Today in courtroom civility, we find a lawyer drafting a letter to his adversary employing some colorful language. Indeed, the title doesn’t even do his insult justice — we’ll put the whole thing after the jump so the easily offended won’t see it. This is what happens when hyper-aggressive Biglaw litigators retire: they move to Florida and keep litigating every slight they suffer in their cozy planned communities.
And if you don’t believe me that fights arise over trivial retirement home hijinks, this whole affair revolves around a card game. Bridge to be precise, and it’s spawned over 600 docket entries and a federal civil rights suit…
The colorful lawyer is Samuel “Sandy” Rosen, formerly of Paul Hastings, and here’s how he feels about an opposing lawyer:
At the cost of being blunt, permit me to resort to scatological commentary to tell you Joel that you’re about the most untrustworthy, double-dealing sack of s–t I’ve met I can’t remember how long.
Just like they teach you in Professional Responsibility! While Rosen’s attorney writes off the quote as the out-of-character product of frustration and illness, Rosen isn’t exactly well-known for being warm and fuzzy. His marquee client back in the day was the litigiously prickly Church of Scientology and he’s been accused of coaching witnesses to perjure themselves, which means he didn’t make a lot friends on the other side if they’re throwing around accusations like that. He’s also on record saying, “Litigiousness, I always think, is a cry by losers.” So after he decided to hang it up and move to Florida, he discovered that old habits die hard.
Rosen took up with the Fort Lauderdale Bridge Club. But things went South for the former litigator and the club kicked him out in 2010 for “alleged behavioral issues.” Rosen could have just let it go and moved on rather than hang out with people who clearly didn’t want to see him. Or he could make a bid for the courts to reinstate him:
Rosen, who formerly worked for the international law firm Paul Hastings, sued the club and its volunteer board in state and federal courts. The club filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition in February 2013.
Since then there have been more than 600 docket entries in the bankruptcy case as Rosen pursued numerous motions and litigation. A federal civil rights complaint filed by Rosen against club board members and the city of Fort Lauderdale was dismissed with prejudice in October.
The original court-appointed bankruptcy trustee, Kenneth Welt, resigned four days after submitting a plan for reorganization.
“The focus of the case should be reorganizing the debtor not in depleting estate funds in dealing with frivolous allegations of a serial litigant,” Welt wrote in an Aug. 8 letter to the Office of the U.S. Trustee.
Rosen in April sought to convert the Chapter 11 case to Chapter 7, which would have liquidated the historic club with approximately 600 active members. He withdrew that motion in June and filed another seeking to dismiss the bankruptcy case completely.
Rosen said in his civil rights lawsuit that he drove daily the 1½ hours to the club from Bal Harbour because it had “the very best bridge players in South Florida.”
Through his Broward Circuit court lawsuits, Rosen succeeded in getting his membership reinstated. A judge found the club’s board did not have a quorum when it voted him out. However the new bankruptcy trustee, attorney Joel Tabas, recently declined to renew Rosen’s membership for 2014.
And that’s why Rosen calls Tabas unflattering things. I don’t play Bridge, because I’m not 85 years old, but just how much better must these Fort Lauderdale people be to warrant all this effort? Rosen knows there are online Bridge games, right?
So, the case drags on, with Rosen pursuing a number of claims looking for that legal argument that will trump the club’s efforts to keep him out.
In the meantime, for the sake of everyone involved, maybe Rosen should take up chess.
Fort Lauderdale Bridge Club Seeks Bankruptcy As Refuge From ‘Serial Litigator’ [Daily Business Review]
Quote of the Day [Southern District of Florida Blog]