HUNTINGTON – A Huntington attorney who recently filed a lawsuit in federal court in New York against his ex-wife over exploitation of their child has a history of filing lawsuits against those who don’t rule in his favor and was recently disbarred in New York.
Zappin’s disbarment in New York was made public earlier this month. He was found guilty of misconduct, falsifying evidence during divorce proceedings, flouting judicial directives and other violations.
In February, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York threw out Anthony Zappin’s 2016 lawsuit against Judge Matthew F. Cooper.
In that lawsuit, Zappin alleged that Cooper distributed a defamatory $10,000 sanctions order to several media outlets during Zappin’s custody battle.
U.S. District Judge Katherine Failla determined that Zappin could not pursue the case without attempting to relitigate whether the findings in the sanctions motion were accurate.
Faillia wrote that the material factual issues decided in the sanctions decision and affirmed on appeal are identical to the factual issues underlying each of the plaintiff’s five claims.
In September 2015, Cooper sanctioned Zappin and ordered him to pay $10,000 for bullying behavior during his divorce proceedings. Cooper had found that Zappin had been verbally abusive toward another judge involved in an earlier phase of the case and had attempted to prevent an attorney appointed to represent the interests if his son from doing her job.
Zappin claimed the decision was a stunt and intended to drive media attention to the case.
After the decision was made public, Zappin was fired from Mintz Levin in New York. The sanctions decision was later upheld on appeal.
Zappin also filed suit against two media outlets he claimed published defamatory stories about him. Both of those cases also were dismissed. His two cases against Cooper involved the sanctions order and an alleged incident wherein he claimed Cooper spat on him when they ran into each other on a sidewalk in Manhattan.
Last year, Zappin was arrested for filing a false police report after investigators ruled that the spitting incident hadn’t actually occurred.
That complaint claims Zappin “gratuitously reported to a law enforcement officer and agency the alleged occurrence of an offense and incident which did not in fact occur and he knew the information reported, conveyed and circulated was false and baseless.”
In his latest lawsuit, Zappin alleges that his ex-wife, Claire Comfort, along with her attorney, Robert Wallack of the Wallack Firm; Harriet Newman Cohen of Cohen Rabin Stine Schumann; and Comprehensive Family Services all exploited Zappin and Comfort’s child during a custody battle.
That lawsuit was filed in February in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Zappin and Comfort dated briefly beginning in October 2012 and Comfort became pregnant shortly thereafter. In May 2013, they were married. Their son was born in October 2013.
On Nov. 6, 2013, Comfort’s parents flew from Washington to assist Comfort with the child while Zappin went out of town for work. On Nov. 10, 2013, Comfort left with her parents and the nearly eight-week old infant and the custody battle ensued. In 2016, Zappin and Comfort’s divorce was finalized and he lost custody of their child.
Zappin was admitted to practice law in West Virginia in 2010.