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Illicit CP - July 2002

New Haven Register, Connecticut, 16 July 2002

Bottom line: Lawyer's insurance won't cover spanking

Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. - The bottom line: Spanking is not covered under lawyers' malpractice insurance policies.

Not even if the spanking is administered in an attempt to prepare a client to testify, according to a recent ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny.

Chatigny ruled in favor of New York-based American Home Insurance Co. which had been asked to pay civil damages resulting from an alleged spanking at the hands of former Ansonia attorney Milo J. Altschuler.

A client accused Altschuler of spanking her in 1991, in an attempt to get her to stop fidgeting before her testimony in a breach of peace case, The Connecticut Law Tribune reported Monday.

The Derby woman claimed that Altschuler told her he needed to swat her so that the judge wouldn't think she was lying.

The woman, who was 22 at the time of the incident, claimed that Altschuler removed her panties and stockings, took her across his knee, and repeatedly slapped her buttocks.

When questioned by police, Altschuler denied the assault, but acknowledged that he had threatened to spank his client if she gave wrong answers to questions he asked while preparing her to testify. He said he had used such threats in representing more than a dozen other clients, the paper reported.

Similar allegations were brought against Altschuler by another client, and in 1992, the lawyer pleaded no contest to two counts of fourth-degree sexual assault and received a suspended sentence and three years of probation.

Altschuler declined to comment when contacted Monday by The Associated Press.

The woman and Altschuler settled for $250,000 in 1999, but because Altschuler was essentially broke, the woman attempted to collect the money from American Home.

Under the April 2 ruling, the company will not have to pay.

The victim's lawyer, Michael Hillis of New Haven, did not return a phone call seeking comment.

The insurance company argued that spanking was not covered under Altschuler's policy, the company's attorney, W. Philip Jones, told The Associated Press Monday.

"This was criminal conduct," Jones said.

Altschuler gave up his license to practice law last November after he entered a plea under the Alford Doctrine to charges he stole almost $20,000 from another client. Under the plea, Altschuler did not admit guilt but conceded that the state had enough evidence to secure a conviction.

He was sentenced to three years of probation and waived his right to reapply for his law license.

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