Court Awards Rule 11 Sanctions But Reduces the Award

This is a decision of the Eastern District of New York, which awards the lawyers for the defendants’ sanctions in the amount of $20,000 against plaintiff’s former counsel. The plaintiff was removed from his father’s apartment and involuntarily committed to Coney Island Hospital. Plaintiff then made claims against a number of Jewish charitable organizations, claims that were determined to be frivolous.

The defendants claimed $38,740.50 in legal fees. The court reduced that amount to $20,000. It explained:

The court concludes that an award of the full amount of attorneys’ fees and costs is not the proper measure of sanctions in this instance. To be sure, Borzouye’s misconduct was extreme. As Judge Joan M. Azrack found, 101 of the evidence indicates that Borzouye did not have a good-faith basis for the various allegations and claims . . . that he asserted against the Self Help defendants.” (R&R (Dkt. 103) at 31.) This court also struck one of Borzouye’s submissions—a “cross-motion for sanctions”—in part because it almost entirely plagiarized the Self Help Defendants’ motion for sanctions. (Sept. 27, 2013, Order (Dkt. 86).) This misconduct infected every aspect of the case until Borzouye’s removal, and the Self Help Defendants incurred substantial attorneys’ fees as a direct result of his actions. Despite this reprehensible behavior, the court’s discretion is bound by the guidance that its sanctions must be limited to the amount necessary to prevent repetition of the offense. The Self Help Defendants have not made a showing that sanctions consisting of the full amount of attorneys’ fees and costs is necessary to deter future misconduct by Borzouye or other, similar parties, and the court concludes that awarding all fees and costs incurred would inappropriately stray beyond deterrence into simple fee shifting. In view of the findings and principles above, the court concludes that a sanction of $20,000 adequately reflects the seriousness of Borzouye’s misconduct and will deter similar flagrant misconduct by him and others in the future. [footnotes removed].

Source: Friedman v. SELF HELF COMMUNITY SERVICES, INC., Dist. Court, ED New York 2017 – Google Scholar

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