Bronx family hires out of state attorney in a big negligence case. He works with Bronx attorney. After successful settlement, the AD says that Bronx attorney should be sanctioned for his behavior.
“A Bronx judge has sanctioned a personal injury lawyer and his firm $15,000 over their attempts to keep a $574,000 attorney’s fee for themselves, despite a written agreement to divide the fee equally with out-of-state co-counsel.
The parents of Marek Leskinen, a brain-damaged infant, retained Maryland lawyer Dov Apfel in 1997 to represent them in a medical malpractice suit against Lawrence Hospital in the Bronx. Mr. Apfel, who is not admitted to practice in New York, in turn brought in David M. Shearer of Shearer & Essner of Manhattan to act as local counsel.
Their 1997 agreement stated that the two would split attorney’s fees equally and Mr. Shearer would take steps to have Mr. Apfel admitted pro hac vice. But the latter was never admitted and Mr. Shearer handled the suit from its 1998 filing to its July 2003 settlement for $4.5 million.
The steps Mr. Shearer thereafter took to shut Mr. Apfel out of a share of the attorney’s fee constituted “frivolous conduct” and misrepresentations to the court meriting sanction, Bronx Supreme Court Justice Betty Owen Stinson ruled in two simultaneous Oct. 10 decisions in Leskinen v. Fusco, 15135/98.”