A New Mexico federal judge has ordered a Salt Lake attorney to pay costs incurred by the federal government while defending U.S. District Judge Aldon J. Anderson from a lawsuit brought by the attorney.
In an order dated April 15, U.S. District Judge for New Mexico John E. Conway ordered attorney Elliot Levine to pay $2,815.35 in attorney's fees and other legal costs stemming from Anderson's being named a co-defendant in a $600 million lawsuit filed on behalf of former Utah County fruit processor Garn Baum, alleging that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its representatives conspired to drive Baum out of his Utah County cherry business.Conway dismissed Anderson as a defendant in the suit Dec. 4 and imposed sanctions against Levine for the frivolous inclusion of Anderson in the suit.
Conway was brought in to hear the case after the rest of the Utah federal judge contingent recused themselves and granted Anderson's motion to be removed from the action. He ruled Levine's pleading failed to meet guidelines necessary to name him as a defendant.
Conway ordered Levine to start making monthly payments of no less than $200 beginning May 1 and gave Levine six months to pay the amount in full.
The bill includes $2,120 for attorney's fees, $75 for paralegal expense and $620.34 for other expenses and costs.
Attorney's fees were based on Assistant U.S. Attorney Anne Stirba's $53,000 annual salary and the 62.5 "billable" hours she worked on Anderson's defense.