A plaintiff's attorney who fraudulently avoided paying a legal malpractice judgment that itself arose out of previous fraud was given a second chance last week, reports the New York Law Journal (via Law.com)
Southern District of New York Judge Denise Cote sentenced David A. Dorfman to two years of probation for criminal contempt, a charge that was brought only because the judge became so frustrated with Dorfman that she asked prosecutors to intervene and indict him. Judge Cote ordered Dorfman to spend six nights of confinement in a halfway house before June 2008, but decided against a fine because she said that every possible penny earned by Dorfman should go to the party who had obtained a $360,000 malpractice award against him.
The client had hired Dorfman to prosecute a health-related torts claim against New York City, because the lawyer claimed he had founded a "dynamic" law practice and falsely represented that he had created the healthcare L.L.M. program at New York University School of Law and acted as counsel to health care companies.
Dorfman filed suit on the client's behalf in March 1995, after the one-year-and-90-day deadline for filing had expired. That suit was thrown out.
In 1999, in the client's malpractice suit against Dorfman, a jury verdict was confirmed awarding Baker $360,000 in compensatory damages and $25,000 in punitive damages for malpractice. Dorfman was censured for his conduct in 2003. His fraudulent efforts to escape payment of the claim are detailed in the NYLJ article. Presumably he now will be disbarred.