NEW YORK, April 20 (Reuters) - An appeals court Thursday
sanctioned a New York attorney for "frivolous, outrageous, and
unprofessional behavior" during a deposition, saying he
interrupted questioning, made improper objections and delivered
In an unsigned opinion, the Appellate Division, First
Department, said Joseph Sahid also insulted the opposing lawyer,
the judge on the case and the court reporter, who had to leave
the proceeding due to "abuse."
The court issued a $10,000 penalty and granted costs and
Sahid expressed bewilderment at the ruling and said the
allegations were untrue.
"This is absolutely shocking," he said. "I've been a lawyer
for 40 years. I have never been sanctioned for anything."
In the case, Sahid represented Sol Greenberg & Sons, a
bankrupt diamonds business that owed more than $1 million to
Cadlerock Joint Venture, which had been assigned the debt from a
Sahid said he provided representation for no pay to Sol
Greenberg & Sons after a referral from the city bar association.
He said he is no longer involved with the case.
The behavior in question took place at a deposition of the
company in 2010 in which Cadlerock's attorney was seeking
information that might help satisfy the debt.
The appeals brief filed by Cadlerock's attorney, Steven
Giordano, said Sahid called Giordano a "liar" and other insults,
and claimed he verbally abused the court reporter.
According to Sahid, the request for a contempt order and
sanctions are part of a campaign of "harassment" by the
collection company against a family that has no money or assets
to cover its debt.
"Since they had no assets, all the proceedings led nowhere,"
Giordano said Sahid's suggestion that his client is
harassing Sol Greenberg & Sons is a "fabrication."
"Throughout the course of my dealings with Mr. Sahid, he's
made things up off the top of his head," Giordano said.
In its decision on Thursday, the First Department also found
three individual owners of Sol Greenberg & Sons in contempt for
failing to answer subpoenas and ordered that the 2010 deposition
be completed. The company did not have representation in
arguments before the First Department.
The First Department's ruling on Sahid's behavior reversed a
lower court decision from Manhattan Supreme Court Acting Justice
Jane Solomon, who has since retired. In 2010, Solomon declined
to issue sanctions against Sahid in favor of referring the
matter to the departmental disciplinary committee, which she
said was the more appropriate venue for action.
Sahid said the committee asked him for information, which he
provided, and did not contact him again. The Office of Character
and Fitness confirmed that Sahid has not been publicly censured
for any matter since his admittance to the bar in 1973.
The case is Cadlerock Joint Venture v. Sol Greenberg & Sons
International, Appellate Division, First Department, No. 7283.
For Cadlerock: Steven Giordano of Vlock & Associates.
For Greenberg: no appearance.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax)
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