Our verdicts and settlements span a wide variety of civil rights disputes. Examples include:
In 2014, NSB won the largest wrongful conviction jury verdict in U.S. history on behalf of Jeffrey Deskovic. Deskovic served more than 16 years in prison for the rape and murder of a high school classmate before DNA testing identified the true perpetrator. NSB proved that officers had fabricated and coerced a false confession from the teenaged Deskovic, and that a medical examiner had fabricated false evidence to explain away DNA results that excluded Deskovic before trial. In total, NSB won more than $23 million in settlements for Deskovic, the largest total settlement collected by an individual in a wrongful conviction case.
NSB represented the family of Israel Greenwald, a businessman and father-of-two who had information implicating “Mafia Cops” Louis Eppolito and Steven Caracappa in a stunning pattern of corruption and organized crime. After Eppolito and Caracappa were convicted on criminal racketeering charges, the City of New York declined to indemnify them. So NSB developed a novel theory based on the City’s failure to discipline Eppolito before his racketeering acts began, and developed a hard-to-prove Monell claim directly against the City. As a result, in 2015 NSB won a won one of the biggest settlements the City of New York has ever paid on a Monell claim, paving the way for Eppolito and Caracappa’s other victims to collect.
NSB successfully represented the family of a native American man named Emil Mann at trial in 2011. Mr. Mann, a member of the Ramapaugh Lenape Indian Nation, had been barbecueing with friends in a park during the daytime and was unarmed when he was shot and killed by New Jersey State Parks Police. In addition to punitive damages against the officer, NSB won a damages award against the State that included the first ever jury award in New Jersey for Section 1983 loss-of-life damages.
Prison and Jail Litigation:
In 2016, NSB won a historic settlement against Sheriff Marlin Gusman of Orleans Parish Prison in New Orleans, Louisiana, for the family of U.S. Coast Guard Commander William Goetzee, who suffered a mental breakdown and tried to take his own life after working around the clock during and after the BP Oil Spill and Hurricane Katrina. Because Commander Goetzee had tried to take his own life using a Federal Officer’s gun, he was placed in the Orleans Parish Prison, where NSB proved that he was left unsupervised and committed suicide despite being on suicide watch, and written policies requiring that suicidal inmates be watched at all times. In 2016, the Sheriff settled the lawsuit NSB brought on behalf of Commander Goetzee’s siblings for more than twice the amount of any previous settlement against the jail.
In 2016, NSB won one of the largest civil rights settlements in the history of Mississippi, on behalf of three African-American men who were framed for rape and murder in Hattiesburg, Mississippi in 1979. NSB proved that local law enforcement targeted three innocent men and through racially motivated violence and threats of further violence, coerced two of them into falsely confessing to the rape and murder of a young, white woman. Although two of the men died during their more than 27 years in a prison and a third died soon after their release, NSB was able to secure $16,516,000 for their respective families. This lawsuit continues in an effort to secure addition insurance funds for the families.
Read some of our testimonials here.