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The Fake Lawyer

Within the last 6 months, I have had some credit card purchases flagged for possible fraud. Sure enough, the charges were fraud. Not surprisingly, while in Virginia, I was not buying gasoline in Texas. Nor was I making a Walmart purchase in Maryland. Unfortunately, someone had gotten my credit card number.

Stealing a credit card number is bad enough, but the New York Daily News tells a story of the stolen identity of a lawyer.  Then, the thief took it a step farther and used the identity for employment.

A Brooklyn man who identified himself as Shlomo Dickerman, stole a lawyer’s identify and then set up a law office to begin practicing law. As Dickerman, who really was a lawyer, the impostor filled out a court registration form while using the real lawyer’s social security number, date of birth and law school. However, the Shlomo first name was a bit different because the imposter claimed in his registration application, that he was changing his first name to his “Hebrew version”.

The impostor lawyer opened his office in Brighton Beach and began filing lawsuits including a federal lawsuit in the Eastern District of New York,  for unsuspecting clients.  The fake lawyer appeared at least eight times in cases including one in which the FBI secretly taped his court appearance. Finally, the FBI caught him when they visited his office as undercover potential clients, where he quoted them a $5,000 retainer to be applied against his $400 an hour rate.

Looking back at his “practice of law”; in one case where he represented an immigrant facing deportation, the court noted that the complaint filed was “hardly a model of clarity”. One unhappy client rated Schlomo Dickerman on Avvo as  “a terrible lawyer who takes his sweet time in handling a case”.  To date, according to the reporter, the FBI is still trying to figure out his real identity.

 

I admit that I am a bit excited over NFL football starting, even though it’s only preseason. So, I guess it’s time to bring out the Eli Manning pic o’. I know… I’m probably the only one that finds humor in this, so just please excuse my blog nonsense.

Eli

And for pic o’ day…

No evil

The Fightin’ Judge

This falls under the heading of  “You don’t see that everyday”. I am regularly asked if I am working on any interesting cases. I can tell you that nothing compares to the NY Daily News story of the Florida Judge who threatened to beat up the lawyer… and then he did!

You might have seen this on the news. If you are in a position to watch the video below; then I promise, words cannot do it justice.

If you can’t watch it now, save it for later. Briefly described, Judge John Murphy argues with the public defender Andrew Weinstock. The Brevard County judge keeps telling the lawyer to sit down, but the lawyer refuses and tells the judge that he has a right to stand there on behalf of his client. The attorney felt that the judge was pressuring the client into waiving his right to a speedy trial.

When the judge was not getting the response that he wanted, he immediately asked the lawyer if he wanted to settle the matter with their fists. As the judge more forcefully asked, “If you want to fight, let’s go out back and I’ll just beat your a$@”. The lawyer can be seen headed toward the side door of the courtroom, and then there is the sound of scuffling. When the judge returned to the bench, he turned to the people in the courtroom and said, “I will catch my breath eventually. Man, I’m an old man”.

 

 

Did You Know that King Henry I established the unit of measurement designated as a “foot”? His arm happened to be 36 inches long and he declared the standard length of a foot to be one-third of that. Imagine if his arm had been 42 inches long. Yep… a foot would have been 14 inches.

And for pic o’ day…

overeating

 

Discrimination Lawsuit Collection

ABC”s sport show “Wide World of Sports” started out with a catchy tune and the announcer, Jim McKay, telling us that the show was “spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport… the thrill of victory… and the agony of defeat”. The last part of the narration included video of skier Vinco Bagataj , whose dreadful mis-jump and and twisting crash landing of March 21, 1970, became synonymous with “and the agony of defeat”. Fortunately and amazingly, he suffered no broken bones, but was then infamously known as the show’s hard-luck hero.

I use that introduction to this Monday blog, because we are spanning some Courthouses across the United States. I am attaching three cases that were filed. The common denominator is that they are all discrimination lawsuits. If you want more information on them, you can see where I attached the full article. Which will end up with the agony of defeat.

The New York “Daily News” reports on a lawsuit filed by Sherry Harrington, the first female operations chief at the New York Metro-North Railroad. Her lawsuit alleges that she was singled out and reprimanded for recommending her live-in-companion, for a railroad job. In her lawsuit, she also claims that she was being paid less than a man in an equivalent position; and that she was subjected to inappropriate and offensive comments in the office.

Her discrimination claim “is based on sexual orientation bias and nothing more”. She further states that her employer has ” damaged her reputation, career, physical and emotional well being.”

Our next discrimination suit comes from Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. (Cleveland.com) Jonathan Keith Blazek sued the city of Lakewood after he was fired for consuming alcohol, during one of his work shifts in March 2012. The lawsuit alleges that the city did not take Blazek’s alcoholism into account when he was terminated.

Initially, he filed a claim with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. Then, his claim was brought before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The finding of both Commissions was “that the allegation that he was terminated, based on disability, is baseless”. The lawsuit now is filed as a claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The lawsuit seeks back pay, reinstatement of his employment, and compensatory damages.

Our third lawsuit takes us to Georgia and the “Atlanta Journal-Constitution“. This lawsuit had been filed on behalf of seasonal American workers. The lawsuit alleged that black workers were given fewer hours, asked to do lower paying jobs, and were subjected to racial comments from their manager before being terminated. These seasonal employees claimed that the Mexican workers were treated better.

The first two lawsuits are currently pending. The farming suit has now settled. The settlement included back wages and rehire offers were extended. In addition, the managers who were targeted in the lawsuits are to now have limited contact with these workers.

For our pic o’ day, I can never get enough of captioned dog pictures!

Man Sues White Castle

     It all started with a number 2 combo.  A 200 pound White Castle addict has now filed suit against the fast food chain where he admittedly still  gets his combo meals.

     Martin Kessman, a New York stock broker, filed the suit because he received an unpleasant surprise, after  getting his usual meal. He was unable to get into the restaurant’s booth to sit down. “They’re stationary booths,” he told the New York Post. “I’m not humongous. I’m a big guy and I could not wedge myself in.’

     Now,  he is suing the restaurant to require them to provide seating. He claims that, at the time,  he smacked his leg against one of the booth’s metal supports that caused him to limp out of the restaurant. When he tried to “settle”, before filing suit, White Castle only wrote him a nice letter that included coupons for three free hamburgers. But, according to the lawsuit, “the cheese was extra!”

     To date, he has not gotten any satisfaction to his lawsuit. However, his wife still goes in and buys a take-out order to satisfy his slider cravings. He claims that White Castle is violating his civil rights of overweight and obese people.

     I can’t even begin to discuss why I don’t think this qualifies under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Maybe the New York judge will see differently.  Mr. Kessman was quoted as saying that he just “wants to sit down like a normal person”.  I wonder if he has considered the sliders to have any impact on that?  I’m curious to know what you think.  

 And now we follow with pic o’ day, a bit of disagreement!

 

Why Labor Day?

 I’ll start out with pic o’ day to get you in the mood for some relaxing weekend fun. Below is history on how Labor Day celebration and recognition started.

 First, this website has some history on Labor Day, including the first New York Labor Day parade that took place on Sept 5, 1882. Here are pictures of that first parade: 

 

   

 The website also has some other pictures and even a 1944 Labor Day poem. Here is the Labor Day  history, from that site:

    The holiday unofficially began on September 5, 1882 when 10,000 workers took an unpaid day-off to honor the labor force of America and marched from city hall to Union Square in New York City. It was the first-ever Labor Day parade. Participants, as well as onlookers could vocalize issues they had with employers.

      As years passed, more states began to hold these parades, but Congress would not legalize the holiday until President Grover Cleveland was forced to sign the holiday into law as an election-year compromise with labor, twelve years later.

Lawyer Acts Like the Cows

  

 

   I always laugh when I see the Chic-Fil-A ads. First, cows make me laugh. When I was on the farm and the cow was trying to kick me;  Well, that wasn’t so funny. Plus, why do cows get out of bed so early?  Now, I seem far removed from that swinging hoof.

     Second, the ads are funny because cows are supposedly “holding meetings” and standing on billboards, in an attempt to encourage us to buy more chicken. It’s self-serving because the cows don’t want you to eat beef. We don’t even mind it. Self-serving seems funny. Now, you’ll see why those cow ads came to mind. Plus, I’d like to work those cows into my blogs on a regular basis anyway.

      State Senator John DeFrancisco (R-NY) is a lawyer. In the New York legislature, he has recently introduced a bill that would increase the percentage of legal fees that a lawyer can charge in medical malpractice cases. Can you hear “mooing in the background?

     Currently, the New York law caps what lawyers can charge, based on the total amount of recovery in a malpractice case. Right now, a lawyer can receive 30% of the first $500k recovery and then the fee goes down, to about 10% thereafter.

     The proper argument is that the legislature should not cap or impact a contract between individuals. Or, argue that if you are going to limit what a plaintiff’s lawyer can charge, then the legislature should limit what defense lawyer can bill per hour. Fair is fair. You can rest assured that the Big Defense Firms would not make that trade.

     Instead, the current legislation has potentially caused individuals some difficulty in finding representation. It may not have been portrayed that way but I’m sure there were some Medical Lobbyists who got a good laugh out of this legislation.

     Those are the good arguments. Conversely, no one feels sorry for lawyers who complain that they are not earning enough. Plus, a legislator who is a lawyer, is not the most effective communicator for this kind of bill. Instead, this story will be portrayed as “Lawyer wants more money”. 

     It’s ok to have cows selling chicken. I just think that there might have been a better spokesman for the cause on legal fees. Maybe a non-lawyer who was hurt by bad medicine.  Anyway, all of a sudden, I have a real hunger for one of those Chic-Fil-A sandwiches. I hope they don’t raise the prices!

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