UPDATE 3: Diane Schuler
The lawyer for the family of the wrong-way driver who killed herself and seven others in a crash on the Taconic State Parkway is going to lose his law license for 18 months for billing and bookkeeping irregularities.
The Second Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court made the ruling in the wake of a grievance committee finding that Dominic Barbara had committed four acts of professional misconduct.
Barbara represents Daniel Schuler, who denies medical findings that his wife, Diane Schuler, was drunk and high when she drove south in the northbound lanes of the Taconic parkway and crashed into a car carrying three men from Yonkers.
The three men died as did Diane Schuler, her daughter and three nieces.
Toxicology and autopsy reports found that she was intoxicated and high on marijuana at the time of the July 26, 2009, crash. Barbara and Schuler blamed her conduct on ailments, claiming without evidence in the days after the crash that Diane Schuler had diabetes, a possible embolism, an abscess in her mouth and perhaps a stroke.
Schuler and Barbara reportedly signed a $100,000 deal with HBO to speak with the cable outlet and allow his wife’s body to be exhumed for a documentary about the crash.
Barbara, a Garden City attorney, will lose his law license as of March 10 for professional misconduct involving nearly $50,000 of clients’ fees, the appellate court ruled Tuesday.
One client gave Barbara $40,000 to represent him but did not receive proper, timely bills for services rendered. Another client who paid Barbara a $10,000 retainer struggled to get back more than $7,000 of that sum after she discontinued her divorce action.
The court said Barbara blamed the incidents on his health problems and sabotage of his law practice.
Karma is a bitch, isn’t it folks?
So Dominic Barbara has been disbarred, albeit temporarily. I guess this means that Daniel Schuler needs another attorney to represent him. Admittedly, it will be hard to replace a man who can keep a straight face while he tells the world that his client’s wife was drunk and high when she killed 7 people in a wrong way crash because she was diabetic and using vodka to raise her blood sugar, but I’m sure he’ll find a slimy ambulance chaser willing to do it.
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