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N.Y. Attorney Disqualified From Copyright Case in North Carolina

Jan. 15, 2020, 3:48 PM

A New York attorney making a special appearance in a copyright infringement case in North Carolina was disqualified by a federal district court for exceeding the allowable special appearances in one year.

Richard P. Liebowitz hasn’t “demonstrated good cause for contravention of Local Civil Rule 83.1(e),” which allows special appearances in three unrelated cases per year, the Jan. 14 ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina said.

Liebowitz was criticized by a federal judge in New York in 2018 for filing more than 700 cases in the Southern District of New York since 2016.

The North Carolina court noted that Liebowitz had appeared in three other cases in 2019 before the case in question. It rejected his argument that it should allow him to remain on the case because the cases were “simple actions.”

The rule doesn’t “suggest an exception based upon the type of cases at issue,” the court said.

Liebowitz also argued that he’s competent to handle numerous cases at once but the court also rejected this argument, noting that there were “multiple deficiencies” in the cases.

And Liebowitz’s retention of local counsel doesn’t change a thing because it’s required by the rule, it said.

The court said Liebowitz could substitute another attorney from his firm but it wouldn’t delay the disqualification for the substitution.

Liebowitz didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

The case is Masi v. Mythical Entm’t, 2020 BL 12361, E.D.N.C., No. 5:19-CV-438-FL, 1/14/20.

To contact the reporter on this story: Melissa Heelan Stanzione in Washington at mstanzione@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at jkamens@bloomberglaw.com; Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com

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