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Lawyer, Fined for Lies, Must Spread Word About Court Rebuke (2)

June 5, 2021, 12:23 AMUpdated: June 7, 2021, 5:02 PM

A Pennsylvania attorney who “lied, repeatedly” in court must pay $2,500 in sanctions in a long-running lawsuit, a federal judge said in a blistering decision that also requires the lawyer to share the court’s memorandum with every judge hearing his pending cases.

Attorney Joshua L. Thomas represented Kenneth Taggart in a lawsuit that goes back more than a decade against Deutsche Bank National Trust Co., which holds Taggart’s mortgage. The property in Bucks County was foreclosed, and a state court ordered Taggart to pay more than $835,000 plus interest on the debt. Taggart filed at least one appeal in that case.

He filed another lawsuit in 2020, and Thomas got that case removed to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

In the 2020 case, Taggart asserted 29 claims against various parties in an amended complaint that was 77 pages long. The defendants moved to dismiss all claims in the case, and Judge Gerald J. Pappert granted that motion Thursday.

Pappert called the amended complaint “a convoluted, incoherent, jumbled mess” and said the arguments largely mirror the state claims, to which res judicata applies. He also said that Thomas had “lied, repeatedly, to the Court” during an oral argument.

“Because this is not Thomas’s first rodeo, the Court concludes that Thomas violated Rule 11(b)(1) by bringing this Motion for the improper purposes of collaterally attacking a state court judgment and increasing the cost of litigation,” Pappert said.

The court called Taggart a “serial litigant” and noted that Thomas has been sanctioned in the past.

“Taggart’s frivolity has often been aided and abetted by Joshua Thomas,” the court said. The attorney “has drawn increasing scrutiny, criticism and sanction from our Court, other district courts and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Thomas’s conduct in this case earns him further sanctions.”

Thomas denounced the opinion in a statement to Bloomberg Law Monday.

“The court seemed much more interested in trying to personally discredit myself and my client, than actually even attempt what would be considered a fair, or just ruling,” the statement said.

Thomas said he and his client have “had success all the way up in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and it seems this court wants to throw out that success and try to stop us from fighting. It’s very telling that the opinion starts with personal attacks, and ends with them.”

In addition to the Rule 11 fine, the court said it is forwarding its memo to an attorney disciplinary committee. Pappert’s ruling also requires Thomas to inform other courts about the sanctions.

“Thomas must provide a copy of this Memorandum, the corresponding Order and the transcript of the Show Cause Hearing to the disciplinary committee for every state bar and every federal court to which he is admitted. He shall also provide these materials to all judges presiding over any pending proceeding in which he is involved,” Pappert wrote.

Deutsche Bank is represented by Stern & Eisenberg PC.

The case is Taggart v. Deutsche Bank Nat’l Tr. Co., E.D. Pa., No. 2:20-cv-05503, 6/3/21.

(Updates June 4 story with comments from attorney in ninth through 11th paragraphs.)

To contact the reporter on this story: David McAfee in Los Angeles at dmcAfee@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Peggy Aulino at maulino@bloomberglaw.com

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