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Third time was not the charm For the third time, a federal judge has hit attorney H. Francis deLone Jr. with sanctions under Rule 11 for pursuing a lawsuit premised on a theory that has been squarely rejected by the 3d U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The district judge said that deLone persisted in arguing the legal theory even though he was the litigator in the case where the 3d Circuit rejected it. U.S. District Judge John R. Padova of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania found that deLone never should have filed a civil rights suit on behalf of a transit worker who was fired for testing positive for cocaine because the theory of the case has been rejected by the 3d Circuit in two of deLone’s prior cases. “Mr. deLone’s failure to so much as acknowledge the 3rd Circuit’s controlling holdings [in cases] which Mr. deLone himself litigated, and which were again brought to his attention by defense counsel . . . is inexcusable,” Padova wrote. “This history of improper behavior weighs heavily toward imposing significant sanctions in this case,” Padova wrote. He said he would decide the amount of the sanctions later. Lawyers for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority-Scott A. Mayer and Richard S. Meyer of Blank Rome-had moved for dismissal of the suit, arguing that deLone had “artfully omitted” key facts in the complaint. Padova ordered the defense team to file a detailed bill within 10 days reflecting the attorney fees and costs incurred in seeking dismissal of the suit and in seeking the sanctions. DeLone, a solo practitioner, did not return several calls to his Wayne, Pa., office. - The Legal Intelligencer Prose for sale Bad news ferrets It can take years of late-night navel gazing for a novelist to name a character-or it could come as quickly as an Internet auction on eBay. Next month, Stephen King, Amy Tan, Lemony Snicket, Nora Roberts, Michael Chabon and 11 other best-selling writers will auction the right to name characters in their new novels. The profits will go to the First Amendment Project, whose lawyers have repeatedly gone to court to protect the free speech rights of activists, writers and artists. “It feels a little scary for most writers because when you’re writing, you’re completely in charge-you can say this book is all mine, it’s my world,” said Chabon. “Whether giving over some of that has any monetary value or not, we’ll see.” But bidders beware-most of the authors are clearly retaining creative control to use the names as they see fit. On Sept. 1, eBay Giving Works, the site’s dedicated program for charity listings, will go live with the electronic auction.The event’s organizers say they believe it will fetch well more than the nonprofit First Amendment Project’s goal of $50,000. Snicket, who will let the top bidder determine an utterance by Sunny Baudelaire in his upcoming 13th installment of his Series of Unfortunate Events, said he holds the First Amendment dear because “the only trouble I should get in for my writing is the trouble I make myself.” after nine years of competition, the Ferret Olympics is being forced to change its name-the U.S. Olympic Committee has threatened to sue for unauthorized use of its trademark. An estimated 75 ferrets vie for medals at the Ferret Agility Trials in events including the tube run and the paper bag escape. Only “they are not Olympians anymore,” organizer Melanee Ellis said with a laugh. Ellis, 44, started the Ferret Olympics in 1996, the year of the Atlanta games, as a fund-raiser for a local ferret shelter. She said she could hardly believe the committee’s threat of a lawsuit was serious. “I’m sure Spaz is the most upset,” Ellis said about the top athlete in her ferret lineup. “He never did win a medal at the Olympics. He thought this would be his year.” - Associated Press

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