May 3, 2008
$670,000 in Sanctions Awarded Against New York and Florida Law Firms for Filing Improper Recusal Motion
In re Evergreen Security, Ltd, --- B.R. ----, 2008 WL 434644 (Bkrtcy.M.D.Fla. Jan 08)
In a 60 page opinion, Bankruptcy Judge Arthur B. Briskman granted $670,000 in sanctions against a New York law firm and a Florida law firm and various attorneys. The New York attorney was barred from appearing before Judge Briskman for five years.
In the sanctions motion, debtor's counsel requested "fees of $631,266.00 and costs of $40,251.69 [against two law firms and various lawyers] in defending the Recusal Motion, addressing the mandamus matters, and prosecuting the Sanctions Motions." The basis for the recusal motion was that Judge Briskman was "being investigated" by the 11th Circuit Judicial Counsel. There was apparently a complaint against the judge in an unrelated case but no evidence of any investigation.
The firms, according to Judge Briskman, filed Affidavits [in their defense] which "asserted the Recusal Motion was filed in good faith, but did not set forth any facts supporting such assertion. The Affidavits did not articulate what specific events or facts led to the filing of the Recusal Motion, who was responsible for its drafting and filing, or what due diligence the Respondents conducted prior to filing the pleading. They primarily expressed [counsel's] profound regret over the results of the filing. The Affidavits did not establish the Respondents' actions in connection with the Recusal Motion were made in good faith."
"The Respondents, displeased with adverse rulings and desiring to delay pending matters, particularly the Involuntary Cases, drafted the Recusal Motion making scandalous allegations against the undersigned and [opposing counsel]. The pleading is a conglomeration of gossip, intentional misrepresentations, and untruths. It had no evidentiary or legal support at the time it was filed, or at any time. Not a single claim has factual basis or legal merit."
"The Respondents conducted no reasonably thorough and objective investigation of the facts regarding the 'complaint' and 'investigation' allegations."
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