The Law Office of William E. Betz has extensive experience in most areas of civil litigation, including counseling and defending and prosecuting complex, high-stakes cases.

Mr. Betz has been trial and appellate counsel in important cases involving the protection and vindication of personal and business rights, including, among others: Hartline v. Gallo, Ilyaich v. Bankers Life Insurance Company of New York, Bolden v. Alston, United States v. $19,047 in U.S. Currency, Zenith v. Matsushita (co-counsel), Alaimo v. City of New York, Estate of Albert Goldberg, Cohen v. First Run Features, Alder v. Cargo Brokers, Apsan v. Gemini Consulting, In re Petro Lewis Securities Litigation (class action), In re Cosmopolitan Aviation, and Iolanda Quinn v. Anthony Quinn.

Scroll down to view Mr. Betz’s areas of expertise.

Matrimonial and Family Law

The Betz Law Office has represented scores of individuals statewide in divorce, child custody, support and enforcement proceedings before the New York Supreme and Family Courts. Included among the matters handled by Mr. Betz have been those ranging from high-profile divorces involving substantial assets to cases involving persons seeking to protect their rights in marital property and child custody. Mr. Betz has had striking success in representing fathers seeking custody of their children.

He has also represented matrimonial and family law clients in appeals in the New York appellate courts.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Mr. Betz has practiced arbitration before NASD (National Association of Securities Dealers), the American Arbitration Association (AAA) and ad hoc arbitration. Mr. Betz has also participated in mediation.

Appellate

Mr. Betz has briefed and argued cases across a broad spectrum of legal issues in the Federal Courts of Appeals, the United States Supreme Court and the New York appellate courts. These include matters involving Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Civil Procedure, Antitrust, Criminal Law, Torts, Contracts and Securities Law.

Business Litigation

William E. Betz has successfully represented minority shareholders of privately held corporations who were oppressed or frozen out of the profits and operation of their respective businesses by controlling shareholders. The matters were all resolved by litigation or settled to the satisfaction of the lawyer’s clients.

In addition, Mr. Betz has represented corporations in business disputes involving other corporations and individuals. He has prosecuted claims and defended corporations in breach of contract and employment discrimination disputes.

Criminal Practice

William E. Betz has handled a variety of criminal matters, representing defendants before the New York State criminal courts and assisting in the prosecution as Assistant Attorney General on behalf of the local government in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Mr. Betz has never represented a losing defendant in either a jury or non-jury (bench) trial.

Civil Rights and Constitutional Litigation

Mr. Betz has handled several cases involving constitutional civil rights issues in the Federal district and appellate courts.

In a case in which a Guyanese immigrant to the United States was subjected, along with several friends, to a warrantless search, the immigrant and her companions were confronted by INS officials in the early morning hours on the day following a Hindu wedding. The woman was "asked" by an armed immigration agent to give him her purse. He found cash in the amount of nearly 20 thousand dollars in the purse and confiscated it. The woman later retained Mr. Betz to try to retrieve her money. In a forfeiture proceeding brought by the government to consummate the seizure, the client counterclaimed for return of the money. Following a trial in the Federal District Court, the Judge held that her money was taken in violation of her Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure and ordered the money returned to Mr. Betz’s client with interest.

Mr. Betz also represented a New York State prison inmate who claimed his right to Due Process under the Fourteenth Amendment was violated by the arbitrary imposition of prison disciplinary proceedings against him. In response to a motion by the State for summary judgment dismissing the complaint, the inmate cross-moved for summary judgment on his Due Process claims. The cross-motion was successful and judgment was entered in favor of the client.

In a federal civil rights alleging unconstitutional search and seizure Mr. Betz represented a young woman who was strip-searched after being stopped by the local police for a missing license plate, and where a small amount of marijuana was subsequently discovered in her vehicle. The Constitution forbids such humiliating and invasive procedures in all but the most limited cases. After the district court wrongfully dismissed the case Mr. Betz appealed. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in a unanimous opinion, issued a stinging reversal and ordered the case remanded with instructions to the district judge. Hartline v. Gallo, http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-2nd-circuit/1432343.html.

Mr. Betz also represented the government of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in civil rights litigation during his employment there as Assistant Attorney General.

Employment Contracts and Employment Discrimination

The Betz Law Office has represented clients, including on the international level, claiming breach of employment contract and employment discrimination.

Representing two Brazilian nationals in the Information Technology ("IT") industry, Mr. Betz prosecuted their employment contract claim against a multinational consulting firm, resulting in a substantial settlement on behalf of the plaintiffs. The dispute was required by contractual provision to be litigated in the Federal District Court in New York City.

Mr. Betz also represented an applicant to a New York City agency who was denied employment exclusively on the basis of a birth defect that did not affect his ability to perform the responsibilities of the position at issue. The case was ultimately resolved at trial for a substantial settlement in the plaintiff’s favor.

Torts (Personal Injury, Malpractice)

Mr. Betz has substantial experience in representing individuals who were injured as the result of the negligence of other individuals or corporations, including the City of New York. Such matters include automobile accident injuries and injuries resulting from the collapse of structures overhanging public byways.

Mr. Betz has also successfully represented individuals claiming negligent injury at the hands of physicians (medical malpractice) and lawyers (legal malpractice).

Wills and Decedents’ Estates

The Betz Law Office represented a decedent’s widow seeking to vindicate her right of election to take under her late husband’s will.  The decedent’s sister claimed her late brother lacked testamentary capacity and that a revocation of a prenuptial agreement was the result of incompetence, duress and undue influence.  After an extended trial and the testimony of expert medical witnesses, the Surrogate’s Court, in a case involving unique issues of first impression, held that the decedent was, in fact, competent at the time of his revocation of the prenuptial agreement and that his widow was entitled to her share of the distribution of his estate.

Mr. Betz successfully represented the plaintiff in litigation against a life insurance company that wrongfully refused to pay on a $1 million policy on the client's grandmother's life. The carrier alleged fraud in the decedent's application, which allegation was disproved in litigation. The carrier appealed and the judgment of the trial court was affirmed on appeal, where Mr. Betz also represented the decedent's beneficiary.

Other Legal Matters

Bankruptcy

In connection with the representation of the White Rock Beverage Corporation, a real estate tenant of the client filed for bankruptcy and remained in the premises as a holdover, proceeding to stall eviction in the Federal Bankruptcy Court. Mr. Betz worked with the client’s law firm in an adversarial proceeding seeking to demonstrate the tenant’s misuse of the court for profit. After substantial and complicated litigation the tenant was ultimately issued an order of eviction.

Other

Mr. Betz has also participated in litigation before the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Court of International Trade.