In an order last week, Judge Kaplan denied a serial plaintiff attorney’s request that the judge recuse himself for referring to the plaintiff’s attorney as a “troll” in an opinion (see our previous coverage here). Judge Kaplan observed that the request was based on several inaccurate assertions:
Rather than condemn Mr. Liebowitz as a “copyright troll,” the Court simply observed that another judge of this Court had so characterized him. And rather than accusing Mr. Liebowitz of filing strike suits to extort settlements, the Court observed that there might be justification for such claims, as indeed there might. In fact, as events have developed in this case, there perhaps is even more justification.
In his zeal to deny that he files suits to extort settlements, Mr. Liebowitz in this very case-in filing the very motion for recusal underlying this order- stated under penalty of perjury that “[p]laintiff did not make a settlement demand in this action.” Plaintiff stated similarly in his memorandum that he “never made a settlement demand in this proceeding; he only ever sought judgment on the merits against Bauer Media.”
These statements are false. As both the Court and defendant’s counsel have pointed out, Mr. Liebowitz’s associate made a $25,000 settlement demand at the initial conference in this case, a conference that Mr. Liebowitz did not attend. Even more glaring is an email defendant’s counsel has produced, received by it from Mr. Liebowitz at the outset of the case, in which Mr. Liebowitz himself proposed settling for $25,000. Mr. Liebowitz has not disputed the authenticity or his authorship of the email or argued that the associate lacked the authority to make this demand. He seeks to pass off his untrne statements by saying that he “overlooked” these $25,000 settlement demands. He then implies that the notion that “early resolution is generally promoted by federal courts” is an excuse for making false statements under penalty of perjury. With respect, Mr. Liebowitz’s assertion that he “overlooked” multiple settlement demands is unpersuasive.
Ultimately, Judge Kaplan dismissed the action after the plaintiff failed to post a $50,000 bond to cover potential costs and attorney’s fees as required by the Court’s previous order.