A Manhattan Lawyer’s Slip and Fall

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Stuart A. Schlesinger invested half a century constructing a track record and a practice as an accident lawyer in New York, representing customers in claims and negotiating settlements on their behalf. However, when he appeared just recently before a federal judge in Manhattan, he discovered himself in an unknown position for a lawyer: He was the offender.

Mr. Schlesinger, 76, had been jailed on a fraud charge in one of the more brazen plans in the record of New York law: He settled claims on behalf of customers, in some cases for $1 million or more, then simply kept much of the money for himself.

When his customers grumbled that they had actually not gotten the profits of their settlements, Mr. Schlesinger responded with a litany of reasons. Our phones and computer systems were down, Mr. Schlesinger composed in another email to Mr. Lawler.

Mr. Lawler, 63, stated that now, 4 years after the settlement was reached, he had actually not yet gotten a cent. It’s a betrayal, he said.

That day in Federal District Court in Manhattan two weeks ago, Mr. Schlesinger admitted to the judge, William H. Pauley III, that he had actually poorly kept money from settlements since 2008 and had actually utilized it for his personal advantage.

When the judge asked how much money he had taken, he responded, Approximately $5 million.

Several former customers enjoyed quietly in the courtroom as Mr. Schlesinger pleaded guilty to the fraud charge, which carries an optimum prison sentence of 20 years.

Mr. Schlesinger has never discussed what happened to his clients’ money, and his lawyer, Murray Richman, declined to let him be talked to. Mr. Richman said Mr. Schlesinger had actually chosen to plead guilty because he desired to see his previous clients repaid.

One possession he has agreed to forfeit is an eight-bedroom house on five and a half acres in Quogue, on Long Island, which is listed for sale at $11.5 million and is advertised as having a pool and a Jacuzzi neglecting the ocean.

o4Mr. Schlesinger is also no more practicing law. Last year, after a lawyer disciplinary committee moved for his instant suspension, he consented to surrender his law license and was disbarred. But his case has put a harsh spotlight on the procedure of discipline for lawyers in New York, which is conducted in overall secrecy till a public sanction, like a suspension or disbarment, is enforced.

 

In Mr. Schlesinger’s case, that process took a full year, throughout which he continued to represent clients, even filing at least one medical malpractice match.

It could not be learned when the disciplinary authorities started getting problems versus Mr. Schlesinger. A number of months prior to the committee opened its examination in September 2014, for instance, it got but did not pursue a problem from a Queens homeowner. New York city court officials, mentioning privacy laws governing investigations into misbehavior by attorneys, declined to say when the committee had actually received its very first grievance versus Mr. Schlesinger, how many complaints were filed or exactly what they alleged.

David Bookstaver, interactions director for the state court system, stated, it would need legislative action to alter the law as it relates to secrecy or transparency in lawyer corrective proceedings.

Lots of questions remain about Mr. Schlesinger s fall, but there is little doubt about the causal sequence beyond his clients. His longtime law practice, Julien & Schlesinger, closed, and a little collection of partners and partners, consisting of a minimum of among his kids, needed to discover work in other places.

o5Mr. Schlesinger earned his law degree from Fordham University in 1964 and signed up with a little law firm, where he ultimately became a partner with a prominent houston injury lawyer, Alfred Julien. Their firm continued to bear both of their names after Mr. Julien s death in 1989. Lawyers who had actually worked at the firm either declined to be interviewed for this short article or did not react to messages looking for remark.

Joseph L. Forstadt, a retired partner at the law firm Stroock & Stroock & Lavan who is a long time good friend of Mr. Schlesinger’s, stated that he had actually sometimes referred personal injury cases to him which Mr. Schlesinger had an excellent track record for being able to win positive settlements for clients. Stuart was known as the person who could sit down with insurance coverage services and get the best deal possible, Mr. Forstadt stated.

Mr. Schlesinger likewise taught as an adjunct teacher at New York Law School, and for a time he composed a column for The New York Law Journal.

When Mr. Schlesinger was detained in December, he was launched on a $1 million bond, which was secured by the Quogue property. His spouse, Linda Schlesinger, a property agent, and a first cousin, Stephen Lefkowitz, a Manhattan property lawyer, signed the bond as guarantors.

I got a call from his better half saying he was in this hard scenario and would I help, Mr. Lefkowitz remembered. And of course I did.

Mr. Lefkowitz, 78, stated that although he had actually known Mr. Schlesinger since youth and their families were close, he knew little about his cousin’s legal practice and had been amazed at the news of his arrest.

The lawyer corrective committee, one of a number of such panels run by the state court system, has stated that Mr. Schlesinger’s misconduct pertained to the committee s attention through complaints from 2 customers that showed up on Sept. 2, 2014, according to a personal legal movement later on submitted by the committee seeking his immediate suspension. (The movement was launched last year after he was disbarred.) The 2 clients complained that Mr. Schlesinger owed them an overall of $66,000 in settlement money, and an investigation occurred immediately, the motion said.

But the committee had in fact got an earlier problem, including a larger unsettled settlement, which it decided not to pursue. In June 2014, Albin F. Luczak of Queens grumbled to the committee that Mr. Schlesinger had actually not paid him his share of a $1.5 million dental malpractice settlement.

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Mr. Luczak said in an interview that he had been the victim of medical neglect during a root canal that had actually needed him to go through several surgical procedures, including the elimination of muscle in his neck. Mr. Schlesinger took legal action against on his behalf and settled the case in fall 2013.

Under a retainer contract, Mr. Luczak was owed about $1.1 million after Mr. Schlesinger took his legal cost.

However, despite repeated demands, Mr. Luczak stated, Mr. Schlesinger did not send him his share. Mr. Luczak remembered that when he and his partner checked out Mr. Schlesinger s office, the lawyer said: Please trust me, please trust me. I’m alleviating you like member of the family.

In March 2014, Mr. Luczak maintained a new lawyer, Dustin Bowman of Kew Gardens, Queens. After trying unsuccessfully to resolve the problem through telephone call and e-mails, Mr. Bowman sued Mr. Schlesinger on Mr. Luczak s behalf and helped him file a formal complaint with the disciplinary committee.

I am composing to complain about a really major matter, Mr. Luczak composed to the committee on June 13, 2014. He attached copies of the retainer agreement and his claim versus Mr. Schlesinger.

2 months later on, Mr. Luczak received a letter from Jorge Dopico, the committee’s primary counsel, informing him that because of Mr. Luczak’s pending lawsuit, the committee would postpone additional investigation at this time.

According to the committee’s site, it does not investigate attorneys in cases in which a suit is pending on a comparable concern.

Mr. Bowman said he was surprised that the committee did not pursue the matter, given the amount of money Mr. Luczak was owed and what Mr. Bowman saw as an easily provable accusation.

On Aug. 22, 2014, Mr. Bowman wrote straight to the committee, stating that Mr. Luczak was experiencing really major ethical infractions worrying the mishandling of client money and was urging you to keep the docket open and inquire into this matter.

Mr. Bowman said he heard nothing from the committee for nine months. Then in May 2015, he received a call from a committee lawyer. Mr. Bowman stated he revealed surprise to the lawyer that the committee had not followed up on Mr. Luczak’s grievance which it had taken so long to respond to his own letter.

According to Mr. Bowman, the lawyer did not provide a satisfying description, except to recommend that the committee was understaffed and had a large stockpile.

o6Mr. Luczak stated that he and his other half had concluded at the time that exactly what Mr. Schlesinger had done to them, he had also rather likely done to others. In early 2015, Mr. Luczak said, he contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and within a week, a unique agent, James H. Hilliard Jr., came to his house to interview him and to gather copies of his papers. Within a day, Mr. Luczak said, the F.B.I. called him to say it would open an examination obviously the questions that resulted in Mr. Schlesinger’s arrest.

Mr. Luczak, 56, stated recently that he had yet to receive any part of his settlement, more than 2 years after it was finished. Absolutely nothing absolutely no, he said.

In November 2014, two months after the corrective committee started its investigation, Hal R. Lieberman, a lawyer representing Mr. Schlesinger in the misconduct questions, composed to the committee and asked that his customer not be penalized.

Mr. Lieberman explained Mr. Schlesinger as a recognized lawyer who had practiced without a blemish for 49 years, adding that, but for his remarkable efforts, there would be no settlement funds to begin with.

On March 10, 2015, Mr. Schlesinger provided a deposition to the committee where he revealed remorse for his actions. I 100 percent acknowledge what I did, he said. I did incorrect.

Less than 2 weeks after making that declaration, Mr. Schlesinger submitted a new lawsuit, a medical malpractice case, on behalf of Zdzislaw Oleszkiewicz of Queens, to whom he currently owed $33,000 from the settlement of an earlier claim.

I never imagined I might be so made the most of, Mr. Oleszkiewicz said through an interpreter.

In May 2015, the committee filed its movement seeking Mr. Schlesinger s instant suspension, citing proof and his admissions that he had misappropriated settlement money from a minimum of 16 clients.

Victims of Mr. Schlesinger s plan stated they doubted as to whether they would ever recuperate their lost money, through Mr. Schlesinger’s restitution or other means. Cheryl Parisi, a Staten Island homeowner who said she was still owed about $60,000 from a medical malpractice settlement, recalled that a person of Mr. Schlesinger’s checks had actually bounced.

Mr. Lawler, who is still owed his share of the 2012 settlement from the lawsuit originating from the death of his 32-year-old son, Scott, said Mr. Schlesinger’s actions had actually left him aghast.

Scott Lawler, who had worked as a software designer at Barclays Bank in Manhattan, died after stomach surgical treatment at a New Jersey health center, the claim said.

Mr. Schlesinger s former customers might seek payment from a special customer security fund that compensates people whose lawyers have stolen their money, but the awards are capped at $400,000 per customer, meaning that individuals like Mr. Luczak and Mr. Lawler would not totally cover their losses. Others have followed Mr. Luczak’s course and have actually taken legal action against Mr. Schlesinger. Dolores Nordone of South Salem, N.Y., is owed more than $300,000 from her share of an $850,000 car-crash settlement reached 6 years back, according to her suit.

Ms. Nordone, 73, a previous accountant, said that the mishap had actually led to perpetual lower neck and back pain, requiring three surgical treatments, which she might not work. Words can’t really describe how I feel, she stated. You put your trust in someone who you think is going to help you, and it’s amazing.

Her lawyer, Arnold N. Kriss, who went to the courtroom to see Mr. Schlesinger plead guilty this month, said, I felt ashamed as a lawyer to sit there.

Leading Tampa Bay accident lawyers at Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A. highlight the value of wearing a seat belt

Florida drivers know that buckling up is the law. Yet fatal crashes continue to enhance, as lawbreakers fail to put on their seat belt when driving or riding in a car. While stats reveal that motorists and passengers have actually been buckling up more consistently throughout daytime hours, night and night time fatal crashes in between the hours of 6 pm and 5:59 am have actually continued to increase.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) has set up a national seatbelt enforcement mobilization duration starting May 23rd and ending June 5th, 2016. The mobilization was created to implement safety belt laws 24 Hr. a day, 7 days a week. Regional law enforcement agencies will be signing up with forces and patrolling “Coast to Coast” on major interstates including I-10, I-40, I-70, and I-80. The objective of the patrol is to remind residents that law enforcement’s concern is safety.

Research study conducted by the NHTSA showed, while 88.5 percent of passenger vehicle passengers buckled up in 2015, virtually 50 percent of passengers of fatal crashes nationwide are not limited. These startling stats are the key reason the enforcement mobilization period was formed.

” Buckling up is one of the most convenient ways to put your life out of danger’s way,” remarked attorney Jennifer Burns, “No one regrets placing on their seatbelt.” Jennifer Burns is one of Tampa Bay’s foremost personal injury attorneys, dealing with automobile mishap claims with tenacity and empathy.

o8Law enforcement agencies will provide citations to all seatbelt law violators pulled over during the Click it or Ticket time period. Local authorities are keeping a zero-tolerance policy for those without seatbelts. For more details on the NHTSA’s Click It or Ticket campaign please see http://www.nhtsa.gov/ciot.

Tampa Bay’s leading personal dallas medical license defense attorney at Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A. are readily available 24/7 to deal with concerns and issues you may have regarding legal issues. The firm deals with all types of legal matters, consisting of personal injury, household law, DUI defense, Social Security, criminal defense, immigration, and workers’ compensation.

Insurer Has to Protect Del Monte in Ore. Personal Injury Row

The insurance company of an asbestos elimination company whose staff member took legal action against Del Monte after falling through its roof during a repair project is on the hook to defend the food manufacturer in the underlying litigation, an Oregon federal magistrate judge chose Friday, though he postponed on whether the insurance company owes repayment.

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U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Papak gave fast judgment to Del Monte Foods Inc. and roofing repair company CentiMark Corp. in their conflict with Homeland Insurance Co. of New York over defense of an underlying suit brought by an employee of Homeland s insurance policy holder AAM Inc., who fell 4 stories through the roofing system of a Del Monte warehouse throughout a repair task his company was subcontracted to carry out plano criminal defense attorney.

 

As a subcontractor, AAM had agreed to add both Del Monte and CentiMark as additional insureds to the year-long general liability policy Homeland released it in April 2013. Juan Orta-Carrizales failed Del Monte s roofing in November 2013 and sued the food manufacturer and CentiMark, but did not name AAM as a defendant, instead submitting a worker’s compensation claim with another of AAM s insurers.

Homeland had at first taken up Del Monte and CentiMark’s defense, but then sued those 2 in September seeking a declaration that it owed no coverage because the underlying subcontract in between AAM, CentiMark and Del Monte was voided by Oregon s anti-indemnity statute, which restricts construction arrangements from needing a subcontractor’s insurance company to safeguard or spend for another celebration where that celebration is irresponsible.

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Because Orta-Carrizales didn’t declare neglect versus AAM, or perhaps call the company as an offender in his underlying match, Oregon’s law eliminated its responsibility to cover the negligence declares versus Del Monte or CentiMark, the insurer had reasoned. Judge Papak concluded Friday that the responsibility to defend still existed, because AAM s neglect was still suggested in the underlying match.

Previous Oregon federal courts have acknowledged that an injured employee’s failure to name his employer in an underlying accident suit is attributable to the exclusivity of Oregon’s employees payment law, Judge Papak described. When a hurt employee fails to declare negligence versus his employee, the court has focused on whether fault is at least suggested, he said.

Orta-Carrizales alleged in his grievance that he was instructed to remove and carry materials across the roofing system of Del Monte s warehouse while walking along the roofing system s metal joists, so regarding avoid falling through the rusty ceiling, Judge Papak composed. According to the staff member, those joists were not marked in any way, the judge stated, and further, he was also presumably not able to reduce the length of his safety belt because his hands were full.

Judge Papak said Friday that while Orta-Carrizales doesn’t clearly name in his problem who told him the best ways to get rid of the roofing materials, he does allege that he was acting within the scope of his employment for AAM when he was injured, therefore it is affordable to presume AAM offered him deficient safety guidelines that resulted in his injuries. And where there is implied neglect on AAM’s part, a duty to defend then exists for Del Monte and CentiMark, the judge ruled.

However, that underlying case is still pending, Judge Papak composed Friday. At this moment in the proceeding, even presuming that the hidden proof develops that AAM bears some fault for its staff member’s injury attorneys daytona beach, CentiMark and Del Monte might likewise be at fault as well, therefore the problem of whether Homeland owes a duty to indemnify can’t yet be decided, the judge stated, decreasing both sides movement for summary judgment on that concern.