Diane Sammons is an experienced litigator practicing law for more than 25 years. She started her career as a criminal prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. After establishing an array of trial victories there, she began work at one of the largest commercial firms in the state, focusing on mass complex tort cases (including the DES’ litigation, tobacco litigation and fetal-alcohol syndrome), commercial litigation, insurance and white-collar criminal defense work. She came to work for Nagel Rice, LLP in 1990.
In 2001, she became part of a team representing national and international victims in an Austrian ski train disaster against European companies. Her efforts have contributed to several significant jurisdictional victories over multi-national corporations.
She has also secured a successful result for her representation of several Austrian anti-nuclear organizations who sought to close a nuclear power station on the southern border of the Czech Republic. Her work in securing documentation through the Freedom of Information Act was a resource to her clients who had been struggling for years to secure basic safety documents from the Czech Republic.
In 2003, she was appointed co-lead counsel of a 19-member team of attorneys in a multi-district litigation in a claim against corporations who profited from the transatlantic slave trade. From 2002, she has served as a lead attorney in the international suit seeking damages for the victims of apartheid in South Africa.
In 2004, Sammons was installed as Chancellor of the Episcopal Church of Newark, where she serves as special legal advisor to the Bishop and oversees all legal matters for the 113-church Diocese, including employment, real estate, transactional work, clergy discipline, ecclesiastical law and litigation. Sammons has been a frequent guest on radio and talk shows speaking about some of her cases. Such appearances include, CNN (March 30, 2002); CN8 “Real Life” (June 5, 2002); CN8 10:00 News (May 1, 2002); Channel 9 10:00 News (May 1, 2002); Rundshau, German television show (January 8, 2003); Africa Today, South African morning show (June 2002); National Public Radio (2002); BBC (2002): Voice of America (2002); National Public Radio, “Tavis Smiley Show” (2003); National Public Radio, “Morning Edition” (2004); Bloomberg News “Simply Put” (April 2004), WOR (2002); WNET (2002); WCTZ (April 2004).
Assistant District Attorney, New York County, 1981-1985. Author: "Corporate Reparations for Descendents of Enslaved African Americans - Practical Obstacles," Max DuPlessis, Stephen Pete; Repairing the Past? International Perspectives on Reparations for Gross Human Rights Abuses, (Intersentia 2007) at 315; "Retaliation," Michele Paludi, DeSouza, Praeger Handbook on Workplace Discrimination: Legal Management and Social Science Perspectives (Praeger, anticipated 2010). Presenter and Lecturer: "New Title IV Disciplinary Code"; Chancellor's Conference (2010); "Report of Title IV Task Force," Province II Synod (May 2009), Western Chancellor's Conference (May 2009), Standing Committee on Ministry Development (November 2008); "Breakthrough on Statute of Limitations Issue", North Carolina Conference of the NAACP CLE Seminar (October 2008); "Reconciliation at the Roundtable," The Desmond Tutu Center; General Theological Seminary (September 2007); "The Misuse of Church Computers: What You May Want to Know More About," National Chancellors' Conference (May 2007); "National Canons: History and Application of Title IV," Drew University Theological School (May 2007); "Authority in the Anglican Communion and the Windsor Report," Episcopal Lawyers' Volunteer Network (May 2007); "The Legal Case for Reparations," Brooklyn Law School (February 2007); "The Moral and Legal Basis for Reparations for Historical Wrongs," Plainfield Unitarian Society (January 2007); "Excellence, Justice, Honor Through an Unflinching Look at the Herms of the Transatlantic Slave Trade," Horace Mann High School Honor Society (May 2006); "The Case for Reparations and Comments on Film: Slavery Reparations: The Final Passage," Brooklyn Film Festival (February 2006); "Human Rights Through Reparations Litigation," United Universalist Association Diversity Conference, New York (February 2006); "Bishop and Clergy Development Search Processes/Letter of Agreement, Western Chancellor's Conference, 2005; "Human Rights as Tool for Social Change," UNESCO, Institute of Comparative Human Rights Conference, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009"; Update on Reparations Litigation," Congressional Black Caucus Conference (September 2005); "Update in African-American Slave Descendants' Litigation and Apartheid Litigation," Stanford Law School (2004); "Reparations, a Legal Model," University of Connecticut School of Law (2002); "A Review on African-American Slave Descendants' Litigation," Union Theological Seminary (2002); "Class Action as a Mechanism for Enforcement of Human Rights Violations," Kean University (Fall 2002). Member: Hogan Morgenthau Associates; Episcopal Chancellors' Network; Ecclesiastical Law Society; Chair, Standing Commission of the Constitution and Canons of the National Episcopal Church; Subcommittee on Title IV Revision of the National Episcopal Church; Presiding Bishop's Chancellor's Council of Advice; Episcopal Lawyers' Volunteer Network - Diocese of Newark; Committee on Constitution and Canons - Diocese of Newark; New Jersey State District Ethics Committee for Essex County, District V-B, 1998-2002. Chancellor, Episcopal Diocese of Newark (2004—) (Legal Advisor to Bishop and 112 congregations).
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