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Phillips Nizer Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 14, 2010
Contact:

Kevin B. McGrath
(212) 841-0743
kmcgrath@phillipsnizer.com

COURT ORDERS NEW YORK CITY TO PRODUCE ASSISTANT PARKS COMMISSIONER TO TESTIFY AT HEARING TO HALT  ENFORCEMENT OF NEW RULES RESTRICTING ARTISTS IN PARKS

Court orders hearing to continue on Wednesday, September 15;  Temporary Restraining Order remains in effect

New York, NY – Jack T. Linn, Assistant Commissioner and Senior Counsel in the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, will take the witness stand in the lawsuit brought against the City, the Parks Department, Mayor Bloomberg and Parks Commissioner Benepe by original artists who display and sell their artwork in certain City parks.  Over the objection of the government’s lawyers, New York State Supreme Court Justice Milton A Tingling, Jr. ordered Assistant Commissioner Linn to testify at the hearing on the artists’ motion for a preliminary injunction, which seeks to prevent the City defendants from enforcing recently adopted rules that keep artists not only out of four City parks – Central Park, Union Square Park, Battery Park and the High Line – but also off the sidewalks adjacent to those parks.  Mr. Linn is scheduled to testify in Courtroom 321, 60 Centre Street, on Wednesday, September 15, at 2 p.m. 

The new Parks Department rules went into effect on July 19, 2010.  Phillips Nizer LLP, the law firm representing the artists, started a lawsuit on August 4, 2010, and filed the preliminary injunction motion on August 25, 2010, and simultaneously applied for a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) to stop the City defendants from enforcing the new rules.  Supreme Court Justice Martin Schonfeld granted the TRO that same day, and the government’s subsequent attempts to stay and vacate the TRO were rejected, respectively, by Justice Rosalyn Richter of the Appellate Division and Justice Tingling.   

The artists contend the new Parks rules infringe their rights to free speech and equal protection under the New York State Constitution, violate New York State and New York City human rights laws, and contradict New York City Local Laws and the Administrative Code.

The Phillips Nizer team representing the artists includes eal estate/government relations partner Kevin B. McGrath and litigation counsel Jeffrey L. Shore.

New York State Supreme Court, Index # 110344/10

Diane I. Dua, Joel Kaye, Bryan Close, Tenzin Wangdu, Jack Diamond, Bayo Iribhogbe, Robyn Wohl, George Moran and Artists United, Plaintiffs, v. New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (as a Municipal agency); Adrien Benepe (in his Official Capacity as the Parks Commissioner); City of New York (as a municipality); and Honorable Michael Bloomberg (in his Official Capacity as the Mayor), Defendants.

About Phillips Nizer LLP:
Phillips Nizer LLP has been engaged in a wide-ranging practice of domestic and international law for over 80 years.  Established by world-renowned trial attorney Louis Nizer, the firm consists of lawyers who are well-respected leaders in their fields.  The firm’s principal office is in New York City, with additional offices in Garden City, Long Island and Hackensack, New Jersey.  For more information about Phillips Nizer LLP, please visit: http://www.phillipsnizer.com/

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