Best Law Firms, a joint publication of U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers, again ranks Schertler & Onorato among the top "Tier 1" law firms in Washington for white–collar and non–white–collar criminal defense. This prestigious recognition of the firm’s white–collar criminal practice covers both litigation matters and governmental investigations. Best Law Firms rankings are the result of a rigorous evaluation process involving both client evaluations and peer review from leading attorneys in the applicable practice areas. Schertler & Onorato is pleased to be named a Best Law Firm for a second consecutive year.
A Washington Post Editorial endorses the Confirmation of Robert Spagnoletti to Chair the District of Columbia Board of Ethics and Government Accountability. The Editorial opines that "[t]here is no doubting Mr. Spagnoletti’s qualitifications; he is a highly regarded lawyer who knows the District and its issues, and he has the experience and energy to manage organizations."
Read the Washington Post Editorial.
Robert Spagnoletti has been nominated by Mayor Vincent Gray to serve as chairperson of the newly-formed Board of Ethics and Government Accountability. The three-person Board will be responsible for investigating alleged ethics violations by local elected officials and public employees. In announcing the nomination of Mr. Spagnoletti and the other Board members, Mayor Gray emphasized the candidates' extensive experience and their "sterling professional and personal reputations."
After two years of intense litigation, the Department of Justice dismisses all charges against Schertler & Onorato’s client in the massive and highly publicized Foreign Corrupt Practices Act "Africa Sting" case. The dismissal with prejudice applied to all the defendants who were pending trial (or retrial) and followed two lengthy trials in which the government failed to obtain any convictions. David Schertler, Danny Onorato, and Veronica Jennings handled the proceedings for the firm’s client, a British citizen.
U.S. News & World Report ranks Schertler & Onorato among the best law firms in Washington in both white-collar and non-white-collar criminal defense. The "Best Law Firms" rankings for 2011- 2012 were based on "a rigorous evaluation process" that included client evaluations of the firm’s expertise and cost-effectiveness, peer review from leading attorneys in the field, and the significance of legal matters handled by the firm.
Read the Washingtonian feature.
Lisa Fishberg has been selected to become a member of the D.C. Bar Family Law Section Steering Committee. Ms. Fishberg’s tenure as a section leader will continue through June 2013.
Washingtonian magazine names David Schertler one of the 30 best lawyers in the area bar, and Schertler & Onorato partners Danny Onorato, Robert Spagnoletti, and David Dickieson also are recognized by prestigious surveys as being leading lawyers in their fields for 2012. In addition to featuring Mr. Schertler in the elite group of 30 "superstar" lawyers, the December 2011 issue of Washingtonian identified both Mr. Schertler and Mr. Onorato as two of the area’s best white-collar criminal defense attorneys. In a separate survey, Mr. Schertler, Mr. Onorato, Mr. Spagnoletti, and Mr. Dickieson all were selected for inclusion in the 2012 "DC Super Lawyers" list, which rates attorneys based on a combination of independent research and peer evaluations. Mr. Schertler also is one of 297 American lawyers listed as the leading practitioners worldwide in the area of white collar defense in the 2012 issue of The International Who’s Who of Business Crime Defence Lawyers.
Schertler & Onorato prevails on its motion to unseal court proceedings in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The district court ordered the unsealing over the government’s objection, finding that there was no continuing compelling need to seal the records and that the constitutional right of public access to court records therefore controlled.
Read the LegalTimes' BLT story.
Schertler & Onorato defeats a government request for a sixteen–level "loss amount" upward adjustment in a bank fraud case in the Southern District of Alabama. The firm’s Sentencing Guidelines analysis resulted in an eight–month sentence for our client, who otherwise would have faced an advisory Guidelines range of 70 to 87 months’ imprisonment. Lisa Hertzer Schertler developed the legal argument and wrote the successful sentencing submission.
Schertler & Onorato achieves a 20–month sentence reduction at the post–appeal resentencing in a health–care fraud case. The resentencing followed the firm’s successful appeal of the client’s 53–month sentence in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. At resentencing, attorney Veronica Jennings persuaded the district court to forego the upward variance it originally imposed in favor of a 33–month sentence, which was the low end of the applicable advisory Sentencing Guidelines range.
Lisa Hertzer Schertler serves as Distinguished Speaker on the topic of legal writing. As part of the "Distinguished Speakers Series" cosponsored by the Hispanic Bar Association of D.C. and the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Transportation, Ms. Schertler delivered a well–received lecture on techniques for effective written advocacy.
Attorneys Bob Spagnoletti, David Dickieson, and Habib Ilahi successfully assisted in negotiating and reaching a settlement on behalf of a Schertler & Onorato client named as a defendant in a major shareholder class action lawsuit brought in U.S. District Court in Greenville, South Carolina, against Signalife Inc., and several current and former executives. (Latham v. Matthews, et al., 6:08-CV-02995-JMC and Roth v. Matthews, et al., 6:08-CV-03183-JMC).
After a lengthy three–year grand jury investigation into bid–rigging by the Department of Justice Antitrust Division, Schertler & Onorato attorneys David Schertler and Habib Ilahi successfully persuaded the Antitrust Division prosecutors that criminal charges were not warranted against their client, a former high level federal government official who had been designated previously as a target of the investigation.
In a consecutive victory in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Schertler & Onorato earns another sentencing remand for an appellate client. The Court has vacated our client’s sentence for filing a false tax return based on our argument that the district court’s Sentencing Guidelines calculation and upward variance were improperly influenced by matters on which our client retained a Fifth Amendment privilege. Lisa Hertzer Schertler wrote the briefs and argued the case.
Veronica Jennings and Lisa Hertzer Schertler are successful in their appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The Court unanimously vacated our client’s 53 month prison sentence in a health care fraud case.
Read the LegalTimes' BLT story.
David Dickieson and Lisa Fishberg successfully protect a client’s above–guidelines child support order. Judge Chamblin issued a Memorandum Opinion holding that a prior agreement to pay child support well in excess of the Virginia guidelines would not be modified, despite the changed circumstance of the payor. If the guidelines had been applied by the court, Schertler & Onorato’s client would have faced a 70% reduction in child support received. Tolan v. Tolan, Civil No. 62667 (Cir. Ct. Loudoun Cty, Va.).
David Schertler and Danny Onorato are once again recognized as among the "Best Lawyers" in Washington, D.C. in the areas of white collar and non–white collar criminal defense in the Washington Post magazine. The Best Lawyer survey also selects David Schertler as one of the top 100 lawyers in the City.
Schertler & Onorato selected as the Best Defense Attorneys in D.C. by the Washington City Paper staff. From the 2011 Best of D.C. edition of the City Paper: "It’s amazing what some good lawyering can do. This year, in almost every big criminal case, the defense firm Schertler & Onorato LLP was there, scoring major victories."
The District of Columbia Court of Appeals affirms a trial court decision in favor of Schertler & Onorato’s client. In a case briefed and argued by Lisa Fishberg, the D.C. Court of Appeals upheld a trial court decision maintaining a father’s right to joint physical and legal custody following a trial based on false allegations of domestic violence and child abuse.
David Schertler is again named as a 2010 Super Lawyer in the area of white collar criminal defense by the 2010 Super Lawyers – Corporate Counsel Edition, which researches and identifies the top criminal defense lawyers throughout the country. Mr. Schertler was also listed as a Super Lawyer in the 2009 survey.
In a final victory for another Schertler & Onorato client, the Department of Justice announced that it was dismissing its appeal of a judgment of acquittal on all charges in favor of the client issued last October by the Honorable Anthony J. Trenga of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. In what was considered by the Department as a significant and high–profile white collar prosecution, our client was originally indicted on charges of conspiracy and fraud. Following a month long trial, the Schertler & Onorato trial team obtained the Rule 29 dismissal of the all the charges in the indictment after Judge Trenga ruled that the Government failed to show that our client or her codefendant were part of any fraud scheme. Lisa Hertzer Schertler of the Firm was handling the case on appeal in the Fourth Circuit when the dismissal was obtained.
Schertler & Onorato attorneys secure a deferred prosecution agreement for an individual client who had been indicted in United States District Court for the District of Columbia on fraud and false statement charges. Under the agreement, all charges will be dismissed after one year of good behavior and community service. During the court proceeding, the Honorable Emmet G. Sullivan of the United States District Court applauded the novel use of such an agreement for individuals.
Bob Spagnoletti has been tapped by District of Columbia Mayor–Elect Vincent Gray to serve on his transition leadership team. Bob will co–chair the Legal Affairs and Public Safety Committee which will review the District government agencies responsible for public safety, make recommendations on how to best to ensure safe neighborhoods, and examine the government’s legal service operations.
Schertler & Onorato client William Clark, Special Agent with the ATF, was acquitted on charges of murder. A Virgin Islands judge dismissed all charges against Special Agent Clark upon motion by the defense team at the conclusion of the prosecution’s case. Special Agent Clark, a nine–year veteran of the ATF, came to the aid of a neighbor who was being assaulted by her boyfriend. The man was heavily intoxicated, violent, and aggressive. Special Agent Clark shot the man in self–defense after the man weilded a deadly weapon against him. A multi–agency federal investigation found that the shooting was justified, and cleared Special Agent Clark of any wrongdoing. Nevertheless, the local Virgin Islands Attorney General charged Special Agent Clark with second degree murder, mansalughter, and weapons offenses. Special Agent Clark had the full support of the United States Department of Justice, ATF, FLEOA, and the federal law enforcement community throughout the proceedings. Schertler & Onorato is proud to have been part of the team representing Special Agent Clark.
Habib Ilahi moderated the 2010 Civil & Human Rights Symposium, held annually at the Georgetown University Law Center. The symposium was sponsored by the South Asian Bar Association of Washington, DC, the South Asian Law Students Association at the Georgetown University Law Center, and the Georgetown Center on National Security and the Law. This year’s symposium was titled: "‘Homegrown’ Terrorism, Radicalization, and National Security: Embracing Security While Sacrificing Liberty?"
David Dickieson defeated a $200,000 FBAR penalty on behalf of a client with signature authority over $7 million deposited in a Swiss bank account. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia held that the client’s failure to file the required tax form – TDF 90-22.1 –– disclosing the Swiss bank account was not a willful act. The decision in the case of United States v. Williams, Civil Action No. 09–cv–437 (E.D.Va.), represents the first time the federal government has ever been defeated in an FBAR penalty case in federal court. Mr. Dickieson represents many clients with foreign bank account issues under the Offshore Voluntary Compliance Initiative amnesty program. A copy of the decision can be reviewed here.
The Bureau of Prisons released Schertler & Onorato’s client, a military inmate who had been detained by federal authorities for over 500 days beyond the expiration of his court–martial sentence based on the federal government’s filing of a civil commitment certification pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 4248. The client’s release followed Lisa Hertzer Schertler’s successful briefing and oral argument in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which held in June 2010 that military inmates who are merely housed in BOP facilities are not subject to civil commitment under section 4248.
David Dickieson won a judgment of over $2.2 million on behalf of a U.S. client involved in a business dispute over the ownership and income from a mining venture in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The case, Sussman v. Mwangachuchu, was brought in Circuit Court of Montgomery County, Maryland. It involved complex forensic accounting issues and the use of an independent auditor appointed by all of the parties to the lawsuit.
Schertler & Onorato client acquitted of all charges: The Schertler & Onorato defense team of David Schertler, Bob Spagnoletti, and Veronica Jennings represented our client charged with conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and evidence tampering, stemming from the highly publicized 2006 stabbing death of Robert Wone. Following a five week trial in D.C. Superior Court, our client was found not guilty on all counts.
Hear Lisa Fishberg discuss constitutional legal issues affecting federal law enforcement agents on Federal News Radio, "What Federal Agents Should Know When Not in the Field."
In the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, Lisa Hertzer Schertler successfully defended the dismissal of a civil commitment proceeding initiated by the federal government. In a unanimous published opinion, the Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling that military inmates who are housed in Federal Bureau of Prisons facilities as a convenience to the Army do not become subject to federal civil commitment under 18 U.S.C. § 4248, because those inmates remain in the legal custody of the military. The court of appeals ruled in our client’s favor after expedited briefing and oral argument.
Schertler & Onorato obtained a dismissal of a civil commitment proceeding initiated by the federal government against their client in the Eastern District of North Carolina. The district court ruled that the relevant commitment statute, 18 U.S.C. 4248, does not apply to military prisoners who are housed in Bureau of Prisons facilities but were not prosecuted by the Department of Justice.
Danny Onorato, David Schertler, Veronica Jennings, and Lisa Hertzer Schertler obtained a dismissal of all charges against their client, Dustin L. Heard, a Blackwater security contractor, in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. In a landmark 90 page decision, the Honorable Ricardo M. Urbina found that prosecutors and agents improperly used the compelled statements of Mr. Heard and four codefendants, thereby violating the defendants’ constitutional rights and requiring the dismissal of the indictment against all the defendants.
Lisa Fishberg secures the dismissal of a civil lawsuit in the D.C. Superior Court, filed against our client, a third–party defendant in a legal malpractice lawsuit. Schertler & Onorato’s client, a highly experienced local attorney, was sued by his former client’s predecessor counsel for contribution and indemnifcation. Following oral argument, the court granted Ms. Fishberg’s Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss.
Schertler & Onorato obtained a dismissal of all charges on behalf of a former insurance executive charged in multi–million dollar price fixing case in New York. The case, originally brought by then Attorney–General Eliot Spitzer and later Andrew Cuomo, alleged that major insurance firms and insurance brokers engaged in unfair business practices in a massive bid rigging scheme. Schertler & Onorato obtained a dismissal of some of the original charges in 2007 and obtained the dismissal of all remaining charges on November 19th. Read the story.
David Schertler has been recognized by Washingtonian Magazine as one of the Top 30 lawyers in the Washington, D.C. area, home to more than 80,000 lawyers.
David Schertler and Danny Onorato have been named elite criminal defense attorneys in the Washington D.C. area by Washingtonian Magazine.
Schertler & Onorato obtained a Rule 29 Judgment of Acquittal on all charges for client in massive white collar investigation in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Following a two year investigation and a month long trial, the Schertler & Onorato trial team obtained the Rule 29 dismissal of the Indictment. Our client was a seminar speaker for a national publicly traded seminar company. The US Attorney’s Office, with the FBI and US Postal Inspectors, alleged a multimillion dollar fraud with over ten thousand victims.
David Dickieson completed the presentation of evidence in a complex case in the US Tax Court involving secret Swiss bank accounts. A decision in the case is expected in early 2010. Mr. Dickieson has been on the forefront of the turmoil involving the implosion of the Swiss bank, UBS, as a tax haven for wealthy Americans.
Schertler & Onorato, representing former United States Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, secured the dismissal of a federal civil lawsuit. Schertler & Onorato successfully argued that the plaintiffs, Justice Department applicants who alleged discrimination, had no legally cognizable claim against Attorney General Gonzales. Read the story.
David Schertler has been named a "rising star" in the area of corporate compliance by The Ethisphere Institute on its Attorneys Who Matter list, which recognizes leading legal professionals that have excelled in and made a significant contribution to the corporate compliance arena. The research–based Ethisphere Institute is a leading international think–tank dedicated to the creation, advancement and sharing of best practices in business ethics, corporate social responsibility, anti–corruption and sustainability.
David Schertler and Danny Onorato have been selected for inclusion in 2010 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Best Lawyers is among the most respected peer–review publications in the legal profession. Mr. Schertler was selected by his peers as one of the nation’ best lawyers in the specialties of Criminal Defense: White Collar and Criminal Defense: Non–White–Collar; Mr. Onorato was selected as one of the nation’s best lawyers in the specialty of Criminal Defense: Non–White–Collar. To learn more about this prestigious honor, please go to www.bestlawyers.com.
Danny Onorato has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Mid–Atlantic Innocence Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping innocent people who have been wrongfully convicted of crimes in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.
In the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Lisa Schertler and Danny Onorato successfully argued for a significant downward variance from the federal sentencing guidelines, resulting in a probationary sentence for our client.
Schertler & Onorato prevails over the Department of Justice Tax Division in an appeal before the District of Columbia Circuit Court. In a seminal decision from the District of Columbia Circuit, the Court agreed with the position of Schertler & Onorato on behalf of its client, and upheld the decision of the Honorable Henry M. Kennedy, Jr. to depart downward from the United States Sentencing Guidelines and sentence our client to probation.
David Schertler was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, one of the premier legal associations in the United States. The College is composed of the best trial attorneys from the United States and Canada and membership is extended by invitation only after a careful and thorough investigation, to experienced trial laywers who have practiced for at least 15 years and who have mastered the art of advocacy and whose professional careers have been marked by the highest standards of ethical conduct, professionalism, civility and collegiality.
Schertler & Onorato successfully challenges debarment of government official and has client removed from the Government Service Agency (GSA) Excluded Parties List System (EPLS). The firm client is now able to resume his government contracting consulting business.
Schertler & Onorato succeeds in obtaining dismissal of all charges in attempted first degree murder case in Charles County, Maryland. All charges stemming from an April shooting were dismissed against client.
Schertler & Onorato attorney wins civil domestic violence trial in The Superior Court for the District of Columbia.
Robert J. Spagnoletti was sworn in as the 37th president of the D.C. Bar at its Annual Business Meeting and Awards Dinner on June 26 at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill.
After a seven-week jury trial in federal court in Washington, D.C., David Schertler, Habib Ilahi and Jasmin Mize obtained a complete acquittal for their client, a former executive of PurchasePro.com, with respect to charges of violations of the securities laws brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission. This civil trial was related to earlier criminal charges brought against the same client by the Department of Justice, all of which were dismissed.
All criminal charges dismissed against client charged with vehicular manslaughter, Veronica Jennings represented a client facing charges stemming from a traffic fatality in Montgomery County, Maryland. Three weeks prior to trial, all charges were dropped.
Veronica Jennings obtained dismissal of attempted first degree murder charges in Montgomery County, Maryland. Schertler & Onorato’s client was charged with attempted first degree murder and related assault and weapons charges following a shooting. Our client received a probationary misdemeanor reckless endangerment charge.
David Schertler has been named by Super Lawyers magazine as one of the top attorneys in Washington, DC for 2008. Only five percent of the lawyers in the Washington, D.C. area are named by Super Lawyers.
Schertler & Onorato obtains release for client being held on attempted first degree murder charges following a shooting at a party in suburban Maryland. Following a contested hearing at which the government alleged that our client should be held pending trial for disabling his GPS monitoring device, Schertler & Onorato secured the client’s release.
After a month-long jury trial in the Eastern District of North Carolina, David Schertler, Habib Ilahi and Claire Clark were successful in obtaining a complete acquittal on all 15 counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and fraud charges brought against a Washington, D.C. securities lawyer, who, if convicted, faced over 20 years under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. Two other codefendants were convicted in the case and the Government had secured guilty pleas from three other codefendants, who cooperated with the Government at trial.
Robert Spagnoletti and Habib Ilahi successfully defended an entity affiliated with a leading business development company (BDC) in the U.S. that invests private debt and equity capital in middle market businesses nationwide, by securing a dismissal of all claims in an action filed under the federal False Claims Act (FCA) in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.