Success Stories

Recent News & Verdicts
  • Barket Epstein Client Acquitted of All Criminal Charges in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
    Criminal Defense

    Founding partner Bruce Barket and associate Aida Leisenring recently secured the acquittal of our client in a high profile federal criminal case that was hailed by federal prosecutors as the largest no-fault insurance fraud in history. The client was facing up to 15 years in prison.

    Reporting on the acquittal from both Newsday and the New York Law Journal can be viewed by clicking on the links below.

  • Kevin Kearon Secures Favorable Sentence for Client in LIRR Disability Case
    Criminal Defense
    Judge sentences LIRR retiree to community work but no jail time in a disability fraud case. Click here to read the full article.
  • CASE SETTLED
    Significant Settlement Secured for Man Injured by Police

    In December 2023, led by Alexander Klein and John LoTurco, Barket Epstein secured a $275,000 settlement on behalf of a downtrodden man with the initials S.L., who had stolen $4.38 in beer from a local 7-11 and then sustained extensive physical injuries in a resulting scuffle with law enforcement.

    Upon the intervention of police, S.L. reacted poorly and resisted law enforcement’s attempt to apprehend him.  The scuffle was captured on video, which showed police immediately bringing S.L. to the ground and, ultimately, four members of law enforcement on top of him—who was unarmed and had his back, and then his chest, pinned to the pavement. Despite several minutes of footage, there was no clear depiction of the officers throwing punches or kicks.  And when they lifted S.L. off the ground, where his face had just been planted, there were no markings of blood.  He was then escorted off the scene without visible injury, as confirmed by three different onlookers.  Yet by the time S.L. wound up at a nearby hospital the same day, however, his health had changed.  His nose was now fractured, his orbital bones had suffered a “blow-out,” and he had suffered internal injury inside his head. 

    During the course of the representation, Klein secured expert reports demonstrating that the narrative offered by police for how S.L. sustained his injuries was medically implausible, and the case settled on the doorstep of trial. 

  • Wrongfully Convicted Client
    Firm Secures County, State Settlements Totalling $13.8 Million for Wrongfully Convicted Client

    Led by Bruce Barket, Alexander Klein and John LoTurco, the firm drew widespread attention when it secured $13.8 million on behalf of a man who had been wrongfully convicted of a string of robberies in the 1980s. 

    After having spent a quarter century in prison, Rodolfo Taylor’s conviction was vacated pursuant to his discovery of undisclosed Brady materials that were attendant to every civilian witness who had testified against him at trial.  The breathtaking scope of undisclosed materials includes a statement from one witness in which he identified “with no hesitation and … without a doubt” that the person who robbed him was someone else.  The same day, in fact, that other target was selected as the perpetrator by an additional eyewitness.  Despite the exculpatory nature of having two different eyewitnesses agree that the perpetrator was someone other than Mr. Taylor, these identifications were not disclosed to him or his criminal defense attorney at trial.  Incredibly, the same fate befell statements given to law enforcement two days later—where, again, two witnesses identified the perpetrator as someone other than Mr. Taylor.

    As Barket, Klein and LoTurco learned during the course of the representation, the lead investigator responsible for Mr. Taylor’s arrest was motivated to clear the robberies in issue, as Suffolk County had fallen victim to a spate of gas station robberies in 1984—and blaming them on Mr. Taylor allowed him to close those files as “exceptionally cleared.”  The firm’s investigation determined that upon Mr. Taylor’s arrest the lead investigator cleared at least four other robberies based upon the premise that they were all committed by the same man.  Yet for each of these other “exceptionally cleared” robberies, all committed by the same person, Mr. Taylor had been placed in a lineup and not selected by the eyewitnesses.  This exculpatory information was, again, not disclosed to Mr. Taylor—who instead was convicted and spent a quarter century in prison for robberies he did not commit.

    In the end, Suffolk County contributed $12.8 million toward settling the case with Mr. Taylor, with New York State contributing an additional $1 million.  While no amount of money could make Mr. Taylor whole for the horrific ordeal that he experienced, his settlement reflects one of the largest wrongful conviction settlement payouts in Suffolk County history.

  • Favorable Decision
    Broderick Wins Fatality Hearing

    Our associate attorney, Victoria Broderick, recently won a fatality hearing in which the Department of Motor Vehicles investigated the circumstances of a fatal motor vehicle accident and whether the client’s license and driving privileges should be suspended or revoked.

    To suspend or revoke the client’s license, the judge had to determine that the client violated any provision of the Vehicle and Traffic Law or operated his motor vehicle with gross negligence or in a manner showing reckless disregard for the life or property of others.

    While recognizing the emotions of the tragic accident during which the client’s vehicle hit a pedestrian crossing the parkway at dawn, resulting in the pedestrian’s death, Ms. Broderick argued that of all the potential hazards that might exist on that parkway, a pedestrian crossing the road is not one of them. Our client credibly testified that it was not his conduct that caused or contributed to the accident and that he was driving within the posted speed limit.

    After considering the client’s testimony, the investigating police officer’s testimony, and other documentary evidence, the judge determined that the evidence was insufficient to warrant a suspension or revocation of the client’s license.

  • Client Acquitted
    Barket, Leisenring Recount Teen's Acquittal Of Murder

    This summer, partners Bruce Barket and Aida Leisenring packed over a half dozen bins of discovery and relocated to Poughkeepsie to embark on a murder trial that would turn out to be among the most memorable of acquittals they ever experienced.

    Nestor Ortiz-Ocampo was 18 years old when he was arrested for a fatal single stabbing at a high school parking lot. He is intellectually disabled, was outnumbered 6 to 1, had a small build, and he defended himself after being repeatedly kicked and punched and suffering head injuries as his skull bounced on the concrete of the parking lot grounds. The case is tragic on both sides.

    A 16 year old died. And our client, who honestly feared for his life, faced 25 to life. They tried this case –which consisted of over 20 witnesses--aggressively, but with empathy. The jury acquitted Nestor of murder and manslaughter and found that he had a legal right to defend himself.

    We will forever be grateful to this jury in this very difficult and sad case. Bruce and Aida picked up Nestor from jail, where he had lived for two years, and returned him to his father. Representing a kid is a responsibility like no other.

  • Extraordinary Number of Wins in 2023
    Extraordinary Win Streak For Barket Epstein: Three Appellate Reversals, Four Jury Trial Wins

    Over the past four months, the team at Barket Epstein has won an extraordinary number of cases, including a win in the Court of Appeals, two in the appellate division, and four jury trials, including the acquittal of a teenager charged with murder, two sexual assault cases and a DWI.

    While keeping track of win statistics at law firms is not a thing, this kind of success is not typical, but it is the most objective testament to the hard work and expertise this firm brings to bear on every case it touches.

  • Not Guilty Verdict
    DWI ACQUITTAL AFTER JURY TRIAL

    Renowned DWI attorney Steven Epstein achieved a significant legal triumph in Nassau County, securing a not guilty verdict on all charges for our client who faced a DWI charge.

    Our client was charged with a DWI in Nassau County after being arrested by a New York State Trooper and providing a breath sample that resulted in a measured BAC of .13, nearly twice the legal limit. Steven Epstein, one of the most respected DWI attorneys in New York and nationally, won a not guilty verdict on all charges after a jury trial. His ability to attack the science and the trial skills he has mastered after 31 years and over 100 jury trials contributed to this client’s victory. Mr. Epstein has won acquittals in each of his three jury trials this year.

  • Broderick Wins Fatality Hearing
    Fatal Motor Vehicle Accident

    Our associate attorney, Victoria Broderick, recently won a fatality hearing in which the Department of Motor Vehicles investigated the circumstances of a fatal motor vehicle accident and whether the client’s license and driving privileges should be suspended or revoked.

    To suspend or revoke the client’s license, the judge had to determine that the client violated any provision of the Vehicle and Traffic Law or operated his motor vehicle with gross negligence or in a manner showing reckless disregard for the life or property of others.

    While recognizing the emotions of the tragic accident during which the client’s vehicle hit a pedestrian crossing the parkway at dawn, resulting in the pedestrian’s death, Ms. Broderick argued that of all the potential hazards that might exist on that parkway, a pedestrian crossing the road is not one of them. Our client credibly testified that it was not his conduct that caused or contributed to the accident and that he was driving within the posted speed limit.

    After considering the client’s testimony, the investigating police officer’s testimony, and other documentary evidence, the judge determined that the evidence was insufficient to warrant a suspension or revocation of the client’s license.

  • Motion From Insurance Company Rejected
    Alexander Klein Defeats Motion by Insurance Company Addressing Potential Liability for Deception in Policies

    Working on behalf of a local auto body shop, Alexander Klein has brought litigation against one of the largest automobile insurance companies in the nation. A central claim in the case is that the insurance company grossly and systemically underpays consumers when they take their cars into a body shop for repairs after an accident. While promising to cover these consumers for all reasonable expenses based upon prevailing competitive prices, the suit alleges that the carrier uses its market power to suppress the market prices that are “prevailing.” In turn, the carrier then uses the suppressed “prevailing” price to refuse coverage beyond those artificial limits—often leaving consumers with bills to body shops that ought to have been paid by the insurance company.

    The insurance company filed a motion seeking to dismiss this claim on the basis that, in its view, this conduct would not amount to deceptive business practices under New York’s General Business Law. That argument was firmly rejected on October 18, 2023, with the Supreme Court of the State of New York agreed with Klein’s arguments and allowed the claim to proceed into discovery.

    This litigation remains ongoing.

    Related Document

  • Favorable Appellate Decision
    Firm Wins Favorable Appellate Decision In Defamation Case - First Of Its Kind In The Second Department
    Alexander Klein's client won a favorable decision out of the Supreme Court of the State of New York Appellate Division: Second Judicial Department on a defamation case that marks a first of its kind in the Second Department. There had been only one other case like it (in the First Department).

    The question the firm presented was how specifically a victim of slander must plead the slanderous utterance. Forever, the requirement in New York has been “in haec verba” (i.e. “in these words,” or verbatim), but does that require a plaintiff to literally put quotation marks around the utterance? In the brief, Mr. Klein pointed out the complication this would pose in cases of slander committed out of the victim’s earshot. Instead, he argued that a plaintiff can simply assert the utterance without quotation marks, because an actual quote would be impossible; and that it is then the Court’s obligation to imply the quotation marks as part of its duty to construe civil complaints as favorably as possible to plaintiffs.
  • Client Acquitted
    Innocent Man Acquitted of Sex Crime Charges

    The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is known for their aggressive prosecutions of sex crimes, in particular "date rape" allegations. Bruce Barket and Aida Leisenring recently defended a young man with no criminal record who was alleged to have had non consensual sex with a woman he met through a dating app. He pleaded not guilty and always maintained his innocence. The trial lasted four weeks and the prosecution’s evidence consisted of testimony from the complainant, her roommate, a nurse practitioner, a toxicologist, a DNA expert, and medical records and text messages.

    The jury acquitted our client after 40 minutes of deliberations. We believed in our client’s innocence and are grateful that we were able to end this nightmare of litigation which lasted nearly three years.

  • Matter of P.C. v. Stony Brook University
    ARTICLE 78 PETITION GRANTED

    Donna Aldea and Alexander Klein Win Article 78 Appeal Against University in Title IX Case.

    Our client, a Stony Brook University student with a bright future, had his life upended and job prospects destroyed when he was unfairly accused of sexual misconduct for engaging in consensual sexual relations with another student after both had been drinking. Suspended from school, with his academic record tarnished, he turned to us for help. Represented by Appellate Litigation Partner Donna Aldea and Civil Litigation Partner Alexander Klein, our client obtained a decisive victory against the University, with the court annulling the school’s determination, vacating all penalties, dismissing all charges, and ordering the school to expunge all references to the disciplinary action from his academic record.

    This decision, rendered by the Appellate Division, Second Department – which encompasses 10 counties in its jurisdiction -- Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam, and Dutchess – not only profoundly impacted the life and future of our client, but is also published appellate precedent that will influence and shape the course of Title IX litigation throughout the state.

  • PEOPLE V. NEUSTADT: CONVICTION REVERSED
    Donna Aldea and Matthew Keller Vindicate Client’s Fundamental Right to a Fair Trial, Reversing Unconstitutional Sex Abuse Conviction

    Our client was released from a 10-year prison sentence following a decisive victory by Appellate Litigation Partner Donna Aldea and Associate Attorney Matthew Keller, who convinced a four-judge panel of the New York State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division that our client’s constitutional rights had been violated, thereby securing a unanimous vote from all four judges to overturn his sex abuse conviction.

    Among other issues, the appeal successfully argued that the trial judge’s preclusion of a defense rebuttal witness amounted to an unconstitutional deprivation of our client’s right to a fair trial. The unanimous decision from the Appellate Division, Second Department – which encompasses 10 counties in its jurisdiction -- Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam, and Dutchess – not only had a profound impact on our client and his family, but is also published appellate precedent that will influence future criminal cases throughout the state.

  • Favorable Decision
    Commercial Group Secures Favorable Decision in New York County Supreme Court

    Led by Alexander Klein, the Commercial Group at BEKAL represents a rising New York restaurateur who seeks damages in connection with the purchase of a restaurant on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. On Thursday, October 12, 2023, BEKAL secured a favorable decision for its client before Justice Louis Nock, who denied a dismissal-motion by the seller-entity on all contested grounds.

    While on a micro level the decision concerns the meaning and details of an Asset Sale Agreement, on a macro level the decision reinforces the importance of language and structure in commercial contracts, the protections that can be afforded to corporate purchasers, and the limits to a seller’s ability to use “as is” provisions to harm the rights of buyers.

    This litigation remains pending and the parties continue to dispute liability and entitlement to damages. Nevertheless, Justice Nock’s decision reflects an early step in a positive direction for BEKAL’s client.

  • Case Dismissed
    A Victory for Justice: Challenging False Police Stop - Criminal Defense & Civil Rights Case

    Our client, John, approached Steven Epstein, furious about a baseless police stop that occurred on a New York City street. The police claimed John's headlights were out late at night, which he vehemently denied. Steven explained to John that if the headlights being off was indeed false, they could suppress all the evidence in the case. John insisted on his innocence, and Steven believed him.

    Conducting an immediate investigation in his office, Steven utilized Google Earth, a tool frequently used with clients, to analyze the stop and arrest location. Astonishingly, just one block before the stop, there was a bank—a bank with a street level ATM equipped with video surveillance capturing customer activities. To strengthen their case, Steven subpoenaed the bank's footage from the night of John's arrest, revealing undeniable evidence: the police officer's marked blue and white car, with emergency lights on, following John's car—with his headlights ON!

    Making a copy of the recording, Steven submitted it to the District Attorney (DA) and demanded justice. However, a divergence emerged between Steven's view of justice and the DA's perspective. The DA sought a reduced charge plea from John, but Steven vehemently opposed this resolution. He firmly believed that the police should not be allowed to lie without facing repercussions, emphasizing the importance of trust in law enforcement.

    As a result of Steven's relentless efforts, John's case was ultimately dismissed—a remarkable victory for justice in this criminal defense and civil rights case. The successful defense not only challenged the false police stop but also upheld the principles of civil rights, ensuring that the police are accountable for their actions.

  • License Reinstated
    A Driver’s License and a Career Saved

    Gary was referred to Attorney Steven Epstein because of his reputation for being a highly skilled and experienced DWI/DUI attorney. He was told Steven Epstein was the “DWI Guru.” The case result was important to Gary so he wanted the best DWI defense he could get.

    Steve Epstein and his team, including expert witnesses, went to work defending Gary. The prosecutor and the court offered Gary a plea bargain, but Gary believed in his innocence and any plea would have cost Gary his driver's license and his job.

    Gary made the correct decision. After defending Gary at his pre-trial suppression hearing the court granted our motion to suppress evidence in his case, including his refusal to take a breath test and the standardized field sobriety tests (SFST).

    Steven Epstein was able to establish through his cross-examination that the State Troopers did not do the testing correctly and they violated his right to counsel.

    Gary is doing well these days. His driver's license was reinstated and his career was saved.

  • Case Settled
    Champions of Change

    When Mr. Parker came to us, he was incarcerated at Nassau County Correctional Facility, where he had just been slashed by a razor-blade across the face by another inmate—requiring more than 200 stitches to stop the flow of blood. He had a criminal record, refused to identify his attackers, and was simply one of many victims of the senseless violence that permeates our state and local jails.

    When Alexander Klein took over the civil rights case, he used it as an opportunity to make it about more than just one incident. He used it to target the Nassau County Correctional Facility itself. In the process, he obtained and studied more than a thousand pages of records related to the facility, and he deposed scores of agents inside the facility including guards, corporals, lieutenants, and policymakers. And after several years he built a case that the jail was not just managed poorly, but designed with such obvious recklessness for the safety of prisoners that it represented a violation of the Due Process rights of the incarcerated individuals housed there.

    On the doorstep of trial, the County settled with Mr. Parker in a resolution that involved the payment of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Mr. Parker had met Alexander as a voiceless victim of jail, and he parted years later as a champion of change.

  • Case Dismissed
    Landmark Victory: Klein Defends Public Company in Debt Dispute, Secures Unfettered Win

    Our firm was hired by a publicly traded company to defend it against an emergency motion filed in the Delaware Court of Chancery. The public company had gotten sued for a multi-million dollar debt that was allegedly unpaid, and, without immediate action, would suffer the loss of millions of dollars in company ownership. Before Alexander Klein took over their case from a prior attorney, in fact, the new client had already made an offer to settle the case for nearly $3 million, which the plaintiff had rejected.

    Upon being hired, Alexander Klein took immediate steps to get admitted in the State of Delaware pro hac vice, reviewed the entire case file, and developed a litigation strategy to not only pull out of settlement negotiations but to attack the legitimacy of the debt altogether. Within days he prepared extensive motion papers on the subject, appeared before the Court of Chancery in Delaware for an extensive oral argument, and achieved an unfettered win. The motion brought against our firm’s client was denied, and based upon the substance of the arguments Klein soon thereafter achieved a stipulation dismissing the action altogether.

    This litigation was but one example of the responsiveness, creativity, and tenacity of the firm’s commercial litigation unit, whose successes reach beyond the borders of the State of New York.

  • CASE DISMISSED
    DWI in Brooklyn
    John was arrested for a DWI in Brooklyn and after his arrest, he refused a breath test. His career as a crane operator was in jeopardy. We were successful in challenging the discovery and getting the Court to agree to dismiss the case. We then appeared at the Department of Motor Vehicles refusal hearing and the court granted our motion to dismiss based on a lack of sufficient evidence to sustain the refusal. John and his wife are thrilled. DWI charge dismissed, refusal case closed, no convictions, no loss of license. I told them good things happen to good people, they replied that good things happen to people who hire us.
  • PEOPLE V. CERDA: CONVICTION REVERSED
    Donna Aldea Obtains Landmark Victory in New York’s Highest Court Redefining the Breadth of New York’s Rape Shield Law and Overruling Prior Precedent of Intermediate Appellate Court for 10 New York Counties

    Donna Aldea, who heads the Appellate and Post-Conviction Litigation group at BEKAL, secured a tremendous victory in the Court of Appeals, not only obtaining a reversal of our client’s sexual assault conviction, but also persuading the state’s highest court to examine and redefine the breath of New York’s Rape Shield Law to bring it in line with criminal defendants’ fundamental constitutional rights to present a defense and to due process of law.

    Containing a substantial and detailed discussion of the purpose and application of New York’s Rape Shield Law, and significantly redefining its contours, the Court of Appeals’ decision in this case overruled prior appellate case law on this issue from the Appellate Division, Second Department -- which encompasses Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam, and Dutchess Counties -- underscoring the state-wide significance of this decision and the far-reaching impact it will have on sexual abuse cases in the future.

  • DONNA ALDEA AND ALEXANDER KLEIN WIN FEDERAL APPEAL ON BEHALF OF FAMILY OF YOUNG MAN KILLED BY POLICE
    Police Brutality

    Donna Aldea and Alexander Klein secured a second appeal victory in the case of Kevin Callahan, who was fatally shot by a Suffolk County Police Officer in 2011. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a new trial after overturning the District Court's decision to dismiss the case based on qualified immunity grounds. This marks another step forward in a decade-long legal battle led by Aldea and Klein to seek justice for Callahan's family, allowing them to pursue accountability for his death.

  • Civil Rights Action Lawsuit Filed For Client Wrongfully Accused of Sexual Abuse
    Civil Rights Issues

    Barket Epstein Kearon Aldea & LoTurco, LLP filed a civil rights lawsuit against Nassau County, the Nassau County District Attorney, Celine Boulben, and others on behalf of Yossef Kahlon, who was falsely accused of rape and other charges in August 2021. The lawsuit, announced at a press conference, alleges defamation, false arrest, and malicious prosecution, seeking compensatory and punitive damages. The firm asserts that Kahlon's life was destroyed by the false accusations and aims to hold the accuser, organizations, and prosecutors accountable for the harm caused by the wrongful prosecution.
  • SURGEON FULLY VINDICATED AFTER HIGH PROFILE CASE, SIX YEAR REPRESENTATION
    Criminal Defense

    Venkatesh Sasthakonar, a surgeon, faced severe consequences after being arrested and charged with strangling a nurse in 2018, including suspension from his job and damage to his reputation. Barket Epstein's legal team, led by Bruce Barket and supported by Alexander Klein and David Ayres, fought vigorously for six years, resulting in the dropping of criminal charges and a unanimous civil court verdict declaring Sasthakonar innocent while accusing the alleged victim of falsifying allegations and committing abuse of process and malicious prosecution. This comprehensive representation showcased the firm's diverse skills and resulted in a full vindication for Dr. Sasthakonar.
  • THREE SIGNIFICANT FIRM WINS IN CRIMINAL, CIVIL RIGHTS, AND COMMERCIAL LITIGATION
    Criminal Defense

    Barket Epstein, with Alexander Klein leading alongside Bruce Barket and Kevin Kearon, achieved significant successes in criminal, civil rights, and commercial litigation:

    1. In the case of K.G., the firm represented a local resident falsely arrested for DWI, resulting in the dismissal of all charges. Civil rights claims were then filed against the officer and Nassau County, leading to the denial of summary judgment and the case being set for a jury trial.

    2. Defending Michael Philbin, a lieutenant in the NYPD, against civil rights allegations, the firm, led by Alexander Klein, secured a decision dismissing claims of false arrest and malicious prosecution after full briefing and oral argument.

    3. In commercial litigation, led by Alexander Klein and Kevin Kearon, the firm represented T. J., a business owner, in a federal case against a private investigations firm. The Southern District of New York denied the defendant's motion to dismiss, offering a detailed analysis of federal pleading standards and their interaction with state law claims.