The case, Argro v Osborne, 3:12-cv-910 in NDNY survived two motions to dismiss, went through full discovery, including a deposition, and survived a subsequent motion for a summary judgment.
On the same day as the case was scheduled to trial, I was suspended from the practice of law by the State of New York.
NDNY imposed a reciprocal suspension on November 18, 2015.
It may be a coincidence that the attorney for the Chenango County Department of Social Services is on the judicial screening committee of Appellate Division 3rd Department which withheld part of the record of my disciplinary case - or it might not be.
But, coincidence or not, I was eliminated from a case scheduled for trial.
There exists a statute though, 42 U.S.C. 1988, allowing a civil rights attorney to be reimbursed for her legal fees from the defendants, if the trial is to be won.
3.5 years of litigation is a long time, and a high legal fee to be paid by Chenango County.
So, a plan was concocted even further to eliminate such a scenario.
After about 60 attorneys rejected my former client's ready-for-trial case as soon as they heard that it was against social services, my client were "in luck" - they hired an attorney Woodruff Carroll.
Mr. Carroll reportedly, told my former clients that he will not charge them anything, will not get anything from any settlement he would negotiate, but would be paid "$500 by the State".
First, the lawsuit is against the County and not the State of New York.
Second, Mr. Carroll is retained and not assigned, and is not entitled to any payments by the government.
The only plausible explanation of what Mr. Carroll's pending reimbursement "from the State" at $500 an hour no less (no assigned counsel is paid that much by the government), is that Mr. Carroll has sold my former clients to the Chenango County Department of Social Services and is paid by the Chenango County CPS and their attorneys Levine, Gouldin and Thompson, of Binghamton, NY, to reduce a 10-mln-dollar lawsuit into a 35-thousand-dollar settlement, without paying me my legal fees for 3.5 years of litigation.
My former clients reported to me that Mr. Carroll told them that "juries never award a lot of money", because jurors are taxpayers, and that they should better agree to a mere pittance, and that they MUST make their decision by this coming Wednesday.
Here is an example as to just how much a jury awarded, very recently, in a lawsuit against social services - $4.9 mln.
The Argro lawsuit requested $10 mln in punitive damages, and the facts of the case are so bad that more than that may be awarded by the jury.
Obviously, Mr. Carroll does not want to put in any pre-trial work, does not want to prepare for trial scheduled for February 29, 2016.
It is easier to do nothing and to sell your clients out to your opponent, especially such a powerful opponent as Chenango County CPS, for a quick buck ($500 an hour) and a record of a big favor to be returned at a later date.
Mr. Carroll also quite aggressively and without permission or request of my former clients (I checked) gave me an ultimatum that I will not be paid if I do not agree to the settlement Mr. Carroll bought from Chenango County CPS at $500 an hour for himself, and that Mr. Carroll is researching the issue how to deny paying me anything at all, for my work for 3.5 years of litigation, from 2012 to 2015, at the time I was a fully licensed attorney, because of my suspension in November of 2015.
Prudent people do not write such things before they research such a sensitive topic.
Mr. Carroll is not prudent, he is arrogant, and he thinks that because I am suspended, I have no rights and forfeited all the fruits of my prior labor - to him.
It is very obvious that Mr. Carroll is dishonestly capitalizing at my expense, since the only reason why he is able to be hired into a ready-for-trial case and why settlement negotiations are even possible, is due to my work of 3.5 years, my filing of a civil rights lawsuit and my perseverance to prosecute it, despite threats of sanctions.
Mr. Carroll also created an impression in my former clients that they are somehow mandated to settle, and to settle on this coming Wednesday.
Of course, I cannot advise my clients, because I was gagged by my suspension, but nobody can preclude me from commenting on illegality of Mr. Carroll's actions, because NOBODY can mandate a settlement of a civil rights action ready for trial, and such a settlement, if mandated or coerced, will simply be not valid.
As to Mr. Carroll, he very clearly attempted to defraud not only his clients, but me, too, and to get rich quick at our expense - after all the heartache that my clients went through and all the work that I put into this case.
Of course, I have no control over how my former clients will decide to act as to the case - whether they will go to trial or will feel forced to settle on terms that their dishonest attorney bought from Chenango County CPS at the price of $500 per hour for himself.
But, I do have a right to go public about misconduct of attorney Woodruff Carroll ("Woody" as he signs his e-mails to me, a person who he has never seen in his life).
So, clients and former clients of "Woody" - beware how he does his work, check what he claims on your behalf to anybody, and especially in settlement negotiations.
Because you can be sold out by Woodruff Carroll the same way Mr. Carroll is now selling out my former clients in Argro v Osborne, for $500 an hour obviously promised to him by the opponent.
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