Richard Savitt, a solo practitioner who has been repeatedly scrutinized by judges, is facing another $10,000 sanction for conduct a Manhattan judge found frivolous.
Savitt, representing Automation Graphics Inc., sued two former company employees, claiming they stole a confidential client list and delivered it to a competitor, in Automation v. Allen, 153918/12.
On July 15, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Doris Ling-Cohan (See Profile) noted Automation brought two prior suits over the same facts and both were dismissed. Ling-Cohan dismissed the third suit, citing collateral estoppel and res judicata. She also granted the defense’s request for sanctions against Savitt and his client, finding their conduct “has been frivolous throughout this litigation from its inception.”
After the third suit was filed, one of the defendants filed a disciplinary action against Savitt for abuse of process. Ling-Cohan found Savitt improperly used the litigation and discovery process to obtain information about the grievance against him.
The filing of the third suit, the continuation of the case for two years, the abuse of discovery process and demands for materials that were already exchanged or didn’t exist “constitute numerous acts of frivolous conduct to harass or maliciously injure defendants, evincing a complete lack of respect for the court, the parties, the judicial process and judicial resources,” she said.
The judge sanctioned Automation $5,000 and ordered Savitt to pay $10,000 to the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection. She awarded defendants up to $10,000 in attorneys fees.
Ling-Cohan noted Savitt’s pattern of conduct, citing a 63-page decision by Civil Court Judge James d’Auguste (See Profile), who in June imposed a $10,000 sanction on Savitt in another case (NYLJ, July 3).
Savitt did not return a call seeking comment. Harvey Spizz, a partner at Spizz & Cooper representing the defendants, said they were pleased with the decision.