Trials & Litigation

Federal judge blasts lawyer who sued Usher and called opponents 'cry babies' in written filing

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A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Wednesday blasted a Philadelphia-area lawyer for the “poisonous atmosphere” he had created by his “continual belligerence to opposing counsel.”

At the same time, U.S. District Judge Paul S. Diamond granted a summary judgment motion dismissing the copyright infringement case that attorney Francis Malofiy had brought against Usher and other defendants.

Malofiy’s client, Dan Marino, had sought to be included along with with two other acknowledged writers of the Usher song “Bad Girl.” However, Malofiy—described by Diamond as “the paradigm of bad faith and intentional misconduct”—tricked songwriter William Guice into admitting to some of Marino’s claims by telling Guice he was a witness rather than a defendant, leading Guice to appear in court unprepared and unrepresented, reports

Due to this misconduct, Diamond struck Guice’s affidavit and deposition testimony from the record in the case. In a Wednesday sanctions memorandum (PDF), the judge also ordered Malofiy to pay some attorney’s fees and costs because he had lengthened the legal process for Guice. But Diamond declined to impose additional sanctions for Malofiy’s “outrageous” discovery conduct.

In addition to making lengthy objections during depositions, Malofiy also made “sexist, abusive remarks,” calling opposing counsel “a girl” and repeatedly suggesting that his opponents were lying and acting illegally. Malofiy titled a written filing opposing a joint motion for sanctions “Response in Opposition Re: Joint Motion for Sanctions by Moving Defendants Who are Cry Babies,” the judge noted. “The record teems with similarly abusive comments, or worse.”

Malofiy told he could not immediately comment on the sanctions.

Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr. represents defendant IN2N Entertainment Group, which owns some Usher songs. He expressed amazement at the judge’s blast.

“I’ve almost never seen one, much less all of them,” he said of the sanctions imposed on Malofiy, adding: “I’ve never actually seen a judge tee off on a lawyer this bad. …He could have simply ran a motion for summary judgment and been done with it. He went far beyond that.”

Updated at 2:23 p.m. to add the title of one of Malofiy’s filings.

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