So I took a look at this motion for sanctions filed against Whitney and Rothstein in the MD FL, which makes reference to this other Whitney case we talked about yesterday.It’s a fairly compelling document, laying out a long list of discovery hijinks allegedly perpetrated by Whitney and RRA in several cases filed by Whitney against various critics and detractors.This part seems somewhat prescient:
48. If this Court does not take drastic measures, it is clear that Whitney and WIN, with the help of the Rothstein Firm, are going to continue to use the court system in bad faith to simply harass anyone who has the temerity to criticize Whitney or WIN. They will continue to repeat the pattern of causing their opponents to expend needless money on litigation, despite the fact that Whitney, WIN, and the Rothstein firm ultimately know that they have no plan to engage in discovery, and specifically no plan to allow Whitney’s deposition to take place.49. In order to drive home the point – made a number of times before, but apparently never fully absorbed – that, if they want to sue someone, WIN and Whitney will have to engage in meaningful discovery, this Court should strike WIN and Whitney’s pleadings, dismiss the complaint filed by WIN and Whitney, and reserve jurisdiction to award attorney’s fees and costs.
50. Additionally, it seems clear at this point that the Rothstein Firm knows or should know that WIN and Whitney have no intent to engage in meaningful discovery in any case in which Whitney is subject to deposition. In addition to sanctioning WIN and Whitney, this Court should sanction the Rothstein Firm based on their pattern of badfaith conduct in furtherance of WIN ane Whitney’s untenable actions. As noted above, and as demonstrated by the voluminous exhibits to this motion, the Rothstein Firm has been just as responsible for problems conducting discovery as WIN and Whitney themselves. In at least three other cases, depositions appear to have been cancelled at the last minute without regard to procedure. At least two other attorneys and one pro se defendant have complained that the Rothstein Firm appeared to be operating in bad faith. The Rothstein Firm is acting as a mere extension of its client without regard for the law or the ethical constraints of practice. It is therefore appropriate that the Rothstein Firm or its successor entities be held jointly and severally liable for any sanctions ordered against WIN and Whitney.
Unfortunately, too often judges take it easy on litigants or their attorneys in federal court, reluctant to ruffle feathers or get in the weeds on questions of attorney misconduct in discovery matters. Or, if they do decide some sanction is appropriate, it rarely is directed at the attorney for a host of reasons.
In this case, Magistrate Judge Sheri Polster Chappell granted the motion in part, compelling the delayed depositions, but denied as to sanctions against Rothstein or his client, even though she agreed that there was “some dilatory conduct, but not conduct sufficient to rise to the level of bad faith.”
Don’t worry — plenty of that came later.