Arthur Leonard

Aaron Charney Sullivan Cromwell settlement Above the Law blog.jpgThe celebrated case of Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell was fun while it lasted. As we mentioned last night, the fun is over: the parties have reached a settlement.
But the case was good to us — and we intend to give it a proper sendoff, with several post-mortem posts. If you have any info or gossip about the case that you’d be willing to share, please email us.
This post is the obligatory linkwrap. We’ve collected and read various reactions to the settlement news, so you don’t have to.
Links and excerpts, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Brokeback Lawfirm: A Settlement Linkwrap”

H Rodgin Cohen Chairman Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett Charney Sullivan Cromwell Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law ATL legal tabloid legal blog.JPGAs we’ve mentioned before, our interest in Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell is flagging somewhat. It has been a while since the last salacious accusation, and now the case is starting to look like any other civil action — motion practice, discovery, etc.
Been there, done that. Yawn.
(Wake us up when Alexandra Korry gets deposed. Now THAT is gonna be good — although we’ll have to pray for a leaked transcript, since presumably it will be covered by a confidentiality order.)
On Friday, Charney filed his opposition to S&C’s Motion to Dismiss. Taking a page from Judge Jacobs’s (unopened) book, we haven’t bothered to read it. But here are three bloggers who have:

1. Keeping Up With Jonas

2. Arthur Leonard

3. Lavi Soloway

Based on their posts, the upshot is that Charney’s lawyers have accused S&C of “grandstanding” and “arrogance.”
C’mon, guys — was that really necessary? Did you have to call S&C arrogant? Can’t Justice Fried just take judicial notice of that?
Okay, sorry, we couldn’t resist. To be fair, Charney’s lawyers aren’t acquitting themselves that well either, with all of these ad hominem attacks on their adversaries.
For more criticism of Charney’s counsel, see here. We hereby designate Jonas the pro-S&C Charneyblogger. Now, thanks to him, coverage of Charney v. S&C will be fair and balanced!
Charney’s Lawyers Accuse Sullivan & Cromwell of Arrogance and Grandstanding [Soloway]
Charney Accuses Sullivan & Cromwell of “grandstanding” in pending dismissal motion [Leonard Link]
Charney’s Opposition [Keeping Up With Jonas]

Aaron Charney.jpgLEWW is ashamed to admit that we have not followed the Charney versus Sullivan & Cromwell lawsuit with the attention it so richly deserves. Fortunately, there are other bloggers who’ve got you (and us) covered regarding coverage and analysis of this complex affair in Lat’s absence.
Keeping Up With Jonas has a nice capsule summary of the three orders issued by Judge Fried in the matter yesterday, with links to the orders.
And Professor Art Leonard has this more detailed write-up.
Judge Fried denied without explanation a motion by Gera Grinberg’s attorney to have Grinberg’s deposition transcripts unsealed. Writes Leonard:

Attorney Grinberg worked closely with Aaron Charney as a fellow associate at S&C on a variety of client matters, and their close working relationship seems to have sparked the incidents upon which Charney bases his lawsuit. Grinberg was present at the meeting between Charney and S&C partners Vince DiBlasi and David Braff on January 31, the day before S&C discharged and sued Charney.

There is considerable dispute between Charney and S&C about what was said at that meeting, with Charney claiming that the only written record, which would back up his account, was made by Grinberg, who then turned his notes over to his attorney at that time for safekeeping. Charney has alleged that the Grinberg notes were improperly destroyed as part of a conspiracy between S&C and Edward Gallion, a lawyer S&C had retained to represent Grinberg. Amidst the skirmishing over motions to dismiss, Grinberg submitted to a deposition focused on what occurred at that meeting, but the transcript of the deposition has been sealed, and S&C’s lawyers criticized Charney for relying on and referring to that testimony in his amended complaint.

Leonard also reports that Grinberg, who was placed on paid leave by S&C, is no longer listed on the firm website.

H Rodgin Cohen 2 Chairman Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett Charney Sullivan Cromwell Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law ATL legal tabloid legal blog.JPGWe’ve only skimmed Sullivan & Cromwell’s latest Motion to Dismiss, filed just yesterday in the (in)famous case of Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell. We haven’t had the chance to write up detailed thoughts on it.
Fortunately, others have. Like Professor Art Leonard, whose comprehensive analysis — including a helpful history of this tortured case — appears here.
And Lavi Soloway, who has taken the lead on the latest Charney developments. You can access his post, collecting some of the juiciest excerpts from the motion, by clicking here.
We did obtain comment on the S&C motion from Charney’s lawyers. David Holland, an attorney who works with Michael Kennedy on the case, had this to say:

“Apparently, Sullivan & Cromwell not only represented the Nazis, but seem to have adopted Dr. Mengele’s techniques to torture the facts and law of this case.”

HA. Did we mention how much we enjoy covering this case?
P.S. We have some Charney v. S&C reader polls that remain open. Click here and here to vote.
Sullivan Files Another Dismissal Motion in Charney Litigation [Leonard Link / Arthur Leonard]
Sullivan & Cromwell Moves to Dismiss, Again [Lavi Soloway]

Arthur Leonard Professor Arthur S Leonard Art Leonard Above the Law blog.jpgThis morning we drew your attention to Lavi Soloway’s analysis of the amended complaint in Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell. See here.
Now our other favorite Charneyblogger, Professor Arthur Leonard, has chimed in. You can access Professor Leonard’s substantive, detailed, and thoughtful post by clicking here.
Update (2:45 PM): Some excerpts and discussion, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Brokeback Lawfirm: Professor Art Leonard Weighs In”

Aaron Charney headshot Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett Charney.JPGMany of you have expressed interest in the latest developments in the continuing litigation between gay lawyer Aaron Charney and his former employer, Sullivan & Cromwell. It has been quite some time since our last post about this case.
Unfortunately, as far as we know, nothing is going on right now. We have a Google Alert set to notify us of all things Charneylicious, and it has been silent lately. This morning we checked the docket, as well as the blogs of two top Charney watchers, Professor Art Leonard and Lavi Soloway. Nada, zilch, zip.
To tide you over, here is one little rumor (unconfirmed, so take it with a grain of salt). It’s so minor that we hesitate to share it. But, for what it’s worth, we hear that Gera Grinberg — the S&C associate who had a relationship with Aaron Charney that partner Alexandra Korry allegedly described as “unnatural” — is back in the office.
(We tried to confirm this by emailing Grinberg. We didn’t receive a response; but we also didn’t receive an “Out of Office” notice, either.)
Observers of this case will recall that Gera Grinberg was placed on a leave of indefinite length by S&C, shortly after the lawsuit was filed. He was on this delightful vacation paid leave for a period of at least several weeks. But now we hear that he’s back at 125 Broad Street, working away like a good corporate lawyer.
Boy that must be awkward — for both Grinberg and S&C. After all, Grinberg is at the center of some salacious allegations about possible misconduct in this case.
If you have any information about new developments in Charney v. S&C, please drop us a line. Thanks.
Update: In response to this comment: Yes, we called Gera Grinberg too. The call went straight to voice-mail (which makes us wonder whether maybe he still is on leave, since no secretary was covering his phone). We left a message.

H Rodgin Cohen 2 Chairman Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett Charney Sullivan Cromwell Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law ATL legal tabloid legal blog.JPGWe’re having one of those days — computer problems, email troubles, etc. We never should have returned from vacation.
It’s a bad time for us to be so distracted, because there’s breaking news in the Aaron Charney and Sullivan & Cromwell litigation — two decisions from Justice Bernard Fried. A tipster sums them up:

FYI – Two written decisions were posted to the NY State Supreme Court Reporter website today. One is Charney v. S&C; the other is S&C v. Charney.

The first dismisses Charney’s suit, but with leave to replead. The second grants S&C a preliminary injunction, dismisses the first cause of action by S&C against Charney (breach of fiduciary duty), and directs Charney to answer the remaining causes of action.

Even though these opinions are hot off the presses, our fellow Charneybloggers are all over it. They score the rulings as, on balance, a win for Aaron Charney — and we are inclined to agree.
The indefatigable Professor Art Leonard has already produced a thorough and thoughtful analysis. He nicely summarizes the opinions and analyzes the implications for both sides. You can access his post by clicking here.
And Lavi Soloway — who, by the way, is now a father of two baby girls (congrats, Lavi!) — has also written up an impressive and detailed post. Check it out over here.
Charney Case Passes Hurdle; Sullivan Case Limping [Leonard Link]
Decisions Come Down in Charney Case [Soloway]
Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell [New York Supreme Court]
Sullivan & Cromwell v. Charney [New York Supreme Court]

Gandolfo DiBlasi 2 Vincent DiBlasi Gandolfo V DiBlasi Vince DiBlasi Above the Law Blog.JPGIn an interesting article in today’s Gay City News, Professor Arthur Leonard discusses the whole “Nazi-gate” controversy surrounding Sullivan & Cromwell partner Gandolfo “Vince” DiBlasi (at right).
Much of the article will be familiar to those who have been following the case closely. But here’s some good background (which previously surfaced in the comments, but merits highlighting here):

Explaining why he was so frightened that he destroyed [his] computer, Aaron Charney testified: “And when we got to the Penn Club, the content of that meeting and the threats that Mr. DiBlasi made invoking the fact that the firm had represented the Nazis and how — that nobody cared, and that people wrote a book about them representing the Nazis and no one cared.”…

Several books have discussed allegations that during the 1930s Sullivan & Cromwell attorneys were involved in representing businesses with interests in Nazi Germany, most prominently a 1994 book by John Loftus and Mark Aarons titled The Secret War Against the Jews: How Western Espionage Betrayed the Jewish People.

Over at his blog, Professor Leonard offers more free-form reflections. Check out his breathlessly posed questions, which nicely capture the soap opera that the Charney case has become:

Why would anybody in the position of Gandolfo DiBlasi make any reference to S&C’s past representation of “the Nazis” – knowing that somebody in the room was taking notes – even if he believed that the meeting was covered by a promise of confidentiality? Will DiBlasi deny under oath that he said any such thing?… Will [Gera] Grinberg, whose job and residence in the US may be at stake, deny that DiBlasi said it? Will [Edward] Gallion, who was in the pay of S&C but owed his fiduciary duty to his client Grinberg and not to the source of his compensation, as these duties are parsed out under the ethical rules? And what motive could Charney have for making this up? Who is writing the script for this thriller? And will Sir Ian play “Gandolfo” in the docudrama…..???

Excellent queries. We look forward to finding out the answers in the weeks ahead.
Charney: S&C Waved Its Nazi Past [Gay City News]
The Latest Charney Sensation [Leonard Link]

H Rodgin Cohen 2 Chairman Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett Charney Sullivan Cromwell Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law ATL legal tabloid legal blog.JPGThat’s how Professor Arthur Leonard is scoring the match, at least in our humble opinion.
Now, the good professor is too evenhanded and judicious to be this blunt. But check out his excellent analysis of the latest filings in the Aaron Charney/Sullivan & Cromwell litigation. Reading between the lines, it’s fairly clear that Professor Leonard is far more impressed with the work product and advocacy of Charney’s scrappy plaintiffs’ lawyers than those of the Biglaw behemoths on the other side: Paul Hastings and, in a secondary role, Sullivan & Cromwell.
We are inclined to agree with him. But you don’t have to take our word for it. You can download and review the court documents yourself, using the handy instructions set forth here.
Happy Reading!
New filings in the Charney/Sullivan & Cromwell litigation [Leonard Link]
Earlier: Brokeback Lawfirm: Self-Serve Charney Documents

Skadden Power Money Lincoln Caplan Above the Law blog.jpgYesterday we posted an interesting excerpt from Lincoln Caplan’s book, Skadden: Power, Money, and the Rise of a Legal Empire, which discussed Sullivan & Cromwell. The excerpt concerned a closeted gay associate at S&C who committed suicide after being passed over for partner.
A comment on that post:

“Does this anecdote show anti-gay bias, or just that S&C partners are a**holes? The S&C lawyer who committed suicide was closeted.”

“Would the failure of partners to attend his funeral represent hostility towards gays? Or just general indifference by S&C partners to associates who don’t make partner?”

The “we’re not homophobes, just a**holes” line of defense probably won’t do wonders for S&C’s recruiting this fall. But one of you has brought our attention to an excerpt from later on in the book (pp. 160-61) that speaks more specifically to the issue of gays at S&C.
It concerns the late Jonathan Bowie, a partner at Skadden at the time of his passing. As one commenter noted, “Bowie was passed over for partner at S&C, that’s why he moved to Skadden. On a sad note, he later died of AIDS.”
From Skadden, by Lincoln Caplan:
Skadden Arps 2 Sullivan Cromwell Lincoln Caplan Above the Law.JPG
Unlike the S&C associate from the earlier excerpt, Bowie wasn’t “very closeted” during his time at the firm. He had a boyfriend at S&C, and “people knew” about him. So his story, and his being passed over for partnership, may be slightly more revealing than the prior anecdote.
Note our use of the word “slightly.” It’s worth pointing out that the above excerpt contains no clear, objective evidence of anti-gay bias at S&C. People get passed over for partner for all sorts of reasons. The anecdote rests entirely upon perceptions of S&C held by lawyers at a different, rival firm. And it’s over two decades old; a lot can change over 20 years.
We just thought it was interesting (as did the source who sent it to us). So we’ve posted it here for your consideration. You can decide how much weight to place upon it.
P.S. We try not to miss a single news article about the litigation between Aaron Charney and Sullivan & Cromwell. But we did fail to mention this interesting Gay City News article, by Professor Arthur Leonard, which appeared late last week.
Professor Leonard analyzes S&C’s recent motion to dismiss Aaron Charney’s complaint. We never offered our own thoughts on that motion, but we agree with much of Professor Leonard’s thoughtful analysis.
Charney Litigation Heats Up [Gay City News]
Earlier: Brokeback Lawfirm: A Walk Down Memory Lane

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