Robert V. Ward Jr. knew something was wrong as soon as he met Gregory Langadinos.
Ward was dean of the Southern New England School of Law (now the University of Massachusetts School of Law). Langadinos was a former student applying for readmission.
But his application was missing some critical information, namely that Langadinos had been kicked out of Touro Law Center, a law school in Central Islip, NY.
According to Ward, he was aware of Langadinos’s dismissal through a contact at Touro. But when he mentioned it to the student, Langadinos replied, “What is this, a gotcha moment?’”
Ward’s instincts that Langadinos was trouble has been borne out in one of the most ridiculous lawsuits in recent memory. Langadinos, who attended three law schools, sued all of them and has never been admitted to practice in any state, sued Ward and his attorney in a lawsuit that claimed he was discriminated against on the basis of physical handicap — he claims to have attention deficit disorder — and on the basis of his heritage, which is Greek.
Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Fahey dismissed the suit in July. She went further last week, taking the unusual step of ruling that the chronic litigant cannot file any more lawsuits in Massachusetts without prior court approval.
But before the case was disposed of, Ward — who left the law school last year — had to reckon with court filings that contained racist slurs, and doctored affidavits from former students claiming, falsely, that he discriminated against white students.
According to court documents, in one recorded phone conversation, Langadinos encouraged a former classmate to help him slur Ward. The gist of his comment was that his classmate should just call Ward a racist under oath, but it was expressed in language that cannot be sanitized for a family newspaper. Imagine the worse racist slur you can think of, and your guess will be pretty accurate.
Clearly, we should all be grateful that he is not in practice.
“There’s been a whole lot of discussion the past few years about bullies,” Ward said in an interview this week. “This guy is a bully, and he uses the court system to do it.”
Law schools have not been his only targets. He sued his father, after he was a passenger in a traffic accident. He sued American Airlines. He has sued a lot of people.
Ward’s attorney, Kenneth Kurnos, explained what he believes is the motivation for what he called a cottage industry of fraud. “I went to court with four thick volumes of cases he has filed,” Kurnos said. “At some point, insurance companies don’t want to spend all their time litigating these cases. You settle three or four of those a year. It’s a living.”
Langadinos did not confine himself to suing Ward. After he flunked out of Southern New England, he won a judgment, which is sealed by court order. In addition to suing the school again and suing Ward, he has also sued various officials of the school and even Ward’s lawyer, Kurnos.
He filed a complaint against Kurnos for harassment; the “harassment” consisted of three e-mails that asked him for a mailing address so he could be served with court documents. That was dismissed, of course, but not before court time was spent on it.
Kurnos said he does not even know if the elusive Langadinos, who represents himself in his lawsuits, knows that his case has been dismissed. My efforts to reach him were unsuccessful.
His suits are frivolous, but the collateral damage to a man like Ward, who has spent years defending himself against an absurd claim of discrimination, is substantial. “He’s abusing the court system and making it spend thousands of hours on nonsense,” he said. “He’s a big guy with a big head, and he intimidates people.”
Ideally, a legal education teaches students how to serve the interest of justice. Unfortunately, one student learned just enough to make a career of spreading injustice.Adrian Walker is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Adrian_Walker.