In an opinion yesterday, Judge Caproni warned Christopher Bandas, an attorney who serially files class action objections, about his apparent practice of attempting to use local counsel as a shield against sanctions, though she ultimately declined to sanction Mr. Bandas:
Bandas’ failure to provide any legitimate support for [the class objection] would be enough to cause this Court concern. But Bandas’ behavior throughout this proceeding has been unfitting for any member of the legal profession. Even though Bandas was substantially involved in all stages of the [objection]—he drafted [the objection] and substantial portions of [the] opposition brief . . . —Bandas refused to enter a notice of appearance in this case, and he refused to sign any of the filings that he himself drafted.
Instead, Bandas orchestrated other attorneys . .. to “appear” on the various filings that Bandas drafted or prepared behind the scenes. Bandas’ machinations were designed to avoid his professional responsibilities to the Court and were explicit with respect to [local counsel]: [local counsel] required as a term of his engagement that Bandas would “prepar[e] the substantive filings including Motions” and required Bandas to agree to indemnify him if he were sanctioned for his role in this case.
The sanctions-indemnity provision in the engagement agreement . . . appears to the Court to be an improper attempt by [local counsel] to avoid any financial repercussions for sanctionable behavior and a way for Bandas to avoid any collateral consequences to himself if his conduct resulted in sanctions being imposed.
The Court required Mr. Bandas to “provide a copy of this opinion to any local counsel he seeks to engage for any case pending in the Southern District of New York.”