Two Judges Decline to Sanction Sorkin Over His Advocacy

, New York Law Journal


Ira Sorkin

Winston filed an August 2012 motion saying Sorkin's previous representation of Winston disqualified him from representing Lorber. Two months later, he filed a motion to dismiss or at least disqualify Sorkin, saying the attorney came to possess a document he was not authorized to have.

The document was an incomplete memorandum from Winston's former attorneys to end his probation that was never submitted in the criminal case. Explanations of its contents are either redacted or go without elaboration in court papers.

The original complaint had a single reference to the memo, saying, it "contains false and misleading information, including much of the same false and misleading information alleged herein." The reference was omitted in the amended complaint.

Winston said, to the best of his recollection, he only shared the document with Eve, when their marriage was still strong.

At a conference in front of Spatt, Sorkin said the document "was given to a third party. That third party passed it on to another party and that party gave the document to me in the presence of the first third party."

In a subsequent affidavit, Sorkin said he got a copy of the document by email from the offices of Raoul Felder, who had previously represented Eve in the divorce. In his affidavit, Sorkin said neither Felder nor an associate told him the document was privileged, adding that Felder told him either Eve or her mother gave Felder the document.

Felder said in an affidavit he did not remember the circumstances surrounding receipt of the document, and Eve did not remember ever seeing the document.

In any event, in November 2012, Spatt, sitting in Central Islip, said Sorkin's previous representation made "trial taint" a "clear" possibility. The judge said Sorkin offered "varying accounts" of how he got the document, which was shielded by the work-product privilege. Spatt said use of the document was an "additional" ground to support Sorkin's disqualification (NYLJ, Nov. 27, 2012).

In July 2013, Spatt dismissed Lorber's civil racketeering claim as time barred and refused to rule on Lorber's remaining state law claims.

Within a month of dismissal, Winston asked Spatt to impose sanctions against Sorkin and Lorber for pressing a suit that, he said, was false and they knew, or should have known, was false.

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