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A New York Supreme Court judge has sanctioned an attorney $8,500 for frivolous conduct ranging from attempts to harass his opponents to barking like a dog at a witness during a deposition. Manhattan Justice Charles E. Ramos said the attorney, David Fink, had made false statements in court and his conduct “raises serious concerns about [his] fitness to practice law.” The judge’s 54-page ruling confirmed findings by a special referee, who had recommended the case be referred to the Departmental Disciplinary Committee of the Appellate Division, 1st Department. Ramos, however, did not say in his ruling whether he would refer the matter to the committee or not. The judge imposed an additional $8,500 in sanctions on Fink’s client. Fink, a solo practitioner with offices in Manhattan and Wainscott, has already paid $1,400 in sanctions in the case for previous infractions. Fink said the judge’s ruling, Levine v. Angsten, 604063/00, would be appealed and declined to comment further. Donald E. Creadore, the attorney who has taken over the case from Fink, did not return calls seeking comment. Creadore, whose office is on the same floor of the same Manhattan building as Fink, was not implicated in any misconduct described by the judge. Fink was representing Carl Levine, an agent who licenses designs for home furnishing products to manufacturers. According to articles published in the East Hampton Star, Fink and Levine also have invested in real estate together in the East Hamptons. Levine’s suit alleged that Kit Kittle and Laurette Angsten, a husband-and-wife team of designers, had breached a contract giving Levine the right to negotiate the sale of their products. The couple argued that they canceled the contract and lawfully negotiated a deal with a manufacturer. Ramos ruled in favor of the designers, saying Levine’s contract did not entitle him to an exclusive right to sell or any commission. He dismissed the suit on summary judgment. The judge said that Levine and his attorney, Fink, had “acted in bad faith, vexatiously and wantonly throughout this litigation.” He said they had filed frivolous motions, exhibited “perjurious conduct” and made false statements. On one occasion, Fink barked like a dog at Kittle as Kittle was being deposed. According to a transcript, Kittle complained that Fink was talking over him as he tried to answer questions. He later described threatening letters he had received from Fink as “mad dog lawyer’s letters.” The next day, as the deposition continued and Kittle described Fink’s letter as “probably the most amazing letter I have received in my life,” Fink barked at him. When Kittle objected, Fink said he had been clearing his throat. Kittle asked his co-counsel Creadore, who was asking the questions, to tell Fink not to bark. Creadore said, “Fink, please refrain from barking.” Ramos said Fink and Levine also attempted to malign Angsten and her attorney, Samuel Friedman, by saying under oath that they had seen the two “hugging and kissing in public many times.” Ramos assailed the sworn statements, saying they were “merely gross mischaracterizations, not made pursuant to any cogent legal strategy, and undertaken primarily to harass or maliciously injure defendants.” Angsten testified that she had given her attorney a kiss on the cheek and a hug as a social greeting. Ramos said Fink’s and Levine’s false statements and conduct show “an orchestrated attempt to obstruct the judicial process, using frivolous tactics to prolong this litigation and harm defendants.” He ordered that a special referee hold a hearing on appropriate attorney’s fees and expenses for Friedman. “My clients were so appalled by this lawsuit,” Friedman said. “I felt bad for them, and I felt bad for the judicial system.”

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