A lawyer for two New York University School of Law students whose personal emails have been subpoenaed by a trustee of the school filed a motion to quash Friday afternoon, calling the subpoena a violation of their First Amendment rights.
The students—Luke Herrine, a 2L, and Leo Gertner, a 1L—circulated a petition in March asking dean Trevor Morrison for a meeting to discuss alleged violations of federal labor laws by trustee Daniel Straus’ companies, CareOne Management and HealthBridge Management.
CareOne has brought RICO claims against its workers union in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, Care One Management v. United Healthcare Workers East, SEIU 1199, 12 Civ. 6371
Straus’ family foundation endowed NYU’s Straus Institute for the Advanced Study of Law and Justice. He is an NYU Law graduate and once practiced with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.
Soon after delivering the petition to Morrison, the students received subpoenas from Care One demanding all private communications mentioning the company. The school hired alumnus John Cuti of Cuti Hecker Wang to defend the students and has agreed to cover all their legal expenses.
In the motion to quash, Cuti wrote that in addition to infringing on the students’ right to freedom of expression, the subpoenas were “facially overbroad … and were issued before Plaintiffs obtained a single document from, or deposed, any Defendant.”
In a statement Friday, a CareOne spokeswoman said the company believes the students may possess evidence relevant to the case.
“We are hopeful to be able to obtain the relevant information in a cooperative manner with as little inconvenience to the students as possible,” she said.
In an April 17 email to the NYU community, Morrison and the law school’s trustee board chair, Anthony Welters, called Straus a “dedicated member. of the board” while promising to support the students.
“We vigorously support the right of our students to express their views and to organize and participate in lawful demonstrations and other protest activity,” they wrote.
Attorneys for CareOne are K&L Gates partner Rosemary Alito and of counsel George Barbatsuly, both in Newark.