Commercial Division Blog
Posted: December 15, 2014 / Categories Commercial, Court Rules/Procedures, Law Firms and Professional Ethics, Injunctions Attachments and Other Preliminary Remedies
Party Sanctioned for Harassing Opponent
On December 8, 2014, Justice Ramos of the New York County Commercial Division issued a decision in Morningside Translations, Inc. v. Tsaidi, 2014 NY Slip Op. 51710(U), sanctioning a plaintiff and one of its officers for harassing defendants.
In Morningside Translations, the plaintiff sued the defendants for allegedly explointing the plaintiff's "confidential and proprietary information, improper use of resources to develop Defendants' own competitive venture, and breach of duties of loyalty to the Plaintiffs and the express terms of employment agreements." Eisen, an officer and shareholder of the plaintiff, repeatedly sent "inappropriate emails" to certain defendants and their counsel. The court sanctioned Eisen and the plaintiff for this conduct, explaining:
This Court has broad inherent equitable powers to fashion an appropriate remedy when equity so requires. Once equity is invoked, the court's power is as broad as equity and justice require.
The nature of Eisen's communications is disturbing and threatening. Eisen frequently contacted the Individual Defendants and Defendants' counsel with inappropriate emails during the litigation despite the defendants' counsel asking Eisen's attorney to direct Eisen to cease his inappropriate communication. The communications became more frequent in the middle of September 2014. Eisen contacted not only the Individual Defendants and Defendants' counsel but also the Individual Defendants' family members directly. Moreover, Eisen called Defendants' counsel's home and spoke with his wife.
All the facts indicate that Eisen kept inappropriate communications with the Individual Defendants, the Individual Defendants' family members and Defendants' counsel even when Eisen was asked to cease the communications. It is foreseeable that Eisen would keep contacting the Individual Defendants, the Individual Defendants' family members and Defendants' counsel without an injunction by the Court under the Court's broad equitable powers.
This Court may exercise discretion to impose costs and sanctions on an errant party under certain circumstances. The relief may include, inter alia, sanctions against the offending party or an amount to be determined by this Court, which would be payable to the Client Security Fund. Whether the court exercises discretion depends on whether Eisen's conduct was frivolous which is defined to include conduct undertaken primarily to harass or maliciously injure another.
Eisen's campaign of emails, telephone calls, and texts against the Individual Defendants, their family members and counsel was undertaken to harass since they were numerous in number, sent frequently, inappropriate, unsolicited, and sent after consistent warnings from defense counsel not to do so. Eisen should be compelled to pay the costs and attorney's fees incurred by Defendants to make the instant motion.
(Internal quotations and citations omitted). In addition to ordering Eisen to pay the costs and fees associated with making the motion, the court enjoined him "from communicating by mechanical or electronic means, anonymously or otherwise, other than through his counsel, with the Individual Defendants or their immediate family members, significant others, in-laws, cousins, or counsel, from appearing at the homes or business of the Individual Defendants or their immediate family members, significant others, in-laws, cousins, or counsel, absent Defendants' consent."
Sometimes, clients are their own worst enemies.