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Federal Judge Sanctions Two Parasitic Plaintiffs’ Lawyers for ‘See What Sticks’ Approach to Litigation

In an encouraging close to 2015, U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann sanctioned two Pennsylvania plaintiffs’ lawyers for their stubborn pursuit of largely meritless, “see-what-sticks” litigation.

With a December 16 order, Judge Brann fined Devon M. Jacob $5,000 for including “witless observations” in a “less-than-artful” amended complaint which ignored earlier dismissals of causes of action.  Brann had previously warned Jacob to be more prudent with his amended complaints. The sanction represents the defendants’ costs in filing the motion for sanctions. Jacob was instructed to file a fourth amended complaint that comports with the court’s directions, or risk disqualification from the case.

Less than two weeks later, Judge Brann also sanctioned Donald P. Russo, ordering the plaintiff’s lawyer to pay defendants’ reasonable costs and fees in “baseless [employment discrimination] suits aiming to extort an unwarranted settlement and transfer wealth.”

Judge Brann wrote that such sanctions are necessary so “unscrupulous plaintiffs lawyers everywhere” don’t otherwise conclude they can “file baseless claims” with impunity.

Happy New Year, Judge Brann!

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