PSD Client Prevails as Florida Federal Court Upholds Sanctions Award Against Opposing Counsel

On July 30, 2015, a Federal court in Florida issued a written decision in favor of a PSD client, EDCare Management, Inc.  The Order affirmed the imposition of sanctions against Amlong & Amlong, P.A., who served as plaintiff’s counsel in two cases against EDCare, one alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the other alleging discrimination in the termination of the plaintiff.  In the Order, the Federal court held: “At first, the Amlong Firm did not believe that she had a very strong case, but after [the plaintiff] explained that she had records that might reveal illegal activities by EDCare, the Amlong Firm misled both EDCare and the Court about the amount of materials that [plaintiff] had improperly taken from EDCare during her employment.”  The Federal court explained that “after several hearings and lots of briefing, [a magistrate judge] determined that the Amlong Firm recklessly pursued frivolous litigation and unjustifiably obstructed EDCare’s efforts to obtain key litigation documents (including many of their own internal materials that [plaintiff] misappropriated).”  The Federal court also explained that the Amlong Firm had appeared to use certain language “deliberately interjected into the discussion in an effort to hide the fact that [plaintiff] had taken a lot more materials from EDCare than EDCare knew.”

An earlier Order in the matter had recognized more than $525,000 in fees at issue in the sanctions award.

The team representing EDCare has included Barry PollackJosh Solomon and Alex Davidson.

In a written Decision and Order dated July 27, 2015, the Supreme Judicial Court threw out a case brought by the Trustee of the Adams Temple and School Fund against the Quincy Historical Society and the City of Quincy.  PSD represents the Quincy Historical Society in the matter, led by Barry Pollack.

The Adams Fund, which was established by President John Adams, owns a building and land in Quincy Center that, until 1907, housed a school for boys known as the Adams Academy.   After the Adams Academy closed, the Adams Fund leased the property to different entities in the public interest.  Eventually, in 1972, the then-Trustee for the Adams Fund leased the property to the Quincy Historical Society.   The then-Trustee obtained court approval of the lease before entering into it.

In 2014, a new Trustee brought an action claiming that the former trustee breached fiduciary duties by leasing the property to the Quincy Historical Society for 50 years at what has now allegedly become a below market value rent.

The SJC ruled that the claims were barred by the doctrine of res judicata based on the 1972 decree approving the lease.  As a result, the SJC stated that the claims against the Quincy Historical Society were based on a mistake of law.  The SJC rejected arguments by the new Trustee that res judicata did not apply because a new beneficiary of the Adams Fund, known as the Woodward School for Girls, was not a party to the 1972 proceeding.  The SJC found the argument unconvincing because the Adams Fund is a charitable trust, not a private trust, making the Attorney General the appropriate party named in the 1972 proceeding.  None of the Trustee’s claims in this matter survived the SJC ruling.

On July 16, 2015, the First Circuit issued an opinion vacating felony convictions in U.S. v. Feliz, a federal case out of the District of Puerto Rico.  The appellate court agreed with PSD’s arguments that the federal trial judge had failed to honor fundamental constitutional safeguards when obtaining confessions from an 18 year old suspect who had no criminal history and no prior contact with law enforcement.  Among other things, the trial court erroneously excluded testimony concerning threats by law enforcement as hearsay, when the threats were not being offered to prove that the government would carry out the threats, only that the government intimidated the defendant.  The trial judge also deferred to the jury on credibility issues concerning the voluntariness of the confession, even though the constitution requires the judge to make the necessary fact finding.  The appellate court also agreed to PSD’s request to reassign the matter to a different judge on remand.  Barry Pollack argued the case on appeal.

In a 21-page opinion, the Superior Court of Connecticut in New London granted summary judgment on the claims against a defendant in LBI, Inc. v. Sparks, et al.  PSD argued that the claims were barred by res judicata, agreement of the parties, and by accord and satisfaction.  The plaintiff argued that the parties had agreed only on a scope of injunctive relief in a Consent Order to which the parties agreed on the eve of a preliminary injunction hearing.  The court ruled that the terms of the Consent Order favored treating it as a final judgment barring monetary claims as well.  In part, the court explained that the action involved sophisticated parties represented by counsel who could have used more explicit language if trying to preserve monetary claims.  PSD had removed the case to federal court, where the Consent Order had been entered.  Plaintiff later attempted but failed to vacate the Consent Order in federal court, which rejected the plaintiff’s efforts as untimely.  During an appeal, the Second Circuit remanded the case to state court over plaintiff’s objection.