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Mercedes M. Maldonado

 

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Mercedes Maldonado was born and raised in the Bronx. She attended Long Island University on a full tuition scholarship awarded by District Council 37. After graduating Long Island University, cum laude, she earned her juris doctor from the Boston University School of Law in 1992.

Early in her career, Ms. Maldonado represented the concerns of employers at Burke Horan & Macri, a boutique labor and employment law firm that represented many hospitals, nursing homes and ARC’s affiliated with the New York Catholic Archdiocese. She switched to Union representation in 1995 when she joined O’Donnell Schwartz, Glanstein & Rosen to represent the labor interests of New York City correction officers under their newly elected President, Norman Seabrook, along with members of Local 100 of the Transport Worker’s Union and the American Maritime Officers, to name a few. There, Ms. Maldonado worked under the tutelage of Carl Rachlin, a preeminent civil rights lawyer. In 1999, Ms. Maldonado and Mr. Rachlin moved to the firm of Koehler & Isaacs where they continued to promote the interests of correction officers and other public and private employees in the work force. Representing unions has been a privilege that Ms. Maldonado intends to continue for many years to come.

Ms. Maldonado has extensive experience in Article 78 litigation, state and federal trial and appellate courts, labor arbitration, collective bargaining negotiations, as well as proceedings before the Public Employment Relations Board and the New York City Office of Collective Bargaining.

In April, 1996 the New York Law Journal published Quaranta v. Jacobson, a decision she won which challenged the Department of Correction’s effort to invoke the Public Officer’s Law, to justify their “automatic” termination of a correction officer without any charges or a hearing. Not long thereafter, BNA’s Labor & Employment Law Newsletter featured a decision she won for COBA in federal court, Laboy v. Seabrook, involving the efforts of a member to invalidate a dues increase. In 1999, the Chief Leader featured an arbitration award that she and Mr. Rachlin won, in which the arbitrator interpreted the Military Leave clause in COBA’s collective bargaining agreement to entitle members to eight more days of miliary leave than the New York State Military Leave Law provides. The arbitrator rejected the Department’s claim that the contract was intended to provide the same number of days as the statute. In 2004, Ms. Maldonado steered Reynolds v. Fraser to victory, the first case to be decided under the “victims of domestic violence” amendment to the New York City Human Rights law, bringing attention to this little known provision and paving the way for other victims to assert their rights. In 2006, Ms. Maldonado handed retirees a huge victory in McGarrigle v. NYCERS by putting a stop to unlawful pension deductions. The Court of Appeals agreed that correction officers who retired with 20 years of credited service are entitled to have their longevity earnings treated as pensionable. The Court rejected NYCERS’ argument that it could deduct longevity earnings from a correction officer’s pension calculation if any part of the officer’s 20 years of service consisted of non-correction officer service. For example, NYCERS deducted longevity in McGarrigle because the officer retired with 3 years of military service credit and 17 years of correction officer service. Unhappy with our victory, the City undertook limited compliance, forcing Ms. Maldonado to re-litigate the issue in DeBlasio v. NYCERS and, of course, prevail in 2009. Subsequent to DeBlasio decision, NYCERS recalculated and increased over 2,000 correction officer and captain pensions retroactive to each individual’s date of retirement.

Areas of Experience
> Labor and Employment Law

Education
> J.D. Boston University, 1992
> B.A. Long Island University, C.W. Post 1988, cum laude

Memberships
> New York State Bar Association

Bar Admissions
> New York, 1993
> United States District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts, 1994
> United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, 1998
> Massachusetts, 1993


Koehler & Isaacs LLP is a full service law firm located in New York, New York and Newark, New Jersey. We offer our clients a range of legal services throughout New York including Westchester, Ulster, Rockland, Dutchess, and Nassau Counties.



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