Allison M. Holubis Associate

     

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Allison Holubis has been involved in some of Wilson Elser’s most significant litigation and, in collaboration with several senior partners, has already compiled an enviable record of success on behalf of the firm’s clients. Her practice involves high-profile, high-stakes work in the areas of municipal, public entity and public employee law; civil rights litigation; complex tort and general casualty; commercial litigation and employment litigation. Drawing on an outstanding set of skills—as well as her trademark intelligence and enthusiasm—Allison has argued effectively before state, federal and appellate courts.

Prior to joining Wilson Elser, Allison spent three years in public relations at two luxury goods companies. She continues to draw on her PR experience with respect to how she communicates − with clarity and precision − and how she approaches her client relationships − with responsiveness and sensitivity. Having further honed these skills and added substantially to her legal credentials, Allison can be relied on to accurately assess matters early in proceedings and effectively resolve issues through negotiation or litigation, as best suits each client’s needs.

Areas of Focus

Municipal Liability, Public Employees and Civil Rights Law
Allison frequently teams with experienced partners on matters involving claims against municipalities and public employees. She has engaged in cases that range from alleged violations of due process under the Fourteenth Amendment, false arrest and imprisonment, to unreasonable search and seizure, and has established an enviable record of success.

Allison has been involved in a case mirroring recent front-page stories, which involves allegations of excessive force against police officers responding to an altercation and resulting in the death of the suspect. She has also represented municipalities in cases involving alleged violations of First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights arising out of wrongfully obtained search warrants, unreasonable search and seizure, and free speech issues. 

Allison has been involved in a case involving the rights of the United Veterans to fly the Gadsden (Don’t Tread on Me) flag on municipal property. The court granted Wilson Elser’s pre-answer motion to dismiss on the grounds that what flies on the city-owned flagpole is government, not First Amendment speech.

Employment Practices Liability
Allison is frequently called upon to represent municipalities and others concerning discrimination claims based on wrongful discharge, a hostile work environment due to gender and race, compounded by allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation. She assists with cases involving failure to accommodate, retaliation and other matters that fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act. In another matter, Allison represented an owner concerning a significant wage-and-hour claim.

Complex Tort, Commercial Litigation and Class Actions
Allison’s vast capabilities and reputation within the firm resulted in her involvement in one of the most significant RICO/fraud litigations in many years, ultimately being one of the most successful litigations in firm history. The case, featured twice on 60 Minutes involved engineers alleged to have fraudulently assessed damage to homes affected by the flooding during Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The matter gained national prominence in the media and prompted investigation of the issues by the U.S. Senate and FEMA, and criminal indictments by the New York State Attorney General.  More than 1,500 litigations were filed by homeowners, including several class action complaints, alleging civil RICO and fraud against the insurers and the engineering firm, claiming they fraudulently modified the structural flood assessment reports to avoid or limit damage payments.

Notwithstanding alterations to reports, media scrutiny, criminal indictments and plea deals, and payments of millions of dollars by other defendants and their insurers, the firm secured pre-answer dismissals in each of the seven federal court, class actions and state court litigations against our client. We successfully argued that the National Flood Insurance Act preempted the litigations by its terms, which provided the homeowners’ sole remedy against the Administrator of the program, FEMA. The preemption of such claims by federal statute effectively creates new law. 

Among other commercial litigations Allison has been involved in are the successful dismissal of efforts to compel a client to participate in an alternative dispute resolution proceeding arising out of the bankruptcy of the plaintiff; enforcing a client’s rights to a buy-out under an LLC operating agreement; and rents due under a licensing agreement.

General Casualty and Health Care Liability
Allison consistently advises clients concerning developments in general liability/casualty matters, including premises liability, youth sports programs, and concussion/CTE health and legal issues. Working with our health care team, Allison also handles health care matters on behalf of nursing homes and other such facilities.

Representative Matters

Represented the City in litigation arising out of a fight at a pizzeria wherein the plaintiff was allegedly injured at the time of his arrest. The court granted the City’s motion for summary judgement as the plaintiff’s conviction of harassment in the second degree foreclosed his claims for false arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution, and once the plaintiff claimed the officers acted with intent, he could not sustain an action for negligence.

Represented the City in litigation alleging violation of Due Process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment arising out of the release of sealed documents pertaining to a criminal case against the plaintiff in civil discovery in a separate action. The federal court granted the City’s pre-answer motion to dismiss, finding that the City’s Criminal Procedure Law did not create a protectable liberty or property interest. The Second Circuit affirmed on appeal, finding that in a case involving Due Process violation, the plaintiff must allege intentional conduct and that in this case the plaintiff had alleged negligence at best.

Represented the City in litigation alleging violation of plaintiff’s First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights arising out of an allegedly wrongfully obtained search warrant, unreasonable search and seizure, chilling effect on free speech and abuse of process. The federal court granted the City’s motion to dismiss, finding that the City did not directly participate in the alleged constitutional violations and the plaintiff failed to allege an underlying constitutional violation. The Second Circuit affirmed on appeal, finding the plaintiff’s First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment claims were properly dismissed for failure to plausibly allege sufficient facts to support a claim for relief.

Represented the City, its chief of police and several police officers in litigation arising out the shooting death of plaintiff’s decedent, who attacked the police with a butcher knife as they entered his apartment. The claims included state and federal claims of excessive force, failure to promulgate appropriate policies for dealing with emotionally disturbed persons and failure to train officers to defuse these types of situations without the use of deadly force. The grand jury failed to return an indictment and the matter is still under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Represented the City in a First Amendment action arising out of the removal of the United Veterans’ Gadsden flag (Don’t Tread on Me) from the city-owned flagpole, which is maintained by the United Veterans by agreement with the City. The District Court granted the City’s pre-answer motion to dismiss on the grounds that whatever flies on a city-owned flagpole is government, not private, speech and does not implicate the First Amendment. The case is on appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Represented the City in an action arising out of frequent flooding of commercial premises and $2 million in damages due to negligent design of its stormwater drainage system, negligent issuance of building permits and negligent maintenance of stormwater catch basins. A defense verdict for the City was based on a finding of law that the City enjoyed immunity as to its design of the system and issuance of permits and findings of fact that the City’s maintenance of its drainage system complied with state-established standards.

Represented an engineering firm retained to conduct structural assessments of 2,300 homes damaged by floods in Superstorm Sandy and to provide reports to adjustors concerning the structural damage and recommended repairs. More than 1,500 litigations were filed in federal court by homeowners against their insurers and other defendants alleging underpayment of claims, including several class action complaints asserting RICO and fraud claims. The litigation is ongoing.

Represented the City in litigation arising out of the arrest for robbery and imprisonment of the plaintiff for nine days in jail before charges were withdrawn by the district attorney. The claims included false arrest, imprisonment, negligence and malicious prosecution under state laws and 42 U.S.C. Section 1983, and unconstitutional pre-arrest procedures and failure to adequately train officers. After completion of discovery, the court granted the City’s motion for summary judgment in its entirety, finding the failure to file a notice of claim was fatal to the state law claims, the undisputed facts presented by defendants established probable cause to arrest as a matter of law, and the plaintiff failed to produce any evidence of a municipal custom, policy or practice claim.

Represented City Authority in litigation arising out of injuries to recovery workers following the World Trade Center collapse. The court granted the City Authority’s motion for summary judgment arguing the New York Legislature’s extension of the time to file a claim against the City Authority was an unconstitutional violation of due process. The court agreed with the City Authority that the justifications of state legislature for the extension did not apply to the environmental remediation workers at issue and the workers had ample opportunity to serve a notice of claim. The court’s ruling marked the first time a court has ever declared a New York State revival statute unconstitutional.