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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Lawyer's 'Outrageous' Conduct Leads to $10,000 Sanction

Lawyer's 'Outrageous' Conduct Leads to $10,000 Sanction 
The New York Law Journal by John Caher  -  April 23, 2012

A Manhattan attorney has been hit with a $10,000 sanction plus fees for deposition conduct that included insulting the judge, her clerk and a court reporter. But the sanctioned attorney claims it is his "scum of the earth" adversaries who ought to be penalized. The sanction against Joseph Sahid came in an order from the Appellate Division, First Department, after the trial judge referred Sahid to a disciplinary committee and considered sanctioning his opponent at Vlock & Associates. Cadlerock Joint Venture v. Sol Greenberg & Sons, 105190/07, arose from an incendiary battle over a $1.1 million judgment owed by a diamond dealer, Sol Greenberg & Sons, to a partnership, Cadlerock Joint Venture, that had been assigned the debt by a bank. After a deposition where Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Jane Solomon (See Profile) said that "neither lawyer had been punctiliously professional," she referred Sahid to the departmental disciplinary committee for "offensive" conduct and "belligerence." Solomon said in a November 2010 decision that she also considered sanctioning the Vlock firm for its "professional thoughtlessness, if not outright frivolity," but ultimately decided against fueling the fires of a matter that "should be put to rest." But her decision did not put the matter to rest. Cadlerock appealed Justice Solomon's denial of a motion seeking sanctions against Sahid and to hold officials at the diamond dealers in contempt for failing to produce documents or comply with a subpoena. They also appealed the judge's decision to let the disciplinary panel deal with Sahid. On April 19, the First Department unanimously reversed Solomon, imposing sanctions on Sahid and ordering a continuation of the deposition.

The court said Sahid "repeatedly interrupted the questioning and made improper objections and lengthy speeches that had no merit," and also "insulted plaintiff's counsel, Justice Solomon and her clerk and even the court reporter, who was eventually compelled to leave the deposition due to the abuse of defendant's counsel." The panel directed Sahid to pay $10,000 in sanctions to the Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection and sent the case back to Justice Solomon to assess attorney fees and costs. "While we recognize that Supreme Court referred Mr. Sahid's conduct to the Disciplinary Committee, we find that his frivolous, outrageous and unprofessional behavior warrants sanctions, costs and attorney's fees," the court said in an opinion joined by Presiding Justice Luis Gonzalez (See Profile) and Justices Peter Tom (See Profile), James Catterson (See Profile), Dianne Renwick (See Profile) and Rosalyn Richter (See Profile). The First Department made no mention of the Vlock firm's conduct. Although the court did not describe in any detail the offensive conduct attributed to Sahid, a brief filed by the Vlock firm contends that at the post-judgment deposition the attorney engaged in "verbal abuse, screaming rants…threatening comments," forced the court reporter to "leave the deposition well before it was concluded because he could no longer continue to endure the abuse directed at him personally" and referred to a court reporter as a "slave." The brief describes Sahid's conduct as "simply disgusting" and "shockingly horrific."

In an interview, Steven Giordano, an associate with the Vlock firm who argued the appeal, said Sahid's conduct was the "most horrible behavior I have ever experienced or heard of anyone experiencing from an attorney during a deposition." "The last thing I want to do is be forced to bring a motion for sanctions," Giordano said. "Unfortunately, our hand was forced." Sahid, in an interview, claims he was caught off-guard by the First Department decision and never had an opportunity to respond to the allegations that he had been abusive or engaged in sanctionable conduct. He said the Vlock firm was abusive, threatening and should be sanctioned. "I have to pay $10,000 and I have to pay attorney fees and I'll bet you the lawyers on the other side, whom I regard as the scum of the earth, will submit bills for hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees," said Sahid, who said he has never before been sanctioned in 40 years of practice. "The court should have sanctioned the lawyers on the other side for their outrageous conduct. For these judges to do this without giving me an alert is a denial of due process." Stephen Vlock said his firm received an e-mail from Sahid after the appeal was filed confirming receipt of the notice of appeal and saying he was no longer representing the Greenbergs and that he would not respond. John Caher can be reached at jcaher@alm.com.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

This guy's a puppy compared to some of the animals with law licenses I'v observed.

Anonymous said...

Sharks. Who do the exact opposite of what they are purported to do. Uphold justice!! A bad joke.

Anonymous said...

The same nonsense happens with no sanctions for connected lawyers. The Appellate Division just plys favorites.

Anonymous said...

I am currently in Housing Court before Judge Laurie L. Lau who has mocked my pronuciation in English, after the mockery she proceeded to teach me how to pronunce in English. Judge Lau then said that it was better not to speak 'Pigeon English' referring to my language skills (I speak 4 languages and have worked for top fashion designers in this city). Judge Lau summoned an interpreter during lunchtime without asking me and assuming that I spoke the language of the Interpreter. Judge Lau then said that when I ' when you bark' which transbustantiates me into a 'dog' since only dogs can bark. Judge Lau said that I was weak because I was crying, I am a normal woman whose brain is capable of producing normal reactions after being inflicted with degenerate, abusive, and discriminatory statements. Judge Lau started the case by saying that some cases can be settled and others had to be tried and that my case had to be tried. She then proceeded to tell me that she has a photographic memory and that she had seen me before and asked if I had been in prior proceedings, despite her photographic memory she could not remember where she'd seen me. Judge Lau before hearing and seeing any evidence said she would give me five days to move out to which I responded that I would appeal. Judge Lau used folkloric/vernacular expressions in English to make meandering insinuations about the case such as when she said that 'when an egg is cracked, it cannot be un-cracked'. Judge Lau did not allow me to state the reason for my objections. It was an ordeal and did not feel well to continue so I ask to adjourn. Attorney Samantha Golkin,counsel for Landlord, said that I was tricky, but her father Jeffrey Golking signed as co-counsel before proceeding and at one point asked to take over his daughter, he advised her during two recesses. On April 16, same attorney Samantha Golking said that I ask judges to recuse themselves as a strategy. I did ask Judge Timmy Elsner to recuse herself after I presented an HP complaint around Sept 9th, 2011 and she set a
trial date for January 25 of 2012, Judge Elsner explicitly said that she was setting the date for trial beyond lease expiration so there would be no trial, all should be on the record. If sanctions were applied agains Mr. Sahid why is Judge Lau not recusing herself from my case and Attorney Samantha Golking attacks me personally, is this acceptable before all the laws. I ask for a review of all recordings. It has been an ordeal, something I did not imagine. I saw the twin towers fall down, we removed tyrants in other countries, and now I have to face a Judge that degrades me and violates all my rights, in NYC? A collapsed judicial system amounts to no less than virtual return to cannibalism.

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