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New Record for Chutzpah

Judge Michael Mukasey held that attorney Jamie Scher surpassed all previous records for "courtroom chutzpah" when she sued the NASD seeking $100 million for failing to warn her that lying during her sworn statement (taken in the presence of counsel) could result in criminal perjury charges (she was later convicted of perjury and disbarred). (Story from Law.com).

According to Judge Mukasey, the previous record for legal chutzpah was set in the 1974 dismissal of a $52 million claim by one Seymour Thaler who had been convicted of trying to sell stolen bearer bonds. Thaler had sued the bank that issued the bonds for failing to warn him that they were stolen. Judge Jon Newman (then a district court judge but now a judge on the Second Circuit) wrote in dismissing Thaler's suit:

When the apocryphal child murdered his parents and then sought mercy as an orphan, he set a standard for courtroom chutzpah that has not been rivaled until the filing of this lawsuit.

Judge Mukasey found that Scher's claim went even farther than Thaler's, noting that Thaler (a former state senator and judicial candidate) had at least "been toppled from a far loftier perch than in-house counsel to a securities firm."

The article on the case's dismissal did not, however, give any indication whether Scher would be required to reimburse the NASD for the tens of thousands it undoubtedly spent in defending itself against claims that the court held were "without any merit whatsoever."



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.