Persistence Doesn’t Always Pay, Even in the Legal World
Erwin Rosenberg, a once-attorney who just doesn’t know when to give up, was permanently disbarred on November 21 by the Florida Bar and the announcement of his disbarment was issued this week. The former attorney had already been suspended for a year in June 2015 after being sanctioned for failing to comply with an order to produce client documents. He tried to challenge the order, failed to pay an attorney-fee in the matter for not producing, then filed a multitude of follow-up motions with the Florida Supreme Court that were “procedurally improper and without merit,” according to the court’s response.
Rosenberg deliberately disobeyed the court by continuing to file pleadings on behalf of a client while suspended and represent, a client in another case, while attempting to pick up new clients. Also, following disbarment by the Florida Supreme Court in April 2016, Rosenberg sought a leave to represent clients in seven cases in pleadings challenging the state’s Supreme Court’s authority to disbar him to begin with.
Rosenberg, a graduate of the New England School of Law, had been with the Florida Bar for eighteen years. He had a clean discipline record until he failed to produce client documents in a 2006 lawsuit. Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Jonathan Gerber, appointed by then-Republican Governor Charlie Crist in April 2009, ruled the Rosenberg had acted in bad faith in the incident and issued attorney’s fees. But, Rosenberg failed to pay, so the judge was forced to recommend a 91-day suspension, stating, “The Referee has strong doubts about the Respondent’s fitness to practice law. It is obvious Respondent possesses above-average intelligence. It appears, however, that he lacks either the common sense or the intellectual honesty to distinguish appropriate and rational arguments from inappropriate and irrational arguments…There are times when a lawyer must yield to the facts, precedent, or court orders. Respondent appears incapable of discerning when to yield a legally unsupportable position.”
The Florida Supreme Court, taking into consideration Gerber’s words, then found the initial three-month suspension insufficient and decided to impose a one-year suspension instead, noting in May 2015: “It is particularly significant that Rosenberg has refused to accept the wrongful nature of his misconduct. Rather, he continues to attempt to relitigate Judge Gerber’s order imposing sanctions. He has not paid any portion of the sanction entered against him, even though Judge Gerber’s order was affirmed on appeal in 2009. Moreover, Rosenberg has continued his abusive litigation practices before both the referee and this Court; he has filed numerous motions, many of which are procedurally improper and without merit.”
Rather than finally giving in and abiding by the rules, Rosenberg responded again by claiming the state Supreme Court’s order suspending him “is not a judicial order entitled to a preclusive effect and is violative of his First Amendment right to litigated related speech.” This motion was denied, so he filed a motion for a re-hearing and to disqualify the presiding judge, Carol-Lisa Phillips, appointed by former Governor Jeb Bush in 2003. Both filings were rejected, and the court ordered Rosenberg to cease filing motions, permanently disbarring him. Sometimes persistence doesn’t pay, even in law.