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Manuel Portela Jr.

Manuel Portela’s Legal Cases

13 total


  • Angelic Grau v. City of New York, New York City Police Department and Hector Ariza

    Practice Area:
    Civil Rights
    Date:
    Nov 04, 2008
    Outcome:
    Dismissal of Criminal Case & Settlement $200,000
    Description:
    This incident occurred on June 5, 1996, at approximately 10:40 a.m. on Graham Avenue in Brooklyn, New York after Angelica Grau drove her husband to a bank. While he exited the car, an ambulance parked next to Ms. Grau, preventing her from pulling out. Police Officer Hector Ariza was ticketing cars in the area. Ms. Grau said that he banged on her car and ordered her to move the vehicle and an argument ensued when she tried to explain that she was blocked by the ambulence. When Ms. Grau's husband approached, Officer Ariza pushed him causing him to fall back. As Ms. Grau tried to get out of her car, her door came into contact with the officer's leg and bicycle. She claimed that Officer Ariza then slammed the door on her left hand and pulled her from the car by her hair and body, threw her up against the rear of the car and handcuffed her. When a patrol car arrived at the scene, Officer Ariza pushed her toward it, causing her to land partially on the ground and partially in the patrol car. She was arrested on assault charges. She suffered an angina attack while in the holding cell and was transported to the hospital. She remained in custody until June 13, 1996 when she was released on her own recognizance. Angelica Grau was represented by Manuel Portela. The criminal charges were dismissed after two court appearances. Angelica Grau by her attorney Manuel Portela sued the City of New York, The New York CIty Police Department and Police Officer Hector Ariza. During the Civil litigation it came to light that Officer Ariza had 24 cases filed against him, 14 involved force. In addition, he had probations and suspensions. He had a negative evvaluationf for low performance and had been in the Performance Monitoring Program from 1992 until this incident. Officer Ariza was discharged from the New York CIty Police force. Injuries: Angina attack. The defendants argued that Ms. Grau's injuries were not permanent.
  • Luis Rosas v. Calvin Jerome Brown

    Practice Area:
    Personal Injury
    Outcome:
    Settlement of policy limit, 25k
    Description:
    Defendant Calvin Jerome Brown drove a 1991 Nissan Pathfinder struck a 1991 Nissan after losing control of his vehicle. Brown was arrested for DWI. The defendant was charged with driving with no insurance and Driving while intoxicated.
  • Fatal Accident at Tortilleria Chinantla-Tortilla Factory

    Practice Area:
    Administrative Law
    Date:
    Jan 01, 2012
    Outcome:
    Settlements with OSHA, Attorney General, Worker's Compensation, Department of Labor
    Description:
    The Portela Law Firm, P.C. and Manuel Portela sucessfully represented Tortilleria Chinantla before various administrative agencies including Worker's Compensation, Department of Labor, Occupation, Safety and Health Administration as well as the King's County Criminal Court regarding Worker's Compensation charges brought by the Attorney General's Office.
  • CRIMINAL CHARGE DISMISSED, UNJUST NYPD SEIZURE OF 2009 NISSAN RELEASED, AND EXCESSIVE USE OF FORCE CLAIM UNDER INVESTIGATION

    Practice Area:
    Criminal Defense
    Date:
    Oct 15, 2012
    Outcome:
    Criminal Charge Dismissed and 2009 Maxima Nissan Vechicle Released
    Description:
    On September 1, 2012 at approximately 1:00 a.m. in Northern Manhattan PO Rachel Stahl served Emmanuel Echavarria a Criminal Summons charging him with violating one count under the administsrative code 24-233, excessive noise/car sterio. PO Stahl of the 34 Pct. then seized Echavarria's four door white 2009 Maxima Nissan and vouchered the property at the 34 precinct as arrest evidence. The officer scheduled the Notice of Summons for Arraignment more than two months after the issuance of the Summons at the Manhattan Criminal Summons Court at 346 Broadway on November 8, 2012. The property voucher included a directive from the arresrting officer that the vehicle would not be released until the Summons was adjudicated, preventing Echavarria's mother, the registered owner, access to the Nissan Maxima. Echavarria's mother continued to make lease payments while the car remained under police custody at the NYPD Springield Auto Pound in Queens. Echavarria went to the 34 precinct to file a complaint. According to Echavarria he was unjustly punched in the face by an undercover officer and head slammed against a metal divider while filing a complaint at the precinct. An ambulence responded to the 34 prct. Manuel Portela advanced the case from November 8th to October 15, 2012 and advocated for an ACD, a conditional dismissal of the excessive noise violation. The presiding judge granted a one day ACD and ordered to seal the case file the same date of the arraignment. Mr. Portela also secured a property release from the New York County District Attorney's Office of the Maxima Nissan for Echavarria's mother. The excessive use of force claim by the undercover is under investigation.
  • Public Nuisance, Closure of Retail Grocery charged with Illegal Gambling - Now Reopened

    Practice Area:
    Litigation
    Date:
    Jun 25, 2012
    Outcome:
    Settlement, Enjoining Future Illegal On-Premises Gambling Activity and Fine $1,000
    Description:
    On January 11, 2012 at approximately 12:30 p.m. the NYPD conducted an undercover investigation of a Queens grocery store in relation to permitting on- premises illegal gambiling. An undercover officer alleged in the criminal complaint that he entered into the store, filled out a race horse betting slip and exchanged a sum of U.S. currency for a receipt. The NYPD later arrested the owner and operators of the store. The Portela Law Firm represented the owner and operators of the business and resolved the case with a non criminal, violation conviction. The owners and operators agreed to forfeit the gambing proceeds that the NYPD recovered at the time of the arrest and pay a fine. On June 22, 2012 The NYPD Civil Legal Enforcment Unit secured a preliminary injuction and immediate closure of the business. The civil action sought a preliminary and permanent injuction to close the business for one year, alleging that the business was a public nuisance by permitting illegal gambling. On June 25, 2012, The Portela Law Firm, filed a notice of appearance at the Queens Supreme Civil Court and negotiated an early settlement agreement permiting the reopening of the grocery store after three days of closure. As a condition to reopening the business the Portela Law Firm negotiated on behalf of the store owner to allow the NYPD to make reasonable unannounced inspections of the store for the limited purposed of ensuring no illgegal on- premises gambling. The parties also agreed to a closure of the business if a new violation was determined after the execution of the settlement agreement. The store owner sustained three days of lost revenue totalling approximately $6,000 and agreed to pay a fine of $1,000.00. The store remains open for busines.
  • OVER 20 FELONY CHARGES AGAINST TORTILLA FACTORY OWNER REDUCED TO ONE MISDEMEANOR

    Practice Area:
    Criminal Defense
    Date:
    Sep 12, 2013
    Outcome:
    OVER 20 FELONY COUNTS REDUCED TO AN UNCLASSIFIED MISDEMEANOR
    Description:
    PRLog (Press Release) - Sep. 12, 2013 - NEW YORK -- In January of 2011, the close knit family of Tortilleria Chinantla, Inc. lost a cherished member of its team when Juan Baten fatally fell into a giant dough-mixer at the factory. Due to this unfortunate accident, an exhaustive investigation into the business practices of the multi-million dollar tortilla factory by the Attorney General, the Department of Labor, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration ensued. On March 27, 2012, after a year-long investigation by these agencies, Erasmo Ponce was arrested and charged with twelve (12) counts of Filing a False Instrument in the 1st degree, twelve (12) counts of Falsifying Business Records in the 1st degree, and two (2) counts for Failure to Secure the Payment of Compensation for more than Five Employees in the Brooklyn Criminal Court. These were all class E felonies, with a possible period of incarceration of between 1.25 and 4 years in state prison for each count. Mr. Ponce was also charged with eleven (11) counts of Failure to Pay Wages, a class A misdemeanor. Incarceration for a class A misdemeanor can be up to one year. The complaint alleged that Mr. Ponce and Tortilleria Chinantla, Inc. did not pay worker’s compensation wages to the Worker’s Compensation Board, overtime wages to its employees, and did not accurately report the number of employees to the New York State Department of Finance and Taxation to avoid paying unemployment benefits. Mr. Ponce faced up to one hundred and fifteen (115) years in prison if convicted of each count. Mr. Ponce not only feared for his own personal freedom and liberty, but also the life of the company he worked so hard to turn into a success. Mr. Ponce knew that the company would not be able to operate without him if he had to spend the rest of his days behind bars and that if he was going to avoid significant prison time in upstate New York and keep his business functioning and operational, he needed a firm that was going to fight for him. He needed The Portela Law Firm, P.C. The Portela Law Firm, P.C. began countering the Attorney General’s criminal accusations with thorough investigative tactics of its own. Through its own investigation, the Portela Law Firm, P.C. produced documentation showing that Mr. Ponce’s failure to pay worker’s compensation, overtime wages, and accurately report the number of his employees, was not known or intentional and that it would be difficult to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. The Portela Law Firm, P.C. also conveyed Mr. Ponce’s outstanding character as a rags-to-riches Mexican immigrant who came to this country with nothing and worked tirelessly to build his company into a multi-million dollar company that gave back to the New York Latino community through charity, leadership, and community service. Because of its thorough investigation of the case and its persistent, aggressive negotiations with the Attorney General’s Office, The Portela Law Firm, P.C. persuaded the State of New York to dismiss ALL Felony charges against Erasmo Ponce in exchange for a guilty plea to only one count of the class A misdemeanor charge of failing to pay wages. In exchange for this guilty plea, Mr. Ponce agreed to a sentence of twelve (12) weekends (or 24 days over a span of 3 months) in jail. Before retaining the Portela Law Firm, P.C., Erasmo Ponce was at risk of losing it all: the company he worked so hard to make into a multi-million dollar business and his own personal liberty and freedom. Today, Mr. Ponce’s business is thriving and he has continued to move forward as a father, husband, businessman, community leader, and strong advocate for the Latino community.
  • The Portela Law Firm, P.C Reduces Two Class E Felony Charges to a Single Violation for a Non-Citizen

    Practice Area:
    Criminal Defense
    Date:
    Jan 10, 2012
    Outcome:
    The Portela Law Firm, P.C. successfully persuades the Nassau County District Attorney’s office to reduce two counts of Filing a False Instrument in the First Degree to a single violation of disorderly conduct, which is not a crime.
    Description:
    IMMEDIATE RELEASE PRLog (Press Release) - Sep. 9, 2013 - NEW YORK -- In early July of 2012, G.C. entered the doors of the Portela Law Firm, P.C. in a panic. He had recently been arrested on two counts for filing a false instrument in the first degree; a Class E Felony. As a permanent resident, G.C. was extremely concerned that a conviction on these charges would result in a cancellation of his green card and a removal order to take him back to the Dominican Republic. His concerns were justified, but the Portela Law Firm, P.C. was there to help. In mid-June of 2012, G.C. was arrested by the New York State Police for two counts of Penal Law § 175.35, Filing a False Instrument in the 1st degree: One count for each time G.C. said on his driver’s license application that he had not used a different name in the past when applying for a driver’s license. G.C. was shocked, scared, concerned, and clueless. One minute he was a lawful permanent resident on his way to becoming a citizen, the next minute he was being charged with serious felony crime and in jeopardy of losing his legal status, his family, his job, and his whole life in the United States. Under the immigration laws, if a permanent resident is convicted of a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude (“CIMT”) within five years of obtaining their permanent residency, they can be deported. Unfortunately for G.C., Filing a False Instrument in the 1st degree is a CIMT and he was charged with this crime within five years of acquiring his green card, thus making him deportable if convicted. He retained the Portela Law Firm, P.C. to defend against these criminal charges and to do whatever it takes to preserve G.C.’s legal status as a permanent resident and keep him in this country. On July 31, 2013, The Portela Law Firm, P.C. arranged a meeting prior to the pre-trial conference with the assigned Assistant District Attorney on the case, Jessica Cepriano. At this meeting, the firm pushed for a non-criminal disposition to the case, arguing that G.C. did not intentionally lie on the application, that he had disclosed his fraudulent name to INS when he applied for his green card in 2007, and that he had spent thirty years in this country working and providing emotionally and financially for his family. The firm went into particular detail about the educational successes of his children, the strength of his marriage, how he paid taxes to the government for thirty years and the fact that G.C. was truthful with INS about his prior false identity; that when he applied for his driver’s license in 2007 using his original name, he thought everything had been cleared and that he was starting fresh. When he renewed his driver’s license in 2012, he had moved past that dark chapter in his life almost five years and had used his original name when applying for his license in 2007 without any consequences. ADA Cepriano responded that she would have to talk to her supervisor and her investigators before making an offer of Disorderly Conduct. On September 28, 2012, ADA Cepriano contacted the firm and communicated that based on the content and substance of our meeting on July 31, 2012, and the emails she received from the firm since that time, she decided to reduce the two Class E Felony counts to a single Disorderly Conduct charge, a mere violation. When G.C. received this information, he was thrilled and relieved at the same time. The Portela Law Firm, P.C. successfully negotiated a deal with the toughest District Attorney’s Office in New York that left G.C.’s criminal record clean with no immigration consequences whatsoever. On October 1, 2012, G.C. pled guilty to the violation (not a crime) of Disorderly Conduct and the Judge stated on the record, before a packed court house, “Your attorney did a great job for you.” G.C. has applied for his citizenship and continues to live happily with his wife and children.
  • THE PORTELA LAW FIRM REDUCES TWO CLASS E FELONY CHARGES TO A SINGLE NON-CRIMINAL VIOLATION FOR A NON-CITIZEN

    Practice Area:
    Immigration
    Date:
    Oct 01, 2012
    Outcome:
    The Portela Law Firm, P.C. successfully persuades the Nassau County District Attorney’s office to reduce two counts of Filing a False Instrument in the First Degree to a single violation of disorderly conduct, which is not a crime.
    Description:
    PRLog (Press Release) - Sep. 9, 2013 - NEW YORK -- In early July of 2012, G.C. entered the doors of the Portela Law Firm, P.C. in a panic. He had recently been arrested on two counts for filing a false instrument in the first degree; a Class E Felony. As a permanent resident, G.C. was extremely concerned that a conviction on these charges would result in a cancellation of his green card and a removal order to take him back to the Dominican Republic. His concerns were justified, but the Portela Law Firm, P.C. was there to help. G.C. lived and worked using the false name of T.B. until 2006, when he married his partner of nine years, who was a US. Citizen. At this point in time, G.C. had four children who were all United States Citizens as well. On these grounds, G.C. re-opened his immigration case and successfully obtained permanent residency status in April of 2007. At this time, G.C. went back to using his original name. When G.C. went to the Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”) to apply for a new driver’s license, the driver’s license application form asked: “Have you ever applied for a Driver’s License using another name?” G.C. answered, “No.” In mid-June of 2012, G.C. was arrested by the New York State Police for two counts of Penal Law § 175.35, Filing a False Instrument in the 1st degree: One count for each time G.C. said on his driver’s license application that he had not used a different name in the past when applying for a driver’s license. G.C. was shocked, scared, concerned, and clueless. One minute he was a lawful permanent resident on his way to becoming a citizen, the next minute he was being charged with serious felony crime and in jeopardy of losing his legal status, his family, his job, and his whole life in the United States. Under the immigration laws, if a permanent resident is convicted of a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude (“CIMT”) within five years of obtaining their permanent residency, they can be deported. Unfortunately for G.C., Filing a False Instrument in the 1st degree is a CIMT and he was charged with this crime within five years of acquiring his green card, thus making him deportable if convicted. On July 31, 2013, The Portela Law Firm, P.C. arranged a meeting prior to the pre-trial conference with the assigned Assistant District Attorney on the case, Jessica Cepriano. At this meeting, the firm pushed for a non-criminal disposition to the case, arguing that G.C. did not intentionally lie on the application, that he had disclosed his fraudulent name to INS when he applied for his green card in 2007, and that he had spent thirty years in this country working and providing emotionally and financially for his family. The firm went into particular detail about the educational successes of his children, the strength of his marriage, how he paid taxes to the government for thirty years and the fact that G.C. was truthful with INS about his prior false identity; that when he applied for his driver’s license in 2007 using his original name, he thought everything had been cleared and that he was starting fresh. When he renewed his driver’s license in 2012, he had moved past that dark chapter in his life almost five years and had used his original name when applying for his license in 2007 without any consequences. ADA Cepriano responded that she would have to talk to her supervisor and her investigators before making an offer of Disorderly Conduct. On September 28, 2012, ADA Cepriano contacted the firm and communicated that based on the content and substance of our meeting on July 31, 2012, and the emails she received from the firm since that time, she decided to reduce the two Class E Felony counts to a single Disorderly Conduct charge, a mere violation. On October 1, 2012, G.C. pled guilty to the violation (not a crime) of Disorderly Conduct.
  • THE PORTELA LAW FIRM SECURES DISMISSAL FOR TWO YOUNG QUEENS RESIDENTS

    Practice Area:
    Immigration
    Date:
    Jan 11, 2012
    Outcome:
    DISMISSAL OF CRIMINAL CHARGES
    Description:
    PRLog (Press Release) - Dec. 5, 2012 - According to sources at the scene, on November 1, 2012 at approximately 3:55 a.m. a fight broke out at the corner of 81st Street and Northern Blvd in Queens County involving approximately fifteen young adults. As the police arrived to the scene of the incident, participants in the fight fled in different directions. The police gave chase. The police apprehended several people, including two young men: B.M. and J.A. The families of both teens retained the Portela Law Firm, P.C. for the arraignment and defense of the case. Both clients were released after Arraignment without bail. Facts: On November 1, 2012 at approximately 3:55 a.m. both B.M. and J.A. were apprehended inside a restaurant in the vicinity of 81st Street and Northern Blvd. in Queens, New York. The restaurant is located across the street from where the street fight transpired. J.A. was horse-collared by an apprehending officer as he was entering the restaurant. After apprehending J.A., the police entered and searched the restaurant and arrested B.M. while he was working as a server inside of the restaurant. B.M. and J.A. were accused of acting together and repeatedly punching complainant M.F. about the body and face and menacing him with a knife. They were arrested and charged with Felony Assault, Menacing, Obstruction of Governmental Administration, and Harassment. Immigration Consequences: Defense: B.M and J.A. retained The Portela Law Firm, P.C.. to present a defense for the two teens. According to the principal of the Portela Law Firm, Manuel Portela, this was a case of misidentification. “The fight occurred across the street approximately two storefronts away from where my clients were apprehended and arrested, and both men maintained that they did not assault anyone.” Both clients faced potential removal consequences if convicted of a felony assault and sentenced to one year or more of prison. The Portela Law Firm, P.C. used exhaustive investigative techniques. The firm met with owners from businesses in the vicinity and viewed security videos where the fight took place. The Portela Law firm also secured the security video from the restaurant where B.M. and A.S. were apprehended and arrested. The video showed B.M. working in uniform at the restaurant and A.S. patronizing the restaurant with his mother and family. The Portela Law Firm set up a meeting on November 27, 2012 with the Queens County Assigned Prosecutor ADA Regan to review the surveillance and to make an argument for dismissing the charges against both B.M. and J.A.. The firm relentlessly argued that the complainant M.F. misidentified B.M. and J.A. as the culprits. After presenting the video and confirming the identities of both clients in the video as being B.M. and J.A., the Queens District Attorney’s Office agreed to dismiss the charges against B.M. and for J.A. consented to an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal, ACD. An ACD means that as long as J.A. does not get arrested within the next six months, the Felony Assault charges against him will be dismissed and sealed. Neither teen will have a criminal record as a result of this arrest. If you are charged with a crime, call The Portela Law Firm, P.C. to fight aggressively to protect your rights. 212-927-7363 Learn more by visiting their website at: http://www.newyorkimmigrantdefenselawyer.com.
  • The Portela Law Firm, P.C. Stops restaurant in Woodside, Queens from eviction.

    Practice Area:
    Commercial
    Outcome:
    CEASE EVICTION OF CLIENT, A COMMERCIAL TENANT
    Description:
    Press Release, PR Department, New York, August 28, 2013. The Portela Law Firm, P.C. successfully negotiated an affordable rent repayment plan for a Queens based restaurant stopping the eviction of the client. In addition, the attorneys entered into a stipulation wherein the landlord agreed to contribute toward the costs involved in securing a liquor license for the restaurant. The restaurant owner (A.L.) signed a commercial lease with the intention of using the premises as a restaurant with a full bar. Prior to signing the lease, the Landlord (LL) failed to notify A.L. that the property had a certificate of occupancy for retail/wholesale that would keep a liquor license from being granted by the New York State Liquor Authority. A.L., unaware of the type of certificate of occupancy the property had, applied for a liquor license and was denied. A.L. was at a loss for words when she received her denial letter. She invested her life savings into this restaurant, and she was about to lose it all. A.L. tried to make ends meet without selling alcoholic beverages at the restaurant, but quickly fell behind on the rent. Before she realized the potential consequences of not securing a liquor license, she was 6 months behind and was holding a non-payment petition for $18,000 from the landlord. A.L. decided to seek legal advice and came to The Portela Law Firm, P.C. for assistance. The Portela Law Firm, P.C. advised her of the seriousness of her matter and that swift action needed to be taken in order to protect her interests. She retained the services of The Portela Law Firm, P.C., and the firm filed an answer the very next day denying all of the allegations. The Portela Law Firm, P.C. also began intense negotiations with the LL’s attorney that same day. After days of negotiations and a day in court, The Portela Law Firm, P.C. was able to come to a favorable agreement with the LL. A.L. was not evicted from the premises and was able to continue running her restaurant. The Portela Law Firm, P.C. was able to persuade the LL to allow A.L. to pay her arrears in installments instead of a lump sum and also convinced the LL to split the costs ($20,000) of obtaining the proper certificate of occupancy for a bar on the premises. A.L. was very satisfied with the work of The Portela Law Firm, P.C. and is currently making the necessary adjustments to the premises to obtain a liquor license.