New York, September 19, 2007.
Everybody dreams of the corner office. But this summer’s midtown Manhattan steam pipe explosion left one room with a view littered with rocks, mud, and asbestos. Unfortunately for Con Ed, this corner office happened to be the quarters of a trial lawyer, who announced today that he filed suit against the big energy giant for $10 million.
Steven J. Mandel addressing the press
“I was victimized twice,” Mr. Mandel said. Aside from the damaged office equipment, for the ten days that everyone was locked out of the building, Mandel alleges Con Ed employees stole things from his office suite including his Joe DiMaggio autographed baseball.
“It was not the fire department,” said Mandel, “they did not have time.”
Mandel lists other missing item as ipods, pdas, laptops, and two bottles of Dom Perignon stolen. “If anyone is culpable its Con Ed,” he said.
There are fourteen open police reports for larceny under investigation with the New York Police Department according to the Deputy Commissioner of Public Information.
Con Ed. media relation’s office released a statement in response to Mr. Mandel that the “accusations of theft by Con Edison employees is outrageous and unfounded.” Con Ed claims that its employees were in the building on July 18, the day of the rupture, only to accompany contractors who were boarding up windows.
Mandel said on July 25th someone in the management office of 370 Lexington went into his offices and took pictures and that was how they discovered the theft. The management company hired PAR Environmental Corporation to remove all the items from the suite. Mandel hired a second clean up crew called Advanced Environmental Corporation.
Mandel pointing to the pictures taken by the building management showing where items where taken.
In his civil complaint filed on Monday in the Supreme Court of New York, Mandel asked the court to force Con Ed to pay for the costs of getting back the files that were removed from the his office during the clean-up. These files were taken to a location in Rockland County for cleaning. To get the documents back will cost $41,568.76.
According to Mandel, Con Ed. said they would pay his forty-one thousand dollar bill, but only if he accepted that dollar amount as final settlement.
Mandel does not want to pay for the files himself. “I will have to take out a mortgage on my house,” said Mandel.
Mandel, who in the meanwhile worked out of a diner on the corner of 8th Ave. and 34th St., said that because he is not in his office it affects the new business he gets.
“It looks like I’m practicing out of a flea market,” said Mandel.
Mandel also filed a motion for default judgment, which means that if Con Ed does not respond by October 9, the court will order that Con Ed pay Mr. Mandel 10 big ones.
A spokesperson for a prominent New York law firm said that it is rare for a court to grant a $10 million dollar default judgment. Con Ed stated that back in August they tried to work with Mandel, but that he has not submitted all his full claim.
“The things that were personalized to me remain,” said Steve J. Mandel, an entertainment and business litigation lawyer whose firm suffered around worth of damage, “the others were taken.”
“They left behind the Barry Bonds ball,” Mandel said.
Current view from Mandel’s office.
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