Richards Kibbe & Orbe LLP successfully obtained a ruling by a New York federal court vacating sanctions the court previously had issued against the firm’s client, Gina Trimarco.
"We applaud the court for its willingness to reconsider its sanctions ruling,” said Richards Kibbe & Orbe partner James Walker, who represented Ms. Trimarco in the matter. “Above all, we are pleased that a terrific attorney can now go forward in her promising career.”
The sanctions stemmed from a contractual dispute between Smart Insurance, a health insurer, and Benecard Services Inc., a health benefits facilitator. As an associate at DLA Piper, Ms. Trimarco represented Benecard in litigation between the companies in the federal Southern District of New York. In June 2016, after Ms. Trimarco had left the firm for another opportunity, the court found that she had interfered with efforts by the insurers’ legal team to contact a former Benecard employee and, by denying the conduct, had intentionally misled the court. Based on testimony by that former employee, which was later drawn into question by Richards Kibbe & Orbe, the court levied a $1,500 fine against Ms. Trimarco. A DLA Piper partner on the case, B. John Pendelton Jr., was fined $10,000 and held in civil contempt.
On December 14, 2016 the court held hearings on Ms. Trimarco’s and Mr. Pendelton’s motions to reconsider the sanctions rulings. After several hours of witness testimony but before closing arguments, Judge Kathleen Forrest interrupted the proceedings to announce her intention to vacate the sanctions entirely. Addressing Ms. Trimarco personally, the court offered to draft a letter to potential future employers, explaining the circumstances behind the now-vacated sanctions ruling.
Richards Kibbe & Orbe began representing Ms. Trimarco, who has since returned to DLA Piper, only after the sanctions had been issued against her.
Judge Reconsiders Sanctions Against Two Attorneys - New York Law Journal
New Info Gets DLA Piper Attys Out Of Sanctions, Contempt - Law360 (subscription required)
DLA Piper Attys Win New Depo In Insurer's Sanctions Bid - Law360 (subscription required)
DLA Piper Attys Say Insurer's Sanctions Bid Distorts Record - Law360 (subscription required)