Business of Law

Lawyer sues clients for $6K, is blasted by judge and told to repay $21K

A New York lawyer’s effort to win $6,239 in allegedly past-due legal fees from a client couple has backfired badly.

A judge blasted Ronny Buni for filing a civil suit seeking to collect $6,239 more from a couple who had already paid him $22,371 to litigate against their co-op board, and determined that the total value of all the work he had done was less than $1,000, according to the New York Daily News and the New York Law Journal.

An arbitrator had previously awarded Gerald and Vivian Kleinerman $5,000, which would have been offset against the $6,239 if Buni had prevailed in his civil suit, the legal publication explains.

However, Manhattan Civil Court Judge Frank P. Nervo determined that the work Buni had done for the Kleinermans wasn’t worth over $28,000 but about $750. He ordered the attorney to repay his now-former clients $21,621.

In a Thursday ruling, Nervo criticized Buni’s “remarkable billing practices,” and said he had charged the couple for basic research and “innumerable emails,” among other improper fees.

Buni did not respond to requests for comment from both the Daily News and the New York Law Journal. He reportedly plans to move to China.

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