I first went to Mr. Berzner as a result of referral from another attorney known to me. My purpose was to modify a dissolution of marriage settlement agreement wherein I could no longer afford to pay alimony. Mr. Berzner at that time assured me that I had a simple and strong case for modification. He did not present any retainer agreement which at the time I thought was out of the ordinary but let it pass since he appeared to be easy-going, pleasant and seemed qualified and knowledgeable. I provided extreme amounts of documents to Mr. Berzner always timely to present to the other side and Court as required. During that year, I paid Mr. Berzner $7,500. A contempt hearing against me for non-payment of alimony was scheduled. I felt that my strongest defense was for my divorce accountant to testify as to my financial situation. My account is extremely well-known and was familiar with my failing business and personal financial condition since 2007. Mr. Berzner assured me that my accountant’s attendance at the hearing was coordinated through his paralegal, Sandy Berzner, his wife. It is worth mentioning here at this point that, many times when I was at Berzner’s office, he and his paralegal were always argumentative between each other and insulting to and of each other in front of me. Just before the contempt hearing, Mr. Berzner informed me that I needed to execute his retainer agreement since he could not find it in his records. Well of course he could not find it. But what choice did I have now but to sign the retainer agreement. The day before the hearing, Mr. Berzner called me and asked that I bring an additional $7,500 to the hearing the next day, which I agreed to do and did. On the day of the hearing, in the hallway outside the Judge’s chambers, I asked Mr. Berzner where my accountant was. His reply was that my accountant would not be attending. I was devastated. My only witness was me. In fact, Mr. Berzner did not have one single case law to present on my behalf. The opposing side was well prepared. Mr. Berzner’s only defense to the Court was “none of this makes any sense”. At the conclusion of the hearing I was immediately handcuffed and taken to jail one week before Christmas and leaving my wife, children and grandchildren devastated. I had no immediate means to pay the purge required to get out of jail during the next six months. Two days afterwards the Court brought me in to see if any progress had been made, which had not, but Mr. Berzner’s only comment to me was that “I looked like crap”. Well, how was a 67 year old man who had just had hip replacement surgery in October and now endured the last 3 days supposed to look like? I was returned to jail. Over the next few weeks, my family had to literally beg Mr. Berzner to visit me in jail to figure out what to do. He finally showed up once. I had to beg and borrow to pay the $39,500 purge and after 41 days finally through the help and grace of others got out. I decided that it was necessary to retain new counsel or be faced with continual contempt, sort of like debtors prison. I retained new counsel who worked very well with my accountant. The first thing I learned after getting out was that Mr. Berzner or his paralegal never ever coordinated anything with my accountant. Next I learned that Mr. Berzner’s practice was in serious trouble and disarray due to the fact that his wife was divorcing him and had destroyed records and sabatoged systems in his office. My retainer of a new attorney caused me additional expense which I had to borrow. It was like starting all over again. I requested Mr. Berzner to at very least return part of my retainer. He declined citing his personal and practice situations created by his wife. It is my contention that Mr. Berzner had an obligation to his client throughout his ordeal that he could not at the time provide proper representation. He just took my money and was not honest with me. On this July 29th I demanded by email and certified mail the return of one-half of the moneys paid. To now, he has not even replied. His office has also lost a valuable corporate records book of mine which is irreplaceable. Now, after an additional year of tremendous stress and expense my new attorney has finally prevailed for me. IF YOU WANT TO EXPERIENCE REPRESENTATION AS I HAVE DESCRIBED HERE AND LIVED, THEN BY ALL MEANS, RETAIN MR. BERZNER. I have lived and worked in this community since 1952, never been in trouble with the law, or to say the least, been in jail. I was not misrepresented by Mr. Berzner, I was not represented by Mr. Berzner. He should not be allowed to practice law. If he wishes to return the money stolen from me, then I will post such here in follow-up, if he wishes not to then I will seek all further means available to me against him.
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