Legal Ethics

After $323,307 in federal court sanctions since 2011, lawyer now faces federal ethics investigation


William B. Butler, as a federal judge had requested, is already facing a state legal ethics probe in Minnesota.

But in an unusual move the judge in charge of the federal court system in the state has also launched a federal ethics investigation of Butler, reports the Star Tribune.

Last week, Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis appointed the Minnesota district’s former chief, James Rosenbaum, to oversee the probe.

Butler, who focuses his practice at Butler Liberty Law on foreclosure defense, has accumulated $323,307 in sanctions from federal judges since 2011, the newspaper calculates.

A little over a year ago, U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery fined him $75,000, as well as $17,068 in legal fees, for pursuing litigation she found meritless:

“Butler’s insistence on re-litigating losing arguments is staggering, and it comes with a cost, because it multiplies the expense of litigation and monopolizes scarce judicial resources,” the judge said in a written opinion. “Moreover, no one, not even Butler, can reasonably or competently believe in the merits of any of these arguments.”

The lawyer, who considers his differences with the federal court something of a badge of honor, explains his position at length in a post on his website titled The Truth Regarding Butler Liberty Law’s Dispute with Federal Courts.

Updated on July 16 to name Rosenbaum.

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