Pres. Trump brought some unusual experience to the office of the President of the United States. He filed over 3,500 lawsuits during his career in business. That is an astounding number. Periodically, I look for prior lawsuits regarding different organizations. I am sure I have never seen more than ten lawsuits for any one organization, whether that organization was a government agency or a business. James D. Zinn’s has written a book about Pres. Trump and his lawsuits, titled Plaintiff in Chief: A Portrait of Donald Trump in 3,500 Lawsuits.
As the author explains in his book, Donald Trump sued for myriad reasons. He filed suits for business advantage, for sport, to achieve control, at the drop of a hat, and to destroy or silence his opponents. Pres. Trump displayed little respect for the law in his lawsuits, says the author. He scorned the law and the legal process.
James Zinn knew Roy Cohn, a mentor to Donald Trump. Mr. Zinn characterizes Mr. Cohn as an unscrupulous lawyer. Cohn was disbarred in 1986. Mr. Cohn taught Trump how to weaponize the law.
Mr. Zinn discussed one example of Trump’s litigation tactics. In 1983, he was sued because he hired undocumented Polish workers for Trump Tower. Mr. Trump did not contribute to the union pension fund for the Polish workers, as he was required to do. The case eventually settled for 100 cents on the dollar after protracted litigation and after a trial in which the judge said Mr. Trump’s testimony was completely lacking in credibility. The settlement was sealed, another common Trump tactic. Twenty years later, the settlement was unsealed. See ABA Bar Journal report here.
It is quite rare to seal a settlement. It is just as rare for a judge to comment publicly on the credibility of a witness. And, have to add, I am sure that as a lawyer in my third decade of practicing law, I have not participated in 3,500 lawsuits, or 2,500.