Notorious New York Lawyer Aaron Schlossberg Sued By Former Client

There is an interesting postscript story to the controversy surrounding New York attorney Aaron Schlossberg. As we discussed earlier, Schlossberg who went on a bizarre tirade against Spanish-speaking restaurant workers has quickly become the most hated man of the week in New York.  The New York Post reported that he has now been kicked out of his office by Corporate Suites, the company that held his lease.  Now, Schlossberg’s former client, Niche Music Group LLC, is suing him for embarrassing the company by its association to him. While I have little sympathy for Schlossberg (who is a GW grad), the lawsuit raises a troubling question over the liability of lawyers for statements or conduct made in their private lives. The premise of the action is that a lawyer can be sued if his views or actions cause embarrassment by association with clients.

Niche is a small record label based in Pittsburgh that produces capella and specialty music. In its complaint the company alleges legal malpractice and breach of contract based on the controversy at the restaurant. Schlossberg represented the company in a breach of contract lawsuit against Orchard Enterprises Inc. and Sony Music Entertainment. However, less than two weeks after the video surfaced from the restaurant, Niche fired Schlossberg and issued a statement from Niche Music president Stephen Wilde and general counsel Jonathan Clunies entirely distancing itself from the lawyer:

“After hearing Aaron Schlossberg’s views on the video, we decided to fire him from the single case for which we had hired him. Schlossberg was never our in-house counsel. We were not aware of his views and he never expressed them to us. We are appalled by his comments and behavior.”

We have followed cases where people have been fired after boorish or insulting conduct once their names and employers are made known. (here and here and here and here and here and here). Those cases however stopped with termination. Niche is seeking $50,000 in damages for the loss of corporate reputation and the resources spent in dealing with the controversy: “Schlossberg knew or reasonably should have known that his multiple public racist outbursts would reflect poorly on himself, his clients and his profession.”

That is a novel claim and one that would expose lawyers to new liability for any public position that a client later claims to be damaging to its reputation. Lawyers represent controversial clients or hold controversial views. That may impact their client base. However, a client is generally confined to the right to sever counsel not sue counsel for uncomfortable associations. It is also difficult to see the real damage since the company quickly severed Schlossberg with a strong statement of disassociation.

What do you think?

15 thoughts on “Notorious New York Lawyer Aaron Schlossberg Sued By Former Client”

  1. I would assert the First Amendment as a defense but also the 9th Amendment right of privacy. Taking The Ninth!

    1. True but he deserves it. What this guy did was beneath contempt. People might feel the way he does privately, and they should be heard. However what he did…..just wrong on so many levels

  2. It’s likely Niche will employ at least one attorney to bring their suit. This is actually one of the unintended consequences of there being way too many attorneys. We’d likely be a less litigious society if we had less litigators . . . especially litigators with too little to do.

  3. In two weeks a record label no one ever heard of received provable, quantifiable reputational damage because its boneheaded lawyer went viral on Twitter? Simply as a factual matter the claim seems bogus in the extreme.

    1. they’re actually attempting to put themselves on the map using their lawyer’s bad press. just a stunt. frivolous, perhaps

  4. The attack on the First Amendment is starting to bear fruit. Things have morphed from guilt by association into guilt by accusation into guilt by uttering words or behaving in a manner subjectively deemed offensive. Basically every individual gets to write their own law and subjectively judge whether it has been violated or not completely outside any parameters other than how the “offense” makes them feel. Social mob rule allows instant punishment with NO DUE PROCESS. We are in a time where a member of the House that creates laws rails against people who are designated wrong headed, evil or unworthy of participation in society because they base their decisions on facts not feelings.
    People have been socially engineered into acceptence of the ever growing trend of “criminalizing” others instantly for their Constitutionally Protected values, opinions or behaviors and how those things make others feel. Promoting and validating the concept there should be laws mandating a Citizen have the duty to carry out such a ludicrous task as making everyone feel safe, warm and fuzzy is Bedlam on steroids. With this kind of thing the arbiters of subjective feel good justice have added punish to their list of duties and rights they have unilaterally empowered themselves with for faux crimes and made up offenses that have no basis in reality, only in the minds of the offendee and BTW, only apply to certain segments of society, he ones the offendee deems their enemy, opponent or that the offendee just doesn’t like or agree with. The offednee gets to decide that too. Why should Niche be paid damages if there was no loss?
    If no one said to them we’re cancelling our $50,000 contract because we saw your boy on youtube going off and we blame you because we know you sent him out to do it, their option should be just to send him a letter telling him to hit the road. Otherwise the Justice System will quickly become a worse free for all arena than it already is and a tool used exclusively to reward friends and punish enemies, not mete out Justice acording to prescribed laws. There is a distinct escalating trend to dismantle everything that people use in this country to touch base with reality and provide a landmark everyone can use to navigate Civilized living. Oaths, vows, codes of conduct, rules, laws, regulations and moral codes are covenants. Agreements between most of 320 million people to follow together to provide a foundation which allows civilization to survive. Without them the American Civilization and all It’s impact for good will collapse. The law should update it’s symbol of the scales to incorporate some kind of caduceus theme because it too can be used to heal or kill.
    This is lawsuit is just the kind of thing that can yank off Lady Justice’s blindfold and choke her to death with it.

  5. Going just on what your article offers up i have to wonder, as Lawyers are so aggressive at holding others to certain ‘standards’ in their private lives, casan lie during court which will have a definite detrimental effect on the other persons involved…why shouldn’t they be held to standards?????

  6. “Niche Music Group LLC, is suing him for embarrassing the company by its association to him.”

    Before a company hires an employee they do whatever screening they find necessary. Did Schlossberg lie to his employer or in any other way intentionally deceive the employer? If not then fire the one in charge of human resources for it his fault. They severed relationships with Schlossberg. End of story except now the taxpayer has to pick up the bill for a nuisance suit?

  7. What bizarre tirade? He’s making a reasonable point. He’s more aggressive and insistent than you might like, but if that’s a deal breaker, you’d be well advised to stay out of Downstate New York or Northern New Jersey.

  8. Based on what your article says about the suit, it’s hard to imagine any basis for allowing it. The judge must dismiss as unreviewable under the first amendment.

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