New York Lawyer Slaps Paul Hastings Partner During Deposition And Then Files Defamation Action

There is a bizarre lawsuit shaping up in Manhattan. Lawyer Kenechukwu Okoli has filed a defamation and assault complaint against Paul Hastings partner Allan Bloom over an encounter at a 2011 deposition. During the deposition Okoli slapped Bloom and now claims that he was assaulted by accidental spittle and defamed when Bloom called him “uncivilized, ignorant and incompetent.” Remarkably, Bloom did not file for assault but in his Motion To Dismiss, Bloom (the accused spitter) says that there is no grounds for libel or assault by Okoli (the alleged spittee), who is seeking $1 million.

The deposition inolved an employee discrimination case tbrought by Okoli’s client, Olga Caro, against Marsh USA, represented by Bloom. The two lawyers appear to have butted head in the deposition. Okoli allegedly told Bloom repeatedly to “keep your mouth shut.” At some point, Bloom became outraged with Okoli and starting pointing his finger close to his face and yelling. Okoli says the “spittle from Bloom’s wide open mouth hit Okoli’s face.” Okali says that he responded with the slap “to protect himself” apparently from more spittle assault.

The libel component of the action in my view is meritless. That is opinion uttered in the heat of a contested deposition. I am not sure why such a claim is included in a complaint because it undermines the credibility of the entire action.

It would seem that Bloom has a better assault claim here, though spittle technically can be the basis for assault. The complaint appears to acknowledge that the spittle was accidental — the result of the combination of a “wide open mouth” and yelling. This might require a spittle expert.

Of course, it appears that Bloom can claim a free speech defense now that spit is an artform:

Rough medium . . . particularly during rush hour. (by the way, the guy has talent).

Source: American Lawyer

12 thoughts on “New York Lawyer Slaps Paul Hastings Partner During Deposition And Then Files Defamation Action”

  1. dredd’s post is first, is totally unrelated spam. wasted 30 seconds reading it before i realized it was just mindless spam like every other one of his posts. this is why i rarely read comments anymore.

  2. Anonymously Yours : Regarding meritless lawsuits, try this one filed in Summit County, home to FOUR ski areas, average elevation 9,000’+, winters averaging 7 months.

    The meritless lawsuit? A long time, attorney/judge filed a lawsuit against a realtor for failing to disclose that sidewalks would be slippery in the winter. The local black robes allowed this lawsuit to proceed. It should be noted that Summit County, part of Colorado’s 5th Judicial District, has a long problem with fraudulent lawsuits and guaranteed outcomes of litigation IF the case is assigned to certain judge(s). Hapless property owners have been asset stripped – against evidence and the law. Two judges resigned after victims went to FBI, but they’ve been replaced with judges of same ilk. The Old Boy Network is alive, well and prosperous in Summit County. The victims still await justice and restoration of their assets.

  3. Mark me down in the column with everyone who thinks this case lacks merit, which in this instance would seem to be everyone.

  4. rafflaw:

    I once used an expert on federal postal regulations. He described himself as a “postalologist.”

  5. There are justiciable claims and then there are clashes of egos.

  6. Have there always been insane lawyers running around plying their trade and being ridiculous and we just get to hear about more of them now due to improved communication technology or has grade creep started to take its toll in even law schools? 🙂

    Updates on the ‘Funnyjunk v The Oatmeal/Bear Love’ matter:

    June 21:

    July 2

  7. This has to be the most meritless suit that I have ever seen filed…. Grow up Boys…..No racial slur intended if one of them or both appear to be minorties…..

  8. “A Spit ! a very palpable Spit !”

    Isn’t there a field of honor somewhere where this matter can be settled quickly?

  9. This might require a spittle expert.”

    And a counter insurgency spittle expert:

    In the courts during trials experts are used. In the typical case experts will give their opinions to the jury. Typically this means an opposite opinion for each side. The experts are sworn in, list their degrees, and the court makes a ruling that they are experts.

    Afterwards those experts explain that they looked at the evidence, and then they tell the jury what their opinion is. The expert for the defense has one opinion, but the expert for the prosecutor typically has another and different opinion. On the exact same evidence I should add.

    Finally, the everyday folk on the jury make the decision as to which expert was right and who was telling the truth! Yes, the person who left the farm after a 5:00 AM breakfast, and then drove the truck into town for that day’s jury duty, decides which rocket scientist had it right.

    (Why Trial by Jury?). Some on the jury may even do a little brown spittle on the way to the courtroom.

    Anyone chaw?

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