Federal judge: Serial suers operation like a 'carnival shell game'

A New Mexico federal judge is recommending that nearly 100 lawsuits filed by a controversial group with Arizona ties be dismissed after a court-ordered investigation into the group’s operation.

Judge Karen Molzen filed a blistering 54-page report on Monday that slams the practices and conduct of Litigation Management and Financial Services and its attorney Sharon Pomeranz, who together filed 99 copy-and-paste lawsuits in New Mexico claiming violations under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Some highlights:
- Molzen recommends “the Court dismiss the cases with prejudice as malicious because they were primarily filed for an improper purpose.”
- Litigation Management and Financial Services and its attorney “misled” the court about their plaintiff’s finances and how their litigation agreement worked.
- Comparing it to a “carnival shell game,” Molzen found the group deceived its plaintiff, Alyssa Carton, about how she would be paid and how the lawsuits would proceed.

READ THE REPORT

An ongoing ABC15 investigation into the group was repeatedly discussed during hearings and impacted the court’s investigation.

Earlier this year, ABC15 confirmed through attorneys, sources and internal documents that Litigation Management and Financial Services was comprised of the same people behind the Valley group, Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities, or AID.

In Arizona, AID sued 1700 businesses in a six month period.

After an ABC15 investigation, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office intervened and convinced a judge to dismiss all of the group’s open cases. During that time, AID formed Litigation Management Services and recruited attorneys and plaintiffs to file hundreds of cases in Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico.

The plaintiff in New Mexico, Alyssa Carton, has expressed her regret for working with AID and Litigation Management Services.

Carton also provided ABC15 with her confidential contract with the company. It states that Carton would be paid $50 per case and that Litigation Management Services would be first entitled to all proceeds from any settlements or verdicts.

By revealing the contract, Litigation Management Services plan to confidentially and secretly fund lawsuits was forced into the public record and disclosed to the court.

A top official for AID and Litigation Management Services did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Contact ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing at dbiscobing@abc15.com.

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