Photo of Jennifer M. Gómez

Jennifer M. Gomez represents manufacturers in mass torts and products liability litigation, with an emphasis on medical devices. She also represents clients in a wide range of complex civil litigation matters, including class action defense, in both federal and state court. Her experience includes all aspects of litigation, including development of case strategy, drafting discovery, dispositive, and various pretrial motions, and taking and defending depositions. Additionally, Jennifer manages products liability settlement inventories involving thousands of plaintiffs nationwide, working to meet business objectives in an expedient and cost-effective manner.

Jennifer also advises corporations on compliance and regulatory matters, including governmental investigations. In addition to her litigation practice, Jennifer has served as the New York State Assistant Secretary for Human Services under Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, and as Legislative Counsel at the New York City Council. Jennifer started her career at a major New York law firm before her role with the New York City Council.

Jennifer maintains an active pro bono docket, representing asylum seekers and assault victims. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Capital Region Youth Tennis Foundation.

A town cannot compel a utility company to post a warning notice that its utility poles contain a wood preservative.  That is the effect of U.S. District Judge Spatt’s February 4th decision in PSEG Long Island LLC v. Town of North Hempstead, 15-cv-0222, slip op. (E.D.N.Y Feb. 4, 2016).

On September 9, 2014, the Town of North Hempstead (“Town”) enacted an ordinance that required PSEG Long Island (“PSEG-LI”) to post a “warning” sign on every fourth utility pole, indicating that: the utility pole contained a hazardous chemical; prolonged exposure should be avoided; and exposed areas should be washed.  PSEG-LI challenged the ordinance on multiple grounds including that it violated the First Amendment.  Greenberg Traurig attorneys William A. Hurst, Robert M. Rosenthal and Steven C. Russo represented PSEG-LI.

The majority of utility poles in the United States, including those PSEG-LI recently installed in the Town, are treated before use with Pentachlorophenol (“Penta”) – a heavy-duty, EPA-registered wood preservative regulated under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).  The Town sought to justify the ordinance requiring warning signs on the ground that the utility poles allegedly posed a significant risk to residents who touch them, and to the environment itself, ostensibly through migration of Penta into groundwater (although none has been documented in amounts exceeding any applicable maximum contaminant or action level).  During the public debate that followed, and in its Complaint to the District Court, PSEG-LI pointed out that Penta is registered for exactly – indeed, solely – this use, based on a comprehensive EPA health and environmental risk assessment.

On February 4, the District Court declared the ordinance an unconstitutional attempt to compel noncommercial speech. In so doing, the Court hewed closely to the standard First Amendment analysis with respect to government-compelled speech.Continue Reading Ordinance Requiring Pesticide Warning Signs Found to Violate First Amendment