The war between Donald Trump and his former lawyers at Morrison Cohen is over. Trump last week settled two state court suits he brought against the law firm on the eve of one going to trial. Both sides said Tuesday they were pleased with the deal, which resolved separate claims of malpractice and misappropriation of the Trump name on the firm's Web site. "They're happy, I'm happy, and everyone's happy at this time," Trump said in an interview.
The real estate magnate sued Morrison Cohen for malpractice in 2007 in Westchester Supreme Court. Morrison Cohen partner Y. David Scharf had represented Trump Briarcliff Manor Development company in a breach-of-contract litigation against a contractor. The litigation resulted in around $5 million in judgments, but Trump argued that Morrison Cohen spent too much time racking up fees on a claim that resulted in only a $40,000 recovery. The firm counterclaimed seeking $470,000 in unpaid legal fees.
Trump in 2008 filed a separate suit in Manhattan against Morrison Cohen for invasion of privacy for using his name on its Web site as a past client.
The Westchester case was scheduled to go to trial July 15, and the suits settled days before. Word of the settlement must not have reached Manhattan Justice Eileen Bransten in time, though. In a ruling dated July 16, the judge dismissed Trump's suit regarding the Web site, calling the merits of the action "questionable." However, she declined Morrison Cohen's request to sanction Trump.Trump v. Morrison Cohen, 110830/08.
Neither side would discuss the terms of last week's settlement. In a possible hint of the result, though, sections of Morrison Cohen's site still mention its past work for Trump.
Trump said it was "not appropriate at this time" to say if he would use Morrison Cohen again. Even if he wanted to, though, the firm would likely have a conflict of interest as it now represents the principals of property group Crescent Heights Diamond in litigation against Trump Marks LLC. Trump lost a bid in October to have the firm removed from the case.