Over the last month, Sher Tremonte LLP has notched three significant victories in pro bono cases.
In May, associate and Pro Bono Coordinator Noam Biale won release of a lawful permanent resident who had been detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) for nearly a year-and-a-half and who was at risk for immediate deportation. Judge Pamela K. Chen of the Eastern District of New York appointed Sher Tremonte to represent the individual, who had filed a pro se coram nobis petition in her court. Working with state appellate lawyers and immigration counsel, Mr. Biale was able to help our client take advantage of a change in New York law that made his prior conviction no longer a deportable offense, and won his release from immigration custody.
Also in May, counsel Erica Wolff, along with co-founding partner Michael Tremonte and associates Tasha Branford and Anna Estevao, represented a woman in a civil rights case in federal district court in White Plains. Our client had been the victim of excessive force by an officer in the Putnam County Sheriffs’ Office, who had used an inappropriate maneuver to tackle her to the ground causing her to sustain serious injuries to her face. The firm was again appointed by the court, in this case to take the matter to trial. Ms. Wolff and the Sher Tremonte team prepared the case in an extremely short period of time, and, on the eve of trial, obtained a very favorable settlement.
Finally, on June 18, Sher Tremonte won a pro bono victory in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, obtaining a rare reversal of the district court in a summary order. Our client, Kevin Jefferson, had pursued a civil rights claim in the Eastern District of New York, but the district court dismissed his case for failure to prosecute because he missed one court deadline and then failed to pay a monetary sanction the court had imposed on him, which he could not afford. On appeal, associate Amanda Ravich (with Noam Biale) argued that delays in the district court were caused by both parties and the court itself, and that the monetary sanction violated due process. The Second Circuit agreed, holding that the dismissal of Mr. Jefferson’s case was an abuse of discretion, and imposition of a monetary sanction he could not afford was plain error.
Sher Tremonte maintains an active pro bono docket, reflecting the firm’s substantial commitment to litigating on behalf of clients in the public interest. The firm has appeared as pro bono counsel at all levels of the state and federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, and its reputation for “punch[ing] above [its] weight” in the public interest arena was profiled last year in Law360.