THE LAUS' POSTTRIAL MOTIONS
The Laus made various post-trial motions for dismissal of plaintiffs' case as well as sanctions under Rule 11. In addition, the Lau's made motions under F.R.Civ.P. 26(g) for sanctions related to Richardson's alleged destruction of documents and other discovery violations. These motions are totally without merit and consist merely of rearguing the merits and history of the case from the vantage point of the Laus.
1. The Rule 11 Motion
Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (Fed.R.Civ. P) allows the court to impose a variety of sanctions upon attorneys who file frivolous or unwarranted papers. As Richardson's submissions clearly fail to merit any such sanctions, this motion is denied.
Defendants' arguments are merely presentations of their characterization of the evidence presented at trial as inalterable and obvious fact. The mere fact that defendants interpret the evidence in a different light than plaintiffs in no way imaginable dictates that defendants' interpretation is correct. Indeed, the essence of defendants' motions is not merely that they should win on trial but that the facts are so clear that they should have won before trial.
Defendants contend, for example, that "a cursory examination of the documents" in question (Defendant's Memorandum of Law in Support of Motions at 13) necessarily demonstrates that defendants' interpretation of the facts is manifestly correct. To contend is not to prove, however, and defendants certainty and confidence is no argument at all for sanctions. If such confidence was truly warranted, then the motions should have been made eight years ago. One of the only conclusions that this court can make is that even assuming that the facts were utterly clear to defendants, they deliberately waited eight years to make this motion to vex their adversaries. Even were defendants one hundred percent correct in their interpretation of the facts, such unjustifiable dilatoriness would bar their motion under the doctrine of laches. In any event, the fact that judgment is for the plaintiffs serves as an automatic denial of defendants' Rule 11 motion.
Even were judgment not for Richardson, the fact that Judge Kram, in Richardson Greenshields Sec. v. Lau, 651 F. Supp. 929 (S.D.N.Y. 1986), thought plaintiffs case worthy enough to merit the attachment of the Laus assets is sufficient to dispose of the Laus' instant motion. This court will not sanction a party for submissions which a judge in this District held were sufficiently meritorious to warrant the extreme provisional remedy of attachment.
Motions to dismiss should be made at the appropriate time, not at the close of almost 8 years of litigation. The Laus' argument that the case was clearly non-meritorious at its filing serves to bar this motion at the present time. If it was so clear then, eight years ago, why did the Laus wait until now to move thusly? In imposing sanctions under Rule 11, "the court must consider to what extent a defending party's injury could have been avoided or was self-inflicted." Dubisky v. Owens, 849 F.2d 1034, 1037 (7th Cir. 1988).
2. The Discovery Sanctions
Defendants seek also, under F.R.Civ.P. 26(g), to sanction plaintiff for discovery abuses. Since this motion is so manifestly meritless and untimely it is denied. This motion should have been made at the appropriate time, e.g. during years of discovery or at trial, not after the conclusion of the trial. However, no such prejudice to defendants has been alleged or shown as to warrant sanctions. Even if defendants have any rights which were violated by plaintiff's behavior during discovery, no real prejudice to defendants has been alleged or proved. They are also clearly barred by the doctrine of laches from asserting these rights at the time they attempted to do so, i.e. just prior to trial. Prejudice to Richardson at this late date is clear. Therefore the court holds defendants motion to sanction Richardson insufficiently alleged or proved at trial and barred by laches. Majorica, S.A. v. R.H. Macy & Co., Inc., 762 F.2d 7, 8 (2d Cir. 1985).
Judgment, therefore, will be for plaintiff Richardson Greenshields Securities as to the following:
1). The third-party complaint of the Laus is dismissed with prejudice in its entirety.
2). Plaintiff Richardson Greenshield's Securities is awarded damages in the amount owed to them by Michael Lau and the elder Laus under the account agreements with prejudgment interest
plus costs and legal fees.
(3) Richardson's claim against Wai Yau Chi is dismissed.
(4) The following amounts are awarded:
A. Against Mui-Hin Lau in the amount of $ 28,362.60 together with prejudgment interest computed at 9% per annum by the clerk of the court from July 31, 1984 through and including December 17, 1992, plus costs and attorneys fees.
B. Against Ho Sih Fong in the amount of $ 62,474.96 together with prejudgment interest computed at 9% per annum by the clerk of the court from July 31, 1984 through and including December 17, 1992, plus costs and attorneys fees.
C. Against Kau-Ying Lau in the amount of $ 16,626.12 together with prejudgment interest computed at 9% per annum by the clerk of the court from July 31, 1984 through and including December 17, 1992, plus costs and attorneys fees.
D. Against Ying Lup (Michael) Lau in the amount of $ 59,748.72 together with prejudgment interest computed at 9% per annum by the clerk of the court from July 31, 1984 through and including December 17, 1992, plus costs and attorneys fees.
(5). The request of the defendants and third-party plaintiffs for this court to make amended findings of fact in accordance with their submissions is denied.
(6). Plaintiffs are to submit an affidavit as to attorneys fees.
(7). A hearing on attorneys fees will follow.
December 7, 1992
New York, New York
Constance Baker Motley