The Case Reconfigured Judiciary Law 487; Now the Aftermath
Amalfitano v. Rosenberg rewrote the law on Deceit and attorneys, and revitalized a statute that was written in 1275. It is the oldest surviving statute in Anglo-American jurisprudence. Now, the aftermath for the attorney accused of deceit.
Matter of Rosenberg, M-3654, NYLJ 1202557354417, at *1 (App. Div. 1st, Decided June 5, 2012)
Before: Andrias, J.P., Saxe, Sweeny, Catterson and Acosta, JJ.Decided: June 5, 2012
Jorge Dopico, Chief Counsel, Departmental Disciplinary Committee, New York (Scott D. Smith, of counsel), for petitioner.
Richard M. Maltz, for respondent.
Disciplinary proceedings instituted by the Departmental Disciplinary Committee for the First Judicial Department. Respondent, Armand J. Rosenberg, was admitted to the Bar of the State of New York at a Term of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court for the First Judicial Department on April 2, 1951.
Respondent Armand J. Rosenberg was admitted to the practice of law in the State of New York by the First Judicial Department on April 2, 1951. At all time relevant to this proceeding, respondent's registered office was within the First Department.
By order dated October 13, 2010 this Court granted the Departmental Disciplinary Committee's petition for an order giving collateral estoppel effect to an April 2006 decision by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in the case of
Amalfitano v. Rosenberg
(428 F Supp 2d 196 [SDNY 2006], affd 572 F3d 91 [2d Cir 2009]), in which respondent was found to have engaged in fraudulent conduct, in violation of New York Judiciary Law §487, and imposed treble damages in the amount of $268,245.54. Our order further found that respondent's conduct violated DR 1-102(A)(4) (conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation), DR 1-102(A)(5) (conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice), DR 1-102(A)(7) (conduct that adversely reflects on respondent's fitness as a lawyer), DR 7-102(A)(4) (knowingly using perjured testimony), and DR 7-102(A)(5) (knowingly making a false statement of law or fact), and referred the matter to a Hearing Panel for a sanction hearing. The Committee is now seeking an
order confirming the Hearing Panel's findings of fact, conclusions of law and recommendation of a one-year suspension.
This matter stems from respondent's representation of Peter Costalas, who, along with his two brothers, James and John, were members of a family partnership that owned five buildings and twelve restaurants. Peter diverted millions of dollars in partnership finds and mortgaged buildings by use of forged signatures in order to cover losses incurred in connection with his personal trading in stock options. As a result, James and John commenced an action against Peter and his brokers. In August 1993, respondent negotiated an agreement on Peter's behalf in which Peter, among other things, assigned and transferred his interest in the partnership to John, and in return, was dismissed as a defendant in the litigation.
Thereafter, Vivia Amalfitano, James' daughter, purchased the partnership's remaining building and restaurant from John and James. In May 2001, respondent commenced an action in New York County, Supreme Court, naming Vivia and her husband, Gerard Amalfitano, Esq., as defendants, alleging that they defrauded John and James into conveying the partnership's remaining property and business, and that Peter was still a partner. The action was eventually dismissed during trial. Respondent then unsuccessfully appealed the trial court's order denying his motion to vacate (see
Costalas v. Amalfitano,
23 AD3d 303 ).
In March 2004, the Amalfitanos commenced the above-mentioned federal action against respondent alleging that respondent's commencement and prosecution of the state court action against them constituted a violation of Judiciary Law §487.
We agree with the recommendation of the Panel that respondent should be suspended for one year