Here are news articles about some of the cases I've handled. They are grouped to give you the story of how these cases developed. See also my Published Cases page.
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A law firm uses the trust of the attorney-client relationship to convince its clients to invest in a company run by the lawyers.
Lampf Lipkind was a law firm that specialized in representing pension plans. Some members of the firm decided to go into business and they started a surety bonding company. The lawyers then began to raise millions of dollars for that company; a primary source for the money was the law firm's clients, including Marprowear, Inc. The lawyers told Marprowear that they would run the business as carefully and well as they had handled Marprowear's legal work. But, the lawyers were not good businessmen and the company soon was bankrupt; Marprowear's investment was lost completely. This case started when the law firm sued Marprowear, Inc. for legal fees of $4,400. We filed a counterclaim for legal malpractice. We claimed that a lawyer should not burrow into the client's confidence and then use that trust to get the client to make an investment. You can read what happened next:
Verdict Against Lampf, Lipkind in SIG Aft, New Jersey Law Journal, April 12, 1993
The law firm refused to pay the judgment. Eventually, we had to take action to collect.
Self-Insurance Has Its Risks, New Jersey Law Journal, April 26, 1993
When the Writ of Execution did not get the firm to pay, we moved to have a receiver appointed to manage the firm. The case was settled soon after this.
Lampf, Lipkind Facing Receivership, New Jersey Law Journal, June 21, 1993
A large Newark law firm may have blown the statute of limitations on a $9,000,000 claim; and its partner and former judge may have failed to find and fix the error.
Licette, Inc. was entitled to royalties from the sales of certain music and children's books, including Golden Books and Records. Its license holder cheated it of more than $9,000,000 and in 1992 Licette won a judgment in that amount in New York . Sills Cummis was hired to turn the New York judgment into a New Jersey judgment and to collect it. The lawyers at Sills Cummis may have missed a statute of limitations. After that, Licette hired a new lawyer, Andrew Napolitano, to try to salvage the collection case. Napolitano is well- known as a Fox TV commentator, and writer/lecturer on the law to the bar and to the judiciary. This case involves claims that Napolitano made additional mistakes and failed to correct the mistakes made by Sills Cummis. It is pending.
His Turn as Litigant, New Jersey Law Journal, July 30, 2001
And in a strange twist, less than 2 years after he was hired by Licette, Napolitano joined Sills Cummis as a partner and continued working on the case there. Sills Cummis now claims that it is not liable, in part, because Napolitano, its partner, is the one who is liable. This case contains many claims of conflict of interest.
NJ Appeal Tests Liability of Firms when Contract Partners are Sued, New Jersey Journal, February 16, 2004
A lawyer refuses to start a trial, even when the judge tells him to do so.
A lawyer, Stephen Roth, was not ready for the divorce trial of his client, Barbara Crews. The court refused an adjournment request made by Roth. Rather than begin the trial, Roth walked out, left in protest. He later claimed that several lawyers, including a retired Supreme Court justice, had advised him that this was a sensible reaction to the judge's demand that trial begin. We decided to find out if this was so. There was understandable grousing by lawyers that they did not want to be deposed for giving casual advice to other lawyers. Still, we had to know if a former Justice of the Supreme Court had blessed the walk out, had said that a lawyer could ever just walk out. The article describes the controversy.
Paying the Price for Giving Free Advice, New Jersey Law Journal, April 6, 1998
The case took some unusual turns:
Thanks, but No Thanks, New Jersey Law Journal, December 16, 2002
But the case worked out quite well for Mrs. Crews. She received so much money that her husband is now back in the divorce court trying to get out from under his alimony obligation.
Crews v. Crews Divorce May Set More Precedent, New Jersey Law Journal, March 22, 2004
After a big trial win, a top personal injury attorney takes his fee and some of his client's money, too.
James F.Carney was a talented trial attorney who had won many large verdicts for badly-injured people. He was sometimes careless. Worse, he sometimes took from his clients out of his trust account far more money than his fee agreement allowed. There are ethics rules that govern legal fees and trust accounts and there is the Office of Attorney Ethics which is charged with enforcement. Sometimes the rules are not enforced in a timely way and a complaint is in order.
Where Are the Ethics Cops?, New Jersey Law Journal, February 5, 1996
Three months after that complaint, there was still no action taken. In order to protect my client who might not be able to recover the money taken, we got a judge to appoint a trustee to supervise Carney's trust account.
Judge Appoints Monitor to Supervise Embattled Lawyer's Trust Account, New Jersey Law Journal, May 20, 1996
A plastic surgeon rewrites medical records after his patient has an embolism.
Dr. Charles Servidio performed a breast reconstruction on a post-mastectomy patient. After surgery she had an embolism which had to be treated with blood thinners. This treatment caused the reconstruction to fail horribly. Dr. Servidio claimed that he had warned his patient multiple times about the risk of an embolism and what would result from treatment of it. He also claims to have told her many times that her risk of an embolism was extremely high because she was a smoker. The medical records he produced show that he warned her about this at least 13 times. His patient said that he never once mentioned the possibility of an embolism nor, obviously, did he ever tell her that she was at high risk. We were able to prove that the medical records were not genuine, were rewritten by Dr. Servidio 2 years after the surgical catastrophe. Once we proved that, Servidio's lawyer asked to be let out of his agreement to represent him. We then got the deposition of that lawyer and asked him what Servidio had said to him. Normally attorney client privilege would bar this but we proved that the records were part of a fraud on the court, on the patient, on us all.
A Not-So-Privileged Attorney-Client Communication, New Jersey Law Journal, July 11, 1994
The more we learned of the record rewriting, the more we were convinced that others beside Dr. Servidio may have known of the records being rewritten. We included those others in our lawsuit.
Rewritten Medical Records Prompt RICO Claim, New Jersey Law Journal, August 26, 1994
The New Jersey Division of Civil Rights did its work so slowly and ineptly -- sometimes 10 years would pass before a case was finished -- that cases of racial discrimination were dismissed for being "stale." If a lawyer did that, he'd be sued for malpractice.
That was the theory behind this case. Nolan Reaves and Joe Lee had trusted to the NJDCR their racial discrimination case against their employer, Goodyear Tire Company. The NJDCR promised to investigate their claims promptly and, if it could be proven, to file charges against Goodyear. But the NJDCR lost track of its file for years at a time. To understand just how bad this was, NJDCR spent 3 years trying to find Lee and Reaves; but they were still working at the same Goodyear location, with the same co-workers, under the same supervisors. This was far outside the range of normal so we sued for malpractice. We knew this was an unusual case. But we did well at the trial court.
Suing the State for Malpractice, New Jersey Law Journal, October 28, 1996
But it appeared that the State was immune from this lawsuit.
Judge Dubious on Malpractice Suit Against State Agency, New Jersey Law Journal, May 5, 1997
Court Tosses Malpractice Suit Against Civil Rights Agency, New Jersey Law Journal, July 14, 1997
After that, we sued Goodyear directly for Racial Discrimination.
Ten more black Goodyear warehousemen joined Reaves and Lee in a discrimination suit against Goodyear. These 12 described a warehouse full of racial problems and animosity. Goodyear denied all of the claims. Soon after the claim was filed, we received evidence from two white supervisors who were no longer in the warehouse, that the complaints of the black workers were largely true. The evidence had been received ex parte, directly from the white supervisors, not at a deposition or through Goodyear counsel. I was certain this was appropriate -- and the only way to get the evidence. The magistrate disagreed and suppressed the evidence. This ruling strongly favored corporations keeping evidence from a jury.
A Rule a Corporation Could Love, New Jersey Law Journal, February 22, 1999
The Federal District Judge reversed the magistrate's ruling and allowed the evidence.
Goodyear Bias Charge Backed, News Tribune, July 7, 2000
Not legal malpractice -- FNMA offered a hardship refinance that caused the homeowners to lose their house.
Irv Selem had suffered a heart attack and he and his wife had fallen behind on their mortgage. FNMA contacted him and, after hearing about his health, offered a refinance that was supposed to lower temporarily their monthly mortgage payment. But many months later, FNMA decided it would not do what it had offered and that it would also not allow the old mortgage to be reinstated; it was now concerned for itself and not Irv that he had suffered a heart attack. It foreclosed. We sued FNMA and the banks that serviced the mortgage.
Fannie May Sued, New Jersey Law Journal, September 21, 1998
A big fire at a famous restaurant.
Thom's was for generations a beloved restaurant in Newark . It burned down in July 1985. The insurance company refused to pay; it claimed Thom Pannullo, the owner, was an arsonist. We knew otherwise but it took years to prove that.
Thomm's Owner Gains $1.2 Million Settlement, The Star-Ledger, March 11, 1994
Other Recent News
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