Lehman, Lee & Xu - Sued By Partners & Given Suspended Prison Sentence in Hong Kong

Sued By Partners & Given Suspended Prison Sentence in Hong Kong

In 2011, Edward Lehman was sued by his ex business partner, Russell Brown, of their joint venture accounting firm, in Hong Kong. Brown won what was termed 'a significant legal case' against Edward Lehman, Managing Director and founding partner of Lehman, Lee & Xu, who was found guilty of contempt of Court (HCA2204/2010) by the Hong Kong High Court. Lehman's own counsel described Edward Lehman's conduct in breach of an Injunction Order as "stupid", "foolish" and "culpably negligent." The Honourable Mr. Justice To imposed a fine of HK$200,000 against Lehman and awarded indemnity costs of HK$400,000 to the Plaintiffs.

The Plaintiffs, Russell Brown, Zhou Han Brown and ‘Effiscient,’ one of two shareholders in LehmanBrown, sought legal recourse in Hong Kong, were vindicated in their commitment to the due process of law against Edward Lehman and were successful in proving that between February and September 2010, Edward Lehman, a Patent and Trademark Agent in Hong Kong, China, and Macau, a member of the Illinois State and American Bar Associations and a lawyer practicing in China, issued over 9,000 emails containing defamatory statements about the Plaintiffs and LehmanBrown. The actions of Edward Lehman were held to be in deliberate breach of a Hong Kong High Court Injunction Order issued by The Honourable Mr Justice To on 23 July 2010. On 2 November 2010, Brown, Zhou Han and Effiscient issued an Originating Summons against Lehman for contempt of Court and committal to prison (HCA2204/2010 & HCA959/2010) .

In Open Court in Hong Kong on 19 April 2011 with The Honourable Mr Justice To presiding, the legal counsel for Edward Lehman described Lehman's conduct in breach of the Injunction Order (HCA959/2010) as "stupid", "foolish" and "culpably negligent." Edward Lehman admitted contempt and made an unreserved apology to the Court as well as to each of Russell Brown, Zhou Han Brown and Effiscient in an attempt to avoid a custodial sentence.

The Honourable Mr Justice To stated that Edward Lehman had committed "a very serious case of contempt" and the case was one that at first glance "warranted an immediate custodial sentence." While considering a custodial sentence, which Edward Lehman claimed would impinge on his ability to practice law, the Judge imposed a fine (HK$200,000) and awarded costs to be paid to the Plaintiffs on an indemnity basis (HKD400,000) - USD77,250 in total. Meanwhile, the Plaintiffs have also obtained an Interlocutory Judgement against Lehman in a separate defamation action in Hong Kong and are currently pursuing an assessment of damages and costs, which are expected to be substantial.

Court Reference Numbers HIGH COURT OF THE HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE MISCELLANEOUS PROCEEDINGS: HCA2204/2010 HIGH COURT OF THE HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE MISCELLANEOUS PROCEEDINGS: HCA959/2010

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