The Law Offices of Michael S. Lamonsoff has been litigating the case of Fernando Bermudez, a man convicted of a crime he did not commit, for over 6 years. Mr. Bermudez, after years of rigorous appeals, was found to be actually innocent of the crime of murder by a Supreme Court Judge John Cataldo. His exoneration came after he had spent 18 years of the prime of his life in prison. Fernando was 22 years old when he was falsely convicted and 40 years old when he was vindicated.
Upon his release, our firm filed a Claim against the State of New York as well as a separate Federal action against the City of New York, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the individual police officers.
The Law Offices of Michael S. Lamonsoff brought a lawsuit against the State of New York in the Court of Claims alleging that Mr. Bermudez was wrongfully convicted under the Court of Claims 8(b) Statute. The statute, enacted in 1984, if successfully litigated, allows those who have been exonerated from crimes they did not commit to be compensated for the time they were wrongfully imprisoned. In 2014, two days before the trial was to commence in the State Court action, our firm secured a record settlement of $4,750,000.00 for Mr. Bermudez. This award for wrongful conviction remains the highest settlement in New York State Court history.
Buoyed by the victory in the State case, our firm continued on Fernando’s fight for justice in the Federal action. In that case, our firm argued that Mr. Bermudez’s Constitutional rights were violated. Specifically, our firm argued that the City violated his Due Process Rights under the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. This included his denial of the right to a fair trial and malicious prosecution. Just prior to trial, the City of New York agreed to settle the claims with Mr. Bermudez for $7,000,000.00, one of the largest settlement awards in New York City for such claims.
The $11,750,000.00 million in total compensation for Mr. Bermudez represents one of the highest combined payouts for a wrongful conviction case in New York history.
“We’re extremely proud to have represented Fernando in his fight for justice,” said his attorney Michael S. Lamonsoff. “It has been a long and fiercely litigated battle. While no amount of compensation can replace the years of freedom that were lost, we hope the near record total compensation can provide some measure of comfort to him and his family.”
For the full press release, click here.