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PARTNER OF 9/11 VICTIM WINS A ROUND IN COURT NEW YORK — The longtime domestic partner of a World Trade Center victim should be given the opportunity to show she is entitled to a portion of a $530,000 award from the federal September 11th Victim Compensation fund, a Supreme Court justice in Brooklyn has ruled. The lawsuit pitted the victim’s domestic partner, Margaret Cruz, against the victim’s closest relative, her brother James McAneney. McAneney, who was recognized by the fund as his sister’s personal representative, has refused to share any portion of the award with Cruz. Under fund rules, the only person designated to file an application is the estate’s personal representative as designated under state law. The fund was set up in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to allow families of victims to recover compensation without having to file a lawsuit and show fault. The plaintiff, Cruz, reported having lived with the victim, Patricia McAneney, for 19 years before she was killed. McAneney, who died without a will, was a claims adjuster for a subsidiary of Marsh McLennan, which had its office on the 94th floor of One World Trade Center. Pointing to the nature of the relationship between McAneney and Cruz, Justice Yvonne Lewis wrote in Cruz v. McAneney, “It would seem equitable that she should receive a portion of any 9/11 fund.” Lewis, however, described the legal issues posed by the dispute as matters of “first impression.” In that regard, she noted, “the federal fund defers to New York State Law which appears to have no law of general applicability that allows for domestic partners to inherit.” Nonetheless, Justice Lewis denied McAneney’s motion to dismiss and directed him to get further information from the fund as to how the award was calculated. — New York Law Journal 3RD CIRCUIT RULES ON DEPORTATION DISPUTES PHILADELPHIA — Ruling on a fundamental issue in immigration law that has splintered the federal circuits, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that an alien seeking a stay of a deportation order must satisfy a four-part test modeled on the standard for granting a preliminary injunction. In Douglas v. Ashcroft, the Third Circuit adopted the standard used in the First, Second and Sixth Circuits. In doing so, the court rejected the Ninth Circuit’s test as too lax and said it found the Eleventh Circuit’s test too strict. Third Circuit Judge Dolores Sloviter found that the Third Circuit has never addressed, in a published opinion, the “standard of review for assessing a motion to stay removal of an alien pending judicial review.” Looking to other circuits for guidance, Sloviter found that the courts are splintered but that most have applied the standard for granting a preliminary injunction. Under the preliminary injunction standard, Sloviter said, a petitioner requesting a stay of a deportation order “must demonstrate (1) a likelihood of success on the merits of the underlying petition; (2) that irreparable harm would occur if a stay is not granted; (3) that the potential harm to the moving party outweighs the harm to the opposing party if a stay is not granted; and (4) that the granting of the stay would serve the public interest.” — The Legal Intelligencer JENKENS & GILCHRIST SUES TWO ATTORNEYS DALLAS — In a dispute arising out of a multimillion-dollar patent licensing program, Jenkens & Gilchrist is asking a Texas state court to block two attorneys formerly with the firm from disclosing “trade secrets and confidential information” that Jenkens alleges belong to the firm and an unnamed client. Jenkens and L. Steven Leshin, a shareholder in the firm, filed the suit on June 25 in Dallas’ 162nd District Court. The firm and Leshin allege in their petition in Jenkens & Gilchrist and L. Steven Leshin v. Stuart D. Dwork and Roger Maxwell that Dwork and Maxwell “drafted and threatened to file legal papers” that would cause “substantial harm” to the firm and an unnamed client. “This is a case where two employees seek more money as a direct result of what they believe was there contribution to a contingency fee licensing agreement,” Michael Lynn, Jenkens’ attorney, says. Lynn says the firm and Leshin filed Jenkens, which seeks a declaratory judgment that they don’t owe Dwork and Maxwell, as a pre-emptive strike. Michael Shore, an attorney representing Dwork and Maxwell, says his clients planned to file a suit to enforce a fee-splitting agreement the two had with the firm and Leshin. The materials that the two attorneys threaten to disclose if they file a suit include a large amount of confidential information that Dwork received from the client while representing it, Jenkens and Leshin allege in their petition. — Texas Lawyer N.Y. COMMISSIONERS ATTACK ELECTION RULES ALBANY, N.Y. — Three members of the state Commission on Judicial Conduct said Tuesday that New York’s rules governing judicial candidates are so restrictive that they violate the First Amendment. The commissioners’ position, expressed in a case about a town justice, puts them at odds with both the panel on which they serve and the state’s highest court, which reviews their work. The commissioners said that New York’s rules cannot rationally survive constitutional scrutiny — regardless of a court of appeals decision to the contrary — and that the state should either scrap judicial elections or permit candidates for judgeships to behave like the politicians they are. “We have chosen to throw most of our judges headfirst into the political process by requiring them to run in partisan judicial elections,” wrote Commissioner Richard Emery. “If the state were genuinely concerned about insulating its judges from politics, then the state could, and would, abolish judicial elections altogether.” Emery was joined by Commissioners Stephen Coffey and Colleen DiPirro. Although they strongly disagreed with the rule they were enforcing, the three concurred with the outcome of a case involving Amherst Town Justice Mark G. Farrell, a public admonishment. Justice Farrell, while seeking party support to run for a higher judicial office in 1999, made political calls on behalf of and at the behest of a Democratic Party leader. His campaign committee also contributed to the political organization. — New York Law Journal

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