October 18, 2014

Kerik v. Tacopina: Not With A Bang . . .

It's been awhile but there's a few updates on the Bernie Kerik-Joe Tacopina brouhaha. As a person who always enjoys a good legal slugfest and who has no connection to any of the players, I must profess my disappointment with how things are going. As of today, it looks like the federal litigation will end up dismissed or settled, depriving us of live testimony about some serious allegations of misconduct. There's a new state court case underway as well, but it doesn't look like much. Oh well.

United States District Judge John Koeltl heard oral argument the other day on the parties' motion practice stemming from Tacopina's bid to have Kerik's suit dismissed on various grounds. The most obvious and difficult hurdle for Kerik has always been how plainly untimely his suit appeared. According to the Daily News, that was a serious problem for Judge Koeltl as well. As for Kerik's claims that Tacopina more recently slandered him, the judge was troubled by Kerik's apparent failure to show the defamatory statements were not merely knowingly false but made with malice. The point being that, while Judge Koeltl has not yet ruled, it's looking bleak for Bernie.

The judge also ordered that the parties meet with a magistrate judge to discuss settlement. You would be forgiven for assuming that the level of animosity between the parties and their lawyers is far too great, and that too much has already been said and done, for settlement to be remotely possible. But both sides could benefit from taking this case (and Tacopina's companion suit against Kerik) out to the yard and putting it down. So, it's possible, but unlikely.

Finally, Kerik's attorney, Tim Parlatore, has filed a suit against Tacopina in Manhattan in New York State Court on behalf of an unidentified female plaintiff. The gist of the case is that Tacopina represented the woman in a sexual harassment case case against a Connecticut based law firm, which ended with a low-dollar settlement. According to the woman, Tacopina failed to mention to her that he was also working with this same firm in a "big-dollar case," and that he induced her to give up her lawsuit for a pittance in order to protect that relationship. She also alleges that he made various misrepresentations to her about his experience, level of prior success, and perhaps most importantly, suggested incorrectly that he was licensed to practice in Connecticut.

In conjunction with the filing of the suit, Parlatore moved by Order to Show Cause (a device that allows a party to obtain immediate injunctive relief, a/k/a a temporary restraining order, without going through the formal process of normal motion practice) to freeze Tacopina's assets.

According to the Daily News, Tacopina is one of a group of investors who are purchasing an Italian soccer club, and Tacopina has previously announced plans to move his family to Italy. Based on this, according to the News, Parlatore is seeking to protect his client against Tacopina's potential flight:

'Tacopina's stature in the community is largely fabricated and his numerous misdeeds in betraying the interests of other clients are coming to light in a manner that will most likely bring an end to his career and his inflated image,' Parlatore said in court papers filed in New York Supreme Court. 'Plaintiff has reason to believe that Tacopina has put into motion a plan to flee the jurisdiction with his family and his assets and to reestablish himself overseas, out of the reach of our courts and the multitudes of his former clients, who have become his victims.'

I have no clue whether there's any truth to any of the allegations, or if Tacopina really has any exposure in terms of a the injunctive relief sought. But one thing is clear, his name and reputation are taking a serious beating, a deep bruising that won't be easily cured, even if with a clear cut thumping of Bernie Kerik on untimeliness grounds.

Meanwhile, it's looking like Parlatore may have stumbled into a previously unheard of niche practice: representing the disgruntled clients of Joe Tacopina.


  1. Is he really a controversial figure as some american newspapers paint him or this is the price to pay as he defends tough cases ?
    He's now a star in my country as he bought bologna team so news start to flow over here. But he seems a guy of principles . Why so many bad things about him ? Just former clients trying to save themselves like the mcguire lady or there's anything else ?

    1. Thanks for your comment. I don't know Tacopina personally (although I know some who do), but, he's always struck me as one of those lawyers who love cameras and publicity, that he's a bit of self-promoter. That's not to say he is or is not a good lawyer or a man of principle. On those issues I take no position. But sure, it's not at all surprising that his former clients will jump on the anti-Tacopina bandwagon, if only out of desperation. I have no idea if there's any merit to McGuire's current claims or the other lawsuit that I mentioned above. Having said all that, he's not really that controversial or well known outside of some circles in NYC. But there are a handful of people that can't stand him, and some of them make quite a bit of noise. That's the internet for you.

  2. Yes he's definitely a peculiar guy and as we know your legal system from tv series he seems just come out from one of those ^_^ Well for now as president he's doing job apparently paying a first tranche and bringing in big chaps like Anthony Rizza and for sure he does love media. We'll see if he has a serious plan. We need a change of mentality in this country and not only in sports. Hopefully we can learn from him . Thanks for your answer. Wish you a good Sunday.