Herzfeld & Rubin has reached a settlement with a client’s son whom the firm sued last year for defamation and cybersquatting. In the June 2012 lawsuit, Herzfeld & Rubin claimed Joel Leyden had "illegally appropriated" the law firm’s name by registering domain names nearly identical to its own and claimed Leyden had posted fictitious news articles on other sites with defamatory statements (NYLJ July 9, 2012). The dispute stemmed from Herzfeld’s representation of Leyden’s father, Bernard Leyden. The firm prepared a will for Bernard, a longtime client who died in 2009.
Settlement papers signed by both parties in Herzfeld & Rubin v. Leyden, 154004/2012, were filed in Manhattan Supreme Court on May 1. According to those papers, Leyden "concedes that the appropriation and registration" of domain names using the Herzfeld & Rubin name is unwarranted and improper, and he agrees to transfer to the law firm all of his right and interest in the domain names.
Leyden, the settlement papers said, also agreed to remove online postings he created about the law firm or its employees, including postings on social media sites, blogs and scam reporting sites, and he agreed not to acquire any domain name or create any postings related to Herzfeld in the future. If he breaches the agreement, Herzfeld can get a judgment of $50,000 plus interest again Leyden, court papers said.
Brian Carr, a Herzfeld associate who spoke on behalf of the firm, said: "We are pleased that the misconduct about which we complained has been discontinued and that we have put in place a mechanism to avoid a recurrence." Leyden’s attorney, Michael Lippman, a solo practitioner in Westchester County, declined to comment, other than to confirm the parties settled.
Leyden said he settled because to continue fighting with a "large, New York firm with unlimited legal resources" would "take money away from my children and I will not allow that to happen."