Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In Re Linerboard Antitrust Litigation

July 16, 2012

IN RE LINERBOARD ANTITRUST LITIGATION


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dubois, J.

THIS DOCUMENT RELATES TO:

MEMORANDUM

I. INTRODUCTION. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

II. BACKGROUND. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

A. The Linerboard Class-Action Settlement and Fee Allocation; Peoples's 2004 State Court Lawsuit.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

B. All Writs Act Injunction; Settlement of Peoples--Langer Suit.. . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

C. Peoples' Telephone Messages; 2005 Emergency TRO and Consent Stipulation Order.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

D. Peoples' Letter to Disciplinary Board; Peoples' June 29, 2006, Telephone Message. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

E. Langer's First Contempt Motion; Contempt Hearing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

F. Peoples's Attempts to Relitigate Fee Allocation in State Court; Langer's Second Contempt Motion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

G. The Court's July 14 and 15, 2008, Opinions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

H. Langer Seeks Reconsideration; Peoples Resumes Third State Court Suit.. . 15

I. Court's October 3, 2008, Memorandum & Order Granting Reconsideration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

J. Parties File Cross-Appeals; Peoples's Attorney Withdraws; Peoples Resumes Phone Harassment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

K. Peoples's Republic First Bank Subpoenas.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

1. The Subpoenas. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

2. Peoples Fails to Notify Langer of Issuance of Subpoenas. . . . . . . . . . 21

3. Contents of the Records.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

L. Third Circuit Opinion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

M. Peoples Instigates IRS Audit of Langer.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

1. Peoples Instigates Audit. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

2. IRS Audits Langer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

3. Langer Files Third Contempt Motion; Peoples Continues Correspondence with IRS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

N. Supreme Court Denies Certiorari; Third State Case Closed; Court Begins Proceedings on Remand. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

O. Efforts to Schedule Hearing on Pending Motions Unsuccessful. . . . . . . . . . . 29

P. Peoples Serves Notice of Motion for Sanctions; Langer Files Motion for Temporary Restraining Order. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

Q. Preliminary Injunction Hearing and Related Proceedings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

1. February 3, 2012, Hearing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

2. Proceedings Between Hearings.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

i. Peoples's Compliance with Document Production Order. . . . 39

ii. IRS Document Production. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

iii. Sanctions Filings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41

iv. Langer's Memorandum Addressing IRS Communications and Setting Forth Relief Requested. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

v.

Peoples's Attendance at Hearing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43

3. February 28, 2012, Hearing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44

4. February 29, 2012, Hearing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

5. Frank Marcone.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

R. Langer's Requested Relief. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49

III. DISCUSSION-DUE PROCESS AND PEOPLES'S ATTENDANCE. . . . . . . . . . . 50

A. Due Process Required Before a Finding of Civil Contempt.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

B. Langer's Oral Motion to Hold Peoples in Contempt for Failure to Attend Preliminary Injunction Hearing.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51

IV. DISCUSSION-PEOPLES'S EIGHT ACTS OF CONTEMPT.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52

A. Standard for Civil Contempt. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52

B. Validity of Orders. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

1. All Writs Act Injunction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

2. 2005 TRO and 2005 Consent Stipulation Order.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54

3. Conclusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54

C. Knowledge of Orders.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54

D. Violations of Orders.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55

1. Contempt One: February 2005 Letter to Disciplinary Board. . . . . . . 55

2. Contempt Two: June 29, 2006, Harassing Telephone Call. . . . . . . . . 56

3. Contempt Three: Filing of Second State Case on December 31, 2007 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56

4. Contempt Four: Filing of Third State Case on January 9, 2008. . . . . 58

5. Contempts Five through Seven: Service of Subpoenas on Republic First Bank on June 2, 2009; June 15, 2009; and September14, 2009 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59

i. Violation of the All Writs Act Injunction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59

ii. The Subpoenas Were Served in Violation of Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60

6. Contempt Eight: Communications with IRS Between February and October 2010.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62

E. Conclusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

V. REMEDIES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

A. Standard-Remedies for Civil Contempt. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

B. Court's Continuing Jurisdiction.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66

C. Permanent Injunction Regarding Financial Information. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66

D. Coercive Sanctions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67

E. Production of All Republic First Bank Documents. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69

F. Reinstatement of 2005 Emergency TRO and 2005 Consent Stipulation Order . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73

G. Fees and Costs Related to Contempts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73

H. Fees and Costs Related to 2012 TRO. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75

I. Frank Marcone.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77

J. John Peoples. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77

VI. CONCLUSION. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78

I. INTRODUCTION

This is a case about the tail wagging the dog. The substance of this ground-breaking case effectively ended on March 21, 2004, when the Court granted final approval to the last two partial settlements in the class-action component of the case. On June 2, 2004, the Court awarded a counsel fee of thirty percent of the $202,572,489 settlement, to be allocated by liaison counsel Howard Langer, Esquire. Displeased with the allocation he received, John F. Peoples, Esquire, has engaged for almost eight years in what the Third Circuit called a "quixotic crusade" against Langer and this Court, claiming he is entitled to additional funds despite entering into a settlement agreement in 2004. Peoples has relentlessly pursued this crusade in increasingly diverse venues and through methods that have grown more desperate at each turn. In doing so, he has repeatedly and systematically violated court orders, stepped far beyond the bounds of ethical conduct required of attorneys, and undertaken acts that are reprehensible and possibly criminal.

Presently before the Court are Howard Langer's Motion for an Order Holding John Peoples, Esquire, in Contempt, Imposing Disciplinary Sanctions Upon Him, and Referring his Behavior to Chief Judge Bartle for an Order to Show Cause Why He Should Not Suspended From Practice and Request for Expedited Hearing; Howard Langer's Motion for an Order to Show Cause Why John Peoples Should Not Be Held in Further Contempt for Initiating a Lawsuit in Delaware County Court in Violation of this Court's All Writs Injunction; Howard Langer's Motion for an Order to Show Cause Why John Peoples Should Not Be Held in Further Contempt; Howard Langer's Motion to Proceed Without Evidentiary Hearing; Howard Langer's Motion for Preliminary Injunction; Peoples's Motion for Relief Pursuant to the Provisions of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 11, Title 28 U.S.C. § 1927 and the Court's Inherent Power, and Howard Langer's Cross-Motion of Howard Langer and Langer Grogan & Diver for Sanctions under 28 USC § 1927 and the Inherent Powers of the Court. For the reasons set forth below, the Court finds that Peoples committed civil contempt on eight occasions, imposes sanctions to compensate Langer, and orders injunctive relief with the goal of ending this dispute for good.

II. BACKGROUND

The relevant facts and procedural history of the Peoples--Langer dispute are set forth in detail in the prior opinions of this Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.*fn1 Accordingly, this Memorandum discusses only the background necessary to resolve the motions presently before the Court. The Memorandum sets forth the facts in chronological order, notwithstanding that certain facts predating prior opinions only came to light subsequent to the issuance of those opinions.

A. The Linerboard Class-Action Settlement and Fee Allocation; Peoples's 2004 State Court Lawsuit

On March 21, 2004, the Court approved the last two partial settlements of the class-action component of the case, which involved "allegations that a number of U.S. manufacturers of linerboard engaged in a continuing combination and conspiracy in unreasonable restraint of trade and commerce in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1." In re Linerboard Antitrust Litig., 292 F. Supp. 2d 631, 634 (E.D. Pa. 2003). The Court subsequently approved a counsel fee of thirty percent of the total settlement amount-$202,572,489 ("Settlement Fund")-"with allocations to specific firms to be made by liaison counsel, Howard Langer, Esquire." (Order of June 2, 2004, Docket no. 388); see also In re Linerboard Antitrust Litig., MDL No. 1261, 2004 WL 1221350 (E.D. Pa. June 2, 2004). The allocations were not included in any filed document and were never made a matter of public record. Only Langer, as liaison counsel, was aware of each attorney's allocation. The allocations were kept confidential due to "an unseemly amount of litigation between lawyers over the allocation of fees" that occurred in class actions when the fee amounts were public. (Feb. 3, 2012, Hr'g Tr. ("2/3/12 Tr.") 45--46.) Republic First Bank ("RFB"), where the Settlement Fund had been deposited, made the distributions pursuant to instructions given by Langer with the assistance of the Heffler Radetich & Saitta LLP accounting firm ("Heffler Radetich"). (Id. at 47--48.) The Court retained jurisdiction "over the Settlement Fund and its distribution, as well as all issues relating to the fees and costs of counsel in this action." (Order of June 4, 2004, Docket no. 389); see also In re Linerboard Antitrust Litig., MDL no. 1261, 2004 WL 1240775, at *1 (E.D. Pa. June 4, 2004).

Langer allocated two million dollars to Peoples, who was dissatisfied with this amount and "'made it very clear [to Langer] that [Peoples] was going to get very angry if [Langer] didn't come up with more money.'" In re Linerboard Antitrust Litig, 2008 WL 2758442, at *2 (quoting May 3, 2007, Hr'g Tr. ("5/3/07 Tr.") 27). Peoples filed suit in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County on June 23, 2004-hereinafter the "first state case"-alleging "that he was entitled to four million dollars in attorney's fees from the settlement of the box class-action component of MDL 1261, as well as punitive damages and attorney's fees."*fn2 Id. at *3. Underlying Peoples's allegation was his belief that "Langer promised to pay to Peoples ten percent (10%) of all fees awarded in MDL 1261 to Langer and all other attorneys representing parties in the Box Sub-Class" and that Langer "misrepresented to Peoples and to [the Court] that this overall fee was $29.4 million rather than $49 million." In re Linerboard Antitrust Litig., 2008 WL 4461914, at *4--5. Langer removed the Court of Common Pleas case to this Court, where it was docketed as Peoples v. Langer et al., Civil Action No. 04-2785.

B. All Writs Act Injunction; Settlement of Peoples--Langer Suit

On July 6, 2004, the Court issued an injunction pursuant to the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651 ("All Writs Act Injunction"). The injunction stated, in relevant part:

[A]ll attorneys who participated in any way in MDL 1261 including, but not limited to, John F. Peoples, Esquire, and all persons acting in their behalf, are hereby ENJOINED from taking any further action relating to the allocation of fees in MDL 1261, or the action of liaison counsel in connection therewith, in any court or forum other than the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. This Order is WITHOUT PREJUDICE to the right of John F. Peoples, Esquire, or any other party to seek a remand of any case pending in this District which concerns the allocation of counsel fees in MDL 1261, or the actions of liaison counsel in connection therewith. The injunction is necessary to preserve the Court's jurisdiction over all matters relating to the award and allocation of counsel fees in MDL 1261. See In re Synthroid Marketing Litigation, 1:97civ6017 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 22, 2003). (Order of July 6, 2004, Docket no. 408.)

At the parties' joint request, the Court referred Civil Action No. 04-2785 to United States Magistrate Judge Thomas J. Rueter for mediation. Langer and Peoples reached a settlement in which Langer agreed to pay Peoples an allocation of $2,940,000 from the Settlement Fund as "'the full and final settlement of Mr. Peoples' claims set forth in the Action against Mr. Langer.'" In re Linerboard Antitrust Litig., 2008 WL 2758442, at *3 (quoting Settlement Agreement ¶ 2). The Settlement Agreement also provided: "'Mr. Peoples specifically states that, notwithstanding a statement he made concerning a possible disciplinary complaint against Mr. Langer, he neither has nor knows of any ground for such a complaint.'" Id. Based on the settlement, the Court dismissed Civil Action No. 04-2785 with prejudice on November 16, 2004, pursuant to Local Rule of Civil Procedure 41.1(b).

C. Peoples' Telephone Messages; 2005 Emergency TRO and Consent Stipulation Order Between July 17, 2004, and March 17, 2005, Peoples left ten harassing telephone messages on Langer's voicemail. In re Linerboard Antitrust Litig., 2008 WL 2758442, at *4 (listing contents of the ten messages). Peoples later admitted that he left the voicemails, but he claimed that they were not threatening and that he left them because he was angry and "'not happy about the settlement [in Peoples v. Langer et al., Civil Action no. 04-2785].'" Id. (quoting 5/3/07 Tr. 94). Langer filed a motion for a temporary restraining order to stop the harassing telephone calls on March 21, 2005; on March 22, 2005, by agreement of the parties, the Court issued an Emergency Temporary Restraining Order ("2005 Emergency TRO").*fn3 The Emergency Temporary Restraining Order stated, in relevant part:

1. John F. Peoples is HEREBY ENJOINED from having any contact or other communication, or leaving any messages for Liaison counsel, Howard Langer, and,

2. John F. Peoples is HEREBY ENJOINED from making any defamatory statements regarding Howard Langer, and from undertaking any other action of any kind, directly or indirectly, having the intended or the necessary effect of harming Howard Langer or his family in any fashion.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this Temporary Restraining Order . . . shall, by agreement of the parties, remain in effect until further order of the Court but shall not be filed of record unless there is a reported violation of the Temporary Restraining Order . . .

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this Temporary Restraining Order shall be held in STRICT CONFIDENCE by the parties to this proceeding and their attorneys, and shall NOT BE DISCLOSED to any other party without prior Court approval. (2005 Emergency TRO, Docket no. 1112.)

The parties later agreed to entry of a Consent Stipulation Order ("2005 Consent Stipulation Order"), which the Court issued on September 8, 2005. That order stated, in relevant part:

The Order dated March 22, 2005 shall by agreement of the parties remain in effect on the following conditions: IT IS ORDERED that said Order shall remain in effect until such time as the Court is satisfied that there is no longer a need for it, but shall not be filed of record unless there is a reported violation of that Order.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this Court retains jurisdiction to enforce the terms of this Consent Stipulation Order and the Temporary Restraining Order;

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this Consent Order shall be held in STRICT CONFIDENCE by the parties to this proceeding and their attorneys, and SHALL NOT BE DISCLOSED to any other person without prior Court approval.

It having been represented to the Court by John F. Peoples' counsel that John F. Peoples has discussed this form of Order with him and that John F. Peoples consents to the issuance of this Order to the parties and that the Order shall be issued but not entered, IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that John F. Peoples waives any right to contest the issuance of this Order and the right to contest its effect because it has been issued but not entered. (2005 Consent Stipulation Order, Docket no. 1113.)

The 2005 Emergency TRO or 2005 Consent Stipulation Order were not filed at the time of their issuance because "Peoples' attorney was concerned that, if recorded, [the orders] could have been used in disciplinary proceedings and could [have] harm[ed] Peoples' legal practice." In re Linerboard Antitrust Litig., 2008 WL 2758442, at *5.

D. Peoples' Letter to Disciplinary Board; Peoples' June 29, 2006, Telephone Message

On October 19, 2005, Peoples wrote a letter to the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and "'lodge[d] a formal complaint against Howard Langer, Esquire . . . in connection with his refusal to honor his contractual responsibility to pay [Peoples] a co-counsel fee of approximately 4.7 million dollars.'" In re Linerboard Antitrust Litig., 2008 WL 2758442, at *5 (quoting Lead Counsel's Mem. on Potential Disciplinary Violations, Ex. B at 1).

Although the 2005 Emergency TRO remained in effect by virtue of the 2005 Consent Stipulation Order, Peoples left a telephone message on Langer's voicemail on June 29, 2006, stating "I didn't forget you." Id. at *6 (citation omitted). Peoples later testified that he left the message because he thought about his $2.9 million settlement with Langer "almost every night" and "bubble[d] over with anger." Id. (citing 5/3/07 Tr. 47).

E. Langer's First Contempt Motion; Contempt Hearing

Langer notified the Court of the June 29, 2006, voicemail the same day, and on July 5, 2006, he filed a Motion for an Order Holding John Peoples in Contempt ("First Contempt Motion"), in which he argued that the voicemail constituted contempt of the 2005 Emergency TRO and 2005 Consent Stipulation Order and that a coercive civil contempt remedy and permanent injunctive relief were warranted. In re Linerboard Antitrust Litig., 2008 WL 2758442, at *6. The parties' attempts to resolve the issues were unsuccessful, and the Court held hearings on the First Contempt Motion on March 16, May 3, and May 4, 2007. During the hearings, "Peoples and his attorney, Frank Marcone ("Marcone"), frequently attempted to inject into the contempt hearing the issue of Peoples' contribution to the class action component of MDL No. 1261." Id. at *6 (citation omitted). The Court viewed the efforts of Peoples and Marcone as nothing more than improper attempts to relitigate the fee allocation issue. Id. During the hearings, Peoples alleged for the first time that Langer and the Court had an improper relationship-specifically, he claimed that "Langer and other individuals led [Peoples] to believe that Langer had an improper relationship with the Court in order to persuade him to settle [Peoples's] fee dispute." Id. at *7. During the hearings, several witnesses testified that these allegations were unfounded. Id.

F. Peoples's Attempts to Relitigate Fee Allocation in State Court; Langer's Second Contempt Motion

On December 31, 2007, in the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas, Peoples filed a Complaint against Langer and other attorneys who had been involved in this case-docketed as Peoples v. Langer, Civil Action No. 07-18531 ("second state case")-in which he reiterated his contention that he "was entitled to ten percent of the Box Class counsel fee." In re Linerboard Antitrust Litig., 2008 WL 4461914, at *2. On January 24, 2008, before the Complaint was served, Peoples filed a praecipe to dismiss the second state case without prejudice, and Langer did not learn of the Complaint in the second state case until September 8, 2008. Id. On January 9, 2008, Peoples filed a praecipe for a writ of summons in the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas; the writ of summons was issued as Civil Action Number 08-1322 on February 1, 2008, and was served on Langer on February 21, 2008 ("third state case"). Id. at *3.

Peoples served Langer with interrogatories relating to the allocation of fees in Linerboard on January 23, 2008; he filed a motion to compel answers on March 12, 2008. The interrogatories and motion purported to be related to the removed federal case, Civil Action No. 04-2785, which had been closed in 2004.*fn4 Id. On March 20, 2008, Langer filed Liaison Counsel's Motion for an Order to Show Cause Why John Peoples and the Law Office of John Peoples Should not Be Held in Further Contempt for Initiating a Lawsuit in Delaware County Court in Violation of this Court's All Writs Act Injunction ("Second Contempt Motion"). In the Second Contempt Motion, Langer argued, inter alia, that Peoples violated the All Writs Act Injunction by filing the third state case. While the Second Contempt Motion was pending, Peoples filed two recusal motions and renewed his allegations that "Langer has sought 'refuge' under [the Court's] protection [to] illegally thwart Peoples['s] right to sue for over six million dollars as his part of the fee earned by Langer." (Peoples's Supplemental Motion to Recuse, E.D. Pa. Civil Action No. 04-2785, Docket no. 69, at 3; see also Peoples's Motion to Recuse, E.D. Pa. Civil Action No. 04-2785, Docket no. 68.)

G. The Court's July 14 and 15, 2008, Opinions

The Court denied Peoples' Motion to Recuse and Supplemental Motion to Recuse by Memorandum and Order dated July 14, 2008. In re Linerboard Antitrust Litig., 2008 WL 2758167, at *11--12 (emphasizing that the Court "played only a peripheral role in the resolution of Peoples's case against Langer," which was handled by Magistrate Judge Rueter, and that "[t]he Court had absolutely no relationship whatsoever with Langer other than that arising from the approval of his designation as liaison counsel in the In re Linerboard Antitrust Litigation").

The Court issued an additional Memorandum and Order the next day that addressed the first two contempt motions. The Court ruled on three threshold issues in the Memorandum. First, it rejected Peoples's argument that the Court lacked jurisdiction to hold him in contempt and affirmed that its issuance of the All Writs Act Injunction was proper. In re Linerboard Antitrust Litig., 2008 WL 2758442, at *7--10 (quoting Grider v. Keystone Health Plan Cent., Inc., 500 F.3d 322, 329 (3d Cir. 2007)). Second, noting that "[t]he purpose of the [2005 Emergency TRO and the 2005 Consent Stipulation Order] was to prevent Peoples from interfering with Langer's fee allocations in MDL No. 1261 in any way," the Court concluded that it had jurisdiction to enter those two orders. Id. at *10--11. Finally, the Court affirmed that it had properly exercised jurisdiction over the Peoples v. Langer case removed from the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas. Id. at *11--12.

The Court then determined that Peoples had committed contempt on two occasions. First, Peoples violated the 2005 Emergency TRO and 2005 Consent Stipulation Order by leaving a voicemail for Langer on June 29, 2006. Id. at *14. Second, Peoples violated the All Writs Act Injunction when he sent a complaint to the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania regarding Langer on October 19, 2005. Id. at *16.

Although it found that Peoples had committed contempt on two separate occasions, the Court declined to sanction Peoples.*fn5 The Court gave three reasons for its ruling: (1) Peoples's "severe physical afflictions," including blindness and a history of diabetes, strokes, high blood pressure, pneumonia, and prostrate issues; (2) the Court's belief-later learned to be mistaken-that Peoples had not violated the 2005 Emergency TRO and 2005 Consent Stipulation Order after June 29, 2006; and (3) the fact that "a prospective fine would be unenforceable" because "the Court's jurisdiction over [the Peoples--Langer] dispute [would] end upon termination of the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.