The Southern District of New York declined to order sua sponte sanctions on Attorney Christopher Bandas in a case involving Major League Baseball television practices, despite finding that "his behavior “has been unfitting for any member of the legal profession” (See Order Declining to Impose Sanctions, page 9). The actions in question involve Bandas’ failure to file an appearance on behalf of an objector he represents. The Court believes this was an attempt to avoid sanctions, but Bandas asserted that “he did not have time to ‘travel around the country and make appearances in every objection matter that I am involved in.’” (id, page 10, citation omitted).
The Court determined that “Bandas has orchestrated the filing of a frivolous objection in an attempt to throw a moneky wrench into the settlement process and extort a pay-off. His plan was thwarted when the Court permitted discovery to proceed on the sanctions motions, which ultimately, apparently, created more risk for Bandas than he was prepared to endure” (id, page 11). The Court also found that Bandas’ “baseless objections waste judicial time and energy that should be spent on more productive matters” (id, page 8, footnote).
However, since Bandas never filed an appearance before the Southern District, the Court was concerned that it lacked authority to issue sanctions against him. Instead, it simply ordered him to provide a copy of the Order in question to all local counsel he retains for matters in the District (id, page 12). This is a troubling development, since Bandas avoided sanctions for his conduct and his agreements with his “local counsel” contained an indemnity clause, preventing them from being found liable for sanctionable behavior, despite having appearances before the Court.
It appears that these serial objectors, despite being repeated execrated by the Courts for their behavior, have found a way to successfully avoid being punished even when their machinations are revealed.
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