Sherry-Lehmann’s own long-time lawyers no longer want anything to do with the besieged wine store — joining the ranks of jilted customers feuding with the deadbeat Park Avenue retailer.
Nixon Peabody — which is defending the iconic store in at least two non-payment cases, including a lawsuit seeking nearly $1 million — told a judge the firm is owed more than $30,000 and can’t reach Sherry Lehmann’s owners to discuss legal matters related to the suits, according to a court filing.
The firm’s legal fees “are long overdue” and the retailer has “failed to make good on assurances it has made repeatedly that it will pay these outstanding invoices,” Daniel Hurteau, a partner at Nixon Peabody, wrote in a motion asking the court for permission to withdraw as Sherry-Lehmann’s legal counsel, according to the document.
Hurteau also wrote his law firm has been unable to “consistently communicate” with Sherry-Lehmann” — which has been shuttered since March 10 after failing to renew its liquor license and raided by the feds last month, as The Post exclusively reported.
The firm, which has represented Sherry Lehmann for 15 years, is squaring off against three doctors who who sued the retailer last year, alleging they are owed nearly $1 million in wine futures.
The 88 year-old wine store owned bv Shyda Gilmer and Kris Green had promised – and the judge signed an order ratifying the deal – to deliver the doctors’ expensive wines by Sept. 28.
Sheldon Gopstein, the lawyer representing the doctors, plans to oppose Nixon Peabody’s request because it would pause the case until Sherry-Lehmann can find new lawyers and jeopardize the Sept. 28 order, he told The Post.
“We don’t think there should be a stay in the case because they agreed to a deal for Sept. 28,” Gopstein told The Post.
The hearing to decide whether the firm can withdraw will be held on Aug. 15, Judge Lucy Billings, wrote in a decision on July 28.
Hurteau did not respond for comment.
Green and Gilmer did not respond for comment.
The doctors and lawyers aren’t the only ones who have been stiffed. Last week, Kal Wine Source of France won a judgment against Sherry-Lehmann for $251,904 worth of goods for which it was never paid.
Gilmer and Green have come under increasing legal pressure as several law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, scrutinize their business dealings amid widespread accusations by customers who say they bought wine from Sherry-Lehmann that was never delivered.
The embattled retailer’s wine storage company – Wine Caves – also is allegedly being investigated for selling customers’ pricey vintages to other buyers (the owners previously denied these claims).
Last month, the FBI and US Postal Inspection Service raided Sherry-Lehmann’s shuttered store and its Wine Caves facility in an office building in Pearl River, NY, which is owned by the retailer’s Manhattan landlord, Hong Kong-based Glorious Sun.
The real estate firm has declined to comment on Sherry-Lehmann and its tenancy in both of its buildings.