A law firm must pay punitive damages, attorney fees and costs for its bad-faith filing of an involuntary bankruptcy petition against a former client as a “tactical maneuver,” a U.S. bankruptcy judge in Trenton, N.J., has ruled.

Scarola Ellis of New York claims Skyworks Ventures Inc. of Jamesburg, N.J., owes it $200,000 in legal fees, while the former client says in a related suit in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York that Scarola Ellis engaged in overbilling and legal malpractice.

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