Lisa Zenzen Baker, 1961-2003


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Did they ask?

Questions for Coffey and
the lawyers' committee

The third letter to Appellate Court judge Leslie Stein asked several questions about the decision by the Committee on Professional Standards that there was no basis for a finding of misconduct by Stephen Coffey and his firm, O’Connell & Aronowitz. Here are five of them:

1). On what date exactly did Mr. Coffey or anyone in his law firm start representing the interests, directly or indirectly, of any of the defendants in my medical malpractice/wrongful death action? The apparent conflict of interest documented in my complaint to the Committee should, of course, have been enough on its own to warrant serious disciplinary action. What was the respondents’ response to this allegation? Since the Committee, by its stated finding, maintains that it was unfounded, why would it – if only to protect its own reputation and that of the bar – not provide to me evidence that there was no basis for the allegation?

2). When exactly did Mr. Coffey decide that he would not take my case? Was it in early December of 2006, when he returned the medical records to me with a rejection letter? If so, why had he not had a medical review done – a review for which I had paid him $1,500 on September 16, 2006 – in the three months during which the medical file was in his possession?

3).Why did an associate at the law firm, Brendan Tully – 48 hours before the return date on the defendants’ motions to dismiss the entire action for failure to prosecute, and after failing to respond to repeated telephone and e-mail messages over three days – urge me not to file an affidavit opposing the motions if it was not his intent – as I allege – to allow the defendants’ motions for dismissal to be granted by default?

4). What specifically did Mr. Coffey mean, in his letter to me dated January 8, 2007, by my “…assaults on me and my office.”? What was the nature of these “assaults” and what evidence does he have of them?

5).What did Mr. Coffey say about me to the Committee? Apparently assured of complete confidentiality, he could say anything he wanted without fear of it being even disputed, still less disproved. Given his other statements in his January 8, 2007 letter, it is reasonable to assume that he justified his conduct by disparaging me. Why did the Committee not disclose his statements to me for my response?

--David Baker