At Judge’s Urging, NBBL Attorney Jim Walden Withdraws Round of Subpoenas

Gibson Dunn attorney Jim Walden grabbed headlines earlier this month after issuing a flurry of subpoenas to city officials in the Prospect Park West case. Streetsblog reported at the time that the subpoenas were not yet sanctioned by the court and were unusual for the type of suit, known as an Article 78 proceeding, filed by opponents of the PPW redesign. Before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Bert Bunyan decided whether to allow those subpoenas, Walden issued another round of subpoenas last week to at least six people, including Council Member Steve Levin, Transportation Alternatives director Paul Steely White, and Community Board 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman.

Today, at the urging of Judge Bunyan [PDF], Gibson Dunn withdrew the second round of subpoenas. City attorneys had gone to court seeking a temporary restraining order against the plaintiffs for trying to subpoena more people. After Bunyan recommended that Gibson Dunn withdraw the subpoenas, the city stopped pursuing the restraining order.

“The judge called the petitioners’ counsel out on this harassing strategy in court today,” said city attorney Karen Selvin, “rebuking them and prompting them to withdraw all the subpoenas issued under the petitioner’s direction over the last week.”

In response to the attempt by the plaintiffs’ attorneys to drag more people before the court, including CB 6 members Richard Bashner and Tom Miskel, Park Slope residents announced the formation of two YIMBY counterweights to the bike lane opponents. The new groups are known as “Neighbors for Better Neighbors” and “Seniors for Civility.”

“These subpoenas were clearly meant to silence and intimidate good, hard-working neighborhood advocates,” said NBN member and PPW resident Bill Carey. “I believe community members ought to talk to each other and work together rather than using a $700/hour corporate attorney to beat each other up.”

TA’s White called the lawsuit “not only frivolous, but reckless.” He added, “Removing the street safety improvements on Prospect Park West would put local residents in harm’s way. Streets with protected bike lanes have about 40 percent fewer crashes ending in death or serious injury for all street users: drivers and pedestrians included. The opponents of this bike lane are playing a dangerous game with people’s lives for the sake of a PR stunt.”

Bunyan is scheduled to decide on August 3 whether to allow Walden’s first round of subpoenas, issued to NYC DOT staff and Council Member Brad Lander.

You can read the full “Neighbors for Better Neighbors/Seniors for Civility” press release below:

Noah Kazis contributed to this post.


Judge Rejects More NBBL Subpoenas in PPW Case [Updated]

Here’s the latest on the Prospect Park West bike lane case: Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Bert Bunyan has again rejected an attempt by NBBL attorney Jim Walden to issue subpoenas without approval from the court. Last week Bunyan urged Walden to withdraw a round of subpoenas issued to several people, including members of Community Board 6 […]

This Week: Help Plan a Continuous East River Greenway

The first week of August is a light one on the Streetsblog calendar. The big event is not listed, in fact. On Wednesday, Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Bert Bunyan will hear the latest arguments in the Prospect Park West case. The motions to be considered include whether to allow the first round of subpoenas from […]

NBBL Subpoenas Not Yet Sanctioned By the Court, But Embraced By the Post

Two hours after Streetsblog published a post on Monday about the City University of New York’s refusal to disclose former DOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall’s correspondence about the Prospect Park West redesign, bike lane opponents spun up their publicity machine and spat out a press release from their PR firm, LCG Communications [PDF]. The release informed […]

JSK Counters Markowitz Affidavit; No Decision on PPW Bike Lane Case Today

Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan has submitted an affidavit countering Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz’s assertion that the Prospect Park West bike lane was installed as a trial. The rest of the news coming from today’s hearing in Brooklyn Supreme Court once again centers on procedural maneuvering. There was no decision on the Prospect Park West […]