The five-year-old malpractice suit against D.C.-based plaintiffs’ firm Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll concluded Thursday when a D.C. Superior Court jury returned a judgment for one of the plaintiffs to the tune of $500,000. The jury trial lasted nearly four weeks.
Thomas Prousalis Jr. and Gayle Prousalis sued Cohen, Milstein, along with partners Herbert Milstein and Lisa Mezzetti in 2003, alleging the defendants had botched the Prousalis’ underlying case against their stockbrokers. According to the complaint, Cohen, Milstein failed to file witness or exhibit lists in that case, and withdrew as counsel on the morning of an arbitration hearing. As a consequence, the complaint says the Prousalises were forced to abandon their case.
The Prousalises were seeking $25 million in compensatory damages, and $100 million in punitive damages against Cohen, Milstein. On Aug. 7, the jury awarded $500,000 to Gayle Prousalis, but did not find in favor of Thomas Prousalis. Thomas Prousalis, a former Washington lawyer, found himself in trouble with the law shortly after filing the complaint against Cohen, Milstein. He pleaded guilty to mail, wire, and securities fraud in 2004, and was disbarred in the District of Columbia the same year.
Deborah Vitale, an Alexandria, Va. solo practitioner, represented the Prousalises. John May of Jordan Coyne & Savits represented the defendants. Neither lawyer was immediately available for comment.