Controversial state Supreme Court judge Noach Dear has managed to give himself a demotion – returning to a lower court two days a week where lawyers say he routinely allows bad payers to cheat on their debts .
On Mondays and Tuesdays, Dear sits in the Brooklyn Civil Court room he previously occupied. before his election to the State Supreme Court and distributes its unique brand of justice.
Dear appears to be particularly popular among members of his own Orthodox Jewish community, who disproportionately appear to have their cases heard before him instead of other civil court judges.
On the three Mondays that Dear was on vacation in August, the courtroom was empty of Orthodox defendants. But they returned when the judge did so on September 5.
Since another judge sits Wednesday through Friday, “Orthodox cases before Dear are adjourned to Monday or Tuesday – no other dates,” a lawyer said. The Post observed that he had also adjourned unorthodox cases to his days in court.
Lawyers complain that Dear often dismisses cases brought by credit card companies or small businesses against consumers who have not paid their bills or – lawyers say – pushes these plaintiffs to agree to low-cost settlements. .
“The case is closed. Have a good day, ”he told a stunned defendant last week.
The woman told The Post she went to court expecting a fight over her $ 1,400 credit card bill. “I didn’t have to fight or anything,” said the delighted accused.
It was the lawyers for the credit card and collection companies who celebrated in 2015 when Dear won the state Supreme Court position, hoping they could finally taste the legal victory under the guidance of a replacement judge.
But just nine months after Dear was elected to the top bench, he returned part-time to his old courthouse to oversee low-level debt cases.
After being elected to civil court in 2007, he was so desperate for a promotion, The Post reported, that he volunteered for a weekend in criminal court.
But he was deported after ruling controversially in a 2012 case that cops should lab test liquids for alcohol before enforcing public drinking laws.
Dear’s election to the Supreme Court came about through a behind-the-scenes deal with Brooklyn Dems, The Post reported.
“I have never seen anyone resuscitate from the Supreme Court pits the way they could,” a lawyer told The Post.
Once back in civil court, creditors’ attorneys say Dear continued to treat them like the enemy. He is pressuring defendants to agree to settlements that let banks and other creditors accept far less than they claim they owe, lawyers said.
“That’s exactly what he says or nothing. Either take it or get screwed, ”said one of the plaintiff’s five lawyers who spoke to The Post.
Another lawyer said that trying a credit case in front of Dear is a “suicide mission”.
During trials, Dear’s standard line is that he does not find the credit card or collection company witness “credible,” the attorneys said.
Earlier this month, Dear suggested that a case against a Hasidic man owed $ 7,200 be dropped after the man claimed some of the credit card charges were fraudulent.
“I think Judge Dear is fair,” Joseph Harrison, who represents members of the Orthodox community, told The Post. “I have had worse experiences with other judges in the building.”
He insisted that his Orthodox clients appear before other judges.
Joshua Bronstein, a lawyer who also represents the Orthodox community, racked up a string of favorable results for his clients before Dear last year, including a $ 15,694 debt settled for $ 2,000; a debt of $ 19,992 reduced to $ 3,500; and debt of $ 5,612 reduced by 90% to $ 561, according to records.
Half a dozen cases were “dropped” with nothing on file to indicate a settlement, which likely means they were simply dropped. The debts paid ranged from $ 2,568 to $ 21,562.
During one of Bronstein’s cases that went to trial last November, Discover Bank presented a thick case of unpaid bills against a Connecticut woman who owed retailers like Bloomingdale’s, Anthropologie and Saks Fifth Avenue $ 11,148. .
Yet Dear spoke out against Discover, saying he had “failed to prove his case.”
Bronstein declined to speak to The Post. Cher did not return a request for comment.
A spokesperson for the justice system called Dear’s mission a “mutual decision”, saying the civil court was “strapped for resources.”
“Going to the lower court is an effective way to hear cases. Said Lucian Chalfen.