A federal magistrate judge with sixteen years on the bench, Judge Ramon Reyes is a relatively conventional nominee from the Biden Administration for the Eastern District bench.
Reyes received a B.Sc. from Cornell University in 1988, a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School in 1992 and an LLM. from the New York University School of Law in 1992. Reyes then clerked for Judge David Trager on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York before joining O’Melveny & Myers in New York City.
In 1998, Reyes joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York as an AUSA.
In 2006, Reyes became a federal magistrate judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. He serves on that court today.
History of the Seat
Reyes has been nominated to fill a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. This seat opened on July 23, 2022 when Judge Kiyo Matsumoto moved to senior status.
Reyes started his legal career by clerking on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. He then worked as an associate at O’Melveny & Myers in New York City. While at the firm, Reyes represented the Insurance Company of North America in a liability suit regarding damages from the cleanup of environmental damage caused at natural gas lines. See Interstate Power Co. v. Insurance Co. of N. Am., 603 N.W.2d 751 (Iowa 1999).
From 1998 to 2006, Reyes worked for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York as a federal prosecutor. At the office, Reyes handled civil charges, including defending against a Title VII lawsuit alleging employment discrimination brought by a postal worker. See Brown v. Henderson, 115 F. Supp. 2d 445 (S.D.N.Y. 2000). The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the Postal Service and Reyes argued the case on appeal before the Second Circuit, which affirmed. See Brown v. Henderson, 257 F.3d 246 (2d Cir. 2001). He also defended the constitutionality of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. See Kalsson v. United States FEC, 356 F. Supp. 2d 371 (S.D.N.Y. 2005).
Reyes has served as a U.S. Magistrate Judge since his appointment in 2006. In this role, Reyes handles arraignments, bail hearings, and discovery disputes. Additionally, Reyes also presides over cases by the consent of the parties. One of the trials he presided over involved a naming dispute between Patsy’s Italian Restaurant and Patsy’s Pizzeria. See John Marzulli, Jury Mulls Name Fight of 2 Patsy’s. W. Side Spot, Harlem Pizzeria Battle, New York Daily News, Apr. 9, 2008. Reyes ruled that both eateries were barred from using only the name “Patsy’s.” See Simone Weichselbaum, Eateries Can’t Stand Pat(sy), Judge Insists, New York Daily News, Sept. 10, 2008.
Reyes also handled a sexual contact charge against an Orthodox rabbi involving allegations that he touched the groin and breast of an Israeli army officer sitting next to him. See John Marzulli, Rabbi Groped Me on Flight, Faking Sleep. Israeli Dad of 11 Denies All, New York Daily News, May 5, 2011. Reyes found the defendant guilty, finding the victim’s testimony “compelling and wholly believable.” See John Marzulli, Rabbi Guilty in Grope of Female Soldier, New York Daily News, May 6, 2011. Reyes sentenced the defendant to 60 days in jail. See John Marzulli, Perv Rabbi Gets 60 Days in Jail, New York Daily News, May 5, 2011.
Over the course of his legal career, Reyes has occasionally commented on the law. For example, as a magistrate, Reyes coauthored a paper discussing the Eastern District’s efforts to manage a flood of lawsuits brought about as a result of Hurricane Sandy. See Cheryl L. Pollak, Ramon E. Reyes, & Robyn Weinstein, Esq., “Hurricane” Sandy: A Case Study of the Eastern District of New York’s Effort to Address Mass Litigation Resulting From the Effects of Climate Change, 5 Tex. A&M J. Prop. L. 158 (2019).
As an associate at O’Melveny, Reyes authored an article discussing the home taping of copyrighted audio soundtracks. See Ramon E. Reyes, Jr., Can the Common Law Adequately Justify a Home Taping Royalty Using Economic Efficiency Alone?, 16 N.Y.L. Sch. J. Int’l & Comp. L. 235 (1996). The article details the various regimes different countries have employed to account for losses from the home copying of copyrighted materials, criticizing the use of a “home taping royalty” or a surcharge on the purchase of recording devices and blank tapes as a method of addressing this issue. See id. at 263-64. In another article, Reyes extrapolates from a settlement between Australia and Nauru to cover damages caused by phosphate mining at Nauru that international law establishes a fiduciary duty for administering bodies to properly manage colonies and territories. See Ramon E. Reyes, Jr., Nauru v. Australia: The International Fiduciary Duty and the Settlement of Nauru’s Claims for Rehabilitation of its Phosphate Lands, 16 N.Y.L. Sch. J. Int’l & Comp. L. 1 (1996).
It is unlikely that Reyes will face much opposition in the confirmation process. His tenure as a magistrate judge and an AUSA has been relatively uneventful and his experience would allow him to hit the ground running as a district court judge.