Sanctioned PopCap Games Attorney Wins Appeal

A Texas appeals court has reversed sanctions against an attorney who was accused and found guilty of accusing opposing counsel of suborning perjury in a lower court ruling. The case is of particular interest only because it involves attorneys for MumboJumbo and PopCap Games International. Attorney Oscar Rey Rodriguez, a partner with the Dallas office of Fulbright & Jaworski, represented PopCap Games International in a contract dispute with MumboJumbo.

Several weeks after the jury trial concluded, MumboJumbo filed a motion for sanctions against PopCap and its attorneys alleging that PopCap had made "baseless allegations" against MumboJumbo in written motions and in open court during the trial. MumboJumbo said in its filing that it was wrongfully accused of concealing evidence and suborning perjury, and that these false accusations were sanctionable. A lower court judge agreed granting part of the motion and sanctioning Rodriguez.

"This accusation was without factual basis and was made in bad faith," said the trial court judge. He ordered Rodriguez to place an advertisement in a legal periodical apologizing for his conduct in the case. Instead he appealed the decision to a higher court.

A panel of three appeals court judges reversed the decision, finding error in the lower court's reasoning.

"There is no evidence to support the trial court's finding that Rodriguez accused counsel for MumboJumbo in open court of knowingly suborning perjury," Judge Joseph Morris wrote for the Fifth District Court of Appeals.

"Rodriguez contends there is no evidence to support the trial court's finding that he accused counsel for MumboJumbo in open court of knowingly suborning perjury," Morris wrote. "We note that MumboJumbo's motion for sanctions did not allege that Rodriguez had accused MumboJumbo's counsel in open court of suborning perjury. The motion for sanctions alleged only that PopCap's counsel had made such an accusation in a written motion. Accordingly, the alleged conduct made the basis of the trial court's sanction order was not the subject of MumboJumbo's motion for sanctions."

At the end of the day the appeals court felt that the trial court's findings were false and a misinterpretation of the law..

Source: Court House News

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