Minneapolis attorney suspended for ignoring fines, filing frivolous lawsuits
- Article by: Randy Furst
- Star Tribune
- January 15, 2014 - 7:47 PM
A Minneapolis attorney who has repeatedly defied warnings and sanctions by federal judges, even as he publicly called for their impeachment on his website, has been suspended from practicing law by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. District Court in Minnesota.
The Circuit Court said that William B. Butler has been sanctioned by local federal judges “for filing over 30 frivolous actions” and had been found to engage in “brazen delay tactics and judge-shopping by voluntarily dismissing lawsuits he had filed and refiling them immediately afterward.”
It cited a federal court finding that he cycled the same plaintiffs through different lawsuits, “making sure to reshuffle the caption so that a different person appears to be the lead plaintiff.”
The Star Tribune calculated last summer that Butler had $323,307 in local federal sanctions regarding suits he had filed, arguing that home foreclosures are invalid and citing legal arguments that judges rejected. Undeterred, Butler made similar arguments in other cases, and judges started sanctioning him.
“To this date he has not paid the sanctions, nor made any arrangement to pay any part of what he owes in the district court,” the 8th Circuit said in a Dec. 26 order that was filed Tuesday — along with an order by Minnesota’s chief federal Judge Michael Davis suspending Butler.
“He has meanwhile filed appeal in at least 24 cases involving the same or substantially similar claims and tactics as those for which he was originally sanctioned,” the 8th Circuit said.
The Appeals Court said he will remain suspended until he pays the sanctions to the Minnesota federal court or the court finds he has “substantially complied with his obligations to it.” Davis said he will not lift his suspension until the Appeals Court reinstates Butler.
Joseph Daly, emeritus professor of law at Hamline University, said Wednesday a court rule prohibits frivolous lawsuits that include repeatedly making the same arguments to a judge or appeals court that has already rejected those arguments. “Once the judge makes a decision and you have lost, you have to accept you lost, even if you believe the position is wrong,” Daly said.
Asked for his reaction, Butler remained defiant. In an e-mail, he wrote: “These courts need to recognize that they are not fighting Bill Butler, they are fighting the truth. The truth is that there are 62 million invalid securitized mortgages, and courts are doing everything they can to resist this truth …
“I am relieved that I can no longer practice before these courts. They will not let truth in the door.”
He said he “will do my best to find a forum where my clients can get a fair shake.”
Randy Furst • 612-673-4224
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