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Flushing Law Firm Flubbed Depositions In SDNY On Sushi Sushi Now 2022 Trial

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Nov 23 – In March 2019 the law firm of Hang and Associates PLLC based in Flushing, Queens sued Sushi Sushi Holdings on behalf of Ricardo Cajero Torres, Mario Bautista and others.

 Then they did... very little. At least, they did not request or conduct depositions of defendants Igor Grinberg and Angie "Doe."

 On December 23 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Paul A. Engelmayer held a proceeding. Inner City Press covered it. 

 Judge Engelmayer asked the Hang & Associates lawyer why he had not done deposition before discovery closed in January 2020. He replied about the pandemic but Judge Engelmayer cut it, to say don't try to use the pandemic that way. 

 After the defense lawyer tried to capitalize on this new development, Judge Engelmayer said he was ordering the partners involved at Hang & Associate to submitted sworn statements about their conduct, calling it well below the standards in this District. 

  The phrase malpractice was used, as the case was referred back to Magistrate Judge Robert W. Lehrburger.

On April 6, 2021 the case resurfaced before Judge Engelmayer, and Inner City Press again covered it.

Judge Engelmayer expressed frustration at the plaintiffs' failure to prosecute, or even file a motion for default; he took the pro se defendant Igor Greenberg to task for claiming he wasn't really blaming his prior lawyer(s).

Greenberg said the plaintiffs are making too large a financial demand, as if they assume he is hiding money in mattress. Judge Engelmayer said the case is not a good look for the lawyers, or the legal profession.

On April 16, Judge Engelmayer ordered: "plaintiffs are directed, by April 23, 2021, to identify the basis in admissible evidence, if any, for finding Cortes's FLSA claims to be timely and, in any event, the basis, if any, for exercising supplemental jurisdiction over any timely New York Labor Law claims asserted by Cortes. If plaintiffs cannot do so, the Court intends to dismiss all of Cortes's claims. The Court has also received a letter from defendant Igor Grinberg regarding plaintiffs' pending motion in limine and the propriety of each party's use of certain documents as exhibits at trial.... In addition, in his most recent letter, Grinberg asserts that the documents plaintiffs provided to him after the settlement conference do not reflect those identified in plaintiffs' portion of the proposed joint pretrial order. Id. He therefore seeks to preclude plaintiffs from introducing the exhibits they describe in that order, but have not yet produced to defendants. Id. The Court cannot discern from the present record which documents, if any, were provided by each side to the other during discovery in this case, or more recently. In order to facilitate the resolution of the pending disputes over trial exhibits, the parties are directed to file on the docket of this case (1) a copy of each of their proposed trial exhibits, as well as (2) proof of each instance in which they contend that they produced each document to the other side, both during discovery and since its close. Such filings are also due by April 23, 2021. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on 4/16/2021)."

On July 8, Judge Engelmayer held another conference and Inner City Press again covered it. The trial date is tentatively set for September 7 (given COVID rules and priority lists, nothing is certain). Judge Engelmayer inquired about attorney Michael Chong and the now seemingly pro se defendant Angie Herrera. He sketched how pro se litigants are to elicit their own testimony.

On November 23, docketed is this: "ORDER re: [135] Letter filed by Igor Grinberg, Angie Herrera, [133] Order, Set Deadlines. On August 27, 2021, the Court issued an order notifying the parties that this case had been scheduled provisionally as a backup to other jury trials in December of this year. Dkt. 133. This order confirms that, at the request of the parties, the trial date has been adjourned to a date to be set within the first quarter of 2022. The Court has applied for a jury trial date within that quarter consistent with counsels' availability as furnished to the Court, see Dkt. 135. The final pretrial conference in this case remains scheduled for December 2, 2021 at 2 p.m. in Courtroom 1305 of the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse. Dkt. 134. SO ORDERED."

The case is Cajero Torres et al v. Sushi Sushi Holdings Inc., 19-cv-2532 (Engelmayer)



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