A Manhattan lawyer and his client should suffer discovery and motion-related sanctions for misleading and disobeying the court while trying to have a broadcast pirating suit dismissed, a federal magistrate judge has ruled.
In a 70-page order and recommendation, Southern District Magistrate Judge Barbara Moses imposed Rule 37(b) discovery sanctions on partner Alan Fraade; his firm, Mintz & Fraade; and his client, Panorama TV.
The sanctions require Fraade and Panorama to pay expenses, including attorney fees, caused by failing to obey discovery orders. Panorama may no longer disclaim that New York resident Asaf Yevdayev is and was Panorama’s agent and representative. (Panorama has claimed it had no agent or presence in the United States.)
“I do not hesitate to conclude that Panorama’s noncompliance was willful,” Moses wrote.
She also recommended Rule 11 motion sanctions be imposed on Fraade, Mintz & Fraade and Panorama, saying Fraade and his client submitted papers supporting an unsuccessful Rule 12(b)(2) motion to dismiss “without any objectively reasonable evidentiary basis for their key factual allegations.”
The Rule 11 sanctions, to which the parties have 14 days to object, must be approved by Southern District Judge George Daniels, who is presiding over Joint Stock Co. Channel One Russia Worldwide v. Infomir, 16-cv-1318.
The suit, filed by Russian broadcast companies, accuses Panorama and other internet protocol television services of “pirating” and reselling their programming online to U.S. customers without authorization or paying fees.
Fraade, who no longer represents Panorama, said July 20, “We disagree with a lot of what was said” in the opinion and “we intend to respond.”
Raymond Dowd, a Dunnington Bartholow & Miller partner representing the plaintiffs, said, “I think this opinion is a message to the bar about the seriousness of making representations to the court.”