BakerHostetler defeats malpractice lawsuit from brother of body armor CEO

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Signage is seen outside of the legal offices of the BakerHostetler law firm in Washington, D.C., U.S., May 10, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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(Reuters) - A New York state judge on Wednesday dismissed a legal malpractice lawsuit against law firm BakerHostetler brought by the brother of a body armor magnate, David Brooks, who died in prison six years ago.

Supreme Court Justice Arlene Bluth in Manhattan said David Brooks' brother Jeffrey was not authorized to sue BakerHostetler and partner George Stamboulidis on behalf of his brother's estate. Jeffrey Brooks filed the lawsuit in September 2021, but only last month asked a Florida probate court to re-open his brother's estate, Bluth said.

In any case, it is unclear whether the estate could show how the law firm was negligent in its representation, Bluth said.

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Attorneys representing Jeffrey Brooks and BakerHostetler did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the ruling.

David Brooks was the founder of DHB Industries Inc, now called Point Blank Enterprises Inc, which supplies body armor to the U.S. military and law enforcement agencies. Prosecutors said Brooks bankrolled a glitzy lifestyle for himself by manipulating records at the company to boost its stock price.

Brooks was sentenced to 17 years in prison following his 2010 conviction on insider trading and securities, mail and wire fraud and other charges. He died in prison in 2016 while his appeal was pending.

His brother sued BakerHostetler in 2021, claiming the firm failed to challenge a defective federal indictment. The indictment came down after the grand jury's 18-month term had expired, the lawsuit said.

But it is "mere speculation" that this fact would have resulted in David Brooks escaping the charges, the judge found. Prosecutors assembled another grand jury, which returned a superseding indictment against Brooks, rendering this point moot, Bluth said.

The case is Brooks v. Baker & Hostetler LLP, New York County Supreme Court, No. 655754/2021

For Jeffrey Brooks: Steven Czik of Czik Law

For BakerHostetler and George Stamboulidis: Jonathan New and John Siegal of BakerHostetler

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David Thomas reports on the business of law, including law firm strategy, hiring, mergers and litigation. He is based out of Chicago. He can be reached at and on Twitter @DaveThomas5150.