Palm Beach Circuit Judge Edward Fine has sanctioned Boca Raton attorney Barry Silver $45,273 for filing repeated frivolous lawsuits against Jews for Jesus.
Fine charged Silver for the fees and costs of Liberty Counsel, a religious liberties law firm with a Florida office in Longwood. Liberty Counsel has been defending Jews for Jesus since Silver first sued in 2003, claiming his client was defamed in the organization’s newsletter.
Fine’s Nov. 4 order called Silver’s latest complaint “an absolute repetition” of pleadings previously stricken by the court. Silver filed a motion for reconsideration Monday.
Liberty Counsel attorney Mathew Staver said: “Lawyers may not use the cover of a lawsuit to defame their opponents. Barry Silver has tried to frame this lawsuit as a polemic against Christianity in general and Jews for Jesus in particular.”
Edith Rapp initiated the lawsuit, claiming her stepson falsely described her as a Christian convert. The Florida Supreme Court rejected a false light invasion of privacy cause of action in Rapp’s case in 2008.
“I don’t think the sanctions are appropriate,” Silver said. “My view of the instructions of the Florida Supreme Court are different from Fine’s.”