By Daniel Wiessner
Jan 11 (Reuters) - A judge has denied a bid to dismiss a
real estate magnate's lawsuit against attorneys whom he claims
conspired with his father to wrest control of his
Developer Eric Hadar claims the lawyers represented his
father, Richard Hadar, and his father's accountant in frivolous
lawsuits designed to sully his name as his father sought control
of his real estate holdings.
In moving to dismiss Eric Hadar's suit, Patterson Belknap
Webb & Tyler and the other attorneys, Michael Rosenbaum and
former Patterson partner Clay Pierce, argued that the claims
must be dismissed under the judicial proceedings privilege.
Under the judicial proceedings privilege, any statement made
during a court proceeding, and which was relevant to it, is
privileged and cannot be used in a subsequent case, such as a
defamation lawsuit. State Supreme Court Justice Eileen Bransten
on Wednesday said the privilege does not apply to Hadar's case.
"The privilege may not be extended to a litigant who
commences a sham lawsuit for the sole purpose of defaming his
adversary," Bransten wrote.
Eric Hadar was arrested in 2008 in Westchester County when
police officers found drugs in his car after a traffic stop.
Hadar is president of Allied Partners, which counts the
Citigroup Building among its holdings.
While in rehab, according to Eric Hadar's lawsuit, his
father used a power-of-attorney granted to him in 2004, when he
was undergoing brain surgery, to take control of the Hadars'
real estate holdings.
The father, represented by Rosenbaum and Patterson Belknap,
sued Eric Hadar in 2009, claiming he had stolen money,
mismanaged holdings and was unfit to serve as a manager of the
real estate empire.
Eric Hadar claimed in his lawsuit that Rosenbaum knew that
the allegations made in his father's lawsuit were false.
Meanwhile, Robert Weir, who worked as an accountant for both
father and son, brought an action seeking to remove Eric Hadar
as the trustee of a family trust. Weir was represented by Pierce
and Patterson Belknap.
The father and son settled the father's suit in 2010. The
surrogate case was ultimately dismissed, Bransten said.
Eric Hadar in 2011 sued Rosenbaum, Patterson Belknap and
Pierce. The claims against Pierce and Patterson included legal
malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty and tortious interference.
The claims against Rosenbaum included defamation and civil
Rosenbaum, Pierce and Patterson Belknap moved to dismiss the
Bransten on Wednesday denied the motion and allowed all of
Eric Hadar's claims to go forward.
Weir, the accountant, is also listed as a defendant but did
not make a motion to dismiss.
Eric Hadar's attorney, Michael Bowe, said on Thursday that
the defendants "inflicted enormous harm, and we look forward to
holding them responsible for their gross misconduct."
Rosenbaum's attorney, John Rand, said his client would deny
the claims against him at trial but declined further comment.
Pierce, his attorney and Patterson Belknap did not return
requests for comment.
The case is Eric Hadar v. Clay Pierce, New York State
Supreme Court, New York County, No. 652811/2011.
For Hadar: Michael Bowe of Kasowitz, Benson, Torres &
For Patterson Belknap and Pierce: John Winter of Patterson
Belknap Webb & Tyler.
For Rosenbaum: John Rand of Clark Gagliardi & Miller.
For Weir: Robert Podvey of Podvey Meanor.
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