A landlord attorney was suspended from practicing law for three months over a crude rant in the hallway of the Brooklyn Housing Court, where he called a female lawyer a “b***h.”
Brooklyn attorney Seth Denenberg was sanctioned by a New York appellate court Tuesday over the vulgar Jan. 13, 2017 outburst directed at Chavette Jackson, a young Black housing lawyer for Brooklyn Legal Services, in front of her clients and others.
According to appellate court papers, Denenberg was arguing with Jackson in courthouse hallway about whether or not she was ready to go before a judge. He insisted he was going to have the case called, but she told him not to because she wasn’t ready.
“‘Well excuse me, Ms. Boss-ma’am,’” Jackson claims Denenberg snidely replied. “‘You don’t have to be a b***h about it.’” When asked to repeat what he said, Denenberg responded, “‘I said you are a b***h,’” she claimed.
Others who heard the argument confirmed Denenberg used the crude term numerous times, according to the appellate court papers.
“I felt like the comments were racist... like the comments were sexist, and I feel like if I was a white man, no matter what my years of experience in this practice, he would not have said that,” Jackson testified during disciplinary hearings. “And so, I think that my position as a young Black woman enabled him to — made him feel comfortable talking down to me...”
Denenberg initially claimed she poked and slapped him during the confrontation; he subsequently admitted she never hit him. Denenberg didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.
In a statement Thursday, Jackson said applauded the public disciplining.
“His behavior towards me was an act of violence,” her statement said. “This decision sends a message to Denenberg, and attorneys like him, that racist and sexist behavior towards Black women, attorneys of color, and our clients will not be tolerated.”
Denenberg is barred from practicing law in New York for three months. He’s also required to attend a year of counseling for anger management and for training on “diversity, inclusion, and elimination of bias.”