Disgraced New York personal injury attorney Morris Eisen is in the news again. One of the most prominent personal injury attorneys in the city, he had been disbarred and jailed in 1992 after a conviction for racketeering.
His appearance in the news centers on his fight to collect some of the legal fees he claims he is owed for legitimate cases he was handling after he was shipped off to jail for three years for fabricating evidence. You can find some of the ugly details at this New York Law Journal story, as well as numerous other links simply by Googling his name. Some of the conduct included shrinking the size of a ruler down on a xerox machine, so a pothole would appear larger when the “ruler” was used, and paying a witness to give testimony about an accident when, in fact, he was in jail at the time and nowhere near the scene.
There was no shortage of losers in the Eisen story, including the City of New York that was the target of the scams. It also included, though, thousands of legitimate claimants whose cases Eisen was handling while the chicanery was going on, as well as dozens of other attorneys who had worked at his high profile firm over the years who didn’t know what was going on.
His conduct substantially contributed to distrust of attorneys and personal injury cases in general, and provided endless fodder for advocates of tort “reform” who wished to extrapolate his criminal conduct to others in order to close the court house doors to legitimate claimants.
Addendum – see also:
- Morris Eisen is still collecting Legal Fees (New York Legal Malpractice Blog)
- Disbarred Personal Injury Lawyer’s Suit for Fees Is Permitted to Move Forward (The Legal Reader)
(Eric Turkewitz is a personal injury attorney in New York, who was disgusted at Eisen’s conduct when it happened and whose feelings on the subject haven’t changed.)