Kentucky to include a certificate of eligibility for expungement. Under KRS 431.079, individuals who wish to have their criminal records expunged must complete the expungement certification process to determine if they are eligible for expungement. The certification provides judges and prosecutors with the most current and complete information available on a individual’s record. KRS 431.079 is the enactment of Senate Bill 78, which was passed during the regular session of the 2013 General Assembly.

The Kentucky State Police (KSP) are overseeing this process in conjunction with the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC). Under the new law, both agencies must run criminal record reports on the person petitioning for the expungement. The KSP will then certify the eligibility of the expungement request. Individuals can request certification through the AOC by registering online, by U.S. mail or in-person at the AOC Records Unit drive-thru window at 1001 Vandalay Drive in Frankfort. The certification costs $40 and the process takes up to 60 days. Those who obtain an expungement certification may then file a petition for expungement with the Office of Circuit Court Clerk in the county where the original charge was filed. The petition must be filed before the certification expires in 30 days.

Under the new process, judges will receive an expungement certification packet along with each petition for expungement. The certification ensures that judges can take into account an individual’s most up-to-date and comprehensive record information when determining whether to grant an expungement. Individuals can visit the Kentucky Court of Justice website at http://courts.ky.gov/expungement to learn more about the expungement certification process. The site provides a list of frequently asked questions and describes the steps to submit a request online, in-person or by U.S. mail. The benefits for those applying electronically include email notifications throughout the process, the ability to check on the status of the certification online and the ability to download the certification packet as soon as it becomes available.

ERIC DETERS FILES FEDERAL LAWSUIT IN OHIO AGAINST THE KENTUCKY BAR ASSOCIATION

Friday, March 7th, 2014

March 7, 2014
LawReader has obtained copies of a complaint filed by Northern Ky. attorney Eric Deters against the KBA. The suit was filed March 5th in the Southern District of Ohio, Western Division.
Deters is licensed in Kentucky, Ohio and Florida. After the actions of the KBA the state of Ohio Bar imposed a sanction against Deters solely because of the actions of the KBA against Deters. There is a reciprocity agreement between the two states. So Deters received a Kentucky suspension of 61 days, and the KBA prosecutor by objecting to the automatic reinstatement, (and without a hearing) was able to extend the Supreme Court sanction from 61 days to 113 days (and a possible for a year or more). The Character and Fitness Committee has delayed their review of the KBA objection.
This action by the KBA due to the reciprocity agreement between the Ohio and Kentucky Bar Associations added a 60 day suspension in Ohio against Deters. Under the agreement Ohio will suspend Deters as long as Kentucky has a pending claim against Deters.
The federal lawsuit seeks an injunctive relief. Deters alleges that the KBA has applied an unconstitutional Kentucky Supreme Court Rule SCR 3.150(2) to subject him to double jeopardy. The rule permits the Bar Counsel (KBA prosecutor) to overrule the ethics sanction imposed by the Kentucky Supreme Court. The rule allows the KBA to object to the automatic reinstatement of a lawyer who has received a sanction of 180 days of less. Without such an objection, the attorney would be automatically reinstated upon the expiration of his suspension imposed by the Kentucky Supreme Court.
This rule is similar to a situation where a Judge or Jury’s verdict could be doubled by the angry prosecutor, and without a hearing. Deters was originally charged with l5 counts, and all but 4 counts were dismissed. Apparently the KBA, who has prosecuted Deters numerous times, didn’t take his acquittal on 11 counts by the Supreme Court, very well.
Under SCR 3.150(2) the ethics prosecutor can ask the Character and Fitness Committee to deny reinstatement of an attorney sanctioned by the Ky. Supreme court. The mere filing of the request by the KBA works to automatically extend the period of suspension, WITHOUT A HEARING, until the Character and Fitness Commission has time to act. The action of the Character and Fitness Committee can takes months.
Deters has grown frustrated with the KBA’s vendetta and the complaint states:
“48-Deters knew and knows Kentucky Bar Counsel will never stop their unfair pursuit of him. Therefore he sought to resign his Kentucky Bar license. However, SCR 3.480 does not allow it with “pending discipline” unless Deters, or anyone similarly situated, agrees to permanent disbarment. Deters has no discipline which warrants disbarment. Therefore this rule keeps Deters form “quitting” being a lawyer in Kentucky to protect his Ohio license.”
In a prior 2012 charge against Deters, the Ky. Supreme Court acquitted Deters of l5 of l9 counts filed by the KBA. The KBA objected to his reinstatement and the Fitness Commission voted 3-0 to reinstate Deters, and the Supreme Court voted 7 – 0 to reinstate Deters even in light of the KBA Board voting 13-0 not to reinstate Deters. The 2012 charge required Deters to remain suspended for 52 days longer than the Supreme Court sanction. Deters argues that the Kentucky Supreme Court in 2013 “acknowledged that if other pending discipline was the sole basis for the objection (to his reinstatement) the “double punishment” argument would be “credible.” “…Therefore based upon the Kentucky Supreme “Court’s own decision Deter’s argument of double punishment has merit.”
The complaint argues, “68-0 Based upon this Verified Complaint …SCR 3.510 must be held unconstitutional and Deters not suspended further in Kentucky or Ohio past March 27, 2014.”
Deters seeks a finding that “SCR 3.150 be held unconstitutional, for injunctive relief, for all costs, attorney fees and other relief to which he is entitled.”
Attorney Larry Forgy of Frankfort, a former candidate for governor of Kentucky, filed his comments as an exhibit in the Ohio Federal lawsuit. (See below) Forgy states:
“One might ask the question why the legal profession is held in such low regard if those who lead it, mold it, control it and discipline it, are doing so in a manner which generates lawyers held in low regard versus high regard? “
Forgy asks: “Who would take umbrage with Eric’s mission, secret and brand? Competitors. Those with whom Eric has fought a legal battle and their lawyers. Lawyers jealous of Eric’s success. Lawyers dealous of Eric’s obtaining high profile media generating cases. Lawyer’s jealous of Eric’s radio and television opportunities. Lawyer’s defending clients Eric sues. It even splashs over into some members of the judiciary who comy many times from the Bar leadership and always, membership and are also uncomfortagle with Eric’s style. It’s never easy being “different” or a “rebel”. It’s never easy being anti-establishment. It’s never easy being the one wolf. However, being none of this makes a lawyer unfit to practice law.”
“Eric is now filing a federal lawsuit in Ohio as his valid and justifiable right to protect his Ohio license from further harm solely as a result of the Kentucky Bar Counsel repeated use of a unconstitutional rule.”
“…Eric’s clients love him and want him to be their legal counsel. Kentucky Bar Counsel and Eric’s enemies do not. But it should not be their choice. “
“There are lawyers every day who commit acts worthy of discipline, but never receive any condemnation because other lawyers and the profession don’t care to waste their time going after those who aren’t “rocking the boat” or beating them in the marketplace or are “connected” to the Bar.”
“It’s even more insulting to clam Eric is not “fit” when he has had success, including recent jury verdicts of note like the Sarah Jones federal libel verdict of $338,000 and the $1.04 million Dr. Durrant verdict. Notice, Rob Sanders who began the prosecution of Sarah Jones and Mike Lyon the lawyer who represented Dr. Durrani in Eric’s win are two of Eric’s enemies collaborating with the Kentucky Bar Counsel”.
“Eric has to be tough and caustic at times to fight the uphill battles he fights. And who else can fight some of these battles. Small or solo firms don’t have the resources. Big law firms aren’t constituted that way. Eric fulfills a niche and need for those who need a Bulldog, an aggressive champion.”
“An attorney is punished more for fighting bar charges even if he’s innocent.” “ …I attest it’s time for the Kentucky Bar Counsel and the KBA to stop attempting to defeat someone the public wants as their lawyer despite his “style” not befitting them Lawyers not Eric’s enemies or part of the establishment should be concerned a “style” can lead to such trouble when the “style” violates no ethical rules.”

Ohio Supreme Court throws out Ohio’s child enticement law The justices say the way it is written, the law could send someone to prison for paying a kid to mow his lawn

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Thursday, March 6, 2014

by WKSU’s M.L. SCHULTZE

The Ohio Supreme court has thrown out Ohio’s child enticement law, saying it’s criminalizes innocent behavior. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on today’s decision, which puts the responsibility to rewrite the law on Ohio legislators.

The state high court said the law is unconstitutional because it prohibits “a significant amount of constitutionally protected activity.”
The case began in 2010 when Jason Romage offered money to a child in his Columbus neighborhood to help him move boxes. He was charged because Ohio law says – with the exception of police, firefighters or emergency squads – no one can solicit a child younger than 14 to accompany them “in any manner” without a parent’s OK.
Both the trial and appeals courts threw the charges out, saying the law was too broad. But that conflicted with another appeals court decision, so the case went to the Supreme Court.
In the 5-2 decision, Justice Judith Lanzinger acknowledged that protecting children from sexual predators is “a paramount governmental interest.” But she said the law the way it is written could prohibit something as innocent as a senior citizen offering to pay a kid to mow the (YARD)

The Price For Killing A Lawyer Is $1,000 (Plus Sex!)

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

By Staci Zaretsky

Jessica Strom

How much do you think it costs to kill a lawyer these days? Would it depend on the lawyer’s pedigree and prestige? How big is his book of business? Does he wear a pocket square?

These are just some of the important questions that factor into the price for a lawyer’s head, and if we had to guess, we’d start the bidding at about $75,000, since that’s likely what the very average lawyer who’s been practicing for a while could expect to earn in a year’s time.

Using that number as a starting point, if you found out that someone you loved wanted to kill you and offered just a measly $1,000 to the contract killer, you’d probably be insulted. But wait — what if she also offered sex as an additional incentive to “blow [your] brains out”?

Honey, no offense, but you really aren’t that good of a lay….

Strom, a mother of three, is engaged to John Schellpfeffer, a solo practitioner whom she allegedly wanted to kill in cold blood. Strom was charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree intentional homicide, a felony that could earn her a 60-year sentence.

Here’s more info from the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune, the paper that first reported on these allegations:

Police were tipped off Wednesday to the murder-for-hire plot by a confidential informant who told them that Strom asked him to kill her fiance and fly to Door County to dispose of the victim’s body, according to a criminal complaint. The informant is a licensed pilot who met Strom several years ago while the two were taking criminal justice courses, according to the complaint.

After contacting police, the informant met with Strom on Thursday evening at a cafe in downtown Wausau, where Strom detailed a plan for the informant to make a bogus appointment at the intended victim’s law office, “blow his brains out and walk out,” according to court documents.

Strom offered sex and $1,000 as payment for the hit, according to the police report.

The Smoking Gun has the full police report, and boy is it juicy. According to the report, Strom had been planning to kill Schellpfeffer for two years, and instructed the informant to buy a gun “off the street” to carry out the deed. If he wanted some “extra credit,” he could buy a silencer. We suppose Strom’s “extra credit” would be doled out in the form of sexual favors. The informant originally requested $50,000 to kill Strom’s fiancé, but settled for $1,000 because it was “better than nothing.”

Also better than nothing was sex, and lots of it — Strom allegedly promised to meet the informant and “pay [him] and f*ck [him] and whatever” after he made her a single woman. According to the text of the police report, Strom was giggling like a schoolgirl and actively flirting with the informant throughout her negotiations to kill the man she was supposed to marry. What a classy, classy lady.

Strom has a preliminary hearing on March 12, but we suppose there’s a lesson to be learned from this for all of the lawyers looking for love out there. Ask the object of your affections how much he or she would pay to have you killed. If the amount is greater than $1,000, then you know you’ve got a keeper.

Justice Scalia wishes the court had expressed no opinion about expressing no opinion

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

By Eugene Volokh
March 5

And he writes no opinion expressing that opinion. The case is Wednesday’s Rosemond v. United States, an interesting decision about the mental state required for aiding and abetting under federal criminal law — straight out of your first-year Criminal Law class, if you’ve taken one. In the process, the majority (Elena Kagan, whose writing style I’ve come to very much enjoy, joined by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, and largely Antonin Scalia) has these two footnotes:

[7] Some authorities suggest an exception to the general rule when another crime is the “natural and probable consequence” of the crime the defendant intended to abet. See, e.g., 2 LaFave §13.3(b), at 356 (citing cases); but see id., §13.3 (“Under the better view, one is not an accomplice to a crime merely because … that crime was a natural and probable consequence of another offense as to which he is an accomplice”). That question is not implicated here, because no one contends that a §924(c) violation is a natural and probable consequence of simple drug trafficking. We therefore express no view on the issue.

[8] We did not deal in these cases, nor do we here, with defendants who incidentally facilitate a criminal venture rather than actively participate in it. A hypothetical case is the owner of a gun store who sells a firearm to a criminal, knowing but not caring how the gun will be used. We express no view about what sort of facts, if any, would suffice to show that such a third party has the intent necessary to be convicted of aiding and abetting.

Court-watchers are familiar, of course, with Scalia’s general opposition to the use of legislative history as a guide to interpreting statutes, and to his tendency to join all of a majority opinion except the parts (often the footnotes) that mention legislative history. But this is the first time that I’ve noticed Scalia refuse to join footnotes that have nothing to do with legislative history, and that simply express no opinion on an issue. I take it that Scalia has strong feelings on the underlying questions (perhaps he thinks they are so well-settled that even ostensibly “expressing no opinion” wrongly suggests that they are contested), but I haven’t followed his substantive criminal law views enough to know the details. If anyone can shed more light on this, I’d be much obliged

Lawyers Should Be Cautious In Citing Unpublished Opinions

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

By David Kramer | dkramer@dbllaw.com

In a 2013 decision arising out of a probation revocation, the Kentucky Supreme Court, in an opinion by Justice Venters, commented on the fact that both parties had cited unpublished opinions that did not appear to meet the criteria of CR 76.28(4)(c). The Court stated that “as a general rule” the Court is not “greatly influenced by unpublished” appellate decisions. See Com. v. Wright, 415 S.W.3d 606 (Ky. 2013). The Court then analyzed the unpublished cases and concluded that the citations “were not helpful to the Court and were not consistent with the limitations provided in CR 76.28(4)(c).”

It was only in 2007 that the Rule was amended to permit citation of unpublished decisions. The conditions for citation of an unpublished decision under the Rule and related case law are as follows:

1. The decision was rendered by a Kentucky appellate court after January 1, 2003, and is final;

2. There is no published authority that adequately addresses the issue before the court;

3. A copy of the decision should be tendered to the court and to all other parties; and

4. The decision should be not be cited as “binding precedent,” but should rather be offered “for consideration by the court.”

The Court’s discussion of the issue in Wright should serve as a caution to those considering whether to cite an unpublished opinion to a Kentucky court. Only when published authority does not “adequately address the issue before the court” should a final unpublished opinion be cited for the court’s consideration, and only then if it was rendered after January 1, 2003. Finally, it should not be presented as if it were binding precedent.

Note: The foregoing post includes commentary reprinted from the forthcoming 2014 supplement to 7 Phillips & Kramer, Rules of Civil Procedure Annotated, 6th ed. (Kentucky Practice Series), by David V. Kramer, with permission of the author and publisher. Copyright (c) 2014 Thomson Reuters. For more information about this publication please visit http://store.westlaw.com/rules-of-civil-procedure-annotated-6th-vols-6-7-kentucky/130503/11774808/productdetail.

David Kramer is a Northern Kentucky attorney practicing at Dressman Benzinger LaVelle psc.

U.S. Supreme Court Can whistleblower protections apply to law firms? SCOTUS says yes in case involving mutual fund

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Posted Mar 4, 2014 9:49 AM CST
By Debra Cassens Weiss

Federal whistleblower protections that shield employees of public companies from retaliation also protect those who work for the companies’ privately held contractors and subcontractors, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled.

The court ruled in a case involving whistleblowers who work at privately held companies advising Fidelity mutual funds, but Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s opinion (PDF) for the court indicated that employees of law firms could also be protected in such cases.

Ginsburg framed the issue this way: Do whistleblower protections of the he Sarbanes-Oxley Act “shield only those employed by the public company itself, or does it shield as well employees of privately held contractors and subcontractors—for example, investment advisers, law firms, accounting enterprises—who perform work for the public company?” Ginsburg said the answer was yes.

Absent whistleblower protections for privately held subcontractors, Ginsburg said, “legions of accountants and lawyers” would be denied protections under the law, enacted in the aftermath of Enron’s collapse. She says Congress acted after learning that some employees of Enron and its accounting firm, Arthur Andersen, faced retaliation for trying to report misconduct.

Ginsburg’s opinion was joined in full by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Elena Kagan. Justice Antonin Scalia, in an opinion joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, concurred in Ginsburg’s conclusion based on her analysis of the statute’s text, but disagreed with her occasional excursions “into the swamps of legislative history.”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a dissenting opinion that was joined by Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Samuel A. Alito Jr. Sotomayor argued that the majority opinion had “a stunning reach.”

“As interpreted today,” Sotomayor wrote, “the Sarbanes-Oxley Act authorizes a babysitter to bring a federal case against his employer—a parent who happens to work at the local Walmart (a public company)—if the parent stops employing the babysitter after he expresses concern that the parent’s teenage son may have participated in an Internet purchase fraud. And it opens the door to a cause of action against a small business that contracts to clean the local Starbucks (a public company) if an employee is demoted after reporting that another nonpublic company client has mailed the cleaning company a fraudulent invoice.”

The case is Lawson v. FMR.

Kentucky to Appeal Fed. Judge Heyburn’s Same Sex Marriage Ruling

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

FRANKFORT — Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear said Tuesday that he will appeal a federal judge’s order requiring Kentucky to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

The definition of marriage in Kentucky and other states “will be and should be ultimately decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in order to bring finality and certainty to this matter,” Beshear said in a statement. “The people of this country need to know what the rules will be going forward. Kentucky should be a part of this process.”

Beshear said he will ask for an indefinite stay, or delay, in the judge’s order while Kentucky takes the case to the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. The order is on hold until March 20.

Beshear will have to hire outside lawyers to pursue the appeal because a tearful Attorney General Jack Conway, also a Democrat, announced minutes earlier that he will not appeal the judge’s order.

Kentucky’s ban on same-sex marriage is discriminatory and doomed to fall, and the state shouldn’t waste its limited resources in court trying to save it, Conway said.

U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II “got it right” last month when he struck down a 1998 state law and a 2004 state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, and prohibiting recognition of same-sex marriages from outside the state, Conway said.

“The United States Constitution is designed to protect everyone’s rights, both the majority and the minority groups,” Conway said in a brief statement to reporters, after which he took no questions.

“Judge Heyburn’s decision does not tell a minister or a congregation what they must do, but in government, ‘equal justice under law’ is a different matter,” Conway said.

Conway began to cry as he continued: “For those who disagree, I can only say that I am doing what I think is right. In the final analysis, I had to make a decision that I could be proud of — for me now, and my daughters’ judgement in the future.”

Religious conservative groups, who pressured Conway to appeal, quickly criticized his decision Tuesday, calling it “a dereliction of duty.”

“Now that Colorado has legalized marijuana sales, how long will it be before Judge Heyburn legalizes marijuana in Kentucky, too, since it’s legal in another state and we have to respect their laws? And of course, now we know that Jack Conway would not oppose it,” said Paul Chitwood, executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

Beshear’s appeal before the 6th Circuit could take a year to 18 months, said Dan Canon, one of the lawyers for the four same-sex married couples suing Kentucky.

“We’re extremely disappointed,” Canon said, “This is essentially a decision to waste taxpayer money defending statutes that are morally reprehensible and constitutionally doomed to fail. Every court to decide this case so far, reviewing state laws that ban recognition of same-sex marriage, has found them to be unconstitutional.”

Simultaneously, Heyburn is considering a related argument from new plaintiffs suing Kentucky for the right to be issued same-sex marriage certificates inside the state. A decision in that case is expected by this summer. It was not clear Tuesday who will continue to argue for the state in that case.

John Cheves: (859) 231-3266. Twitter: @BGPolitics. Blog: Bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/03/04/3120213/live-at-1030-am-attorney-general.html#emlnl=Breaking_news#storylink=cpy

David Samson’s business interests overlap with work at Port Authority – Samson is the Board Chairman of the New York / New Jersey Port Authority, and head of Wolf and Samson law firm.

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

A lawsuit will be filed with the New Jersey Executive Branch Board of Ethics against David Samson on March 3, 2014. Will the New Jersey Bar Association become involved? The Rules of Professional Conduct in New Jersey, RPC 8.3. involves the duty of every attorney to report Professional Misconduct.

“(a) A lawyer who knows that another lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial question as to that lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects, shall inform the appropriate professional authority..”

The New Jersey Supreme Court has repealed the standard ethical rule applying in other states, which would allow sanctioning of a lawyer for doing any act which gives the “appearance of impropriety.”

By Jenna Portnoy/The Star-Ledger

TRENTON — As chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, David Samson voted to award millions of dollars in Port Authority contracts to a company whose owner is represented by Samson’s law firm in a hotly contested and lucrative legal fight.
In the three years since Samson took over at the bistate agency, the Paterson-based Railroad Construction Company Inc. has received nearly $16 million in work on projects ranging from the World Trade Center to the Hackensack River Bridge, according to a Star-Ledger review of meeting minutes and contracts listed on the Port Authority’s website. The most recent contract was awarded last month, according to the website.
At the same time, two attorneys from Wolff & Samson are defending a part-owner of the company, Alfonso Daloisio, in a civil case set for trial in September.
The review provides the clearest demonstration yet of how Samson’s role as chairman of the massive economic engine that is the Port Authority and his role as head of one of the state’s most powerful law firms placed him in potential conflicts of interest.
It also shows a pattern in which Samson, a former state attorney general, represents clients on one hand and on the other votes in his role as chairman of the Port Authority on matters that benefit them.
Samson, one of the most prominent figures in New Jersey’s legal world and a longtime adviser to Gov. Chris Christie, has faced scrutiny since emails emerged linking him to the aftermath of the Port Authority closure of lanes to the George Washington Bridge.
Though Port Authority chairmen draw no salary, the position is one of the most coveted in the region as they can influence how the agency spends money on projects. The review shows Wolff & Samson’s legal business has done well: Since he became chairman of the Port Authority, his firm has made at least $8.4 million from its contract work with the state and authorities, and its lobbying work grew to more than $1 million a year, according to latest records.
“The appearance of a conflict of interest is clearly there and whether he or the other commissioners wanted to make the argument that we’ve made this analysis objectively without regard for fact that the chairman or his firm was involved, it doesn’t pass the test of sensible,” Jameson Doig, a Dartmouth professor and author of “Empire on the Hudson,” a history of the Port Authority, said about the railroad company contracts.
Karen Kessler of Evergreen Partners, a public relations firm that represents Samson, stressed that Wolff & Samson is working for the owner of the Railroad Construction Company Inc. and not the company itself. “David Samson does not represent Railroad Construction Company, the company is a client of Kranjac Tripodi law firm,” she said in a statement.
The Port Authority did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Some of the biggest contracts awarded to Railroad Construction Company Inc. were for work on the agency’s most high-profile project. On April 29, 2012, Samson voted with the majority to hire the company for “work associated with the construction of One World Trade Center,” a contract worth $7.56 million.
Also, minutes from the June 26, 2013, meeting show Samson voted to retain Railroad Construction Company Inc. and nine other companies to be ready to work “on an as-needed basis throughout the World Trade Center site” for five years. The payments are expected to range from $25,000 to $5 million each time the company is called upon to work, with the entire payout for all the projects costing up to $50 million.
In the meantime, the Daloisio brothers have waged war in court in Burlington County over their half interest in each other’s railroad companies — one in North Jersey, one in South Jersey. The case has kept lawyers on both sides busy since 2010 with reams of documents and accusations.
Alfonso Daloisio Jr., who runs Railroad Construction Company Inc., said through his company’s attorney that he has never met or spoken to Samson.
“Railroad Construction Company Inc. has been providing services to the Port Authority for over 30 years, and the contracts that Railroad Construction Company Inc. has received from the Port Authority have all been in accordance with the Port Authority’s strict rules and regulations,” according to a statement from attorney Joseph Tripodi, who works for Kranjac Triodi & Partners, and previously worked for Wolff & Samson.
The other brother, Jim Daloisio, runs a sister company based in Paulsboro. He called the ongoing legal battle “incredibly frustrating and expensive.”
“We at Railroad Construction Company of South Jersey Inc. have always conducted our business above board and within the law,” Jim Daloisio said in an interview. “I am extremely troubled to learn that the company which I own 50 percent of and which is run by my brother may have improperly benefited from conflicts of interest.”
Records show Railroad Construction Company Inc. has also done a variety of work for the Port Authority under Samson’s watch with contracts awarded by the authority’s administration without votes. As of Aug. 1, according to a list of contracts on the Port Authority website, the company had a contract worth nearly $3.9 million to do deck and rail work on the Hackensack River Bridge.
A contract for track repairs at Greenville Yard associated with the NY & NJRR Cross Harbor Freight Project was increased by $4 million, according to the agency. And a contract for immediate repairs at Newark Liberty International Airport and Teterboro Airport was increased by $375,000.
In 2012 the Port Authority hired the company to do $50,000 in work at the World Trade Center site. In addition, a company spun off from Railroad Construction Company Inc., called RCC Builders & Developers Inc., was hired on March 29, 2012, to work on improvements to Terminal B International Arrivals at Newark airport. Most recently, on Jan. 16, the company was granted an extension on a $92,000 contract for emergency repairs.
Samson’s overlapping interests have cropped up in other contracts held by his law firm.
Samson’s firm represented a developer, the Rockefeller Group, that wanted to build in Hoboken — the city Mayor Dawn Zimmer says was denied Hurricane Sandy relief aid because she wouldn’t support the real estate deal.
Wolff & Samson was named bond counsel to the South Jersey Transportation Authority, the agency that runs the Atlantic City airport, which the Port Authority began running last year, WNYC reported.
Samson also voted for a $256 million reconstruction of the Harrison PATH station after a builder represented by Wolff & Samson proposed converting a nearby warehouse into luxury apartments, The Record reported.
Patrick Murray, a pollster at Monmouth University, said because unpaid commissioners are appointed, they escape the scrutiny brought to bear on elected officials, even though they control a huge budget.
“This is a way to get your business and associates a leg up on big contracts,” Murray said. “Do a favor for somebody and they’ll do a favor for you down the line.”
Murray said for someone to get to the point where they are appointed to the Port Authority, it’s a given they would have high-level contacts and clout.
“They tend to be people who are very entrenched in the business world and the political world,” Murray said. “You put them in the Port Authority and it is a recipe for conflict of interest.”

Rules of Professional Conduct of the New Jersey Bar Association

https://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/rules/apprpc.htm

September 10, 2003 The New Jersey Supreme Court repealed the “appearance of impropriety rule”.
RPC 1.7 CONFLICT OF INTEREST: GENERAL RULE
(a) A Except as provided in paragraph (b), a lawyer shall not represent a client if the representation of that client will be directly adverse to another client unless involves a concurrent conflict of interest. A concurrent conflict of interest exists if:
(1) the lawyer reasonably believes that representation will not adversely affect the relationship with the other client; and the representation of one client will be directly adverse to another client; or
(2) each client consents after a full disclosure of the circumstances and consultation with the client, except that a public entity cannot consent to any such representation. there is a significant risk that the representation of one or more clients will be materially limited by the lawyer’s responsibilities to another client, a former client, or a third person or by a personal interest of the lawyer.
(b) A lawyer shall not represent a client if the representation of that client may be materially limited by the lawyer’s responsibilities to another client or to a third person, or by the lawyer’s own interests, unless: Notwithstanding the existence of a concurrent conflict of interest under paragraph (a), a lawyer may represent a client if:

RPC 8.3. Reporting Professional Misconduct
• (a) A lawyer who knows that another lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial question as to that lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects, shall inform the appropriate professional authority.
• (b) A lawyer who knows that a judge has committed a violation of applicable rules of judicial conduct that raises a substantial question as to the judge’s fitness for office shall inform the appropriate authority.
• (c) This Rule does not require disclosure of information otherwise protected by RPC 1.6.
• (d) Paragraph (a) of this Rule shall not apply to knowledge obtained as a result of participation in a Lawyers Assistance Program established by the Supreme Court and administered by the New Jersey State Bar Association, except as follows:
• (i) if the effect of discovered ethics infractions on the practice of an impaired attorney is irremediable or poses a substantial and imminent threat to the interests of clients, then attorney volunteers, peer counselors, or program staff have a duty to disclose the infractions to the disciplinary authorities, and attorney volunteers have the obligation to apply immediately for the appointment of a conservator, who also has the obligation to report ethics infractions to disciplinary authorities; and
• (ii) attorney volunteers or peer counselors assisting the impaired attorney in conjunction with his or her practice have the same responsibility as any other lawyer to deal candidly with clients, but that responsibility does not include the duty to disclose voluntarily, without inquiry by the client, information of past violations or present violations that did not or do not pose a serious danger to clients.
Note: Adopted July 12, 1984, to be effective September 10, 1984; new paragraph (d) adopted October 5, 1993, to be effective immediately; paragraphs (a) and (b) amended November 17, 2003 to be effective January 1, 2004.
RPC 8.4. Misconduct
It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to:
• (a) violate or attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of another;
• (b) commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects;
• (c) engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation;
• (d) engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice;
• (e) state or imply an ability to influence improperly a government agency or official or to achieve results by means that violate the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law;
• (f) knowingly assist a judge or judicial officer in conduct that is a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct or other law;
• (g) engage, in a professional capacity, in conduct involving discrimination (except employment discrimination unless resulting in a final agency or judicial determination) because of race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, language, marital status, socioeconomic status, or handicap where the conduct is intended or likely to cause harm.
Note: Adopted July 12, 1984, to be effective September 10, 1984; paragraph (g) adopted July 18, 1990, to be

RPC 1.7. Conflict of Interest: General Rule
• (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), a lawyer shall not represent a client if the representation involves a concurrent conflict of interest. A concurrent conflict of interest exists if:
o (1) the representation of one client will be directly adverse to another client; or
o (2) there is a significant risk that the representation of one or more clients will be materially limited by the lawyer’s responsibilities to another client, a former client, or a third person or by a personal interest of the lawyer.
• (b) Notwithstanding the existence of a concurrent conflict of interest under paragraph (a), a lawyer may represent a client if:
o (1) each affected client gives informed consent, confirmed in writing, after full disclosure and consultation, provided, however, that a public entity cannot consent to any such representation. When the lawyer represents multiple clients in a single matter, the consultation shall include an explanation of the common representation and the advantages and risks involved;
o (2) the lawyer reasonably believes that the lawyer will be able to provide competent and diligent representation to each affected client;
o (3) the representation is not prohibited by law; and
o (4) the representation does not involve the assertion of a claim by one client against another client represented by the lawyer in the same litigation or other proceeding before a tribunal.
Note: Adopted July 12, 1984 to be effective September 10, 1984; text deleted and new text adopted November 17, 2003 to be effective January 1, 2004.
RPC 1.8. Conflict of Interest: Current Clients; Specific Rules
• (a) A lawyer shall not enter into a business transaction with a client or knowingly acquire an ownership, possessory, security or other pecuniary interest adverse to a client unless:
o (1) the transaction and terms in which the lawyer acquires the interest are fair and reasonable to the client and are fully disclosed and transmitted in writing to the client in a manner that can be understood by the client;
o (2) the client is advised in writing of the desirability of seeking and is given a reasonable opportunity to seek the advice of independent legal counsel of the client’s choice concerning the transaction; and
o (3) the client gives informed consent, in a writing signed by the client, to the essential terms of the transaction and the lawyer’s role in the transaction, including whether the lawyer is representing the client in the transaction.
• (b) Except as permitted or required by these rules, a lawyer shall not use information relating to representation of a client to the disadvantage of the client unless the client after full disclosure and consultation, gives informed consent.
• (c) A lawyer shall not solicit any substantial gift from a client, including a testamentary gift, or prepare on behalf of a client an instrument giving the lawyer or a person related to the lawyer any substantial gift unless the lawyer or other recipient of the gift is related to the client. For purposes of this paragraph, related persons include a spouse, child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, or other relative or individual with whom the lawyer or the client maintains a close, familial relationship.
• (d) Prior to the conclusion of representation of a client, a lawyer shall not make or negotiate an agreement giving the lawyer literary or media rights to a portrayal or account based in substantial part on information relating to the representation.
• (e) A lawyer shall not provide financial assistance to a client in connection with pending or contemplated litigation, except that:
o (1) a lawyer may advance court costs and expenses of litigation, the repayment of which may be contingent on the outcome of the matter; and
o (2) a lawyer representing an indigent client may pay court costs and expenses of litigation on behalf of the client; and
o (3) a non-profit organization authorized under R. 1:21-1(e) may provide financial assistance to indigent clients whom it is representing without fee.
• (f) A lawyer shall not accept compensation for representing a client from one other than the client unless:
o (1) the client gives informed consent;
o (2) there is no interference with the lawyer’s independence of professional judgment or with the lawyer-client relationship; and
o (3) information relating to representation of a client is protected as required by RPC 1.6.
• (g) A lawyer who represents two or more clients shall not participate in making an aggregate settlement of the claims of or against the clients, or in a criminal case an aggregated agreement as to guilty or no contest pleas, unless each client gives informed consent after a consultation that shall include disclosure of the existence and nature of all the claims or pleas involved and of the participation of each person in the settlement.
• (h) A lawyer shall not:
o (1) make an agreement prospectively limiting the lawyer’s liability to a client for malpractice unless the client fails to act in accordance with the lawyer’s advice and the lawyer nevertheless continues to represent the client at the client’s request. Notwithstanding the existence of those two conditions, the lawyer shall not make such an agreement unless permitted by law and the client is independently represented in making the agreement; or
o (2) settle a claim or potential claim for such liability with an unrepresented client or former client unless that person is advised in writing of the desirability of seeking and is given a reasonable opportunity to seek the advise of independent legal counsel in connection therewith.
• (i) A lawyer shall not acquire a proprietary interest in the cause of action or subject matter of litigation the lawyer is conducting for a client, except that the lawyer may: (1) acquire a lien granted by law to secure the lawyer’s fee or expenses, (2) contract with a client for a reasonable contingent fee in a civil case.
• (j) While lawyers are associated in a firm, a prohibition in the foregoing paragraphs (a) through (i) that applies to any one of them shall apply to all of them.
• (k) A lawyer employed by a public entity, either as a lawyer or in some other role, shall not undertake the representation of another client if the representation presents a substantial risk that the lawyer’s responsibilities to the public entity would limit the lawyer’s ability to provide independent advice or diligent and competent representation to either the public entity or the client.
• (l) A public entity cannot consent to a representation otherwise prohibited by this Rule.
Note: Adopted September 10, 1984 to be effective immediately; paragraph (e) amended July 12, 2002 to be effective September 3, 2002; caption amended, paragraphs (a), (b), (c), (f), (g), (h) amended, former paragraph (i) deleted, former paragraph (j) redesignated as paragraph (i), former paragraph (k) deleted, and new paragraphs (j) , (k) and (l) added November 17, 2003 to be effective January 1, 2004.
RPC 1.10. Imputation of Conflicts of Interest: General Rule
• (a) When lawyers are associated in a firm, none of them shall knowingly represent a client when any one of them practicing alone would be prohibited from doing so by RPC 1.7 or RPC 1.9, unless the prohibition is based on a personal interest of the prohibited lawyer and does not present a significant risk of materially limiting the representation of the client by the remaining lawyers in the firm.
• (b) When a lawyer has terminated an association with a firm, the firm is not prohibited from thereafter representing a person with interests materially adverse to those of a client represented by the formerly associated lawyer and not currently represented by the firm, unless:
o (1) the matter is the same or substantially related to that in which the formerly associated lawyer represented the client; and
o (2) any lawyer remaining in the firm has information protected by RPC 1.6 and RPC 1.9(c) that is material to the matter.
• (c) When a lawyer becomes associated with a firm, no lawyer associated in the firm shall knowingly represent a person in a matter in which that lawyer is disqualified under RPC 1.9 unless:
o (1) the matter does not involve a proceeding in which the personally disqualified lawyer had primary responsibility;
o (2) the personally disqualified lawyer is timely screened from any participation in the matter and is apportioned no part of the fee therefrom; and
o (3) written notice is promptly given to any affected former client to enable it to ascertain compliance with the provisions of this Rule.
• (d) A disqualification prescribed by this rule may be waived by the affected client under the conditions stated in RPC 1.7.
• (e) The disqualification of lawyers associated in a firm with former or current government lawyers is governed by RPC 1.11.
• (f) Any law firm that enters a screening arrangement, as provided by this Rule,shall establish appropriate written procedures to insure that: (1) all attorneys and other personnel in the law firm screen the personally disqualified attorney from any participation in the matter, (2) the screened attorney acknowledges the obligation to remain screened and takes action to insure the same, and (3) the screened attorney is apportioned no part of the fee therefrom.
Note: Adopted July 12, 1984 to be effective September 10, 1984; paragraph (b) corrected in Dewey v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 109 N.J. 201, 217-18 (1988); caption and paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) amended, paragraph (d) deleted, former paragraph (e) amended and redesignated as paragraph (d), new paragraphs (e) and (f) adopted November 17, 2003
RPC 1.13. Organization as the Client
• (a) A lawyer employed or retained to represent an organization represents the organization as distinct from its directors, officers, employees, members, shareholders or other constituents. For the purposes of RPC 4.2 and 4.3, however, the organization’s lawyer shall be deemed to represent not only the organizational entity but also the members of its litigation control group. Members of the litigation control group shall be deemed to include current agents and employees responsible for, or significantly involved in, the determination of the organization’s legal position in the matter whether or not in litigation, provided, however, that “significant involvement” requires involvement greater, and other than, the supplying of factual information or data respecting the matter. Former agents and employees who were members of the litigation control group shall presumptively be deemed to be represented in the matter by the organization’s lawyer but may at any time disavow said representation.
• (b) If a lawyer for an organization knows that an officer, employee or other person associated with the organization is engaged in action, intends to act or refuses to act in a matter related to the representation that is a violation of a legal obligation to the organization, or a violation of law which reasonably might be imputed to the organization, and is likely to result in substantial injury to the organization, the lawyer shall proceed as is reasonably necessary in the best interest of the organization. In determining how to proceed, the lawyer shall give due consideration to the seriousness of the violation and its consequences, the scope and nature of the lawyer’s representation, the responsibility in the organization and the apparent motivation of the person involved, the policies of the organization concerning such matters and any other relevant considerations. Any measures taken shall be designed to minimize disruption of the organization and the risk of revealing information relating to the representation to persons outside the organization. Such measures may include among others:
o (1) asking reconsideration of the matter;
o (2) advising that a separate legal opinion on the matter be sought for presentation to appropriate authority in the organization; and
o (3) referring the matter to higher authority in the organization, including, if warranted by the seriousness of the matter, referral to the highest authority that can act in behalf of the organization as determined by applicable law.
• (c) When the organization’s highest authority insists upon action, or refuses to take action, that is clearly a violation of a legal obligation to the organization, or a violation of law which reasonably might be imputed to the organization, and is likely to result in substantial injury to the organization, the lawyer may take further remedial action that the lawyer reasonably believes to be in the best interest of the organization. Such action may include revealing information otherwise protected by RPC 1.6 only if the lawyer reasonably believes that:
o (1) the highest authority in the organization has acted to further the personal or financial interests of members of that authority which are in conflict with the interests of the organization; and
o (2) revealing the information is necessary in the best interest of the organization.
• (d) In dealing with an organization’s directors, officers, employees, members, shareholders or other constituents, a lawyer shall explain the identity of the client when the lawyer believes that such explanation is necessary to avoid misunderstanding on their part.
• (e) A lawyer representing an organization may also represent any of its directors, officers, employees, members, shareholders or other constituents, subject to the provisions of RPC 1.7. If the organization’s consent to the dual representation is required by RPC 1.7, the consent shall be given by an appropriate official of the organization other than the individual who is to be represented or by the shareholders.
• (f) For purposes of this rule “organization” includes any corporation, partnership, association, joint stock company, union, trust, pension fund, unincorporated association, proprietorship or other business entity, state or local government or political subdivision thereof, or non-profit organization.
Note: Adopted September 10, 1984, to be effective immediately; amended June 28, 1996, to be effective September 1, 1996.
RPC 1.8. Conflict of Interest: Current Clients; Specific Rules
• (a) A lawyer shall not enter into a business transaction with a client or knowingly acquire an ownership, possessory, security or other pecuniary interest adverse to a client unless:
o (1) the transaction and terms in which the lawyer acquires the interest are fair and reasonable to the client and are fully disclosed and transmitted in writing to the client in a manner that can be understood by the client;
o (2) the client is advised in writing of the desirability of seeking and is given a reasonable opportunity to seek the advice of independent legal counsel of the client’s choice concerning the transaction; and
o (3) the client gives informed consent, in a writing signed by the client, to the essential terms of the transaction and the lawyer’s role in the transaction, including whether the lawyer is representing the client in the transaction.
• (b) Except as permitted or required by these rules, a lawyer shall not use information relating to representation of a client to the disadvantage of the client unless the client after full disclosure and consultation, gives informed consent.
• (c) A lawyer shall not solicit any substantial gift from a client, including a testamentary gift, or prepare on behalf of a client an instrument giving the lawyer or a person related to the lawyer any substantial gift unless the lawyer or other recipient of the gift is related to the client. For purposes of this paragraph, related persons include a spouse, child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, or other relative or individual with whom the lawyer or the client maintains a close, familial relationship.
• (d) Prior to the conclusion of representation of a client, a lawyer shall not make or negotiate an agreement giving the lawyer literary or media rights to a portrayal or account based in substantial part on information relating to the representation.
• (e) A lawyer shall not provide financial assistance to a client in connection with pending or contemplated litigation, except that:
o (1) a lawyer may advance court costs and expenses of litigation, the repayment of which may be contingent on the outcome of the matter; and
o (2) a lawyer representing an indigent client may pay court costs and expenses of litigation on behalf of the client; and
o (3) a non-profit organization authorized under R. 1:21-1(e) may provide financial assistance to indigent clients whom it is representing without fee.
• (f) A lawyer shall not accept compensation for representing a client from one other than the client unless:
o (1) the client gives informed consent;
o (2) there is no interference with the lawyer’s independence of professional judgment or with the lawyer-client relationship; and
o (3) information relating to representation of a client is protected as required by RPC 1.6.
• (g) A lawyer who represents two or more clients shall not participate in making an aggregate settlement of the claims of or against the clients, or in a criminal case an aggregated agreement as to guilty or no contest pleas, unless each client gives informed consent after a consultation that shall include disclosure of the existence and nature of all the claims or pleas involved and of the participation of each person in the settlement.
• (h) A lawyer shall not:
o (1) make an agreement prospectively limiting the lawyer’s liability to a client for malpractice unless the client fails to act in accordance with the lawyer’s advice and the lawyer nevertheless continues to represent the client at the client’s request. Notwithstanding the existence of those two conditions, the lawyer shall not make such an agreement unless permitted by law and the client is independently represented in making the agreement; or
o (2) settle a claim or potential claim for such liability with an unrepresented client or former client unless that person is advised in writing of the desirability of seeking and is given a reasonable opportunity to seek the advise of independent legal counsel in connection therewith.
• (i) A lawyer shall not acquire a proprietary interest in the cause of action or subject matter of litigation the lawyer is conducting for a client, except that the lawyer may: (1) acquire a lien granted by law to secure the lawyer’s fee or expenses, (2) contract with a client for a reasonable contingent fee in a civil case.
• (j) While lawyers are associated in a firm, a prohibition in the foregoing paragraphs (a) through (i) that applies to any one of them shall apply to all of them.
• (k) A lawyer employed by a public entity, either as a lawyer or in some other role, shall not undertake the representation of another client if the representation presents a substantial risk that the lawyer’s responsibilities to the public entity would limit the lawyer’s ability to provide independent advice or diligent and competent representation to either the public entity or the client.
• (l) A public entity cannot consent to a representation otherwise prohibited by this Rule.
Note: Adopted September 10, 1984 to be effective immediately; paragraph (e) amended July 12, 2002 to be effective September 3, 2002; caption amended, paragraphs (a), (b), (c), (f), (g), (h) amended, former paragraph (i) deleted, former paragraph (j) redesignated as paragraph (i), former paragraph (k) deleted, and new paragraphs (j) , (k) and (l) added November 17, 2003 to be effective January 1, 2004.