PHILADELPHIA, April 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Earlier today, The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida ordered Pennsylvania attorney Eric Rayz to pay a record $354,777 sanction to disabled Miami resident Yuri Lyubarsky and his legal team.
See full court decision at www.LitigationAid.com/Decision-Lyubarsky-v-Rayz-2020.pdf.
This landmark victory on behalf of Mr. Lyubarsky was achieved by close cooperation between seasoned bankruptcy litigator Gary Seitz from the Philadelphia office of law firm GSBB (Gellert Scali Busenkell & Brown) and litigation management expert Andrew Mogilyansky from LSS (Litigation Support Services) in Southampton, Pennsylvania.
"We are happy the court issued such a thoughtful and fair ruling. This was the ultimate David vs. Goliath case. An elderly disabled man has turned the tables on an overly aggressive lawyer and held him liable for unrepentant aggression," said Gary Seitz, senior partner at GSBB and lead counsel in the case. "As the court found today, Eric Rayz unlawfully threatened Mr. Lyubarsky in an effort to obtain a $250,000 payment. After that failed, Rayz filed a falsely exaggerated claim for $400,000 that withheld a key document. When our team uncovered this, Rayz defended his misconduct with doctored pictures and sworn testimony that the court found 'convoluted' and 'unbelievable'."
After Rayz' offshore-based client bought Lyubarsky's loan for $3,000 in 2008, Rayz began to relentlessly pursue Lyubarsky and his wife in multiple courts. Over the span of a decade, Rayz wrested over $200,000 from the disabled man, including $175,000 from the sale of Lyubarsky's family home. Not stopping there, Rayz continued to demand ever-increasing additional amounts which consisted mostly of Rayz' own legal fees. Rayz even tried to collect against Mr. Lyubarsky's disability benefits. When Mr. Lyubarsky filed for bankruptcy in 2018, Rayz made extortionate threats in an effort to collect another $250,000.
"Eric Rayz threatened that if he did not get the $250,000 by the following Monday, he would release damaging information about Mr. Lyubarsky to the bankruptcy trustee and the authorities. When I wrote to him that his conduct was inappropriate, he responded that he did not care," said Leonid Nerdinsky, the Miami lawyer who helped Mr. Lyubarsky file for bankruptcy in 2018.
In its ruling issued after a hotly contested trial, Chief Bankruptcy Judge Laurel M. Isicoff called Eric Rayz's conduct "sneaky", "egregious", "extreme and troubling", "without regard to appropriate and legally imposed boundaries" and "an affront to the bankruptcy system". The decision states that Rayz "deliberately exploited the Debtors' bankruptcy to try to extract money", that he submitted a "doctored photo" which was "taken in 2004 but edited to try to make the photo look recent" and "tried to hide a Pennsylvania state court order that made clear that Vertonix's claim was exaggerated."
GSBB initially assisted Mr. Lyubarsky pro bono, preparing a sophisticated legal opinion that helped resolve Mr. Lyubarsky's bankruptcy and restore his disability benefits. It was then that Mr. Lyubarsky asked GSBB and LSS for help in holding Rayz accountable for his prior misdeeds.
GSBB acknowledged the pivotal contribution to this case by LSS and its principal Andrew Mogilyansky. "Andrew was key to this case," said Gary Seitz. "He identified all factual gems and many legal theories that made this victory possible. He helped brainstorm and define legal strategy and suggested a brilliant move at trial. His talent, analytical skills and competence were key to our success. This is especially remarkable given his difficult personal history and the adversity he overcame before starting LSS."
This opinion was echoed by Mr. Lyubarsky's Florida attorney. "Andrew Mogilyansky made incredibly valuable discoveries in court records and identified legal errors missed by a succession of prior lawyers. He uncovered documents Rayz withheld and pictures he tampered with. Andrew's involvement was a game-changer for our entire legal team," said local counsel Leonid Nerdinsky.
"My life changed when Andrew Mogilyansky stepped in to help me," said Yuri Lyubarsky, the disabled man who will reap most of the court decision's benefits. "Andrew then persuaded Gary Seitz to do the same. Rayz made my life miserable for over a decade. He froze my disability benefits. I was a deer in the headlights, contemplating suicide. Gary Seitz and Andrew Mogilyansky saved my life and restored my faith in Justice."
Gellert Scali Busenkell & Brown is a boutique commercial law firm with offices in Wilmington, Delaware and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. For more information, visit www.gsbblaw.com.
Contact: Gary Seitz, GSBB Senior Partner, 215-238-0011, [email protected].
Litigation Support Services is a consultancy in Southampton, Pennsylvania that helps select clients manage important negotiations and litigation. For more information, visit www.LSS.LLC.
Contact: Andrew Mogilyansky, LSS Managing Partner, 215-909-9000, [email protected].
An information packet containing records described in the court's decision (such as the doctored picture) is being made available at www.LitigationAid.com/Information-Packet-Lyubarsky-2020.pdf.
SOURCE Gellert Scali Busenkell & Brown LLC