Richard’s ADR practice and experience is focused on mediation. He became a Certified Mediator with the New York Peace Institute after mediating over 50 cases in the Civil Courts and Community Mediation Centers in New York and Kings Counties. He mediates on an ongoing and regular basis in those Courts and Mediation Centers. Richard is a member of the Panel of Neutrals for the Commercial Division, Supreme Court, New York County, and the Mediation Panel for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Richard has also been selected to participate, and is engaged in the required process to join the Mediation Panel for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. He also is a mediation coach for New York City Community Policing Officers (NCOs) in the mediation training program provided to NCOs by the New York Peace Institute. Although engaged primarily in a mediation practice, for over ten years Richard served as an arbitrator (1990-2001) on the Compulsory Arbitration Panel for the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York.
As a litigator, Richard has tried over thirty jury trials in addition to non-jury hearings and trials and extensive complex discovery and motion practice. His litigation experience includes two decades of complex commercial litigation, as well as federal criminal prosecution, federal and state criminal defense work on behalf of both retained and indigent clients (under the federal Criminal Justice Act), service as a Special Prosecutor in Kings County and pro bono matters. Richard’s civil litigation experience includes breach of contract, fraud, other commercial torts, representing financial institutions in bank and securities litigation, and defensive civil rights litigation on behalf of New York State.
In litigation a zealous advocate seeks to win
and place obstacles to winning in an adversary’s path. In settlement negotiation of
significant reform litigation affecting public policy, advocates and the parties
have separate interests, but also have a collaborative purpose, seeking to
overcome conflicts in order to achieve a settlement based upon shared interests
and policy goals. In the two landmark correctional reform settlements in which
Richard, as an Assistant Attorney General, served as lead attorney for the State
defendants, he served his client agencies in their negotiations with plaintiff
advocacy groups. In both cases the State and plaintiff advocacy groups achieved
nationally recognized, ground-breaking settlements:
Disability Advocates, Inc. v. NYS Office of Mental Health, et al., 02 CV 4002 (GEL), 8th Amendment challenge to mental health services within the prison system, primarily focused on prisoners with serious mental illness in solitary confinement. Systemic settlement (2007) establishing a heightened level of care, involving daily out-of-cell therapeutic activity, and alternative residential mental health programs, for prisoners with mental illness subject to disciplinary confinement in excess of 30 days. Post-settlement compliance audits, including expert tours and reports (2007-2011).
Peoples, et al. v. Fischer, et al. 11 CV 2694 (SAS), systemic 8th Amendment challenge to the State’s prison disciplinary system and the use of solitary confinement as a disciplinary sanction. Class action settlement (approved April 2016), diverting juveniles, developmentally disabled prisoners and certain drug offenders to rehabilitative alternative programs; establishing behavioral incentives, including “step down” programs, to reduce length of sentences and change behaviors leading to disciplinary confinement; ameliorating conditions of confinement; and establishing comprehensive guidelines for disciplinary sanctions.