Multimillion Dollar Verdict Against Lawyer and His Client for Wrongful Use of Civil Proceedings
Jim Beasley Jr. and Lane Jubb, Jr. of The Beasley Firm obtained a $2.3 million verdict – with over $2 million in punitive damages – in a wrongful use of civil proceedings case (“Dragonetti” Action). After two weeks of trial and eight hours of deliberations, the seven member jury awarded $1.75 million in punitive damages against Mark S. Halpern, Esquire and his law firm, Halpern & Levy, P.C., $300,000 in punitive damages against the client-defendant, Lynne Boghossian, as well as $250,000 for compensatory damages.
The jury found that the defendants misused the legal process by suing Jack Brown, a well-respected attorney, in an attempt to break a $2 million trust from which defendant Boghossian had been disinherited. As part of these claims, they accused Mr. Brown of looting, kidnapping, elder abuse, and other bad acts. Over the span of four years, Mr. Brown repeatedly provided Halpern with dozens of documents that demonstrated Boghossian’s claims were meritless and made with malice toward Mr. Brown. Despite the red flags, the defendants continued to assert the outrageous claims against Mr. Brown at every turn of the litigation. The Defendants finally withdrew the claims against Mr. Brown when faced with an impending decision on his Motion to Dismiss but they continued to make the same exact allegations against him in their case against the trust, which the court threw out a few months later.
The case was tried before the Honorable Shelley Robins New in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
The award is a significant pillar to the current state of Pennsylvania law, as it reminds all attorneys and litigants that abusive lawsuits will not be tolerated. The Beasley Firm has the skills and courage to hold this group of attorneys and litigants accountable for their actions.