Elder Law Firm Refers Client to a Third Party – And Client Sues

A client is suing a Connecticut elder law and estate planning firm for referring her to a financial adviser who has allegedly been involved in a long-running scheme to defraud seniors. 

Cheryl Bonomo claims that financial adviser Thomas Renison stole some $400,000 from her over the course of a decade, beginning in 2008.  She says that Renison was referred to her by the Hartford law firm of Nirenstein, Horowitz & Associates, which shared office space with Renison. Bonomo alleges that Barry Horowitz, the law firm’s president, recommended Renison to Bonomo for assistance with her probate case, and that Renison paid Horowitz a fee for the referral.

Bonomo’s complaint states that Nirenstein, Horowitz & Associates “knew or should have known that Renison, as early as 2008, defrauded one or more of his clients.”  Although the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) barred Renison from conducting business in 2014, he formed an LLC through a third party.  The SEC is now suing Renison for allegedly using the LLC to defraud seniors of $6 million between 2015 and 2018. Despite the SEC’s actions in 2014, the law firm allegedly, according to Bonomo's complaint, “failed to make the plaintiff aware of the dangerous and detrimental conduct of Renison until June 5, 2019.”

“Attorney Horowitz strongly denies the claims, and we look forward to presenting our defense in court,” said Horowitz’s lawyer, Brian Palmeri.

Whatever the facts, the statute of limitations may be on the law firm’s side. “The plaintiffs will have a significant problem because the statute of limitations in Connecticut for legal malpractice is three years,” Leslie Levin, a professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law, told the Connecticut Law Tribune. “The plaintiff is alleging conduct going back 12 years. The court is not likely to look at conduct more than three years before the lawsuit was filed.”

For more on the lawsuit from the Connecticut Law Tribune, click here.

To read Bonomo's complaint, click here.