Maurice Kutner, Divorce Lawyer To The Stars, Beats A Bad Rap
Two years ago, a former client claimed Kutner had duped her into rejecting a $1.8 million settlement from her estranged husband so he could rack up $650,000 in attorney's fees by continuing the case.
After only getting $300,000 from her ex-hubby, Israeli-born diamond wholesaler Sagit Gottfried sued Kutner for malpractice in 2009. Among the allegations: the lawyer coached her on how to falsely accuse her then-spouse of domestic violence. Last year, Miami-Dade family court Judge John Schlesinger threw out Gottfried's lawsuit. He submitted a 15-page order detailing how she had been untruthful about Kutner.
This past August 19, Florida's Third District Court of Appeal denied Gottfried's appeal. "It's unfortunate that this case continued for so long," Kutner said. "This lawsuit was no fun."
But Gottfried's current attorney, Robert Stok, insists his client was just being honest. He accused Schlesinger of showing Kutner favoritism not afforded to the average citizen. "I believe my client was robbed of her day in court," Robert Stok says. "Someone with power like Mr. Kutner should be treated equally as someone without power."
Kutner scoffed at Stok's characterization. "Ms. Gottfried and Mr. Stok saw fit to continue this litgation even though they didn't tell the truth," Kutner said. "She just wanted to avoid paying our fees she still owes."
A former Army captain, Kutner is one of the most sought after celebrity divorce lawyers in Miami. He has represented Spanish radio mogul Raul Alarcon Jr. and the ex-wife of baseball superstar Alex Rodriguez to name a couple.
Miami-Dade Courts spokeswoman Eunice Sigler said Schlesinger would not comment on Gottfried's case. "The finality and integrity of judicial orders would be undermined if they were later modified or supplemented by subsequent comments by the judge," Sigler said.
Readers can compare the order written by Schlesinger here and the draft prepared by Kutner's attorney here.
Schlesinger denied Gottfried the opportunity to take witness depositions and collect evidence to present her case at trial, Stok added. "Mr. Kutner is apparently proud," Stok said. "But this case shows why people distrust the legal system."
Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.