On March 19, 2019, a federal appellate court issued a decision affirming a sanctions award against opposing counsel in the full amount of $422,433.
PSD Discovers Misappropriation of Documents
During two related employment lawsuits in the Southern District of Florida, PSD represented a health care company, EDCare Management. In the course of discovery, it became clear that the plaintiff, a former Executive Assistant, had removed and retained documents that belonged to EDCare. As the appellate court described: “Although the defendants had sent Eldredge a written request for the return of company property and the Amlong firm [which represented her] a civil-theft demand letter, Eldredge and
her lawyer failed to disclose the EDCare documents in their possession and then used some of these confidential records during a deposition. … [The trial court] ordered Eldredge to conduct a diligent search, to return to the defendants all company property in her possession, and to provide an affirmative statement that she has turned over all company property in
her possession. In response to the magistrate judge’s order, Eldredge produced three boxes of documents, two thumb drives, and a disk, almost all of which contained confidential EDCare information.”
PSD Lawyers Obtain Waiver of Privilege from Plaintiff
PSD lawyers negotiated the dismissal of claims against EDCare and exchanges of releases with Eldredge, while she also waived her attorney-client privilege so that sanctions could be pursued against her counsel. The waiver resulted in a massive unraveling of case-long scheme by Eldredge and her counsel to withhold a massive amount of materials that she had retained.
PSD WINS $422,433 IN SANCTIONS AGAINST OPPOSING COUNSEL
PSD persuaded the trial court that the cases were essentially frivolous ab initio and that misconduct so permeated the case that an award of fees from near the outset of the action was appropriate. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the entirety of the award issued by the trial court.
LAW360 reported the successful appellate win by PSD and EDCare. Lead counsel on the case, founding PSD partner Barry Pollack, was quoted in the article: “Today’s decision makes clear what most people learn in kindergarten. You are not allowed to take what belongs to others. Especially if you are a lawyer.”