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Mustn't discourage these things, you know



"A federal appellate court has overturned nearly $400,000 in sanctions imposed against Fort Lauderdale, Fla., employment lawyers William and Karen Amlong for bringing an allegedly frivolous sexual harassment suit against the Denny's restaurant chain." In a lengthy dissent (PDF), Senior Judge James C. Hill "wrote that the majority opinion 'will eviscerate the ability of our district courts to sanction exactly the sort of conduct that the district court in this case found to be a reckless abuse of the judicial process.'" The sanctions figured among a series of sanctions of employment discrimination lawyers in South Florida which prompted some of those lawyers to complain that their ability to bring such cases zealously was being chilled. U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard will still have a chance to re-impose the sanctions by conducting a separate hearing.

P.S.: Ted writes:

You left out the appalling fact that the plaintiffs were able to drag out the sanctions proceedings for ten years. The delay is not trivial: e.g., p. 50:
"When defense counsel deposed him later (with an Amlong attorney present), Green testified that a "female attorney" who identified herself as Norelus's attorney offered him money for false testimony supporting Norelus's claim, but he refused. Green did not remember her name, and he died before the sanctions hearings."

Here's a beaut on p. 51: "Amlong explained that it was her frequent practice not to interview fact witnesses, even those testifying for her client, prior to trial because they usually lied."

Pages 53 to 56 show a pretty blatant instance of lawyer involvement in crafting testimony by the plaintiff that, to put it charitably, lacked credibility.

 

 


Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy
rmangual@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.