Tort Law

Deposition Caused Distress, Suit Says

A lawsuit filed last month claims a lawyer caused grievous emotional distress by asking upsetting questions during a deposition.

The lawyer, Judith Wahrenberger, asked a medical malpractice plaintiff whether he thought his wife had helped cause their baby’s death by handling her roughly, the New Jersey Law Journal reports. The child died after a hospital emergency room refused to admit her for breathing problems.

The “unsupported and intentional attack upon the parents was beyond any acceptable behavior of a civilized human being,” the suit contends. It claims the incident compounded the grief experienced by the wife, former Revlon chief marketing executive Phyllis Rabinowitz, who was in the room when the question was asked. She has been unable to return to work and spends many days crying in bed, the suit says.

Wahrenberger, of Springfield, N.J., says she was obligated to ask the question because an expert had indicated—wrongly, it turns out—that the baby may have died from shaken baby syndrome. “I would not be doing my job if I didn’t explore these areas,” she told the legal newspaper.

The suit was filed in Essex County, N.J., by lawyer Bruce Nagel of Roseland, N.J., who is also representing the couple in the medical malpractice case. The husband, Andrew Rabinowitz, is CEO of a Manhattan hedge fund and a lawyer.

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