Jury Finds Lawyer Negligent for Giving Gift to Judge

Frank Rogozienski felt that something wasn’t right. The judge in his divorce case kept ruling against him, including voiding a prenuptial agreement that cost Mr. Rogozienski $20 million in stock. Making matters worse, the presiding judge on the case refused to disclose any conflicts of interest he might have.

Mr. Rogozienski decided to conduct his own investigation into any conflicts of interest, and discovered that the judge, James Allen, had received a timeshare condominum during the pendency of the Rogozienski divorce case. A little more digging revealed that the friend that gave Allen the time share, received it from a San Diego lawyer named S. Michael Love. You know what’s coming next. Attorney Love was the lawyer for Mr. Rogozienski’s wife Shirley in the divorce proceedings.

After the divorce, Mr. Rogozienski sued Love and Allen for professional negligence. Allen, a lawyer who was sitting as a private judge, was held to have judicial immunity and protected from liability. Love on the other hand, was determined to be negligent by a San Diego jury and awarded Mr. Rogozienski $800,000 in attorney’s fees. From news accounts, it doesn’t sound like the jury was all that fond of Mr. Rogozieski. For his emotional distress damages he was awarded 1 dollar.

Both attorney Love and judge Allen are subject to a California State Bar investigation. Both have long histories in the San Diego legal community, and neither has been subject to a State Bar investigation before.

Source: San Diego Union Tribune

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