from the no,-really dept
I think if I stopped writing about other stuff, I could still fill Techdirt with the same number of posts just covering the problems facing copyright trolling lawyer Richard Liebowitz. Today we have a story of Liebowitz being in trouble, yet again. This is in the Chevrestt v. Barstool Sports case. We mentioned this one back in May, where a judge sanctioned Liebowitz and benchslapped him pretty significantly for failing to follow “simple” orders from the court. The judge in that case noted that in the case last year where Liebowitz lied about the death of his grandfather, that he had promised to attend some courses on how to better manage his legal practice. The judge asked for some details about whether or not he actually carried that out:
As noted above, this Order is neither the only time the Undersigned has sanctioned Mr. Liebowitz nor is the Undersigned the only judge in this district who has sanctioned him. In Berger v. Imagina Consulting, Inc., 18-CV-8956 , in responding to a contempt citation that was precipitated by Mr. Liebowitz having lied to Judge Siebel, Mr. Liebowitz?s attorney argued that Mr. Liebowitz should not be held in contempt and recommended a number of steps Mr. Liebowitz should take to improve the professionalism of his practice. Among counsel?s recommendations was professional psychological help and a CLE course on small law firm management. See 18-CV-8956, Dkt. 61 at 4. While both may be helpful, psychological help is best obtained because the patient wants help. Whether Mr. Liebowitz wants to improve or not (and the Court questions whether he does), this Court concurs with Mr. Liebowitz?s attorney in Berger that management training is in order. Accordingly, Mr. Liebowitz is ordered to participate in CLE training regarding management of a small law firm. Mr. Liebowitz must attend such training on or before September 1, 2020. The course must cover the basics of setting up and running a law practice, including how to maintain systems so that Court obligations are tracked and obeyed. Mr. Liebowitz is directed to provide the Court with information about the course he wishes to attend for the Court?s approval. He will, at the end of the course, be required to present proof of attendance and to provide a sworn statement to the Court on what he learned from the course and what concrete steps he has instituted in his practice to improve compliance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Court orders.
That was back in May. You may note that we are now in September. Liebowitz had many months to write up the required book report for Judge Valerie Caproni. But what he actually turned in would embarrass your average 3rd grader who forgot to do the book report he had a month to write up and then tried to write something on the bus to school. First, he did apparently take some CLE (Continuing Legal Education) classes — though not all the ones the judge required. He lists out six classes he claims he attended. The judge did require him to not just present proof of attending the courses, but also the “sworn statement” about “what he learned” and “what concrete steps he has instituted in his practice to improve compliance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedures and Court orders.”
That second part is… lacking. First he notes:
One program entitled Panel of Lawyers Who are Doing it: Practice Management Technology to Grow Your Solo/Small Law Practice Ethically was not recorded and thus I was unable to watch this program on-line. However, instead of watching only two of the following in number 5 in your Honor?s Order, I watched all three programs. What I learned in Admitting our mistakes: Owning up to Lawyer Missteps, is relevant here because I didn?t realize that this program was only available as a live event and was not going to be recorded like the other programs identified above. I apologize to the Court for this mistake.
Then he just copy/pasted the outlines of each of the courses into the filing. This is, literally, the least he could do. And it’s not the kind of effort that tells anyone from your 3rd grade teacher to the federal judge who has significant power of your future livelihood that you actually did the work you were required to do. Then, he adds two more paragraphs at the end that… do not actually answer what the judge ordered, and again sounds like he scribbled it down just in time to meet the deadline. It’s the legal equivalent of “this book is a book that I read, that is called [x] and has so and so many pages.”
Based upon what I learned in the above CLE?s, I am continuing to learn new things in my practice management software to run things more efficiently and smoothly. I also am making sure to own up to my mistakes that do happen. I am also improving my time management skills by implementing some of the essential guidelines learned such as managing a plan at the beginning of the day. I am changing the way I use technology such as calendaring to make sure tasks get done on time and items get docketed correctly. I have also learned to delegate tasks that can be delegated to make the work flow more efficient.
I thank the Court for recommending these CLE programs and look forward to continuing to implement what I learned into my practice.
I cringe just reading that.
Guess who else was not impressed. Judge Caproni responded the very next day saying “um, no, try again.” Also, points docked for typos.
Mr. Liebowitz was directed to submit a report detailing “how he is changing the practices in his firm based on what he learned” in these courses. Dkt. 28. Mr. Liebowitz’s above-statement that he is “changing the way I use technology such as calendaring to make sure tasks get done on time and items get docketed correctly” is insufficient. No later than September 8, 2020, Mr. Liebowitz is directed to file a letter detailing the specific and concrete changes he is making to his practice. Additionally, no later than September 8, 2020, Mr. Liebowitz is directed to explain why he unilaterally substituted another course in direct violation of a previous Court order and without the Court’s permission. Mr. Liebowitz is also directed to proofread carefully his submissions before submitting them. His letter dated August 31, 2020, is riddled with typos that presumably would have been caught had Mr. Liebowitz proofread the letter prior to submission.
Oof. Now, to a normal person, you might recognize that this judge is not happy and maybe, just maybe, try a little harder for the next time. But, come on, this is Richard Liebowitz we’re talking about. He basically submitted the same work over again with slight modifications:
The reason why I took all three of the courses in Number 5 is because one program in Number 4 entitled Panel of Lawyers Who are Doing it: Practice Management Technology to Grow Your Solo/Small Law Practice Ethically was not recorded on video but was only available as a live event. Thus, I was unable to watch this program on-line. I did not realize that this program was only available as a live event and was not video recorded as was the case with the other programs identified above. I apologize to the Court for this mistake.
Based upon what I learned in the CLE?s, the specific and concrete changes I have made ? and will continue to make ? include delegating tasks to employees to make the Firm more efficient in managing cases. This includes tasks such as client intake, discovery, motions, calendaring, etc. I am doing this by implementing a plan at the beginning of each week. Also, by making a weekly plan this will improve my time management. In addition, I am actively training and supervising new staff and current staff on new calendaring/scheduling/client protocols in the office while maintaining a well-balanced and flexible work schedule for employees. The continued education on our practice management software is ongoing. In addition, I plan on taking more CLE courses dedicated to management for small law firms so that I can be continually educated by professionals in the field.
That’s it. That’s literally it. I mean, even I can hardly believe that this is all Liebowitz would do. I mean, holy shit, dude. Do you really think this would suffice?
Judge Caproni is… not happy. She wants young Richard in court in person tomorrow to explain himself. In detail.
WHEREAS on September 8, 2020 Mr. Liebowitz submitted a letter that fails to address adequately these two issues (Dkt. 31);
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT: Mr. Liebowitz must appear in-person on September 15, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. in Courtroom 518 of the Thurgood Marshall Courthouse, 40 Foley Square, New York, New York, 10007. Mr. Liebowitz should be prepared to explain in detail what concrete steps he has taken, based on the CLE courses he took, to improve his practice or otherwise ensure that the non-compliance that gave rise to the sanctions in the first instance will not be repeated. He should also be prepared to explain why, when he learned that due to his own inattention to detail one of the courses he was ordered to take was unavailable, he did not ask the Court to modify its prior order rather than unilaterally deciding he could take a different course.
I get the feeling tomorrow is going to be another bad day for Liebowitz.