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Announcement of the appointment of Judge Lucy Billings as the new NYCAL Coordinating Judge

By: Maryellen Connor, Esq.

It was announced that Justice Lucy Billings has been appointed as the New York City Asbestos Litigation (NYCAL) Coordinating Judge. The appointment is effective August 1, 2017.

A meeting was held today by Judge George Silver, Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for the New York City Courts, with the NYCAL CMO Defense and Plaintiff Negotiating Committee members.  Silver, a former NYCAL trial judge who was promoted earlier this year to his current judicial position in New York County, is by virtue of his promotion now in a supervisory position over, among other things, the operation of the NYCAL.  In attendance at the meeting, scheduled last week by Judge Silver, were Defense Negotiating Committee members including Bob Malaby of Malaby & Bradley and  Plaintiff Negotiating Committee members.

The most critical event to occur at the meeting was the announcement of the appointment of Judge Lucy Billings as the new NYCAL Coordinating Judge.  Judge Gerald Lebovits was only recently appointed as the interim Coordinating Judge for the NYCAL on June 30th.  Judge Lebovits is expected to remain in the position for the next couple of weeks.  Judge Billings, who currently sits at the courthouse at 71 Thomas Street (and is expected to move to the main courthouse at 60 Centre to assume her new role), was in attendance at this morning’s meeting and spoke briefly.  Based upon our initial research regarding Judge Billings, she graduated from college (Smith) in 1970 and law school (Berkeley) in 1973, which would place her at approximately 69 years of age.  She was appointed a judge of the New York Civil Court in 1997 and the following year she was appointed to the New York City Criminal Court.  She returned to the Civil Court in 1999.  She was elected to a new term on the Civil Court in 2008.  Since 2005, she has served as an acting Justice of the New York County Supreme Court.

Prior to her judicial tenure, she worked in multiple legal aid and legal service capacities in the states of Utah and in New York.  She also worked for a period of time beginning in 1986 for the American Civil Liberties Union at its National Headquarters.  She was also the judge who signed the order allowing the Occupy Wall Street protesters back into Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan during a lengthy series of demonstrations in 2008 against Wall Street financial institutions and corporate America.  At today’s meeting, she referenced her prior work as a plaintiff’s attorney in lead paint cases and our research indicates that she has authored articles on lead paint abatement.  In addition, she referenced involvement in black lung cases.

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