President Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski paid his New Hampshire neighbors $75,000 to settle a bitter property dispute, but is now suing his former lawyer to get his money back.
The conservative firebrand, who has said he is considering a US Senate run, filed a $5 million lawsuit against Glenn and Irene Schwartz in 2017, accusing them of blocking an easement that provided the only access to his waterfront property in Windham. The neighbors filed a countersuit.
On the eve of trial in October 2018, Lewandowski agreed to pay $75,000 to settle some of the claims. Last week, he and his wife, Alison, filed a legal malpractice suit in Rockingham Superior Court against attorney William R. Sullivan of Haverhill, seeking damages based on his “egregiously ineffective performance” representing them.
The Lewandowskis are seeking $75,000 and the legal fees they paid Sullivan, which they estimated ran to tens of thousands of dollars.
Sullivan did not return calls seeking comment.
In his initial suit, Lewandowski accused the Schwartzes of hindering his efforts to build a garage on his property by harassing workers and preventing them from using the easement.
In response, the neighbors accused Lewandowski of threatening to use his political clout to make their lives “a nightmare.” In court filings, they alleged that he threatened them with a baseball bat and disrupted electrical work that was being done for a house they were building.
In October 2018, the day after a jury was empaneled, Sullivan said a settlement had been reached that he believed “was in the interest of both parties,” the Associated Press reported at the time. The details were confidential.
But in the lawsuit filed Tuesday, the Lewandowskis said they felt compelled to settle the case because Sullivan put them in a “predicament” by failing to prepare for the trial. The judge denied his request to postpone it.
“The trial judge admonished Sullivan for his lack of preparation and questioned how he planned to defend the case without a witness list, exhibits, or a statement of the case,” the lawsuit stated.
The lawsuit alleged that Sullivan “justified his failure to prepare on his belief the case would settle before trial.”
The Lewandowskis allege in the lawsuit that the Schwartzes demanded $75,000 to settle their claims of emotional distress.
They said they agreed to pay that amount because they feared that if they lost at trial they could face a substantial financial judgment against them and the loss of important property rights.
The settlement did not resolve additional claims involving the easement, according to the new lawsuit.
Portsmouth attorney Kenneth Murphy, who represents the Schwartzes, declined to comment Friday, citing the confidential terms of the settlement.
Attorney John G. Cronin, who filed the legal malpractice lawsuit on behalf of the Lewandowskis, said, “Our contention is the claim that was settled had little or no merit.”
The dispute over the easement has been resolved and the Schwartzes have moved out of the Windham neighborhood, he said.
“So everybody is happy,” Cronin said. “There are good neighborhood relations.”
Shelley Murphy can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @shelleymurph.