Attorney Profile


 

Rosa María Cruz-Niemiec has been counseling and litigating for over twenty years in the areas of Civil & Commercial Litigation, Labor & Employment Law in both the Private and Public Sector, Personnel Policies Law, ERISA Litigation, Franchise, Distribution & Representative Laws, Arbitration, Intellectual Property Law, Antitrust Laws, Contract Law, Torts, Medical Malpractice, HIPAA, Insurance Law & Litigation, Civil Rights & Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, Product Liability, and Corporate Law.  

Ms. Cruz-Niemiec obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in Political Science, magna cum laude, in 1985, and her Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, in 1988, both from the University of Puerto Rico.  She was law clerk to the Hon. Magistrate-Judge Justo Arenas, U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico, from 1988 to 1989, and worked extensively on the Dupont Hotel Fire case, the largest mass-disaster litigation in the history of the United States.  She is a former partner of McConnell Valdés (1994-1997) where she worked extensively in the L-Tryptophan multi-district tort litigation and the tobacco litigation, among many other product liability matters.  In September 1997, Mrs. Cruz-Niemiec joined Schuster Usera Aguiló & Santiago where she worked in different employment law matters as well as in commercial litigation matters such as the mass-disaster 1996 Río Piedras explosion litigation.  She remained there until December 1998, when she began rendering services to the Civil Action and Education Corporation mostly in the area of §1983 litigation.  In November 1999, she co-founded the law firm of Cruz Niemiec & Vázquez. 

Ms. Cruz-Niemiec has practiced extensively before the Puerto Rico and federal courts, both at the trial and appellate levels.  She is admitted to practice law before the Courts of Puerto Rico, the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and before the Supreme Court of the United States. 

Ms. Cruz-Niemiec is also a Notary Public and a member of the Federal Bar Association and the Puerto Rico Bar Association, as well as an Adjunct Professor at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico School of Law, and a Certified Public Arbitrator for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) and of the National Arbitration Forum.

 

Reported cases: Torres v. National Starch & Chemical Corp., 125 F. 3d 842 (1st Cir. 1997); Challenger Caribbean Corp. v. Unión General de Trabajadores de PR, 903 F. 2d 857 (1st Cir. 1990); González López v. Cigna Group Insurance, et al., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69404 (D.P.R. 2009); Medical Card System v. Equipo Pro Convalecencia, 587 F. Supp. 2d 384 (D.P.R. 2008); Carr v. Life Insurance Co. of North America, Slip Op. 2005 WL 1847010 (D.P.R. 2005); TeleRep Caribe v. Zambrano, 266 F. Supp. 2d 284 (D.P.R. 2003);  José Hawayek v. A. T. Cross, 221 F. Supp. 2d 254 (D.P.R. 2002); TeleRep Caribe v. Zambrano, 146 F. Supp. 2d 134 (D.P.R. 2001); De La Rosa v. Phillip Morris Products Inc., 975 F. Supp. 161 (D.P.R. 1997); Gulf Chemical Corp. v. Raytheon Catalytic Inc., 931 F. Supp. 955 (D.P.R. 1996); UpJohn Co. v. Mova Pharmaceutical, 899 F. Supp. 46 (D.P.R. 1995);  Villafañe Neriz v. Citibank N.T., 845 F. Supp. 930 (D.P.R. 1994); Mercado García v. Ponce Federal Bank, 779 F. Supp. 620 (D.P.R. 1991).

 


 

Luis Enrique Vázquez-Rodríguez, graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center with a Master of Laws degree in Labor and Employment Law in May 1998.  At that time, he joined the law firm of Schuster Usera Aguiló & Santiago as an Associate and remained there until October 1999. In November 1999, he co-founded the law firm of Cruz Niemiec & VázquezMr. Vázquez has worked closely with numerous local and federal statutes regulating employment, such as ERISA, TITLE VII, ADEA, ADA, FMLA, OSHA, and WIA, as well as in general litigation matters, including Copyright and Trademark Laws & Regulations, Torts, Contract Law, Administrative Law, and Bid Proceedings.  Mr. Vázquez also has vast experience in Alternate Dispute Resolution methods in Labor and Employment Law.  Furthermore, he has served as External Legal Counsel for the Department of Labor & Human Resources of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (2001-2009), for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Labor Relations Board (2003 to 2008), and for the Human Resources Occupational Development Council of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (2004-2008).

Mr. Vázquez has worked extensively in Labor & Employment Law matters in both the private and public sectors.  In addition to his litigation experience before Puerto Rico’s local and federal courts, he has represented public sector employers in appeals filed before the Appellate Commission for the System of the Administration of the Human Resources in the Public Service of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (“CASARH,” up to August 2004 the “JASAP”);as well as in union election campaigns, unfair labor practice charges, and mediation and arbitration proceedings before the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Labor Relations Commission for the Public Sector and other forums.  He has also assisted employers in discrimination charges filed before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

Mr. Vázquez has also been appointed by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Department of Labor & Human Resources as Hearing Examiner in various matters concerning disciplinary charges against its employees as well as in several regulatory matters, including Mandatory Decrees revisions and Occupational Safety & Health (“OSHA”) regulations.  Likewise, in July 2004, Mr. Vázquez was appointed by the Office of the Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico as Special Arbitrator to preside hearings and issue determinations pertaining to the Employment Security Act of Puerto Rico.  In March 2005, Mr. Vázquez was certified as a collective bargaining negotiator by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Human Resources Office (“ORHELA”).   On that same year, Mr. Vázquez was appointed as the Spokesman for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Department of Labor & Human Resources’ Negotiations Committee in its first collective bargaining negotiations, as well as the Spokesman of the Negotiations Committee for the Human Resources Occupational Development Council of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.  Accordingly, he has dealt considerably with union leaders in Puerto Rico.

 

Mr. Vázquez received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Communication, magna cum laude, from the University of Puerto Rico in 1993.  He obtained his Juris Doctor’s degree, cum laude, from the Inter American University of Puerto Rico School of Law in 1996, and was the Editor-in-Chief of the Inter American University of Puerto Rico Law Review during his third year of Law School (1995-1996).  Also while attending his third year of Law School; Mr. Vázquez worked as a law clerk in the law firm of Martínez Odell & Calabria.  Mr. Vázquez commenced his professional career as Judicial Clerk for the late Judge José M. Aponte Jiménez, of the Puerto Rico Circuit Court of Appeals, where he remained until August 1997.  

Mr. Vázquez is admitted to practice law before the Courts of Puerto Rico, the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and before the Supreme Court of the United States.  Mr. Vázquez is also a Notary Public and a member of the Puerto Rico Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association.

Reported cases:   TeleRep Caribe v. Zambrano, 146 F. Supp. 2d 134 (D.P.R. 2001); Municipality of San Juan v. Human Resources Occupational Development Council, et al., 371 F. Supp. 2d 52 (D.P.R. 2005). 

 

 

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