Lawsuit: Attorney's inaction and professional malpractice led to man's case expiring through statute of limitations

By Nicholas Malfitano | Oct 26, 2018


PHILADELPHIA – A plaintiff accused of physically abusing his mother and facing disciplinary action from the Department of Education claims his attorney did not properly provide legal representation for him and led his action to be time-barred.

Richard Gazak of Philadelphia filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on July 25 versus Holly C. Dobrosky, Esq. and the Law Office of Holly C. Dobrosky, both of Levittown.

Per the litigation, Dobrosky is an attorney who handled police brutality cases connected to civil rights and abuse – and represented the plaintiff in an underlying matter relating to Gazak’s arrest in June 2013.

Prior to that arrest, Gazak (along with his brother) had been caring for his mother, who suffered from dementia and other medical conditions requiring round-the-clock, at-home care, the suit says. Gazak and his brother would provide this care in alternating day-night shifts, with Gazak taking the night shift, the suit states.

“On or about the evening of June 19, 2013, Gazak’s mother was attempting to get out of her hospital bed in order to use the restroom. Gazak’s mother was in pain and began to yell, and an unknown individual called the police. One unidentified uniformed police officer and two unidentified non-uniformed police officers arrived, as Gazak was placing his mother on a bed pan in her hospital bed. A bright light flashed through the window catching Gazak’s attention. Needing to answer the door Gazak left his mother in her hospital bed and on the bed pan,” the suit says.

“Upon opening the door, the police entered Gazak’s home and found his mother on the bed pan. Gazak was assaulted, arrested, and eventually prosecuted by officers who unreasonably believed he was assaulting his mother. Gazak was charged with six counts of attempted murder, aggravated assault, making terroristic threats with intent to terrorize another, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and negligent care of a dependent person. The charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault and making terroristic threats with intent to terrorize another were dropped for lack of evidence, and Gazak was found not guilty of the final three on January 14, 2014.”

According to the litigation, Dobrosky began to serve as counsel for Gazak in a subsequent Department of Education investigation, pledging to represent him and have his criminal record expunged. Gazak thus paid the defendant $6,500 for handling these matters on Dec. 1, 2015, but he claims he never heard from Dobrosky or her office again. After the statute of limitations expired in Gazak’s matter on June 19, 2016, he was barred from bringing a claim, he said.

“Subsequently, Gazak discovered that Dobrosky had been involved in a bitter custody dispute and had been arrested in July 2016 for attempting to flee to Florida with the child. On or about March 20, 2017, Dobrosky was convicted of interfering with child custody. On or about Nov. 21, 2017, the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania suspended Dobrosky’s law license for five years. At all times relevant here to, Dobrosky failed to file Gazak’s civil rights action against the Philadelphia Police,” the suit alleges.

“Dobrosky did not represent Gazak with regards to his Department of Education disciplinary hearing despite receiving payment. Dobrosky failed to expunge Gazak’s criminal record despite receiving payment. As a direct and proximate result of the foregoing, plaintiff sustained great economic loss. As a further result of the aforesaid conduct of Dobrosky, Gazak continues to suffer great pain and agony, humiliation, embarrassment and emotional distress, and may continue to suffer same for an indefinite period of time, perhaps permanently.”

For counts of legal malpractice/simple negligence/professional negligence, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract/quasi-contract/unjust enrichment, the plaintiff is seeking damages in excess of $50,000, plus interest, costs of suit, reasonable attorney’s fees and costs, punitive damages, plus other relief that the Court deems necessary and just, including injunctive relief.

The plaintiff is represented by Gary Schafkopf of Schafkopf Law in Bala Cynwyd and Matthew B. Weisberg of Weisberg Law, in Morton.

The defendants have not yet secured legal counsel, according to court records.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 180601289

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nickpennrecord@gmail.com

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