By Jessica Dye
NEW YORK, Oct 4 (Reuters) - A Manhattan judge has ordered a
lawyer to take down allegedly defamatory statements he posted on
the Internet in response to negative reviews he believed had
been written by a former client.
State Supreme Court Justice Cynthia Kern on Tuesday said
lawyer Robert Feldman must take down the statements in which he
described his former client -- Brooklyn law student Donald
Glassman -- as "emotionally disturbed" and said he had "harassed
or victimized several young women," according to the ruling.
Feldman also wrote,"'(Plaintiff) was found guilty after
trial by a jury of his peers of RAPE (sic) in Manhattan. As his
attorney, I got the verdict reversed...,'" the ruling said.
The judge said her ruling was based on Feldman's failure to
appear for oral argument on a motion to force him to take down
Glassman hired solo Manhattan practitioner Feldman in 2007,
after Glassman was convicted of non-forcible rape in the third
degree, according to the ruling.
Feldman was to represent Glassman at a post-trial hearing on
a motion to set aside the verdict, but Glassman fired Feldman in
April 2008, saying Feldman had put his interests ahead of his
own, according to Glassman's complaint.
A court ultimately set aside the guilty verdict, finding
that Glassman's trial attorney, Howard Blau, had rendered
ineffective assistance of counsel, according to a lawyer for
Glassman in the defamation case, Alexander Levine.
Blau, who was disbarred in 2009, could not be reached for
After a second trial, Glassman was acquitted of the rape
charges, according to the complaint.
In 2010, two negative reviews of Feldman were posted
anonymously to a website, www.RipoffReport.com, which publishes
consumer complaints against companies and individuals, according
to the ruling. One of the comments, posted in July 2010 and
still available on the website, called Feldman "the most
Feldman responded on www.RipoffReport.com to the comments
in late 2011, saying they were authored by Glassman, whom he
called "emotionally disturbed" and accused of "harassing and
victimizing" several women, the ruling stated.
Feldman's comments also were posted on
www.about-lawyers.com, a legal news aggregator, according to
In June, Glassman sued Feldman, seeking damages for
defamation and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional
distress. Glassman denied in his complaint that he had posted
the original comments.
Feldman's response on the website was unfairly accusatory
and posed a threat to his future legal career, t he complaint
Glassman filed a motion seeking an interim injunction to
keep Feldman from making future defamatory remarks and seeking
to force Feldman to take the comments down.
On Tuesday, the judge directed Feldman to remove the
statements from various websites or to direct the sites' editors
to remove them.
Kern, however, declined to enjoin Feldman from making
defamatory statements in the future, saying that Glassman's
claim that the comments could damage his future legal career
were "insufficient to merit a prior restraint on speech."
Feldman said he and his lawyer, Daniel Kim, had never been
notified about oral arguments on Glassman's motion. But
Glassman's lawyer, Levine, said that notice of the hearing had
been sent out electronically by the court.
A 2009 malpractice lawsuit filed by Glassman against Feldman
stemming from the 2007 rape case is pending.
In 2010 Glassman won a $500,000 judgment in a malpractice
case against his original trial attorney, Howard Blau. Blau was
disbarred from New York state in 2009 and could not be reached
The case is Glassman v. Feldman, New York State Supreme
Court, New York County, No. 102988/2012.
For Glassman: Alexander Levine and Igor Vaysberg of Levine &
For Feldman: Daniel Kim.
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