Parsippany, NJ, January 28, 2016 – Day Pitney announced attorneys Benjamin Nissim, Thomas Farrish, Michael Fitzpatrick, and Andraya Pulaski as the 2016 Coleman Award winners in recognition of their exceptional commitment to pro bono work. This year's Coleman Award winners dedicated a total of more than 840 hours of their time to pro bono service.
The Coleman Awards are given by Day Pitney annually to lawyers at the firm whose commitment to pro bono and public service exemplify the best ideals of the legal profession and the legacy of Cyril Coleman, a former firm partner who served many public institutions and causes and was known for his dignity, common sense and integrity.
Thomas Farrish, a partner in the firm's Hartford office, and Benjamin Nissim, an associate in the firm's Hartford office, worked together on a prisoner rights litigation, representing a death row inmate at Connecticut's Northern Correctional Institution. The inmate was beaten by guards, sprayed with pepper spray and not permitted to shower for three days, and he claimed that his treatment constituted cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Attorneys Farrish and Nissim devoted over 530 hours to his case in 2015.
Andraya Pulaski, an associate in the Hartford office, dedicated many pro bono hours representing the Committee of Inquiry formed by the City of Hartford Court of Common to investigate various errors in the administration of the 2014 general election. The investigation culminated in a high profile, televised, two-day public hearing. Along with Day Pitney partner Jim Rotondo, Pulaski conducted witness interviews and document review, put together direct examination outlines and took the lead in preparing a report summarizing the committee's findings of fact.
Michael Fitzpatrick, an associated in the firm's Parsippany office, represented an involuntarily committed individual in a prisoner rights and medical malpractice case. Fitzpatrick took several depositions and handled all aspects of the case. Fitzpatrick also represented indigent battered women seeking restraining orders against their abusers through the Battered Women's Legal Advocacy Project. Of note, Fitzpatrick argued before the New Jersey Appellate Division to uphold a Trial Court's Order granting a Final Restraining Order to his client.
In addition, the firm announced the winners of the Second Annual Day Pitney Pro Bono Competition. The Pro Bono Competition pitted the partners and counsel at the firm against the associates and paralegals in a competition to determine which team had a higher participation rate in pro bono over the period January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015. The winning team, which turned out to be the Partner/Counsel team by a slim percentage, won the Cooper Cup, a trophy honoring the late Matthew J. Cooper, Esq., for his commitment to pro bono service. In addition to the Cooper Cup and bragging rights for the time being, the Partner/Counsel team in Day Pitney's primary offices earned the right to select a local charity of their choice to receive a generous donation from the firm so that five different charities will benefit from the competition.