Legal Ethics

Federal Judge Sanctions 'Obsessed' Lawyer $110K Over Recusal Claims

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A federal judge has imposed nearly $110,000 in sanctions on a Florida lawyer and has suspended him from practice in the Southern District of Florida for 42 months over his efforts to persuade the judge to step down from overseeing three employment cases.

“Obsessed” with his desire to win the recusal of U.S. District Judge William Zloch from his clients’ cases despite having no factual or legal basis for doing so, plaintiff’s attorney Loring Spolter made “bad-faith filings laced with baseless accusations of criminal conduct,” says the judge in a Dec. 30 order (PDF) provided by the Daily Pulp blog of the Broward-Palm Beach New Times.

After detailing Spolter’s “bad-faith filings and unreasonable behavior,” the 68-page document concludes with the judge’s decision to fine Spolter $10,000 and require him and his law firm to pay nearly $100,000 in opponents’ legal fees. It also notes that Zloch is referring the matter to Florida Bar authorities.

The sanctions were imposed under Rule 11 and / or Rule 28 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and United States Code, Section 1927.

In a written statement (PDF) also provided by the Daily Pulp blog, Spolter describes the three cases and states or implies, among other criticisms of the judge, that Zloch’s oversight of the litigation may have been adversely affected by the claimed conservative religious beliefs of his clerks.

Earlier coverage: “Judge Accused of Religious Bias”

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