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A Fairfax County, Va., judge has slapped lawyers from Williams & Connolly and Fairfax-based Blankingship & Keith with more than $50,000 in sanctions for misconduct in their representation of Ringling Bros. Chairman Kenneth Feld. The Aug. 26 sanctions stem from their representation of Feld in a suit filed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which claims Feld orchestrated a conspiracy to infiltrate PETA in order to quell the group’s protest of the circus company. Specifically, Circuit Court Judge David Stitt ordered the lawyers to pay PETA $40,000 for improperly accusing Stitt of judicial misconduct. Separately, Williams & Connolly partner Joseph Petrosinelli was held in contempt and ordered to pay $11,305. The judge also ordered Williams & Connolly partner Barry Simon removed from the case. Others sanctioned include Williams & Connolly partner George Borden and associate Matthew Andelman; as well as Blankingship & Keith partners John Keith, a former president of the Virginia State Bar, and William Porter. “They’ve engaged in obstructive tactics for four years, and these sanctions are the culmination of that,” says PETA’s counsel, Philip Hirschkop of Alexandria’s Hirschkop & Associates. Thomas Cawley of Hunton & Williams, who represents the sanctioned lawyers, says they plan to appeal.
Jason McLure can be contacted at [email protected]

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