- Liebowitz allegedly lied about copyright registration, other aspects of the case
- Manhattan court fined notorious lawyer, nationwide penalties
- The 2nd Circuit confirms all sanctions
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(Reuters) – The 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals on Friday dismissed for the second time copyright attorney Richard Liebowitz’s challenge to the sanctions in a Manhattan federal court, saying they were justified on the basis of his lies in the district court and other faults.
The opinion, written by U.S. Circuit Chief Justice Debra Ann Livingston for a three-judge panel, reiterated that the nation-wide non-monetary sanctions against Liebowitz were appropriate and confirmed more than $ 100,000 in honoraria d lawyer and other monetary penalties, deeming they were “good in” the United States. At the discretion of District Judge Jesse Furman.
In June, the 2nd Circuit upheld Furman’s non-pecuniary penalties, which required Liebowitz to serve his clients Furman’s order and file a copy of it in his pending cases across the country.
Liebowitz is known to have filed thousands of copyright infringement complaints on behalf of photographers and has faced penalties in several federal courts for misconduct, including lying under oath and violating court orders. The Southern District of New York Grievance Committee suspended Liebowitz from its practice last year, citing its “reluctance to change despite 19 formal sanctions and dozens of other reprimands and warnings from judges across the country.”
Friday’s opinion stems from a lawsuit brought by Liebowitz against Bandshell Artist Management for photographer Arthur Usherson in 2019. McGuireWoods’ Brad Newberg, who represented Bandshell in the underlying case, said in an email that he and his client were “extremely happy” with the decision.
Liebowitz’s attorney, Brian Jacobs of Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello, did not immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did Liebowitz’s law firm.
Liebowitz was penalized by Furman for falsely claiming that the copyright in question was registered before the complaint was filed, lied to the court and violated court orders. On Friday Livingston, joined by circuit judges Richard Wesley and Susan Carney, confirmed Furman’s full penalties.
Liebowitz’s misconduct “deserved sanctions reserved for lawyers and litigants who demonstrate by their actions that unusual measures are necessary to deter future bad behavior, protect other litigants and maintain the integrity of the judicial system,” said Livingston. .
Liebowitz had challenged Furman’s findings that he lied about a mediation session he and his client had missed and acted in bad faith in pursuing Ushesson’s claim without a registered copyright.
Livingston said Furman had good reason to conclude that Liebowitz’s testimony about mediation was âuntrustworthyâ based on his âpatently unbelievableâ claims about it and his contradiction by the mediator himself.
Liebowitz also brought and maintained the lawsuit in bad faith, said Livingston, finding that he knew copyright was not registered during the case, failed to correct his statements in court and has “actively blocked” the discovery, “in the hope of settling the matter before the truth has emerged.”
Livingston rejected Liebowitz’s arguments against attorney fees and said the remaining $ 20,000 in penalties was “modest, in terms of the costs imposed on Bandshell, his attorneys and the court.”
The case is Liebowitz v. Bandshell Artist Mgmt, 2nd US Court of Appeals, # 20-2304
For Liebowitz: Brian Jacobs de Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello
For Bandshell: Brad Newberg of McGuireWoods
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