From the Daily News:
Lawyer win in Perelman case
A New Jersey appeals court on Thursday ruled that billionaire Revlon chairman Ron Perelman’s initial challenge to his former father-in-law’s estate plan was “frivolous,” but a $2 million fine against his lawyers for bringing it was too harsh.
The Appellate Division ruling stems from a 2008 battle between Perelman and his former in-laws, the Cohens. The decision has no direct impact on an on-going trial in which daughter Samantha Perelman is challenging her grandfather’s will.
Interesting, for several reasons. First, it brings up the issue of frivolous lawsuits. And maybe you didn’t know that a court could toss a lawsuit not just because the judge decided against the plaintiff, but because the lawsuit itself was frivolous. That is, a deliberate nuisance. Second, maybe you didn’t know that lawyers could be fined for representing a client, i.e., signing off on a lawsuit that is declared frivolous.
I can understand why lawyers for Perelman would be persuaded to file such a lawsuit. I’ve heard the lawyer’s expression, “we don’t control the client.” But that doesn’t mean that a lawyer can’t just back away from the lawsuit. Yeah, I guess if you want to keep this valuable, big money client in your law firm portfolio, you might tremble at turning down participation in his lawsuit.
But this is what happens when you don’t: you have to spend more money convincing a court that your $2 million fine is too much.