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12th Annual Municipal Law Institute

 
Author(s): June A. Witterschein, Martha J. Mullen
Practice Area: Municipal Law
Published: Jul 2012
ISBN: 9781402418211
PLI Item #: 35235
CHB Spine #: C232

Suzanne A. Beddoe is Commissioner & Chief Administrative Law Judge of the NYC Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH).  As of July 2011, OATH has been comprised of four different administrative tribunals and Ms. Beddoe has managed the agency through a period of change as it has grown into the largest municipal administrative court in the country. During her tenure, OATH has eliminated approximately 10,000 backlogged cases across its tribunals.  Under her leadership, OATH's tribunals have significantly increased access to justice for the hundreds of thousands of respondents who interact with its courts each year through its focus on using innovative technologies. OATH's tribunals have instituted online appeals, hearings-by-phone and hearings online, as well as the use of videoconferencing technology for in-person hearings from remote locations. Ms. Beddoe earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Yale and received her law degree from Columbia Law School. 


David B. Goldin has served since 2006 as Administrative Justice Coordinator in the Office of the Mayor and is the first person to hold that position.  Previously, he had served, since 2002, as Chief Litigating Deputy County Attorney in the Office of the Nassau County Attorney.  Before that, he held the position of Counsel to the former New York City Board of Education from 1999 to 2002.  From 1989 through 1999, he was Assistant Corporation Counsel in the New York City Law Department; during that time, he served as Deputy Chief of the Department’s Affirmative Litigation Division from 1997 to 1999 and as Acting General Counsel of the New York City Off-Track Betting Corporation from 1995 to 1996.  Before joining the government, he was in private practice with Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard, P.C., and Debevoise & Plimpton.  He is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School.


Georgia Pestana has been the Chief of the New York City Law Department's Labor and Employment Law Division since the division was created in 2002. The Labor and Employment Law Division handles all litigation arising out of the City's role as employer of more than a quarter-million workers. Cases range from employment discrimination and First Amendment retaliation actions to litigation challenging  disciplinary sanctions, civil service matters, and labor disputes. The forty-seven Labor and Employment attorneys supervised by Ms. Pestana litigate cases brought against every city agency in federal and state courts, as well as before the New York State Division of Human Rights and other administrative fora.   

Prior to becoming chief of Labor and Employment Law, Ms. Pestana was a Deputy Chief in the Law Department's General Litigation Division where she started her career as an Assistant Corporation Counsel in 1987.

Education:
 NYU School of Law, J.D. 1987
 Barnard College, B.A. 1984


Gideon graduated from Brooklyn Law School in 2003. 

Just before the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City, Gideon volunteered to be a Legal Observer(tm) with the National Lawyers Guild – New York City Chapter (www.nlgnyc.org). 

Since then, Gideon has represented hundreds of actual and perceived “protesters" in criminal and civil cases, beginning with the 2004 RNC and continuing through a years-long crackdown on Critical Mass bicycle rides in New York City after the 2004 RNC. More recently, Gideon represented hundreds in connection with the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Beginning in 2004 and through 2012, Gideon was on the Executive Committee of the NLG-NYC. Gideon was a Co-Vice-President of the NLG-NYC in 2005. In 2008, Gideon was honored by the NLG-NYC at its annual gala. Gideon was the President of the NLG-NYC in 2011, at the height of the Occupy Wall Street movement. 

In 2006, Gideon was named Attorney of the Year by the Freewheels Bicycle Defense Fund. 

Between 2004 and 2008, Gideon practiced law with his father, Lewis B. Oliver, Jr. 

Between 2008 and 2009, he practiced law with Elizabeth M. Fink and Sarah Kunstler.

Gideon has been a solo since 2009.


Holly Johnson has served as an Assistant Attorney General with the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia ("OAG") for the past ten years. She currently works in the OAG's Office of the Solicitor General, where she represents the District of Columbia in administrative and civil appeals in the District of Columbia Circuit the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. Ms. Johnson also has served as a Section Chief, and before that a trial attorney, with the OAG's Civil Litigation Division. 

Ms. Johnson attended Vassar College for her undergraduate degree and Boston College Law School for her juris doctor. She is a member of the bar in New York and the District of Columbia, and is a retired member of the bar in Massachusetts.


Elizabeth Figueroa was appointed as an Administrative Law Judge for the District of Columbia Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) in December 2006. She currently presides over Board of Appeals and Review, Child Support Enforcement, Department of Environment, Fire and Emergency Medical Services, Department of Health, Department of Healthcare Finance, Department of Human Services, Department of Transportation, Department of Public Works, Metropolitan Police Department, Office of Planning, and Taxicab Commission cases. Judge Figueroa has served on the OAH Rules, Mediation, Case Management, and Pro Bono Committees. Judge Figueroa came to OAH after a 20-year career in the non-profit and private sectors, with a primary focus on real estate and non-profit housing. Judge Figueroa received her juris doctorate from Antioch School of Law. She is a member of the District of Columbia and Wisconsin bars. 


John P. Dean has been an Administrative Law Judge with the District of Columbia Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) since 2004, when OAH began its operations. He is presently a Principal Administrative Law Judge in OAH's Health and Human Services cluster. From 2000 to 2004, Judge Dean served as an Administrative Law Judge in the District of Columbia Department of Health's Office of Adjudication and Hearings, the pilot program that preceded the establishment of OAH. 
 
Before becoming an Administrative Law Judge, Judge Dean was in private practice for 19 years in the Washington offices of Donovan Leisure Newton & Irvine and Willkie Farr & Gallagher.
 
Judge Dean graduated from Cathedral College in 1971 and from Columbia Law School in 1979. He served as Articles and Book Reviews editor of the Columbia Law Review and was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar during each of his three years at law school. After law school, Judge Dean was a law clerk for the Honorable Roger Robb of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and for Justice Harry A. Blackmun of the Supreme Court of the United States.


June Witterschein is the Law Department's Director of Professional Development, where she creates and implements the Continuing Legal Education curriculum for the Department’s 900 plus attorneys.  June and her staff are responsible for programming for the professional development of the Department’s employees, and they oversee the agency's diversity training programs, and the Department's Coaching Collaborative. June began her legal career in the Law Department in 1978 in the Appeals Division, and then served as Deputy Chief of the Legal Counsel Division. In 1990, June left the Department and later served as a law clerk to the then Presiding Judge Sylvia Pressler of the New Jersey Appellate Division.  June taught for nine years at Seton Hall University School of Law, before returning to the Law Department in 2003.

June is admitted to practice in the Courts of the State of New York, the US Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, and the United States Supreme Court. She currently serves on the Mediation Panel of the Southern District of New York, and on the Law Department's Management Committee. June is also a member of the New York City Bar Association’s Committee to Enhance Diversity in the Profession.


Martha J. Mullen is a Senior Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Litigation Division for the District of Columbia’s Office of the Attorney General.  She has been with the office for nineteen years during which time she has litigated major class actions, Section 1983, Title VII, ADA, FLSA, and WPA claims as well as wrongful death, survival actions, and medical malpractice cases. This is her fifteenth year co-chairing the Municipal Law Institute.


Peter G. Farrell is employed by the New York City Law Department as a Deputy Chief of the Special Federal Litigation Division.   Mr. Farrell and the Division practice exclusively in federal court and defend the City of New York and its municipal employees against individual and class actions brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 alleging violations of the United States Constitution and state law.

Mr. Farrell’s management responsibilities as Deputy Chief include the oversight of the Division’s more than 100 attorneys with whom he meets regularly to assess the merits and decide the appropriate litigation strategy for every case within the Division.  

In addition to his management responsibilities, Mr. Farrell has led the City’s defense for the past several years of three cases brought in the district courts of New York and New Jersey that alleged the NYPD had a policy of conducting unlawful surveillance and investigations based upon religion.  Handschu v. Special Services Division and Raza v. City of New York were successfully resolved in 2017 after a fairness hearing and included revisions to the NYPD’s guidelines that govern counter-terrorism investigations and the New Jersey case, Hassan v. City of New York, was settled in 2018.

Mr. Farrell previously supervised and led the City’s defense in over one-hundred individual and class action cases arising out of arrests of protesters during the 2004 Republican National Convention (“RNC”).  As part of that litigation, he successfully argued that the City’s “no summons” policy at RNC protests met the strict scrutiny standard of review and the policy was deemed constitutional.  In addition, the City prevailed on its assertion of the law enforcement privilege over confidential intelligence documents and created leading 2d Circuit precedent on the law enforcement privilege. In Re City of New York, 607 F.3d 923 (2d Cir. 2010). 

Mr. Farrell was also one of the attorneys who successfully defended at trial the NYPD’s policy of conducting random bag searches when entering the NYC subway in the case of MacWade v. City of New York.  He has also successfully defended at trial cases asserting claims of false arrest and excessive force against individual police officers. 

Mr. Farrell graduated cum laude from the SUNY Buffalo Law School in 1990 where he was a member of the Buffalo Law Review and began his career at Lord Day and Lord, Barrett Smith and subsequently worked at Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP before moving to the NYC Law Department in 2002.


Sami Naim is Assistant Counselor to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. In this role, he works on a variety of issues, including but not limited to the areas of non-partisan election reform, ethics / conflicts of interest, e-rulemaking, and communications law. He also serves as City Hall's Deputy Records Access Officer, co-counsel to the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, and mayoral appointee to the board of the Queens Public Library. 

Prior to working at the Office of the Mayor, Mr. Naim served as Assistant Counsel at the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.  In this role, he worked on matters in the areas of administrative law, eminent domain, constitutional law, public-private partnerships, and agency rulemaking. He also served as the agency's Records Access Officer, and on the selection committee for high-profile Parks concessions. 

Mr. Naim earned a B.A. from McGill University, and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. 


Sheryl Neufeld is a Senior Counsel in the Administrative Law Division of the New York City Law Department where she has worked since 1999. In this role she has handled all aspects of complex litigation in both state and federal courts involving a broad array of regulatory and constitutional issues, including those surrounding parades and demonstrations in the City.

She received her B.S. from Cornell University in 1996 and her J.D. from Boston University School of Law in 1999. In 2004 she received the Association of the Bar of the City of New York's Committee on New York City Affairs' award for Outstanding Achievement in the New York City Law Department.


Stephen Louis has been the Chief of the Legal Counsel Division of the New York City Law Department since 1997. In this position, Mr. Louis directs a unit of attorneys that advises the Mayor, other elected officials and New York City agencies on a wide range of municipal law issues, and drafts and reviews City, State and federal legislation and City agency rules. Recent efforts have included such disparate matters as working with the Taxi and Limousine Commission on its new Five Borough Taxi program, establishing new rules to reduce emissions from boilers, and providing advice to the City's Chief Digital Officer regarding the City's expanding use of social media. He and others in his unit provide advice regarding FOIL inquiries and are in charge of the Law Department's own FOIL responses. Mr. Louis has served on several committees of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, including chairing the Government Counsel Committee.  He won the New York County Lawyers' Association Award for Outstanding Public Service in 2002, and won the Corporation Counsel's Award for Distinguished Legal Service in 2010

Mr. Louis is a graduate of Columbia College and Columbia University School of Law. In addition to his work at the Law Department, Mr. Louis was employed as an associate at the law firm of Lord, Day and Lord, Barrett Smith, in its real estate unit.


Susan Rogerson Pondish has been the Deputy General Counsel at the New York City Department of Transportation ("NYCDOT") since May, 2005.  In this position Susan assists in the management of the five offices which report to the Division of Legal Affairs: the Office of the General Counsel, providing the in-house legal work for the Department; the Office of Litigation Support and Records Management which assists the NYC Corporation Counsel's litigating divisions in DOT related lawsuits and processes FOIL requests; the Office of Environmental Compliance Assessment which reviews and provides advice regarding the Agency's environmental responsibilities; the Office of Coordinated Street Furniture Franchise/Bikes and Buildings which oversees a $2billion contract for installation and maintenance of bus shelters, newsstands and automatic public toilets and the Agency's bikes in buildings program; and the Office of Franchises, Concessions & Consents which grants permission to entities and individuals to occupy and use the streets, sidewalks and ferry terminals under DOT's jurisdiction.  Susan provides guidance and legal support to senior staff and Agency Divisions including Traffic and Planning, Bridges, Roadway Repair and Maintenance, Ferries, and Sidewalks and Inspection Management on matters relating to contracts, Agency rules and regulations, labor and employment, ethics, security, risk management, intellectual property, land use, and environmental issues, and provides assistance and  counsel on behalf of NYCDOT to the NYC Corporation Counsel's Office regarding a varied litigation portfolio.

Prior to working for NYCDOT, Ms. Rogerson Pondish was an attorney for nine years for the NYC Corporation Counsel, where she served as a Senior Counsel for most of her tenure and where she litigated, tried and settled numerous high profile civil cases including, inter alia, the 2003 Staten Island Ferry accident and World Trade Center related litigation. Susan holds a law degree from Fordham University School of Law, an M.P.A. from New York University's Wagner School of Public Service, and a B.A. in Political Science from SUNY Albany.


Martha J. Mullen is a Senior Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Litigation Division for the District of Columbia’s Office of the Attorney General.  She has been with the office for nineteen years during which time she has litigated major class actions, Section 1983, Title VII, ADA, FLSA, and WPA claims as well as wrongful death, survival actions, and medical malpractice cases. This is her fifteenth year co-chairing the Municipal Law Institute.


June Witterschein is the Law Department's Director of Professional Development, where she creates and implements the Continuing Legal Education curriculum for the Department’s 900 plus attorneys.  June and her staff are responsible for programming for the professional development of the Department’s employees, and they oversee the agency's diversity training programs, and the Department's Coaching Collaborative. June began her legal career in the Law Department in 1978 in the Appeals Division, and then served as Deputy Chief of the Legal Counsel Division. In 1990, June left the Department and later served as a law clerk to the then Presiding Judge Sylvia Pressler of the New Jersey Appellate Division.  June taught for nine years at Seton Hall University School of Law, before returning to the Law Department in 2003.

June is admitted to practice in the Courts of the State of New York, the US Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, and the United States Supreme Court. She currently serves on the Mediation Panel of the Southern District of New York, and on the Law Department's Management Committee. June is also a member of the New York City Bar Association’s Committee to Enhance Diversity in the Profession.