Lawyer deemed 'copyright troll' must file sanctions opinion in all his cases, 2nd Circuit agrees
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A federal appeals court has upheld a judge’s nationwide order requiring a copyright lawyer to notify his clients and the courts handling his cases of the sanctions decision against him.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at New York upheld the nationwide sanction against lawyer Richard Liebowitz in a June 25 summary order, report Reuters and Law360.
Liebowitz has filed thousands of copyright infringement cases in federal courts.
The appeals court said the evidence against Liebowitz and his pattern of misconduct in other cases justified the nationwide scope of the sanction by U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman of the Southern District of New York.
Law360 described Liebowitz’s issues in cases throughout the country as “procedural missteps and aggressive tactics.”
Furman had sanctioned Liebowitz for lying about an order requiring in-person mediation, for violating court orders, and for falsely claiming that a copyright was registered before he filed suit.
Furman ordered Liebowitz to serve a copy of his opinion on all his current clients, in all his pending cases, and in future cases filed in the next year. He also ordered Liebowitz and his firm to pay more than $83,000 in attorney fees and $20,000 for the false claim about the copyright registration. And he required Liebowitz to attach copies of copyright registrations in any infringement case filed in the next year.
Furman noted in his June 2020 sanctions opinion that Liebowitz has been called a “copyright troll” and “legal lamprey” in legal opinions, and he is “one of the most frequently sanctioned lawyers, if not the most frequently sanctioned lawyer” in the Southern District of New York.
In a different case, Liebowitz lied about the date of his grandfather’s death to justify missing a court conference, Furman said. At the end of his opinion, Furman listed 40 cases criticizing Liebowitz.
“The simple fact is that Mr. Liebowitz has a problem: He does not feel constrained by the truth and, when cornered, has no compunction about lying, even under oath,” Furman wrote.
The Southern District of New York’s grievance committee ordered an interim suspension for Liebowitz in November 2020 pending an investigation of allegations against him, according to Reuters.
The appeals court said it would address the monetary sanction in a later opinion. The case is Liebowitz v. Bandshell Artist Management.
ABAJournal.com: “Judge sanctions controversial copyright lawyer, notes ‘growing body of law’ on when to punish him”
ABAJournal.com: “Lawyer who blamed missed hearing on grandfather’s death is ordered to supply proof”
ABAJournal.com: “Lawyer who filed 500-plus copyright cases in federal court calls $10K sanction ‘judicial error’”