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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wall Street Journal Questions Shady Hire of NY Judge

Milberg's New Hire
The Wall Street Journal - REVIEW & OUTLOOK - February 25, 2009

The plaintiffs firm has an eye for talent.

Plaintiffs lawyers seem to operate on a different ethical plane than mere mortals, in case you hadn't noticed. Consider the latest news from the notorious Milberg law firm.

The class-action giant only last year settled a federal indictment over charges it had run a 30-year kickback scheme. The firm paved the way for this nonprosecution agreement by repudiating three partners -- Melvyn Weiss, David Bershad and Steven Schulman. Milberg claimed it had been in the dark as to their "illegal activities," and all three men later pleaded guilty to felonies.

Only later did we learn and report that Milberg the law firm had agreed to pay indicted partner Melvyn Weiss a slice of the firm's future lawsuit winnings, and was also picking up his legal fees. The supposedly remorseful firm made sure its founding felon would receive this cash even if he went to prison -- which he did. The Justice Department later admitted it had inexplicably sanctioned this sweetheart deal.

Meantime, as a felon, Melvyn Weiss had to obtain court approval for any fees for legal services he provided. In July of 2008, New York Supreme Court Judge Herman Cahn was asked to pronounce judgment on the Milberg payoff. A month later he agreed to let Melvyn Weiss have his booty, even as the judge acknowledged that law firms are generally barred from sharing legal fees with nonlawyers, and that Melvyn Weiss had forfeited his right to practice law.

And now for the latest news: In December, Judge Cahn retired from the bench. Last week, the renamed Milberg LLP announced it had hired a "distinguished" new attorney: Herman Cahn. In its press release, the firm listed his most notable cases, though omitting any on which he'd ruled on its behalf.

To recap: A class-action firm's name partners are nailed in a 30-year fraud. Class-action firm rewards lead perpetrator with share of future earnings. State judge sanctions the earnings deal. Class-action firm hires state judge. We'll let our readers decide what they think of this "fact pattern," as a plaintiffs lawyer might put it.

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Here's the Milberg Press Release:

NEW YORK SUPREME COURT JUSTICE HERMAN CAHN JOINS MILBERG LLP
02/17/09

New York, NY - Justice Herman Cahn has joined Milberg LLP after a distinguished career spanning several decades serving as a judge in New York State courts, it was announced today. Justice Cahn will serve in various capacities at Milberg. He will act as both a mediator and arbitrator, particularly in complex commercial litigation cases. He will also play a principal role in the Firm’s commercial litigation practice, in addition to advising on a wide range of matters drawing from his deep knowledge and experiences as a prominent justice and expert in commercial law.

Justice Cahn was first elected as Judge of the Civil Court of the City of New York in 1976. He subsequently served as an Acting Justice of the Supreme Court from 1980 until 1992, when he was elected to the Supreme Court. Throughout his decades on the bench, he principally handled civil cases, with the exception of 1981 until 1987, when he presided over criminal matters. Justice Cahn was instrumental in the creation of, and a founding Justice in, the Commercial Division within the New York State Supreme Court. He served as a Justice of the Commercial Division from its inception in 1993 until joining Milberg.

Among his most notable recent cases are the consolidated cases stemming from the Bear Stearns merger with JP Morgan (In re Bear Stearns Litigation); litigation regarding the next upcoming America’s Cup Yacht Race (Golden Gate Yacht Club v. Societe Nautique De Geneve); litigation stemming from the attempt to enjoin the construction of the new Yankee Stadium (Save Our Parks v. City of New York); and the consolidated state cases regarding the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site (World Trade Center Properties v Alliance Insurance; Port Authority v. Alliance Insurance).

“I weighed many options as I embarked on this new chapter in my career.” said Cahn. “I joined Milberg because of the quality of its attorneys and the important role the Firm plays in many of the pressing and emerging issues related to commercial law including investor and consumer rights. Milberg has always had the reputation of an innovative firm of dedicated individuals at the forefront in its areas of practice. I believe that my experience and knowledge serves to perfectly complement the Firm’s focus on complex litigation,” he said. “My move to Milberg will also provide me the opportunity to serve the Bar as a mediator, arbitrator and consultant in commercial litigation, to which I look forward,” he added.

“Justice Cahn joins Milberg at a time when companies both here and abroad increasingly find themselves in conflicts or disputes requiring mediation or arbitration,” stated Sanford P. Dumain, the chair of Milberg’s Executive Committee. “Given his extraordinary stature in the legal, academic and business communities achieved through decades of dedicated service to the state judiciary, coupled with his expertise in complicated commercial litigation, Justice Cahn is a significant and timely addition to the Firm.”

Before ascending the bench, Justice Cahn practiced law in Manhattan. He was first admitted to the New York bar in 1956. He is admitted to practice in numerous courts, including the New York State courts, the Southern District of New York and the United States Supreme Court.

Justice Cahn received his law degree from Harvard Law School and a B.A. from City College of the City University of New York.

About Milberg

Milberg LLP has been representing individual and institutional investors for nearly 40 years and serves as lead counsel in federal and state courts throughout the United States. Please visit the Milberg website (www.milberg.com) for more information about the firm.

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Contact:
Dan Fleshler - 212-935-0210; dfleshler@strategy-xxi.com
Barbara Shrager - 212-935-0210; bshrager@strategy-xxi.com

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Click Here to See Related December 15, 2008 New York Law Journal Story by Brian Baxter,"Lawyers, Lawyers Everywhere in Wall Street's Latest Scandal."

Also, enter MILBERG in above Search Box!

13 comments:

Cahn victim said...

This bastard Cahn should be disbarred! And Milberg should be shut down.

legal secretary said...

Hey, give Judge Cahn a break. He provided favors so he could cash in when he retired. He was doing it for years.

I just hope the FBI doesn't pull the phone records of Cahn and a certain Milberg attorney, whose name I won't mention....

Anonymous said...

Well, I must say his name fits him to a TEE...Judge CON

scratching head said...

What ever happened to elected officials having to wait a year or so before taking employment??? Does anyone know how the rule applies to judges?

the urinator said...

I'm sure Jonathan Lippman is going to quickly take action on the ethical failings in the NYS court system.
LOL
LOL
LOL
LOL
pee in pants
LOL
LOL
LOL

Pogo said...

This is SOP in the court system. Take a roll of former NY Judges and where they windup. It's pay to play in the old boys & girls club. Somebody could make their bones big time on this cause. Where are the Feds when you need them?

bathroom attendant said...

Describing the under-handed back-door dealings in our courts as "shady' is being too kind. It's a cesspool fill with you know what....

Anonymous said...

The feds need to take over the New York courts.

Eliot Bernstein said...

Riddle Me This, Riddle Me That -
What is the last thing you see on a sinking ship from above? Who gives a rats ass and in that you see the bottom of the rats all bum up, all together at the tip of the ship and then kerplunk, like being sucked down a toilet bowl into a cesspool below, all the rats asses go.
Bat Out of Hell
iviewit@iviewit.tv

Eliot Bernstein said...

Is this Milberg firm that is tied to the guys at Schiffrin & Barroway, now Barroway Topaz Kessler Meltzer & Check, LLP?

Anonymous said...

To Do List:

1. Get rid of the corrupt judges (about 40%)

2. Give honest judges a big raise.

3. Promote law clerks and legal secretaries to acting/supporting judge status.

(FROM NOW ON, WHO EVER WRITES A DECISION WILL HAVE HIS/HER NAME ON THE PAPERWORK!!!)

Anonymous said...

It's good to see that papers such as the Wall Street Journal and the Gannett newspaper, have both done stories this week on these crooks in black robes.

I hope this is just the beginninng and that the reporters and editors are starting to figure out that all those powerful bigshots they wouldn't do stories on, are really just common criminals.

manhattan victim said...

Just maybe the WSJ would follow up and write about the corruption that is rampant in the alleged legal system.

Blog Archive

See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:


               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
               The June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:
         
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 1
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 2