Constitutional Law

As Lawsuits Swirl, Judge Tells Lawyer to Take Down RipoffReport Comment re Ex-Client Law Student

Apparently angry about what he perceived as unfairly critical online comments on RipoffReport by an anonymous former client, a New York lawyer allegedly responded publicly to the posts last year, making reference to the ex-client’s criminal case history and calling him “emotionally disturbed.”

The former client, a Brooklyn law student, reacted by filing a defamation suit against the attorney, Robert Feldman, in which the plaintiff denied he had made the remarks that sparked the Internet war of words. And on Tuesday, after Feldman failed to appear at a hearing on a motion, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Cynthia Kern ordered Feldman to take down at least some of the comments that prompted plaintiff Donald Glassman to sue, reports Reuters.

The judge declined, however, to order Feldman not to make similar comments in the future, saying that such a prior restraint on speech could not be justified by Glassman’s claim that his future legal career is being damaged by his former counsel’s critique.

Feldman told the news agency that he hadn’t been notified of Tuesday’s hearing, but apparently did not comment further.

Glassman, who was eventually acquitted in the criminal case, previously won a $500,000 malpractice judgment against his original criminal case trial counsel, Howard Blau. Blau was disbarred in 2009 and could not be reached by Reuters for comment.

Glassman is now pursuing a malpractice suit against Feldman, who served as his defense counsel later on in the same criminal case and, according to Feldman’s online comments, helped Glassman win a reversal of a jury verdict.

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