Cyrus Sanai: Kozinski investigation “is part of a litigation strategy”; second Sanai v. Saltz sanctions order

by Ted Frank on June 17, 2008

Cyrus Sanai tells Patterico that his triggering an investigation of Judge Alex Kozinski’s web site is all “part of a litigation strategy” but does not reveal what the other two steps of his three-step strategy is, or more insight into his strategic genius.

You may recall the previous post where I discussed criticism of Sanai from Judges Zilly (W.D. Wash.) and Grimes (L.A. Superior Court).

On Patterico, Cyrus Sanai has made available his brief arguing why Zilly’s sanctions order was incorrect. We highly recommend everyone read it, as the brief gives experienced attorneys a strong sense of the merits of Sanai’s arguments.

As for Judge Grimes, Sanai correctly points out that the decision was reversed, thanks to a couple of procedural technicalities caused by California Supreme Court confusion over the difference between “void” and “voidable” jurisdiction. Sanai protested that Judge Grimes (like Judge Zilly, and like Judge Thibodeau (Snohomish County, Wash.)) was biased, and the appellate court agreed to reassign the case on remand. (The appellate court did not make a finding of bias, and says they reassigned based on § 170.1(c), which does not require a finding of bias, but Sanai insists that the reassignment was due to bias.)

Sanai v. Saltz was reassigned to Judge Thomas Green (L.A. Superior Court). Unfortunately for Sanai, the results were worse than they were under the allegedly biased Judge Grimes. Judge Green found that Sanai engaged in litigation in bad faith and for purposes of harassment, and, on September 6, 2007, awarded attorney’s fees in the amount of $1,003,426.25:

It is Defendants’ position that [Sanai's] entire action had no legitimate purpose, and was filed merely for purposes of harassment, and in bad faith. That much is apparent. Keep in mind, this entire case started because Plaintiff’s landlord sent a letter purporting to (lawfully) raise his rent. It contained an obvious typographical error inasmuch as it proposed a rent lower than the amount Plaintiff had been paying, even while apologizing for raising the rent. …

Plaintiff has been litigating this case for about seven years, all because he attempted to seize on this obvious typographical error.This court specifically finds that this entire action has been prosecuted and maintained in bad faith and for the purpose of harassment.

[Sanai] knew at the outset that there was no merit to any of his claims. He has admitted to such in deposition. No reasonable person would have thought he had a valid lease agreement under the circumstances. Plaintiff knew he had no reasonable belief that his rent had been lowered. Thus, he has always known that he owed a legitimate debt, because he knowingly and deliberately underpaid his rent. The debt that was reported to the credit agencies was indisputably valid. Therefore, Plaintiff’s action was frivolous and without merit.

Further, Plaintiff’s prosecution of this matter has been malicious, as evidenced by, among other things, the altering of documents presented to the Clerk’s office and the recording of illegal judgment liens with malice, and then refusing to remove them despite being ordered by the Court to do so. …

In the 35 years this Court has been actively engaged in litigation, 20 as an attorney and 15 as a Judge, this Court has never seen such an abuse of process as the prosecution by Plaintiff of this lawsuit.

In the comments, Sanai says that Judge Green is also biased against him, and that he will prevail on appeal.

One has much sympathy for Cyrus Sanai, who has suffered the extraordinary misfortune of four trial judges in three different jurisdictions who are biased against him, and that does not include the appellate judges like the Chief Justice of the Washington State Supreme Court, Gerry Alexander; Washington State Court of Appeals judges Marlin Applewick, Anne Ellington and William Baker; or Judge Kozinski on the Ninth Circuit, all of whom Sanai has accused of bias. We wish that a just result is reached in Sanai’s various appeals, and pray that a just result is reached if a California legal disciplinary body ever decides to investigate what biased judges have been saying about Sanai.

Earlier.

Update: We have posted Mr. Sanai’s brief to the California Court of Appeals appealing, inter alia, the sanctions order.

{ 1 trackback }

Are legal blogs now an essential check on inaccurate Big Media reporting? « Sophistic Miltonian Serbonian Blog ©
06.18.08 at 11:04 am

{ 20 comments }

1 GolfAddict 06.17.08 at 3:42 pm

Cyrus Sanai is increasingly disgusting. It’s part of his “strategy” to try to intimidate judges into ruling in his favor? After all, if you rule against Sanai he’ll dedicate his life to trying to find and expose your private files.

This man should be stripped of his law license and medicated.

2 frankfromfresno 06.17.08 at 4:11 pm

It would appear that his strategy is to embarrass Kozinski and have Kozinski disciplined or removed from the bench.

The embarrassment campaign has been a success, it would seem.

Kozinski has previously been the subject of a disciplinary investigation in connection with Mr. Sanai (the California Lawyer reports ” Last year Judge Schroeder dismissed the complaint in an order hidden from public view that did not mention Kozinski by name. “Notwithstanding that no specific harm was done to complainant,” she wrote, “the judge acknowledged that his action was perceived by complainant as harmful, apologized for it, and, more importantly, pledged to refrain from such conduct in the future.” (In re Charge of Judicial Misconduct, 05-89098 slip op. at 4 (9th Cir. Dec. 19, 2006).)”

It will be interesting to see whether the disciplinary authorities view Judge Kozinski’s wife’s comments in her e-mail which she allowed Patterico to publish as a violation of Kozinski’s pledge to refrain from publicly commenting on Mr. Sanai’s litigation in the future. I guess the judge will be able to claim that his wife was just off on her own and that he had nothing to do with the e-mail.

You would think that Kozinski would have learned his lesson after being spanked the first time.

3 Jim W 06.17.08 at 4:34 pm

Does Sanai actually practice law beyond waging frivolous pro se battles against his divorced parents?

As regards disciplining Kozinski, I think the disciplinary authorities are a lot more interested in dealing with Sanai than with Kozinski. Kozinski is held in high regard by the judges who make up said disciplinary authority while Sanai is a perennial pain in everyone’s asses.

4 Miss Havisham, bitter anti-bride 06.17.08 at 4:48 pm

“was perceived by complainant as harmful” did you bother to let that sink in? The disciplinary authorities have registered, sir. Mr. Sanai’s complaints are without merit with regard to Judge K. The only thing that might prevent anyone from speaking out about a case is when its disposition has not been decided or if commenting falls under any violation of the ABA (extrajudicial speech, etc.)

5 Cyrus Sanai 06.17.08 at 5:44 pm

Judge Green’s rulings are stayed and on appeal. They will end up in the same place as the prior judges rulings, as they were based (a) on the same errors of law as Judge Grimes, (b) financial interest in the outcome of the litigation, and (c) his refusal to vacate the void orders of the past as ordered by the Court of Appeal (a refusal you no doubt endorse given your criticism of the California Supreme Court). Since he refused to vacate the void orders, he got to the same result. Hardly a surprise.

What does interest, me, Mr. Frank, is that you seem to have a lot of respect for trial judges who get overturned, but no respect for the California Supreme Court, were in no way was confused about the difference between void and voidable.

But that’s for another day. The bottom line is that you have devoted pages of your blog dredging up a case that is still on appeal, but hardly looking at cases where I have won. Why is that? Because you are a shill for those who seek to avoid the law by attacking attorneys who prosecute cases against large corporations, or who object, as I objected, to judicial corruption.

Indeed, I know that once I get Judge Green reversed and tossed, you will state that the Court of Appeal was confused, or that it was on a “technicality.” You accept the results that you like, and reject the results that don’t fit in to your ideological and financial interests.

Cyrus Sanai

6 Ted Frank 06.17.08 at 5:54 pm

Cyrus, you read me wrong. I wish you the legal success you deserve. I want to see justice done in the case of Cyrus Sanai. If you wish to send us a copy of your California Court of Appeal brief, we’ll be happy to post that unedited, so that others can judge the merits of your arguments, just as they can with the RTF file you sent Patterico regarding Judge Zilly’s opinion.

7 Cyrus Sanai 06.17.08 at 6:07 pm

Fair enough. I have nothing to fear about Sanai v. Saltz. The disposition of the Court of Appeal will be published in any event given that it presents a novel issue of pre-emption. Email me your address to the email I register.

Cyrus

8 dsn 06.17.08 at 6:14 pm

If nothing else (and there is a lot more, clearly), these cases illustrate the dangers of representing family, friends, etc. in litigation. Impartiality is a cornerstone of our profession. By taking on cases where you have an emotional interest, you do yourself and our profession a huge disservice. Seeing every adverse ruling as evidence of “corruption” reeks of paranoia and undermines the integrity of the judicial system. You would have done yourself, your family, and your profession a service by hiring outside, impartial counsel.

9 Stephen Gianelli 06.17.08 at 6:34 pm

I suspect Sanai’s “strategy” at this point is to duck under the litigation privilege by claiming his harassment of Justice Kozinski is “litigation strategy”.

It is my personal opinion that a lawyer tenant who seizes in an (acknowledged) typographical error in a landlord’s notice to deliberately underpay his rent, then (rightfully) gets his credit dinged, who then sues the landlord for seven years probably should not be a member of our profession.

The $1 million in SANCTIONS awarded against him in the referenced matter is a tad above the $1,000 threshold to require Sanai to report those sanctions to the State Bar of California—should that order be upheld on appeal.

In addition, when one considers that the underlying matter that resulted in Justice Kozinski’s involvement in the case involved an attempt to relitigate Sanai’s parents’ divorce case that had long ago concluded, one might conclude that Sanai’s might be less than credible as a lawyer—at least that is my opinion.

Regarding Sanai’s appellate brief, I must confess I stopped reading at the partial heading “Judge Zilly’s Dishonest Misrepresentation…”, and I suspect the court of appeal will also. In addition, in my jurisdiction (California), the court of appeal would likely sanction Sanai for accusing a trial judge of “dishonesty” without a basis in fact–unless he has one.

10 z0l0ft 06.17.08 at 6:35 pm

Well, now that Thompson’s out, looks like Sanai is more than willing to fit the ‘every judge that rules against me must be part of a conspiracy’ bill.

Thank you Cyrus. We were almost out of crazy.

11 matt 06.17.08 at 7:20 pm

hey zoloft i was just thinking the same thing . . .hey ted is there some sort of “crazy list” when one lawyer on the list gets disbarred another fills his place?

12 Cyrus Sanai 06.17.08 at 7:33 pm

There are lots of judges that rule against me on a particular issue. That list does not include any of Chief Justice of the Washington State Supreme Court, Gerry Alexander or Washington State Court of Appeals judges Marlin Applewick, Anne Ellington and William Baker; I’ve never been in front of any of them, or been a party in a case before them, so I hardly know why they are on the list. None of them have ever said a bad thing about me. The one Sanai appeal I had before the Washington State Court of Appeal I won.

When I believe the judges are wrong, and the jurisdiction is California, I either get them overturned, or I receive a reasoned decision addressing my arguments and stating why the judges did not agree. That’s the way the game is and should be played. I win plenty of cases, and have been awarded lots of attorneys fees by courts (most recently $35,000 by the Hon. L. Mira a couple of months ago). In California, every time I have raised a material argument to a state appellate court, it has been either addressed or mooted by my winning a different point.

The Ninth Circuit and Washington State are different. You can have obvious corruption, such as the appointment of an employee of a party as a judicial referee, point out that it is corrupt till one is blue in the face, and the existence of the argument is simply ignored. It’s similar to a lot of the comments on this blog and its masters; rather than address (a) the problems that Judge Kozinski has, which have resulted in an unprecedented appointment of a Third Circuit investigatory committee, everyone chooses to (b) run the one other case I have had bad trial judges in, and focus on that. No one asks about the $120,000+ and praise I received from Judge Bruguera in LA Superior Court, or my recent award from Judge Mira; instead, they point to a case where I prevailed and booted off the prior judge, got the same stuff repeated, and have a pending appeal. Supposedly the masters of this site are putting up a .pdf of my draft opening briefs in Sanai v. Saltz. It’s a fair example of my work, and I encourage anyone to read it. As I said, I lose no sleep over the Sanai v. Saltz case.

What has been interesting about this episode is that while I receive withering criticism on this blog and one or two others, I get nothing but accolades from my clients and some new enquiries for business. Making anonymous cheap shots, or running a snarky blog is easy; challenging entrenched judicial impropriety, incredibly hard. This blog and its commentators, by focusing on the bearer of bad news rather than the subject of the news, is doing its part to ensure that no private citizen or attorney will be eager to step forward with news of judicial misconduct. federal or state, in the future.

One of the cases on which I have taken most comfort, and relied most heavily, was a petition for certiorari from the Alabama Supreme Court, where a constitutional attorney convinced the Supreme Court of the United States to vacate the state high court’s decision because of impermissible financial interest of a Justice in the outcome of the case. The lawyer who prevailed on this seemingly hopeless due process attack on a done and dusted case, attacking the integrity of the Alabama Supreme Court? Theodore B. Olson. See Aetna Life Ins. Co. v. Lavoie, 475 U.S. 813 (1986).

Now if someone here can tell me that the appointment of a private litigant’s accountant as a judicial referee isn’t a prima facie act of judicial corruption, I will be very interested to see the analysis and supporting case law. Until that time, I will do my best to get justice for my mother. Of course, I won’t see that; Ted Frank can’t make that argument because he knows it is false; but the existence of ingrained judicial corruption is not interesting to him, or this blog, unless it injures a corporation as opposed to a life-long housewife who had to eject her abusive husband from the house with the support of her children.

Cyrus Sanai

13 Cyrus Sanai 06.17.08 at 7:36 pm

The item on Patterico is not my brief; it is an early combined section of a draft. The final product was split into four.

14 Cyrus Sanai 06.17.08 at 7:39 pm

I emailed drafts of the Sanai v. Saltz brief slighly amended and redacted of personal information; I note that it ain’t being posted.

15 matt 06.17.08 at 8:26 pm

geez man give him time it takes some time to get the email post it . . . plus something might have come up in his private life, just like thompson . . .not everyone lives to serve you

16 BC 06.17.08 at 9:35 pm

Clearly Ted is part of the conspiracy.

17 matt 06.17.08 at 10:17 pm

which conspiracy the one against cyrus or jack . . . or are the two conspiracies actually one!!! (sorry ted i simply could not resist)

18 Cyrus Sanai 06.17.08 at 10:42 pm

What conspiracy? No one told me about about a conspiracy. But if you have pictures…..

But seriiously, I am just not sure that I emailed the documents to the correct address. That’s why I mentioned it. If they did not arrive, I need a different address to send them.

So, if they did not arrive, please get in touch with me.

Cyrus Sanai

19 matt 06.17.08 at 11:22 pm

sigh then you should have said that in the other post instead of sounding like a 3 year old who wasnt getting his way (aka jack thompson)

20 Bill Poser 06.18.08 at 2:57 am

The hypothesis that suggests itself to me is that Mr. Sanai’s strategy is to persuade his opponents that he is crazy and incompetent. Then, when they are thoroughly befuddled, he will hit them with his real suit, against which, like deer frozen by a car’s headlights, they will be unable to defend. But I could be wrong.

Comments on this entry are closed.