Copyright Troll Lawyer Serves Up BS 'Dead Grandfather' Excuse For Missing Court; Now Facing Sanctions And Arrest
from the looks-like-SOMEONE'S-getting-buried dept
Copyright troll attorneys are the worst. At best (and “best” is very relative here), they’re using the judicial system as leverage in their extortion scheme — one that involves complaint carpet-bombings and the hope that a small percentage of settlements will make the entire operation profitable. At worst, well… they’re the worst.
If they’re not being called out by courts for their speculative invoicing operations, they’re being literally convicted of fraud. Trolls cut and run when faced with any scrutiny from judges and defendants. At least the smart(er) ones do.
Richard Liebowitz — IP gun-for-hire — isn’t smart enough to do that. He rushes to the sound of his own gunfire, seemingly determined to maximize the self-inflicted damage. In a few short years, he managed to put a client on the hook for everyone’s legal fees, been hit with a $10,000 bond demand after lying about his client’s licensing agreement, and potentially set precedent that would make trolls like him liable for all ongoing legal fees if settlements higher than the final judgment are rejected by the plaintiff.
Liebowitz blew off a discovery conference ordered by Judge Cathy Seibel. No call. No email. Nothing. The court only obtained a response from Liebowitz after ordering him to inform the court why he missed the conference and why he shouldn’t be required to pay the defendant’s legal fees for the conference he no-showed.
Liebowitz’s response — aimed at avoiding having to pay someone else’s legal fees — was deliberately vague.
By letter dated April 15, 2019, Mr. Liebowitz advised that he had missed the conference because of a death in the family which was an “unexpected urgent matter” to which he had to attend. (Doc. 32.) He also said he would be out of the office on April 18 and asked to appear by phone at the rescheduled discovery conference. (Id.)
This might have passed without further comment from the judge, but during this conference, Liebowitz said the “urgent matter” was a death in the family. This, too, might have passed unnoticed if it wasn’t for Liebowitz getting in his own way by being the shady IP lawyer he’s always been.
During the conference, issues were discussed that reflected negatively on Plaintiff’s counsel’s credibility. For example, Plaintiff had answered interrogatories saying his damages calculation had relied on “contracts, invoices, [and] licensing agreements,” (Doc. 27 at 1), but when Defendant requested those documents, Plaintiff said he could not produce them without a protective order. After Defendant agreed to a protective order and the Court signed it, (Doc. 23), Plaintiff still produced nothing, despite twice promising to do so. (See Doc. 27.) Further, Defendant’s counsel represented that Mr. Liebowitz had told Defendant’s counsel that he could not comply because he was out of the country due to an emergency, when in reality he was at a trade show in Europe trying to drum up business.
Feeling she couldn’t trust Liebowitz’s assertions about pretty much anything, the judge asked for some evidence of this death in the family. When people die, records are created. Obituaries are published. Funerals are held. Liebowitz provided none of these things.
By letter dated May 1, 2019, Mr. Liebowitz represented that his grandfather had unexpectedly died on April 12, 2019 and that Mr. Liebowitz was needed to assist with certain customs for which arrangements had to be made in advance of the Sabbath.
Wrong, said the judge.
This letter is not responsive to my instruction. Mr. Liebowitz was to document who passed away, when the person passed away and when Mr. Liebowitz was notified. The reason I requested documentation is that there is reason to believe Mr. Liebowitz is not being candid. So a letter from him does not advance the ball. When someone dies, there is documentation including a death certificate and (almost always) an obituary, and nowadays one’s phone usually contains evidence of what one was told and when. Mr. Liebowitz may have until 5/3/19 to supplement this letter.
Not coincidentally, Liebowitz decided to settle with the defendant on the same day he was due to hand over proof of death to the judge. Not good enough.
I’m glad the parties have resolved the case (and, I presume, the issue of Plaintiff’s counsel’s expenses for the April 12 conference), but there remains one open issue: Mr. Liebowitz’s failure to document the death in the family that he says caused him to miss the conference. (See Doc. 38.). He was supposed to address that issue by May 3, but I will give him until May 9. Even if Defendant has been made whole, I still need to satisfy myself that there is no need for disciplinary or other inquiry.
Since he apparently didn’t have anything to offer as proof of his grandfather’s death, Liebowitz doubled down. He “re-certified” his original statement about the death, again without supporting documents. The judge said the “certification” of someone whose honesty is already in question isn’t an acceptable substitution for records showing Liebowitz was otherwise detained handling funeral arrangements. Triple down.
Rather than comply with the Court’s order to provide the above documentation, on May 16, Mr. Liebowitz again submitted a Declaration reiterating his belief that his statements contained in the April 15, May 1, and May 9 letters were sufficient to discharge his obligations in response to the Court’s order to show cause.
Her patience exhausted, Judge Seibel told Liebowitz continued failure to provide proof would constitute contempt of court. Liebowitz quadrupled down , claiming his “say-so” was all that was needed since this was a “personal matter.” Seibel rejected this assertion and added monetary sanctions to the threat. Liebowitz quintupled down… and decided to tell the judge she was wrong to even ask.
In this Declaration, Mr. Liebowitz argued that he was not in contempt because this Court’s request for his grandfather’s death certificate was unlawful, as it “likely constitutes a usurpation of judicial authority or a breach of judicial decorum,” (id ¶ 14); his previous Declarations complied with my previous orders, (id. ¶ 15); “there [was] no basis to impose monetary sanctions,” (id. ¶ 16); and the Court’s assurance that his grandfather’s death certificate would not be made public was insufficient to protect his right to privacy…
With that, Liebowitz was found in contempt of court and fined $100 a day. Liebowitz twice tried to have the order stayed and claimed it would take “two weeks” to get documentation of his grandfather’s death — the death that had supposedly occurred almost six months earlier. All these attempts did was convince the judge her contempt fees weren’t high enough.
Richard Liebowitz, Plaintiff’s counsel in this case, is now in contempt of my August 19, 2019 and September 27, 2019 orders. (See Docs. 51, 53.) The $100 fine he accrues each business day has plainly been ineffective to coerce compliance with the August 19, 2019 Order. Accordingly, the daily contempt sanction is hereby increased to $500 a day, effective November 6, 2019.
And if Liebowitz doesn’t have any documents with him on that day, he’s going to jail.
Mr. Liebowitz is hereby ORDERED to appear before this Court in person on November 13, 2019 at 10 a.m., and there and then SHOW CAUSE why he should not be incarcerated until such time as he complies with the above-described orders (and, if applicable, the instant order). Failure to appear as directed will subject Mr. Liebowitz to arrest by the United States Marshals Service without further notice.
Richard Liebowitz had better hope he still has a grandfather who’s alive. And then he’s going to have to go back in time and kill him. Otherwise he’s going to jail. If he shows up and admits he lied about his grandfather’s death, he’s still going to jail because the judge ordered him to produce documentation of this person’s death. Since that doesn’t appear to exist, Liebowitz cannot fulfill the court’s order. One way or another, Liebowitz is going to spend some time behind bars. And once he gets out, he’s going to have at least one fewer clients than when he went in. Hopefully anyone else still retaining his services will realize the only thing dumber than representing yourself in court is hiring Richard Liebowitz to represent you.