Article III federal judge takes prosecutor to task for lying in court

In an article from December 2014, Sidney Powell offers a colorful description of a proceeding in which a federal judge excoriated a federal prosecutor for lying in his courtroom.  Sidney Powell, Judge Kevin Thomas Duffy Blasts Federal Prosecutor For Lying in Court (December 16, 2014)  Sidney Powell worked in the Department of Justice for 10 years and was lead counsel in more than 500 federal appeals. She is the author of Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice.  Sadly, these sorts of abused of power appear to be increasing in frequency (or the technology age has rendered them easier to detect and widely disseminate).


Suit alleging that firm maneuvered to convert an undisclosed $6 million settlement into fees without consent by 600 clients transferred from Alameda to L.A.

2013 was a turbulent year in the class action world and in mine.  As a result, there were some newsworthy stories I didn't have time to cover this past year.  One such news story involves the transfer to Los Angeles County of a suit alleging a scheme to transform most or all of $6 million settlement into attorney's fees without fully disclosing the scheme to roughly 600 clients until it was too late for them to do anything about it.  Here's how Courthouse News Service summed up the shocking allegations:  "A California law firm accepted a $6 million 'secret settlement' of a labor class action against a bank, agreed to dismiss the claims without telling 600 clients, then tried to convert the whole settlement into legal fees, a class action claims in state court."  Jamie Ross, Class Claims Lawyer Took 'Secret' $6M Deal, Courthouse News Service (October 22, 2012).  Who would do such a thing?  Courthouse News Service identified the defendants in the proposed class action suit: " Lead plaintiff Kendra Cutting sued Mark Yablonovich; an attorney in his law office . . . , and The Law Offices of Mark Yablonovich, in Alameda County Court."  Ibid.  It appears from the docket that the attorney in Mr. Yablonovich's office was dismissed with prejudice from the action not too long after it was filed.

Courthouse News Service wasn't alone in covering these disturbing allegations.  For example, Law360 noted, "Because the Yablonovich lawyers allegedly did not first approve the deal with their clients, the Cutting complaint said the firm's actions represented a breach of fiduciary duty and legal malpractice."  Scott Flaherty, LA Attys Sued Over 'Secret' $6M Wells Fargo OT Settlement, (October 19, 2012)

Anyhow, in April 2013, Alameda sent this fine example of what not to do to clients to Los Angeles.  I guess that Northern California felt that Los Angeles wasn't grimy enough already.  You can read the original complaint here.  Or, better yet, get the whole thing here.  The case appears to be stayed while appeals involving Initiative Legal Group are pending.  Those appeals can be viewed here and here.  But you can check on the status of the L.A. Superior Court action by using the Case Summaries tool and entering case number BC512429.

The biggest move...

After four years at Spiro Moore (formerly, Spiro Moss), I have decided to take the biggest step of all and chart my own course.  There are still some things to sort out, but in short order I will have an announcement about my landing spot and my partner in this venture.  Until then, let me say that it was a privilege to work at Spiro Moore, but I am very excited by what is to come.

I won't be leaving the class action field, but I will be re-tooling my focus a bit.  Much more of my time will be devoted to union corruption cases, and much less will be focused on wage & hour.  There will be some other things to work on, but why spoil every good surprise, right?

Perhaps a name change for a controversial plaintiff-side class action law firm is in the works... (Bumped)

It appears that attorneys at Initiative Legal Group are starting to appear at a "new" firm named Capstone Law, APC.  But Capstone is in the same building as Initiative Legal Group, so, fishy.  Perhaps its is just a coincidence, but maybe it has something to do with the problems Iniative Legal Group is having in Lofton v. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Case No. CGC-11-509502 (see also, Maxon v. Initiative Legal Group APC, App. Ct. Case No. A136626).  Nothing like a change of name to shake off the taint of allegations like those, right?