BALTIMORE (WMAR) - The family of a Baltimore man is suing a local attorney who represented him, claiming negligence and legal malpractice because they say what he told another client ultimately caused the man's death.
Isiah Callaway is a smiling dad in photos taken with his infant son. Little Ryan Callaway, who is slightly bigger now, will only have those pictures to look at when he reaches back for a memory of his father. The 19-year-old was killed in a murder for hire in 2011. Baltimore-based attorney Steve Silverman says, "Now there's a 3-year old boy walking around who will never know his father, never remember his father and it's just tragic that this happened."
Silverman represents Callaway's family in a civil lawsuit filed this week in Baltimore City Circuit Court. The suit was filed by Callaway's mother, Constance, and also names Ryan as a plaintiff.
The lawsuit claims the man who pulled the trigger in Callaway's death is also joined in blame by the attorney who was hired to help Isiah. Larry J. Feldman, whose office sits on Park Heights Avenue in the city, was hired to represent Callaway in a traffic case with ties to a federal mail and bank fraud scheme according to the lawsuit.
Silverman says Callaway was a bit player in the scheme, but that the kingpin of the operation was another client of Feldman's, Tavon Davis. The lawsuit claims Davis was afraid Isiah would flip, so he paid Callaway's legal bill. But when the U. S. Department of Justice wanted Isiah's cooperation with their investigation into the scheme, Callaway's family says Isiah was never told. Silverman says Feldman committed an egregious breach of his professional duty, saying, "Any lawyer in that situation would hang up the phone and call the client. Mr. Feldman picked up the phone and called Mr. Davis."
The lawsuit quotes sworn testimony given in federal court, indicating Feldman warned Davis and suggested two ways to deal with Callaway, "Send Callaway to Costa Rica; or (2) use the 'Sicilian option". Just a few days later, Isiah was dead. He had been shot to death.
Tavon Davis eventually pleaded guilty to the crime and was sentenced to 35 years in prison last September. Silverman says, "If Larry Feldman did not pick up the phone and share with Davis that the U.S. Attorney's Office wanted to speak with Isiah Callaway, Isiah Callaway would most likely be here today."
There have been no criminal charges or licensing action taken against Feldman. ABC2 News Investigators called, emailed and visited Feldman's office but could not get a comment about the case. We also contacted his attorney, Scott Krause, but our call was not returned.
If this case goes to trial, it will have a notable figure on the plaintiff's side. According to Silverman, former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke has joined the case as a legal expert.