Kings County Housing Court Bar Association honors Judge Fern Fisher, five others at annual luncheon
The Kings County Housing Court Bar Association (KCHCBA) held its annual awards luncheon during which it honored six, including Judge Fern Fisher, during a ceremony at Rocco’s Tacos in Downtown Brooklyn on Wednesday.
Fisher, who is the deputy chief administrative judge for the New York City Courts, is expected to retire in July. She was honored alongside Hon. Reginald Boddie, Hon. Jeannine Baer Kuzniewski, Adult Protective Services liaison Audrey Joiner, court attorney Margaret Papa and Court Clerk Carol Mayse.
More than 100 people showed up for the event, which was one of the most successful in the organization’s history. President Michael Rosenthal said that this was the first year that he actually had to turn people away prior to the event.
“I hope to see that continue,” Rosenthal said of the strong attendance. “We like doing these luncheons every year. There are a lot of people in the system who have not been recognized yet, and a lot of attorneys who have not been recognized yet.”
Rosenthal introduced the honorees one by one, and explained how each had contributed to the practice landlord-tenant law in Brooklyn.
Rosenthal started with Boddie, who he credited for finally putting a sign in front of the courthouse at 141 Livingston St. identifying it as the civil court. He also said that Boddie made a big contribution by forcing civil court judges to attend a lecture about landlord-tenant practice. Judge Ingrid Joseph accepted the award on Boddie’s behalf.
“[Lectures about the landlord-tenant practice] have been done in the past, but Judge Boddie made it mandatory,” Rosenthal said. “We think that’s important because civil court judges often have no experience or exposure to the landlord-tenant court.”
When Rosenthal introduced Judge Baer Kuzniewski, he explained that the KCHCBA wanted to honor her despite her short time on the bench. She was appointed by Judge A. Gail Prudenti in 2015, but said that anyone who has seen her work as a judge since that time would understand.
“It is rare that you see a judge take the bench and have such instantaneous command of how to run a courtroom,” Rosenthal said. “Cases are disposed of quickly, everyone in the court feels that they have been heard, that their case has been addressed in the way it should be, and yet by 1 p.m., the courtroom is empty.”
Fisher, who was honored by the KCHCBA in the past, was not on the initial list of honorees. However, as Rosenthal explained, when the group found out that she would be retiring this summer, they felt compelled to honor her again.
“We wanted to thank her for all of her years dedicated to the court system,” Rosenthal said. “She never forgot housing court, always had us in mind and tried to do whatever she could to make this a better practice.”
Fisher spoke about her 20-plus years as an administrative judge and gushed that the many Housing Court judges in the room were her “children” and got emotional as she said goodbye to everyone in the room.
“I started my judicial career in Kings County Housing Court,” Fisher recalled. “I know that sometimes I fought with some of you (hard), but it has been quite a journey since March of 1989. I look around and see so many familiar faces and people I have to give credit to for a career that I will look back on and will be eternally grateful for the support I’ve received along the way.”
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