MINEOLA, N.Y. (CN) - A man says the law firm he hired to sue his partner in a sports memorabilia business fumbled his case and cost him $550,000 in goods, including baseballs signed by Tom Seaver, uniforms signed by Mickey Mantle and 400 Leroy Neiman lithographs.
Joseph Cusenza, half owner of Sports Legends, says his partner Paul Carberry walked off with the goods. Cusenza says he retained Pollack, Pollack, Isaac & De Cicco to recover the assets lost by Sports Legends, an inactive Manhattan corporation that dissolved in 1999.
"In total, Carberry diverted and looted from Legends no less than $550,050 in corporate assets from Legends and failed to contribute no less than $42,000 representing his share for various corporate obligations of Legends," according to the complaint in Nassau County Court.
Cusenza says Carberry looted the business of more than 1,300 Tom Seaver lithographs and baseballs, only 300 of which were not signed, eight signed Mickey Mantle uniforms and more than 400 Leroy Neiman lithographs, one of them of Ted Williams.
Pollack & Pollack filed a lawsuit alleging conversion against Carberry in 2001, but Cusenza says the action was dismissed in 2005 after the firm failed to prosecute.
"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 continued to waste his money by futilely appealing the dismissal. When it filed a second lawsuit, again alleging only conversion, the case was dismissed again, the complaint states.
Cusenza says that suit was dismissed because six years had passed and the conversion charge has a 3-year statute of limitations.
Cusenza says he should have prevailed in his case against Carberry.
"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 says.
Cusenza seeks $610,000, alleging negligence and legal malpractice. He is represented by Ted Tanenbaum with Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein.
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