Devin Nunes' Favorite Lawyer On The Hook For Over $20k In Sanctions

from the pay-up-biss dept

Last month we wrote that Rep. Devin Nunes' favorite lawyer, Steven Biss, who has been filing frivolous, vexatious SLAPP suit after frivolous, vexatious SLAPP suit, was finally facing some sanctions. The specific case did not directly involve Nunes, but rather one of his aides, Derek Harvey, who had filed a ridiculous SLAPP suit against CNN. As we wrote last month, the court had easily tossed the original lawsuit and warned Biss not to file an amended complaint unless he had a credible legal theory. Biss did not have a credible legal theory, but he still filed an amended complaint. And thus, the court issued sanctions, saying that Harvey, Biss and other lawyers would be on the hook for CNN's legal fees.

The latest filing in the case is the bill coming due. Harvey and Biss need to pay CNN $21,437.50 in legal fees (and an additional $52.26 in costs and expenses). That might not seem like that much in the grand scheme of things (especially for a lawyer who has claimed his client, Devin Nunes, is owed over a billion dollars for defamation, but it is still real money that someone is going to need to pay -- though it remains an open question as to who is actually going to pay it).

There's not much to see in the ruling itself, as it basically says that the fees CNN's lawyers outlined are within the standards that the court's local rules say are "presumptively reasonable." The lawyers admit that they're actually asking for less than they normally charge in order to keep them "reasonable" in the Court's eyes, and the Court basically says "sounds good."

It does often seem that lawyers who file tons of frivolous and vexatious lawsuits are able to get away with it for a while, with courts giving them many, many chances and being extremely reluctant to issue sanctions. And, even when sanctions are issued, they tend to be relatively low. However, with such repeat offenders, we've often seen that courts across the country take notice, and once one court has sanctioned this kind of behavior, it can open the floodgates. We'll see what happens in other Biss lawsuits.

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Filed Under: derek harvey, devin nunes, legal fees, sanctions, slapp, steven biss
Companies: cnn


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  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 6 May 2021 @ 3:56pm

    Actual consequences for bullshit behavior — you gotta love seein’ it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 6 May 2021 @ 4:00pm

    It would be nice to see, if any, future sanctions be logarithmic in scale.

    IE, "Let's just see how stupid you can be."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 6 May 2021 @ 4:18pm

      Re:

      I'd prefer exponential in scale.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Baron von Robber, 6 May 2021 @ 5:09pm

        Re: Re:

        Ah yep, I agree. Exp > Log
        I got the two curves mixed up.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Bobvious, 6 May 2021 @ 5:48pm

          Re: Re: Re:Exp > Log

          It's very common to see the two interchanged in common parlance, but we know what you meant.

          https://revisionmaths.com/advanced-level-maths-revision/pure-maths/calculus/exponentials-and- logarithms

          We're a generally forgiving bunch here.

          "Can logarithm of a negative number be real?" , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soFDU-1knNE

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2021 @ 8:35pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:Exp > Log

            At first i sort of saw that link as revisionist maths, and then got chills realizing that this is probably a thing somewhere.

            Is there a numbered or named rule covering this?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          sumgai (profile), 6 May 2021 @ 11:16pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Math newbies. You want to go for the factorial: n! = n + (n-1)!

          21437^2 = 459,544,969

          21437! = 19,613,364,732,524,698,964,556 and change (My calculator first choked and just said "Overflow". I had to put the decimal point two places to the left to get a meaningful number.)

          Somebody's gonna empty Amazon's whole warehouse of Maalox, that's a given!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            sumgai (profile), 6 May 2021 @ 11:19pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            AAARGH!

            I proof read with my eyes closed, obviously. The formula should read:

            n! = n X (n-1)!

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Bobvious, 7 May 2021 @ 2:57am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            And without using any calculation tools, I can tell you that the last digit of 21437! is 0. And any standard 10 digit calculator is limited to 69! because they usually stop just short of a Googol.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Christenson, 7 May 2021 @ 6:04am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              More than that...without calculating or heavy accounting
              21437! has at least 2143 zeros at the end of it...and at least 60,000 total digits!

              Hint: 21437! = 21437 21436 21435 ...321,
              For the zeros, notice 2143 of those factors end in at least one zero, and I'm neglecting all the ones ending in more than one zero, the 2143 pairs of factors ending in 5 and 2, and more combinations.

              For the digits, we can simply count that we have 20,437 factors larger than 1000, and each of these adds 3 digits apiece to the total.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2021 @ 3:03pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            ...You know, I was going to suggest tetration, but that's too much for anyone.

            For reference:
            1^^1 = 1
            2^^2 = 2^2 = 4
            3^^3 = 3^3^3 > 7 billion
            4^^4 = 4^4^4^4 > 8*10^153
            5^^5 = 5^5^5^5^5 = don't even think about it

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              christenson, 7 May 2021 @ 8:14pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              5^^5 > 5^(4^^4) > 5^ (8 * 10^153) > 10^(4 * 10^153).

              So a number with 4*10^153 digits. Kewl! No wonder my computer got so heavy with all the bits!

              (Oh, and that number ends in the digits 125, since all odd powers of 5 except 5^1 end in 125.)

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 6 May 2021 @ 4:01pm

    Going above and beyond... in abusing the system

    When a lawyer faces a penalty for their behavior in court you know they really screwed up, because it takes some serious work to get a judge to issue more than a stern finger wagging when it comes to lawyers as many, many articles on TD can attest to.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 6 May 2021 @ 4:07pm

      Re: Going above and beyond... in abusing the system

      Which is why Rudy is soooo screwed.

      "We don't like to sanction lawyers, but to sign a search warrant? Very very rare. Yea, I'll sign." - any judge.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Bobvious, 6 May 2021 @ 5:11pm

        Re: Re: Going above and beyond... in abusing the system

        "Which is why Rudy is soooo screwed."

        So is advancing the Sidney "no reasonable person" Powell legal theory a credible legal theory?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Baron von Robber, 10 May 2021 @ 4:17pm

          Re: Re: Re: Going above and beyond... in abusing the system

          Well it would be but it's she's screwed one way or another...maybe both.

          Look up on Youtube "Kraken" & Legal Eagle. He does a pretty good job of explaining this.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2021 @ 12:19am

        Re: Re: Going above and beyond... in abusing the system

        The pathetic part is Rudy must know this from his tenure at SDNY. If they're raiding your house serving warrants instead of a friendly sit down, that means it's going to be a rough ride.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 7 May 2021 @ 11:50am

          Re: Re: Re: Going above and beyond... in abusing the system

          If they're raiding the house of a lawyer, let alone one who directly served a president, I think you can bet they'll have done their homework before even considering signing the search order.

          But, for me, the funniest part of it is that apparently he's been trying to call in Trump's debts in order to help fight this. Rudy, you expect Trump to pay his bills? Have you... met Trump? He left his voters stranded in freezing conditions after rallies because he wasn't paying the bus companies to take the back from the venue, when he was trying to convince them to give him the vote, do you think he'll pay the guy who failed to overturn the election for him?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Annonymouse, 8 May 2021 @ 4:07pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Going above and beyond... in abusing the system

            If they're raiding the house of a lawyer, let alone one who directly served a president, I think you can bet they'll have done their homework before even considering signing the search order.

            Judges were originally lawyers and doing their homework has never been a standard or even a common practice on either side of our common border.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 6 May 2021 @ 4:35pm

    Looks like the judge got Bissed off.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2021 @ 9:22pm

    Looks like Biss milked Nunes for all his license is worth. Sometimes you get cream, but mostly it curdles in front of a judge.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 7 May 2021 @ 6:21am

    An idea!

    Bliss could tell the court that his credible legal theory is to increase CNN's litigation costs! That would work! It would send a strong message to the court and get the court's attention.

    Bliss: if you're reading this, DON'T actually do this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Trails (profile), 7 May 2021 @ 9:20am

    Moooooo

    I bet they make Devin Nunes' Cow pay for this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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