Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 9:54 a.m.
Phoenix attorney Grant Goodman faces major sanctions
At one point, Goodman claimed that the shuttered fiduciary firm, the Sun Valley Group, in cahoots with Superior Court Judges and a cabal of greedy attorneys, was ripping off adults deemed "incapacitated" by the court for everything they had.
Judges often appoint private fiduciaries to help with all aspects of a clients's life, and Goodman's representation of those vulnerable people was marked by half-baked legal assaults and inane in-court verbal exchanges with judges and opposing counsel.
Our former colleague Sarah Fenske sliced-and-diced the Phoenix barrister in a 2010 cover story that readers can check out here. She described how, as an attorney and a businessman, Goodman personally had racked up standing court judgments against him totaling more than $24 million.
The story revealed an extraordinarily slimy money-making arrangement Goodman entered into with one of his incapacitated clients, a once-wealthy fellow named Edward Ravenscroft.
"Claims that the [clients] did not receive what they deserved--that, instead, scoundrels (`Racketeers,' as Mr. Goodman calls them) took advantage of them and stole all their property are serious," Judge Cahill wrote in his ruling, which was issued yesterday afternoon.
But the judge noted that Goodman never did file any paperwork to show his clients were entitled to legal relief, writing that "Alfred Dreyfus surely would have died on Devil's Island if Goodman had been his `[Emile] Zola.'" (Great literary reference there--check it out by linking to Zola.)
Cahill added about another $200,000 in legal sanctions against Goodman to the $24 million that the litigious little guy already is on the hook for. However, he suggested that, based on past behavior, "the court believes it is quite likely that these financial sanctions will mean nothing to Mr. Goodman."
The out-of-town judge, who was asked to sit on the Goodman case because of conflicts-of-interest in Maricopa County, wrote that "it is reasonably likely--actually it is a certainty--that Mr. Goodman will victimize others.
Cahill recommended that Maricopa County's presiding judge Norm Davis hold a hearing, after which Davis deem Goodman a "vexatious litigant," (vexatious denoting "an action or the bringer of an action that is brought without sufficient grounds for winning, purely to cause annoyance to the defendant").
If Judge Davis does so, Goodman would have to file any and all complaints with Davis himself for review and possibly immediate dismissal. Any defendants of a Goodman lawsuit wouldn't have to respond until the judge gave the go-ahead.
Cahill wrote that"Mr. Goodman's conduct--the manner in which he has handled these important matters--has brought discredit to the profession and the courts. In addition, his conduct caused significant harm to the litigants."
He also sent a copy of his clearly composed opinion to the State Bar of Arizona, which, we suspect, finally will get off the dime (so to speak) and nail this fella to the proverbial legal wall.