Copyright Troll Richard Liebowitz Suspended From Practicing Law In New York
from the sorry-richard dept
We have a loooooooooong list of stories about copyright troll Richard Liebowitz and his never-ending antics in court. As we noted earlier this summer, he’s been getting suspended from practicing law in courts all around the country (while also piling up more and more sanctions). And while he’d already been suspended in various NY federal courts, he’s now been entirely suspended from practicing law in the state of New York. The NY state courts were following up on the federal court in the Southern District of New York suspending Liebowitz, and sought to impose a reciprocal suspension.
The ruling from earlier this week lays out the details of just a very small fraction of Liebowitz’s long history of lying to courts and other misbehavior. It then responds to Liebowitz’s attempt to wriggle out of this suspension by arguing that he was simply advocating for his clients as best he could, and also that his initial suspension was temporary and “he has not had a full and fair opportunity to litigate the matter in that forum.”
The judges reviewing his case are… unimpressed:
We find no merit in the respondent’s due process contentions. As opposed to the “cursory nature” of the sanctions hearing in Matter of Dunn (24 NY3d at 704), here the respondent was provided a full and fair opportunity to litigate the disciplinary matter before the Southern District imposed an interim suspension. The record confirms that, prior to imposing interim discipline on him, the Southern District gave the respondent notice of the proceeding, by order to show cause. He was given the Statement of Charges and an opportunity to respond. He availed himself of that opportunity, and submitted a 27-page declaration. With the annexed exhibits, his submission was almost 900 pages long. He will have the chance to defend the charges against him at a full evidentiary hearing in the Southern District before that court imposes final discipline. The respondent has cited no authority for the proposition that the procedure followed in that forum prior to imposing interim discipline did not comport with due process.
Similarly unpersuasive is the respondent’s argument that the Southern District’s interim determination cannot form the basis for this Court to impose reciprocal discipline at this time. The applicable rule, 22 NYCRR 1240.13, does not require that a foreign order of discipline be final in order for this Court to impose reciprocal discipline. The rule requires proof that the attorney has been “disciplined” by a foreign jurisdiction (id. ? 1240.13[a]), and provides that after the attorney has had a chance to be heard, upon review of that jurisdiction’s “order” and the record of proceedings there, if relevant, this Court may discipline the attorney for the misconduct committed in the foreign jurisdiction (id. ? 1240.13[c]). Notably absent from the text of the rule is any requirement that the foreign jurisdiction’s discipline, or the order reflecting it, be final.
Where, as here, the foreign jurisdiction has afforded an attorney an opportunity to be heard and determines that, in light of the nature and seriousness of the charges, the strength of the record supporting those charges, and the risk and danger of recurrence, an interim suspension is necessary to protect the public interest, this Court may, upon review of the order and record of the proceedings, reciprocally impose an interim suspension (see Matter of Perskie, 158 AD3d 19; Matter of Hummel, 99 AD3d 133; Matter of Gray, 110 AD2d 672, affd 67 NY2d 440).
As for the idea that he was doing his best to represent his clients’ interests… yeah, that wasn’t going to fly either:
The respondent’s misconduct in litigation has at times endangered his clients’ prospects of recovery, and put his adversaries to needless expense. He has shown disrespect for the courts, as is demonstrated by his admitted conduct before Judge Seibel in the Berger case. His actions in that case included multiple misrepresentations, defiance of her orders, and explicit questioning of her authority as she attempted to probe the truth of his asserted reason for failure to appear at a conference.
The court also doesn’t buy Liebowitz’s more recent attempts at contrition (I’ll note that he’s tried to do this many times before when yelled at by courts):
In addition, despite his recent attempts at introspection and contrition, the respondent nonetheless minimizes frequent behavior that made a mockery of orderly litigation processes by attributing it to “sloppiness” and “administrative failures.” The existing record from the Southern District supports its conclusion that, given respondent’s history of repeated disregard for court orders, recurrence of his misconduct is likely. We find that the respondent has engaged in conduct immediately threatening the public interest and his immediate suspension from the practice of law is warranted.
Of course, we’ve heard that other lawyers have picked up Liebowitz’s practice where he left off, so the copyright trolling continues…