Monday, January 9, 2012

Litigation As Punishment Leads To Proposed Suspension

A District of Columbia Hearing Committee has recommended a suspension of 18 months with a fitness requirement of an attorney who

used the legal system not as a means of resolving legitimate disputes, but rather, to punish those with whom he had a disagreement. [He] was mad at the people and entities that he sued: Christie's auction house and the Board of the Palisades Swimming Pool Association. He used the courts to mete out what he believed would be guaranteed retribution: even if the defendants prevailed on the merits, they would not "win" because they could not escape the financial and other costs of litigation.

The hearing committee recognized that attorneys "can and often should use every tool available to them." Here, however, the attorney  "pressed objectively meritless issues, ignored court rules and orders, threatened gratuitous harm to uninvolved third parties, and filed hundreds of pages of frivolous pleadings."

The case against Christie's was brought when the auction house declined to sell one of the attorney's painting (purportedly the work of Emil Jakob Schindler) because it could not verify its authenticity. The suit against the swimming pool association came in the wake of a letter warning him to cease objectionable conduct. He claimed that the letter branded him as a "sexual pervert, pederast, pedophile, assaulter and batterer."

The report can be found at this link by inserting the name Robert Fastov. (Mike Frisch)

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