Man Sues Lawyers for Malpractice in Memorabilia Case

It’s been more than ten years since Sports Legends went out of business, but the company lives on through the latest court case…this one against the owner’s lawyers.

A New York man who claims his partner walked away with over a half million dollars worth of sports memorabilia is suing the attorneys he says he hired to get it back.

Joseph Cusenza, half owner of Sports Legends, a Manhattan corporation that dissolved in 1999, claims his partner, Paul Carberry, "diverted and looted no less than $550,050 in corporate assets" according to a lawsuit.

Cusenza says the law firm he hired to recover those assets dropped the ball.

At issue, according to the suit, are 1300 baseballs and lithographs, many signed by Tom Seaver, eight jerseys signed by Mickey Mantle and 400 Leroy Neiman lithographs.

Cusenza says he retained Pollack, Pollack, Isaac & De Cicco to recover the assets lost by Sports Legends, which dissolved in 1999.

The suit also claims Carberry "failed to contribute no less than $42,000 representing his share for various corporate obligations of Legends," according to the complaint filed in Nassau County (NY) Court.

Pollack & Pollack filed a lawsuit against Carberry in 2001, alleging conversion, but Cusenza says it was dismissed in 2005 after the firm didn’t prosecute the case, one he believes he should have won.

"Incredibly, notwithstanding that Carberry had defaulted in the 2001 action by failing to serve an answer to the complaint, defendant inexplicably failed to move for a default judgment for over two years," the complaint states.

Cusenza says the firm then unsuccessfully appealed the dismissal, thus wasting a significant amount of his money. A second suit, again alleging only conversion, the case was dismissed again, the complaint states.

Cusenza says that suit wound up being dismissed because the statute of limitations had expired by three years.

The case should have been a slam dunk, according to the complaint.

"Specifically, Carberry’s default in the 2001 action, if prosecuted correctly by defendants by the filing of a basic motion for default judgment within the expansive time permitted by law, would have entitled Legends to an uncontested judgment for the amount demanded in the complaint," Cusenza said.

Cusenza’s lawsuit for negligence and legal malpractice, asks for $610,000.