Archive for the ‘57.105 Attorney’s Fees’ Category

Georgia Court Sanctions Obama “Birther Movement” Lawyer $20,000

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

A federal court judge just north of Nassau County, Florida in Georgia entered an order sanctioning attorney-pundit Orly Taitz for, inter alia, pursuing a case without a client in a quest to get a copy of President Obama’s birth certificate.

If you are new to the issue, there are reportedly “dozens” of lawsuits around the country seeking proof the President has an American birth certificate.  This is the so-called birther-movement.

We’ll leave the decidedly political rhetoric to others and, instead, give you first-hand access to the 43-page October 13, 2009 opinion in Connie Rhodes v. Col. Thomas MacDonald, United States of America, et al.

Some great quotes are littered throughout the opinion, although one wonders whether 43-pages is necessary to deliver what appears to be an intended death blow to this case and this lawyer’s career.  Whether the 11th Circuit will see this case remains to be seen.

Reading from the source documents (here, a court order) often gives you insight which the news media can’t provide:

1.  ”Counsel here has an affidavit from someone who allegedly paid off a government official to rummage through the files at a Kenyan hospital to obtain what counsel contends is the President’s “authentic” birth certificate.”

2.  After referencing the hypothetical claim that President Obama may be… a martian, the court wrote, “The Court does not make this observation simply as a rhetorical device for emphasis; the Court has actually received correspondence assailing its previous order in which the sender, who, incidentally, challenged the undersigned to a “round of fisticuffs on the Courthouse Square,” asserted that the President is not human.”

3.  ”While the Court derives no pleasure from its imposition of sanctions upon counsel Orly Taitz, it likewise has no reservations about the necessity of doing so. A clearer case could not exist; a weaker message would not suffice.”

At the risk of turning this political, we turned to see how the news media handled the legal analysis.  In all fairness, coverage was matter of fact, with the Associated Press contributing the point that the judge was appointed by George Bush.  The various blogs were dutifully aligned with their political slants.  Fox News apparently did not see the value in reporting the story.

Fourth DCA Sets Out Steps to Collect on 57.105 Motion

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Need a quick outline on what steps need to be taken to collect on a Florida Statute 57.105 “frivolous” claim motion? The Fourth DCA has a short explanation in Law Offices of Ainslee R. Ferdie, Ferdie and Lones, Chartered, et al. v. Lawrence and Lori Isaacson; Promises 10, 11 & 12 d/b/a Your Salon et al.

In this case, there was a contract dispute between a hair salon and manager. In a termination letter, the owners wrote that depositing the last checks would release all claims. The checks were cashed but suit was filed. The owners won summary judgment relying upon accord and satisfaction. They also filed a Motion for Sanctions Under F.S. 57.105.

The way it was handled below was bungled so we’ll simply focus on what the Fourth District wanted to happen:

1. Timely serve/file motion and prevail;
2. Trial court shall make (a) an express finding that the claim was frivolous AND (b) an express finding that the attorney was not acting in good faith;
3. Trial court’s findings must be supported by competent substantive evidence and, therefore, there has to be a full evidentiary hearing on both issues (resulting in those express findings);
4. Florida Statute 57.105 does not have a mechanism to force the attorney to pay costs — only fees. That does not stop a party from seeking fees as the prevailing party, just not out of opposing counsel.

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