Judge Fried issued his decision in response to S&C’s partial motion to dismiss. Though both sides landed blows, it seems that S&C can claim itself the victor of this battle. The Court dismissed Charney’s Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (“IIED”) and Conspiracy causes of action, albeit without prejudice. However, at least as it stands now, it appears that Charney may have difficulty reviving these claims. But it was not a complete victory for S&C. The Court declined to strike most of the paragraphs from the Complaint that S&C had requested.
More from Jonas here, and Justice Bernard Fried’s order here (PDF). Jonas titled his post “The Empire Strikes Back.” But why did he use a photo of Sharon Nelles instead of H. Rodgin Cohen (who is closer in age and appearance to Emperor Palpatine)?
Professor Arthur Leonard offers the detailed, thorough analysis that we’ve come to expect from him. Here’s an excerpt:
So, what does all this mean? I’m not entirely sure….
I had thought that these additional claims were separate and distinct from the NYC HRL [Human Rights Law] claims, as relating to the activities of S&C and Gallion in reaction to the lawsuit rather than to S&C’s treatment of Charney as an employee. That is, the HRL claims related to what happened before Charney filed his original lawsuit. The intentional infliction of emotional distress claim was addressed to the tactics that S&C then used after the lawsuit was filed to try to pressure Charney to back down, and the conspiracy claim was specifically aimed at the enlistment of attorney Gallion to add to the pressure and sidetrack Grinberg from allying himself with Charney
Does Fried’s action in dismissing these additional legal claims but refusing to strike almost all the factual allegation paragraphs of the complaint that specifically relate to them mean that he believes the events that came after the first complaint are now part of the overall case under the city Human Rights Law? If so, then Charney has lost nothing by this dismissal order, and the judge has at least implicitly ratified the idea that S&C’s response to his complaint becomes part of the retaliation case, at the very least.
LEWW 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.
We’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 — twodecisions 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.
Remember our post from last week, hinting at the possibility that false affidavits were created in the Aaron Charney / Sullivan & Cromwell litigation? Well, a few more details — or allegations, at least — are drifting in.
Check out this order by Justice Bernard Fried:
We’re back from today’s hearing in Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell. In terms of entertainment value, it was a bit of a disappointment.
It was a pretty straightforward proceeding. No salacious accusations of destroyed hard drives; no mystery lawyers popping out of the audience to join in the fun; no mention of attorney disciplinary proceedings. Just arguments from counsel, with a lot of mumbled questions from Justice Bernard Fried (who really needs to speak into his microphone — or turn it on, maybe).
There were no rulings from the bench on any of the motions. Justice Fried took everything under advisement — and promised a ruling on at least one of the motions “shortly.” (We may have a more detailed report later; but really, there wasn’t much to write home about.)
For us, the most exciting part of today’s proceedings was getting to meet plaintiff Aaron Charney, in the flesh. We approached him during a break and introduced ourselves. He shook our hand, but didn’t say more (and seemed nervous). His voice was high, thin, a bit fey.
As for his appearance, we thought he wasn’t as cute as he is in photos. We also thought he looked older than we expected. But we chatted with two fellow spectators during a break, and they voiced the opposite views. They thought he looked more attractive in person, and younger in person than in photographs.
Here’s a picture we took of Aaron Charney exiting the courthouse:
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