A White Plains personal injury attorney is suing a rival law firm and four of its employees for $30 million for “ambulance chasing” in an alleged scheme to steal clients.
The Law Offices of Lawrence Perry Biondi PC sued Manhattan firm Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin LLP on March 3 in Westchester Supreme Court.
Wingate employees “orchestrated (a) conspiracy to illegally solicit and steal present clients from Biondi,” the complaint states, “and in the process tarnish Biondi’s stellar professional reputation.”
“We are aware that a disgruntled attorney is recycling false allegations that were conclusively refuted years ago,” Wingate partner Bryce Moses said in an email. “We look forward to being vindicated quickly in court.”
The Wingate defendants include partner Clifford Shapiro, associates Eric L. Horn and Carmine Goncalves, and employee Anteorkidia Horn.
Beginning in September 2017, the complaint states, Wingate used high-pressure tactics to entice Biondi clients into retaining Wingate lawyers instead. Around May 2018, Biondi began receiving substitution letters from Wingate stating that Biondi’s clients wanted to switch to Wingate’s lawyers.
Wingate promised financial incentives to Biondi clients, according to the complaint, and told them that Biondi is a thief, lies about the status of their cases and the potential recoveries, steals from clients and is too ill-equipped or incompetent to handle cases.
When clients agreed to the switch, Biondi alleges, Wingate gave them cash, promised to pay off loans they had taken out, or refinanced the loans at a higher interest rate through a Wingate affiliate.
The complaint identifies 13 “high-value cases” where his clients switched to Wingate lawyers. Biondi claims that Wingate is still stealing clients.
Biondi accuses Wingate of contract interference, violation of New York’s Judiciary Law, defamation, unfair competition, conspiracy and racketeering. The complaint demands $30 million on each charge and treble damages on the racketeering charge.
Neither Lawrence Biondi nor the three lawyers he accused of wrongdoing have a public record of discipline, according to the New York State Unified Court System attorney records.