PATERSON, NJ – After several months of delays, the City Council is ready to approve contracts with nine different law firms worth a total of $1 million.
The contracts cover the city’s defense against various lawsuits, worker’s compensation cases and labor matters involving the police and fire departments. The city already has dozens of active cases being handled by private firms.
The city’s law department originally sought approval on the contracts back in September, but council members balked until representatives of each of the law firms came to City Hall on November 20 to answer questions. Some of the lawyers ended up waiting more than four hours before the council got to them.
One firm that the law department recommended for two $100,000 contracts – Buttafuoco, Arce & Price of South Plainfield - ended up being dropped from the list because it failed to send a representative to the November 20 meeting.
The city received numerous proposals for each contract. Paterson Corporation Counsel Paul Forsman said the selections were made by a committee that took into account the firms’ tracks records as well as their prices.
The council is scheduled to vote on the contracts, all of which come with a $100,000 limit, on Tuesday.
City officials have picked the Newark firm of Adams, Stern Gutierrez & Lattiboudere to handle general labor matters as well as police department labor issues at rate of $125 per hour for state court matters and $135 per hour for federal court. Eighteen other firms applied for that contract, with their proposals ranging from $110 per hour to $175 per hour. The Lattiboudere firm already handles these matters for the city.
City officials have picked the Springfield firm of Ruderman & Glickman to handle fire department labor issues at a rate of $125 per hour. Eighteen other firms applied for that contract, with their prices ranging from $110 per hour to $175 per hour. The Ruderman firm already handles that work for the city.
City officials have picked the Paterson firm of Sciro & Marotta and the Newark firm of Hunt, Hamlin & Ridley to handle general legal actions. Both firms already perform that work for the city, with Sciro having 35 active cases and the Hunt firm about 33, according to lawyers with the firms. The Sciro firm will be paid $125 per hour, while the Hunt firm will get $150 per hour. In total, 19 firms applied for the general legal work contract.
The city also is appointing five firms to step in and handle cases when conflicts might arise involving the Sciro and Hunt firms, or when the city has multiple defendants in a case. Those firms are:
- Lite Depalma Greenberg of Newark at $125 per hour for state and $135 for federal cases
- Grieco, Oates & DeFilippo of West Orange at $125 per hour for state and $135 for federal cases
- Florio, Perrucci, Steinhardt & Fader of Phillipsburg at the rate of $150 per hour
- Chasan, Leyner & Lamparello of Secaucus at the rate of $150 per hour
- DeYoe, Heissenbuttel & Buglione of Wayne at the rate of $120 per hour
City officials also have picked DeYoe, Heissenbuttel & Buglione to handle workers’ compensation cases at the rate of $82.50 per hour. Four other firms applied for the contract, with the others’ proposals ranging from $125 per hour to $150 per hour.