Michael Melnitzky was at the peak of his career as an art expert at New York’s Sotheby’s in the mid-1990’s. His clients were celebrities and wealthy art enthusiasts. When Greta Garbo died, it was Melnitzky who assessed her art collection.
Melnitzky no longer works for Sotheby’s. Since his ten-year marriage dissolved, he has become a “serial litigator”, often called a “vexatious litigator”. No, he did not get a law degree, rather he has represented himself in court for the last 17 years.
Melnitzky was very unhappy when the judge who presided over his divorce trial divided a valuable collection of watches equally between him and his ex-wife. The collection, valued at $500,000.00, was one of the few legacies that survived his family’s horrific Holocaust experience.
After the trial, Melnitzky fired his lawyer and appealed the
decision on the watches. His appeal was dismissed. Case closed? You would think so, but Melnitzky went on to sue his trial lawyer, his former spouse’s trial lawyer, three banks, five judges, and the psychiatrist appointed by the court to assess his mental health.
Unrelated to his divorce, he also sued his neighbour, a thrift shop, his former employer and the City of New York. His most recent lawsuit was filed against the New York Times, who he says defamed him in their article about his propensity for litigation. The Times reports that he has lost almost all of his cases.
Do you think he’s done? I don’t. Mr. Melnitzky’s heavy-handed obsession is only matched by his wealth. It is reported that he owns a $10 million property in Manhattan, home to the Rockefeller’s, the Roosevelt’s, and the Kennedy’s, to name a few.
American author Norman Mailer captured the essence of an obsession when he said “An obsession is the single most wasteful human activity, because with an obsession, you keep going back and back and back to the same question and never get an answer.”
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang