United States of America v. City of New York
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER confirming appointment of Special Masters. So Ordered by Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis on 5/22/2012. (Lee, Tiffeny)
IN CLERK'S OFFICE
US DISTRICT COURT E.D.N.Y.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
MAY 2 2 2012
UNITED STATES OF AMERlCA,
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL
-andTHE VULCAN SOCIETY, INC.,for itselfand on
behalfofits T/'!embers, JAMEL NICHOLSON, and
RUSEBELL WILSON, individually and on behalf
ofa subclass of all other victims similarly situated
seeking classwide injunctive relief,
07-CV-2067 (NGG) (RLM)
ROGER GREGG, MARCUS HAYWOOD, and
KEVIN WALKER, individually and on behalf of a
subclass ofall other non-hire victims similarly
CANDIDO NuNEZ and KEVIN SIMPKINS,
individually and on behalfof a subclass of all other
delayed-hire victims similarly situated,
-againstTHE CITY OF NEW YORK,
-andTHE UNIFORMED FIREFIGHTERS ASSOCIA nON
OF GREATER NEW YORK,
A Non-Aligned Party.
NICHOLAS G. GARAUFIS, United States District Judge.
In accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 53(b)(1), the court previously
notified the parties of its intention to appoint special masters for issues relating to individual
relief and gave them an opportunity to suggest candidates and comment on proposed terms of
appointment. (Feb. 21, 2012 Order (Docket Entry # 815) at 2.) After considering the nominees
of the parties, the court named four Special Masters: Steven M. Cohen, Hector Gonzalez, Mitra
Hormozi, and Breon S. Peace. (Mar. 8, 2012 Mem. & Order (Docket Entry # 825) at 59-60.)
The court directed each appointee to file an affidavit, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
53(b)(3), "disclosing whether there is any ground for disqualification under 28 U.S.C. § 455,"
and directed the Special Masters to file a joint recommendation to the court on how to structure a
process for considering the claims of individuals. Each Special Master has filed the required
affidavit. (See Gonzalez Aff. (Docket Entry # 826); Peace Aff. (Docket Entry # 829); Hormozi
Aff. (Docket Entry # 833); Cohen Aff. (Docket Entry # 847).) The Special Masters have also
filed a joint recommendation. (Report & Recommendation (Docket Entry # 849).) No ground
for disqualification having been found,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 53(a)(l)(B) and the court's inherent
equitable powers, Steven M. Cohen, Hector Gonzalez, Mitra Hormozi, and Breon
S. Peace are confirmed as Special Masters in this litigation;
The duties of the Special Masters shall include the following:
Conducting hearings and issuing findings of fact and conclusions oflaw
on: the eligibility for equitable monetary and hiring relief of individual
claimants; the amount of equitable monetary relief owed to each
individual claimant after each claimant's mitigation efforts and interim
earnings have been considered; and the amount of compensatory noneconomic damages to be awarded to eligible class members;
Supervising discovery of materials necessary to adjudicate the issues listed
in 2.a., to the extent the court assigns said duties to the Special Masters in
a subsequent order;
Recommending to the court a revised framework for the efficient and just
processing of claims for relief of injured individuals and the
accomplishment of the duties listed in 2.a. and 2. b., after conferring with
Additional duties relating to the resolution of claims for relief from
eligible claimants as may be assigned to the Special Masters by the court
in subsequent orders.
The Special Masters shall have all authority provided under Federal Rule of Civil
Reporting and Judicial Review
The Special Masters shall report to the court on the results of their consultation
with the parties and shall file revised recommendations based on that consultation,
within 30 days of the date of this Order.
The Special Masters shall report to the court and to the parties concerning the
status of the processing of individual claims every 90 days once that process
The orders, reports, and recommendations of the Special Masters may be
introduced as evidence in accordance with the Federal Rules of Evidence.
The parties may file objections to - or a motion to adopt or modify - the Special
Masters' orders, reports, or recommendations no later than 10 calendar days after
a copy is served. The court will review these objections under the standards set
forth in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 53(f).
The Special Masters shall file all written orders, reports, and recommendations on
the electronic docket, along with any evidence that the Special Masters believe
will assist the court in reviewing the order, report, or recommendation. The
Special Masters shall preserve any documents they receive from the parties.
Access to Information
The Special Masters shall have the access to individuals, information, documents,
materials, programs, services, facilities, and premises relevant to the orders of the
court that they require to perform their duties, subject to the terms of this Order
Appointing a Special Master.
The Special Masters may not communicate with a party or a party's counselor
staff on an ex parte basis. The Special Masters may communicate with the court
on an ex parte basis concerning non-substantive matters such as scheduling or the
status of their work.
Compensation and Expenses
The City will fund the Special Masters' work, as determined by the court in the
court's previous Memorandum and Order. (See Mar. 8,2012 Mem. & Order at
60-61.) As stated in that Memorandum and Order, the fee structure for the
Special Masters is the same as that established for the Court Monitor in the
Court's December 9, 2011 Order. The Special Masters shall incur only such fees
and expenses as may be reasonably necessary to fulfill their duties under this
Appointment Order, or such other orders as the court may issue.
Every 60 days, the Special Masters shall submit to the court itemized statements
of fees and expenses, which the court will inspect for regularity and
reasonableness. If the court determines that the itemized statements are regular
and reasonable, the court will approve them. The City shall then remit to each
Special Master any court-approved amounts, within 20 calendar days of court
As agents and officers of the court, the Special Masters and those working at their
direction shall enjoy the same protections from being compelled to give testimony
and from liability for damages as those enjoyed by other federal judicial adjuncts
performing similar functions.
As required by Rule 53(b)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the court
directs the Special Masters to proceed with all reasonable diligence.
The Special Masters, or anyone Special Master, shall be discharged or replaced
only upon an order of this court.
The parties, their successors in office, agents, and employees, will observe
faithfully the requirements of this Appointment Order and cooperate fully with
the Special Masters, and any staff or expert consultant employed by the Special
Masters, in the performance of their duties.
s/Nicholas G. Garaufis
Dated: Brooklyn, New York
May 22, 2012
United States District Judge
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