Posted Aug 04, 2011 06:36 pm CDT
Only a few years ago, Stuart Rosenfeldt was living the high life with his name on the marquee of one of South Florida’s most prominent corporate law firms. He was making big bucks and had a Ferrari.
Today the head of that firm, Scott Rothstein, is a convicted Ponzi schemer and ex-lawyer serving a hefty prison sentence over a $1.4 billion swindle he operated under the cover of his law practice. The bankrupt Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm is out of business. And Rosenfeldt is making a living, in part, by filing lawsuits against businesses housed in buildings that allegedly are not compliant with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports.
Faced with the prospect of potentially being hit with hefty attorney’s fees, which the statute authorizes to be paid to the lawyer of a prevailing plaintiff, defendant businesses often swiftly settle. But owners are unhappy about the litigation, complaining that settlements of $5,000 to $15,000 are a heavy hit for a small business, the newspaper says.
Although some lawyers have been criticized for filing so-called drive-by ADA litigation against a wide swath of businesses, Rosenfeldt says he is filing many of the suits for a disabled individual, Charles Bado of Fort Lauderdale, who wants to be able to access businesses in his home community.
“I’m doing this because I make a living at it, and I do good deeds,” the 56-year-old Rosenfeldt tells the newspaper.
ABAJournal.com: “Rosenfeldt Takes 5th re Depo Questions About His Pay at Rothstein Law Firm”
ABAJournal.com: “Fortuitious $3.97M Tax Refund Helps Ex-Rothstein Partner Settle with Bankruptcy Trustee for $1.9M”