An attorney appeals a New York federal judge’s ruling approving law firms’ use of prostitutes to file false sexual harassment claims.
The lawyer for a business suing several law firms for extortion has filed an appeal of a federal judge’s ruling approving of the law firms use of prostitutes to drum up business. The firms Arce Law Group, Derek T. Smith, LLC, and Phillips & Phillips, are all located in the same Manhattan office. They have been accused of using prostitutes to entice male business owners or supervisors into embarrassing situations and then filing false sexual harassment charges.
Anil Taneja, Esq. (), the attorney who sued the three firms, filed an appeal of Manhattan federal judge Denise Cote’s orders approving of the use of prostitutes and dismissing his clients’ claims. Judge Cote further stated that once an attorney using prostitutes says, while not under oath, that they are not involved, no further inquiry could be made.
In his filings to the appeals court last November (In re Ronin Amano, Second Circuit Case # 12-4525), Taneja claimed that Judge Cote was biased and ignored the law and the facts. The new appeal simply adds Judge Cote’s February 22nd ruling to the earlier appeal. This isn’t the only charge of bias that Judge Cote is currently facing. Earlier this month it was reported that nine of the New York City’s top law firms including Paul Weiss, Skadden Arps, Sullivan & Cromwell, and Cravath filed appellate papers charging that Judge Cote was biased and did not follow the law (In re Federal Housing Finance, Second Circuit Docket # 13-1122).
-What makes it so absurd in this case is that this same group of attorneys was sanctioned in September by another New York federal judge.- said Taneja. In that case, Judge Bryan Cogan sanctioned the firm of Phillips & Phillips for a shakedown of Regal Cinemas (Cajamarca v. Regal Entertainment Group, EDNY, 11 cv 2870). The firm was caught misrepresenting an experienced prostitute as a virgin claiming that her alleged viewing of a male worker’s genitals for less than five minutes caused her Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which she then treated by taking long vacations and engaging in S&M parties.
-In our case the defendants presented an audio tape in which you can clearly hear the girl making an offer of sex for money!- said Taneja. -And you can just as clearly hear our guy telling her to pawn one of her luxury items and pay her bill. Unbelievable. It’s caught right on tape!-
Although Taneja filed his action against the firms in a New York state court, the defendants moved the case to federal court to avoid New York’s tough anti-extortion laws. This move proved ingenious as Judge Cote immediately provided the defendants with protection from criminal laws and ethics rules.
-These guys moved the case to federal court and then promptly defaulted,- said Ronin Amano (), a plaintiff and long-time critic of the federal courts in New York. -Cote simply reopened the case for them without explanation. She’s relieved them of the criminal laws and ethics rules. She’s encouraged the use of prostitutes by attorneys looking to drum up business.-
-This appeal is of everything raised to the judge,- said Taneja, who styles himself as the -Extortion Defender.- -You have to realize that law firms are bound by the same extortion laws as everyone else. If you are making a threat to expose and embarrass someone unless they pay you money- that’s extortion plain and simple.-
Amano has been a vocal critic of the New York federal courts featured in the New York Times, spoofing a number of judges in skits featuring -Corrupt Judges United- and taking federal judges to task for sitting on cases despite conflicts of interest. In one skit, -You Pay Me You Win-, he skewered federal Judge John Gleeson, who moonlights as a professor for N.Y.U. Law, for presiding over a case brought by the N.Y.U. Brennan Center challenging New York’s judicial selection process. The Brennan Center case, which they won in front of their employee and judge assigned to the case, was later overturned by a unanimous Supreme Court. Over the years Amano has frequently challenged the Second Circuit appellate court’s decades-long R.I.C.O. rulings protecting corporate racketeering.
-Of all the federal appeals courts in the country, only the Second Circuit maintained this bizarre rule encouraging corporate racketeering.- said Amano, -After decades of inaction the Supreme Court finally struck down the Circuit’s rule- unanimously- in early 2008. But the federal judges in New York still bend over backwards to approve of corporate crime. That’s what Judge Cote is doing here.-
Amano points to Judge Cote’s finding that the firms, which share an office, had no dealings with each other. -She based this on an unsworn statement by the defense lawyer. Yet, all you have to do is go on the federal court’s computerized system and type in the firm names and you find literally hundreds of cases where the firms all appeared together representing the same clients. Same with state court.-
-She’s an old judge who is semi-retired. I think the real issue with Judge Cote is senility. She’s just not capable of performing her duties as a judge anymore- stated Amano.
In the papers filed by the plaintiffs, they theorized that the defendant law firms sent the prostitute to the plaintiff firm in order to knock a competitor out of the market. The plaintiff firm, CMH Services, competes with the defendants for discrimination clients as well as unemployment client.
Amano reiterated, -When we received the extortion demand our only option was to fight back.-