Heyliger v. Collins

Judge David E. Peebles

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Heyliger’s pro se defamation suit arose from his 2010 arrest—and prosecution—by Binghamton police. The court dismissed Heyliger’s claims against Jackson, a former prosecutor in the Broome County District Attorney’s Office (BCDA) from 2002 until he created Jackson Bergman LLP in May 2011 with former prosecutor Bergman. Since Jan. 2014 Jackson Bergman LLP represented the Binghamton Press & Sun and others named in Heyliger’s second amended complaint. Granting Heyliger’s motion, the court disqualified Jackson Bergman’s representation of the Binghamton Press defendants because Jackson prosecuted Heyliger for alleged crimes giving rise to his defamation claims. Discussing Rule 1.11 of the New York Rules of Professional Conduct, the court found Jackson represents the Binghamton Press defendants in “a matter in which [he] participated personally and substantially as a public officer.” Nor was it apparent how any BDCA consent to representation would eliminate the risk of detriment to the public’s trust in the integrity of the legal bar. Permitting Jackson to defend the Binghamton Press defendants would allow him the opportunity to appeal to, and possibly rely upon, knowledge acquired through Heyliger’s criminal prosecution.