Judge dismisses sanctions motion, but also fines Konick $1,000

A circuit court judge today dismissed, with prejudice, a motion for sanctions against local attorney David Konick, for allegedly suing the town of Washington and the Inn at Little Washington for an “improper purpose” — that being primarily revenge, according to Inn attorney David Fiske’s motion.

Rappahannock County Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey W. Parker’s dismissal with prejudice (meaning it can’t be brought before the court again) came near the end of a well-attended 45-minute hearing, after Fiske said he wanted to withdraw the motion and Konick objected, saying he’d prepared evidence and had witnesses waiting to refute the Inn attorney’s claims that he filed the suit because he was a “hateful homophobe.”

Fiske moved to withdraw the motion for sanctions after Parker made it clear he expected to hear evidence of Konick’s intentions. Fiske had no witnesses to call or additional evidence, he told the judge.

Parker sustained Konick’s objection to the motion’s withdrawal, Konick having argued that he’d come prepared with witnesses and other evidence that would attest to his legitimate reasons for bringing the suit. And then Parker immediately dismissed Fiske’s motion, with prejudice, noting that he expected to hear facts and evidence to support it.

Earlier in the hearing, Parker heard arguments for and against Fiske’s motion to quash the lis pendens notice filed by Konick as part of his original suit. Fiske said the lis pendens, a legal instrument filed against a property title (in this case, the Inn’s property), was filed merely to harass the Inn. He claimed it was improper because Konick had no interest, monetary or otherwise, in the property, as the law required. Konick claimed he filed it in good faith, after discussing it with another attorney and property-title consultant, because one of the court’s remedies he sought in the suit was the possible forfeiture of property.

Parker ultimately agreed with Fiske and granted the motion, also imposing sanctions against Konick by ordering him to pay $1,000.

Konick’s March lawsuit, which Parker ruled last week could not proceed because Konick (who’s not a town resident) had no standing to pursue it, sought the court’s invalidation of several actions taken by the Inn and the town council in 2013 as part of a “Town Beautification” partnership, actions Konick claimed violated state laws covering procurement, conflict of interest and church-state prohibitions.

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2 thoughts on “Judge dismisses sanctions motion, but also fines Konick $1,000

  1. So, if the complaint (suit) and the attendant lis pendens was filed in good faith, as was more than adequately asserted and elucidated by Mr. Konick in open court; what, exactly was the basis for a sanction? IF a lawyer or citizen filing pro se does so with a good faith effort to interpret the law and file accordingly, what is the sanction for? Is it for making a mistake? Is it for not asking for an “official” interpretation from the Judge (the only one who can rule definitively) ahead of time? I do not understand the penalty! The lawyer for Patrick and the LLCs that hold the Inn and its associated properties presented NOTHING. What was the “punishment” based on? Does the Commonwealth need the funds from fines that bad? Does the legal system as represented by the Judge and his ruling in this case not see how this impacts the respect citizens will ultimately hold for the law? This sure appears arbitrary and capricious to me!

    BTW – good job Roger! and the Rappnews!

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