Judge Noach Dear
“He literally throws out millions of [dollars] a year that is legitimately owed to direct creditors like Citibank and Discover,” said one lawyer.
“With Judge Dear, it’s dismiss, dismiss, dismiss,” said another plaintiff attorney who asked not to be identified. “It’s impossible to win a case. It’s like ‘The Twilight Zone.’ ”
In Dear’s sprawling, 11th-floor courtroom in Downtown Brooklyn, there’s no secret whose side he’s on.
“I like to fight for the underdog,” he once said — adding that he believed 90 percent of credit-card debt to be faulty.
One suit involved Felicia Tancreto, a 55-year-old Bensonhurst resident who was found by another judge to owe $16,107.12 on her AmEx platinum Costco card — a debt she’d racked up through personal shopping.
Tancreto appealed the judgment before Dear in April, claiming she contacted the credit-card company sometime in 2010, notifying it that she was undergoing surgery and couldn’t keep up payments.
She said that she asked to have the bills deferred and that the company sued.
Dear ruled in her favor, canceling the entire balance because he deemed the company’s key witness, Lisa Salas, a 25-year employee in accounting, not credible.
The judge called her testimony “robo.”
The term, coined from a similar and scandalous tactic in the mortgage-fraud crisis, describes a practice in which collectors present mass-produced sworn statements to back their claims.
The problem with the AmEx accountant and documents she presented in support of Trancreto’s debt was that Salas did not have “personal” knowledge of the charges, Dear argued.
He expected her to remember having sent the bills to Tancreto.
AmEx followed up with an unusual motion: It asked Dear to step aside on its cases, arguing that he’d lost all objectivity as a judge.