Daniel DeCarlo Quoted in Law360 Article On Sanctioning of Attorney Who Lied About Anti-Semitic Slurs
Los Angeles, Calif. (April 1, 2020) - Los Angeles Partner Daniel C. DeCarlo was recently quoted in a Law360 article titled “Atty Sanctioned For Lying About Anti-Semitic Slurs in IP Row.” The article describes the unethical behaviors of a plaintiff’s attorney, which ultimately caused a federal court to reprimand him publicly in a published decision.
In the underlying matter, Mr. DeCarlo, who serves as the chair of Lewis Brisbois’ Intellectual Property & Technology Practice, represented Prairie Meadows Casino, Racetrack, and Hotel. The plaintiff, a developer and licensor of software for casino marketing departments, had sued several of its competitors and licensees, including our client, for alleged copyright infringement and trade secret theft.
Over the course of several months, the Los Angeles-based plaintiff’s attorney engaged in aggressive and unethical behavior, thereby disrupting the flow of the litigation. On one occasion, he threatened physical violence against one of the defense attorneys during a deposition. He later attempted to justify his threat by accusing the defense attorney of slinging an anti-Semitic slur at him. In addition, the plaintiff’s attorney attempted to intimidate a court reporter who had requested payment by using profane language and threatening to retaliate. Furthermore, the plaintiff’s attorney questioned the integrity of a justice of the Iowa Supreme Court who had served as a mediator in the case. The justice had withdrawn from the matter after receiving an email from the plaintiff’s attorney in which he demanded assurances that the justice would not engage in fraud.
Defense counsel filed a motion for sanctions against the plaintiff’s attorney related to this behavior. While the underlying case had settled, all the parties and indeed, the Court felt it important to proceed with the proceedings. Chief District Judge John A. Jarvey of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa then held a lengthy evidentiary hearing to address the motion against the plaintiff’s attorney. The judge determined that the attorney’s allegation that defense counsel used an anti-Semitic slur was not credible. He further concluded that the attorney’s “abusive and profane harangues and threats of dire consequences for crossing him” constituted an “intent to prejudice the administration of justice.” The judge also noted that the attorney’s communications with the justice of the Iowa Supreme Court were inappropriate, explaining that the attorney’s email would “cause any mediator to be concerned about going forward.” Justice Jarvey ultimately issued a sanction against the plaintiff’s attorney in the form of “a public reprimand in a published decision.”
Mr. DeCarlo told Law360 that he felt “deeply gratified” by the effort that the Court expended to hold the plaintiff’s attorney accountable for his actions. He commented, “There’s almost nothing worse that you can do to someone than to call them racist.” Mr. DeCarlo added, “Thank God those lawyers were exonerated the way they were so this doesn’t hang over their heads.”