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Claiming that a great deal of time and money was wasted defending their client, attorneys for Royal Caribbean Cruises this week asked a Miami-Dade Circuit judge to impose a $171,000-plus fine against the lawyers representing the family of a woman who disappeared while on a cruise in March 1998. The request for sanctions comes nearly three months after Judge Stuart Simons threw out two lawsuits filed against Royal Caribbean by the parents of Amy Bradley. Simons ruled that the Bradleys perpetrated a “fraud on the court” by knowingly giving false answers to questions posed by the defense during the discovery process. At the time he reserved ruling on sanctions against either the Bradleys or Hall David & Joseph, the firm that represented them. Andrew Hall, a name partner of the Miami firm, said the request doesn’t come as a surprise and that he has filed a notice to appeal Simons’ decision with the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Miami. “This is their way to try to tamper with that appeal,” Hall said. “As far as we are concerned, we expect to see [the case] back in the trial court and litigate it after the 3rd DCA rules.” In its request for sanctions, the Miami firm Kaye Rose & Maltzman noted that its lawyers and paralegals spent some 1,324 hours working on the case during the 21 months following Amy Bradley’s disappearance. They note that the plaintiffs were forced to litigate against “numerous exaggerated claims” that had no basis in the law. For example, the firm noted that the plaintiffs had brought a defamation claim against one of the founding partners of the firm, Richard Kaye, following an interview he gave on national television after Amy Bradley, then 23, disappeared. The Bradleys’ lawyer contended that Kaye had somehow “suggested” that Amy’s father, Ronald Bradley, murdered his daughter. “The defamation count was completely baseless, brought with the sole intent of harassing and causing embarrassment to the individual defendant and was a thinly veiled effort to create a conflict between RCCL and the undersigned law firm,” wrote Jeffrey Maltzman in his motion. The defamation count was dismissed with prejudice before the judge threw out the two suits alleging negligence and wrongful death. While Maltzman agrees that the judge’s decision to dismiss the claim with prejudice — meaning it can’t be brought again — is in itself punishment, it “does nothing to punish the attorneys for their part in the wrongdoing nor does dismissal do anything to make the defendant whole,” he wrote. Ronald and Iva Bradley, who now live in Virginia, had insisted that their daughter had been “abducted, hidden and forcibly removed” from the Rhapsody of the Seas and was “shoved into a waiting taxi” in Puerto Rico and was being kept involuntarily on the island of Curacao. But Simons found that the Bradleys concealed evidence that their daughter had been seen shortly after her disappearance by numerous witnesses who said she did not appear under duress. Hall told the Review in October that while his clients at first did not provide the cruise line’s attorneys with complete information, they withheld information because they believed that releasing it would interfere with attempts to find their daughter, who they believed was in danger. That information included accounts from dozens of eyewitnesses who said they saw her alive and well and living freely in Curacao shortly after her disappearance. Hall now says that there was an agreement on record to disclose the information in writing following the family’s deposition. But, he argues, before they could provide Royal Caribbean’s attorneys with the information, they went to court with their motion to dismiss. “They convinced the judge they were right and the case should be dismissed. That’s fine,” Hall said. “We will see what the 3rd District has to say about it. I suspect it will be reversed.”

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