Legal Ethics

Lawyer Fined $500 for Filing Suit in Spat Over Damaged Designer Umbrella

A lawyer has been fined $500 for filing a frivolous lawsuit on behalf of a New York restaurateur who claimed a model damaged the limited edition designer umbrella he loaned to her.

Attorney William Beslow sued supermodel Le Call on behalf of Nello Balan, the owner of a well-known Italian restaurant on the Upper East Side. Balan initially sought $1 million for his emotional distress and other damages, contending that that he loaned Le Call a limited edition Jean-Paul Gaultier leather umbrella on a rainy day, only to have it returned months later in two pieces, according to the New York Times and Associated Press.

Although he later amended his claim to seek a mere $30,000 in damages, state Supreme Court Justice Joan Madden found even that amount to be excessive in a case concerning an umbrella alleged to be worth $5,000 when brand-new, the newspaper reports. The Manhattan judge ordered Beslow to pay $500 to the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection and routed the case to small claims court.

Earlier coverage:

New York Post (2007): “Model Rains on Nello Umbrella”

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