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Letter: Unfair impression in divorce case

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I am compelled to respond to your article "LI firm tossed from divorce case" [News, Feb. 25]. As the justice who presided over the case in that article, I am intimately familiar with its progression.

The story states that I reversed my position in June 2010. In fact, I never reversed my ruling that the prenuptial agreement controlled. The respective attorneys for the parties received an order from my court upholding the prenuptial agreement before June 2010. They then requested an emergency conference to ascertain whether a certain asset, which was acquired after the husband left his job and entered into new employment, was covered by the prenuptial agreement. The court determined that the new asset was not, and could not possibly be, covered by the prenuptial agreement under its terms, since the agreement specifically stated that only the assets of the husband and those that flowed from his present position were included. In other words, new assets, such as those acquired after the marriage, but from a new employment position, were not covered.

The attorney for the husband made a further motion to reargue that clarification, which was denied on Sept. 3, 2010. As of that date, the only person who knew I had decided to retire from the bench was my wife, Mary.

The statement of Glenn Koopersmith, the husband's lawyer, that I discussed joining Castrovinci & Mady while writing an order in favor of the firm's client is false, and I take absolute exception to his contention.

The fact is that I made my intent to retire public on Sept. 15, 2010. At that time, I intended to enter private practice but had no specific plans. Thereafter, Philip Castrovinci, a matrimonial practitioner who practiced before me regularly, approached me and offered me a position with his firm. Upon speaking with him on Sept. 21, I recused myself from all cases his firm had before me. As the record will show, on previous other matters, I had ruled against Castrovinci.

I was also approached by nonmatrimonial attorneys with job offers between Sept. 15 and Oct. 4, the day I joined Castrovinci & Mady. I find it reprehensible that Koopersmith, as an officer of the court, would make such a statement knowing he had no facts whatsoever to support it.

Finally, I left Castrovinci & Mady in September 2011. Throughout the year we worked as partners, the firm built a "Chinese wall" that kept me from working on or even discussing any case that I had heard as a justice before joining the firm.

Newsday reporters have never had a problem reaching me, even at my home, when they needed to ask questions or ask for a comment. The efforts made to contact me for this story were not sufficiently aggressive.

Donald R. Blydenburgh, Hauppauge

Editor's note: The writer is a retired State Supreme Court justice.


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