NYU Law Trustee's Company Pushing Forward With Student Email Subpoenas

By Danielle Tcholakian on May 6, 2014 11:43am 

 NYU Law students Luke Herrine, left, and Leo Gertner, right, are fighting subpoenas they received from the company of a member of the NYU Law School Board of Trustees, Daniel Straus.
NYU Law students Luke Herrine, left, and Leo Gertner, right, are fighting subpoenas they received from the company of a member of the NYU Law School Board of Trustees, Daniel Straus.
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DNAinfo/Danielle Tcholakian

GREENWICH VILLAGE — A company owned by a New York University Law School trustee is pushing ahead with its subpoena of personal emails belonging to two law students, according to court documents.

In a motion filed on Monday in New Jersey federal court, CareOne Management, a company owned by NYU Law trustee Daniel Straus, argues that the subpoenas do not infringe on the First Amendment rights of the two students. 

The subpoenas are part of a federal lawsuit filed by CareOne against its home health aides and nursing home employees. The lawsuit accuses the workers' union, SEIU 1199 UHWE, of manipulating NYU students to harm Straus' reputation.

The subpoenas seek personal emails from the students, Luke Herrine and Leo Gertner, as well as paychecks from when Gertner worked for a different union in a different state prior to enrolling in NYU Law.

Herrine and Gertner argued in a motion to quash that the subpoenas were overly broad and would have a "chilling effect" on free speech on campus.

CareOne's attorneys argued that they were just trying to find out whether the union or CareOne healthcare workers "have spoon-fed [Gertner and Herrine] false or misleading information, or provided them with financial assistance" to harm Straus and his companies.

Herrine and Gertner have said their only involvement with the case was in circulating a letter asking for a meeting with the law school's dean, Trevor Morrison, to discuss the CareOne lawsuit and Straus' involvement.

Late last week, NYU announced in a campus-wide email blast that Straus would step down from the NYU Law Board of Trustees this month, at the end of this academic year.

The announcement of Straus' resignation came after mounting criticism, including a petition signed by more than 500 students, faculty and alumni demanding that Straus have the subpoenas withdrawn and publicly apologize.

While the school did not formally take a stand in the dispute, it did retain and pay for the students' attorney. A faculty member, Burt Neuborne, co-wrote an amicus brief with the ACLU of New Jersey in opposition to the subpoenas.

The judge is slated to decide on whether the subpoenas will be granted on May 19.

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