A decision just issued from New York Acting Supreme Court Justice L.B. Sullivan that might make Donald Trump’s hair stand up. Via Eric Turkewitz, the order comes as a lagging indicator in Trump’s lawsuit against Univision for its decision not to air the Miss Universe Pageant.
In reaction, Trump sued Univision under the legal theory of quia non potest. Turk wasn’t impressed:
At the time it happened, I ripped the defamation claim to shreds as frivolous. As didPopehat, albeit more colorfully than I (Donald Trump’s Lawyers Don’t Know Or Don’t Care What Defamation Is)
Now, it appears, a New York judge agrees. Even though the case was removed a couple weeks later to federal court, it was filed in New York’s Supreme Court (our main trial level court). And because it was filed there, the court apparently retains jurisdiction over anything that happened while still under its roof.
Justice Sullivan’s ruling is, how to put this gently, rather remarkable in a state that lacks a anti-SLAPP and rarely, if ever, sanctions anybody for anything. Yet Justice Sullivan not only imposed sanctions, but $500,000,000 in sanctions, based upon Trump’s assertion that he’s worth more than $10 billion. After all, it will take a big hit to make someone like Trump take notice.
But if any judge was likely to be inclined to impose sanctions, it would be Justice Sullivan, given his pre-bench experience at the now-defunct all-pro-bono firm of Brandenburg, Schenk & Sullivan. What were the chances that perhaps this case would end up on his docket?
What remains to be seen is whether Justice Sullivan retains jurisdiction over the case, given that Trump, a New Yorker, will likely have another case or two before the campaign is over.
Trump, it seems, is a walking, talking bar exam question. Every time he does something he opens more cans of legal issues.
The next few months could prove very busy for Judge Sullivan.
Update: As you have already figure out, this was my small contribution to Turk’s April Fool’s gag, along with Public Citizen’s Paul Alan Levy. It was my pleasure to be a laboring oar in some fun, especially given that there was actually a point behind it. It’s unfortunate that so few other bloggers, of the handful remaining, decided to join in. It’s gotten awfully chilly around here.
Pingback: Judge Hits Trump for $500M Sanction for Frivolous Defamation Claim | New York Personal Injury Law Blog
I hate April 1st.
It’s just a another day.
Justice L.B. Sullivan was a nice touch.
Could not Trump’s lawyer argue that he was simply practicing antisanism? According to your other entry on sanism, client’s are harmed when “Sanist lawyers (1) distrust their mentally disabled clients, (2) trivialize their complaints, (3) fail to forge authentic attorney-client relationships with such clients and reject their clients’ potential contributions to case-strategizing, and (4) take less seriously case outcomes that are adverse to their clients. ”
Granted, that post was dealing with criminal and not civil actions, but could not a sane argument be made that pursuant to a NYS certified CLE course, a lawyer should not trivialize a complaint of a client no matter how insane or sane? And could not Mr. Trump’s lawyer not claim that they were forging an authentic attorney-client relationship and embracing the client’s contributions to case-stragetizing, which validated Mr. Trump’s strategy of making the defendant spend a few bucks?
Indeed, Mr. Trump’s claims seem to perfectly align with principles of therapeutic jurisprudence, which requires lawyers to work with clients to insure a sense of the client’s “voice” in such a way that validates clients’ voluntary choices in the litigation process.
How then, could validating a voice be held to be frivolous in a post sane judicial system?
This is so rational it’s scaring me.
It’s April 1st, so did you make sure this story is for real? You should verify it with the White House law blogger.
Isn’t April 1st Brunhilda Appreciation Day in Heidelberg?
I don’t know about Brunhilda Appreciation Day, but Dr. Flotte’s, the bar on the HaupStrasse favored by many in the expat community gives free beer on April 1st…
You know that guy who doesn’t get a joke, so he steps on it with some tidbit of irrelevant yet unfunny information?
That’s usually me. Of course , I can’t recall what I had for breakfast.
Actually, Scott, that guy would be you.
Sorry, you didn’t get the joke on your joke…
Maybe if you’d spent any time in H’berg.
Oh, well there’s a long tradition of people not getting April Fools Jokes.
It wouldn’t be the first time.
Like the sign in a couple of pubs I’ve seen that proclaims Free Beer Tomorrow.
It’s dated March 31st.
What’s our share of the 500 mill?
Pingback: Deconstructing the Trump Sanction Hoax | New York Personal Injury Law Blog
Somewhere, Jack Marshall’s head just exploded. Ethically, of course.
I am sad at his passing. Every time.