NSB Secures $12 Million Settlement from NYPD for Wrongful Conviction

NSB and co-counsel Paul, Weiss have successfully resolved a federal civil rights case on behalf of Pablo Fernandez, securing one of the largest-ever wrongful conviction settlements to be paid by the City of New York. The case, brought in the Southern District of New York against the City and former NYPD officers, sought compensation for Mr. Fernandez’s wrongful conviction in 1996 for a homicide that he did not commit. In March 2022, following mediation facilitated by U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert. W. Lehrburger, the City agreed to settle the case for $12 million before any depositions had been taken in the case.

Mr. Fernandez was just 22 years old and a recent immigrant from the Dominican Republic when he was charged in the 1993 murder-for-hire slaying of a gang leader on a crowded Harlem street. His civil suit, filed by NSB and the pro bono law firm Paul, Weiss, details the series of actions by police and prosecutors that led to his wrongful conviction.

According to Gothamist.com, “Fernandez’s attorneys don’t just focus on the specifics of his case. They place his wrongful conviction within the context of a period of widespread police corruption, as documented in a 1994 report published by a commission appointed by then-Mayor David Dinkins to investigate the NYPD. The lawsuit claims the 30th precinct, which helped to investigate Quintero’s murder, was “rife with official misconduct and corruption, so much so that it earned the nickname the ‘Dirty Thirty.’”

Mr. Fernandez was represented by NSB Partners Emma Freudenberger and Amelia Green and Johnnie L. Cochran Fellow Tony Joe with Paralegal support by Ariel Manning and by pro bono attorneys with the New York law firm Paul, Weiss: litigation counsel Daniel Beller, partners David Brown and Lynn Bayard, and associates Jesus Franco, Kerissa Barron and Scott Kennedy.

The case is Pablo Fernandez v. City of New York, et al, No. 20-cv-10498-ALC-RWL (S.D.N.Y.). NSB and Paul, Weiss continue to represent Mr. Fernandez in a New York Court of Claims suit under Section 8-b for Mr. Fernandez’s wrongful conviction and imprisonment.

Read the Gothamist story here.

Listen to Pablo Fernandez talk about his case on the Wrongful Convictions podcast here.

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