Lawyer Who Sued Led Zeppelin Suspended From Practicing Law

Led Zeppelin photographed in 1969.
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Led Zeppelin photographed in 1969.

The attorney who flouted courtroom protocol during the "Stairway to Heaven" copyright trial has been suspended from practicing law.  

Francis Malofiy's behavior as an attorney has been the subject of repeated judicial scrutiny, and a Thursday ruling means he won't be doing any lawyering until the fall.

An appellate panel upheld a previously recommended suspension of three months and one day, finding Malofiy violated "various rules of conduct" during a copyright infringement lawsuit over Usher's "Bad Girl."

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In 2015, a three-judge district court panel found Malofiy tricked unrepresented co-defendant William Guice into signing an affidavit without consulting a lawyer by hiding that their relationship was adversarial in nature.

The prior year, Judge Paul Diamond issued sanctions and ordered Malofiy to pay $28,000 in court costs.

Malofiy had argued that he didn't break the rules and, even if he did, the punishment was too harsh.

The district court was troubled by the attorney's failure to take responsibility for his actions and his other unprofessional and uncivil conduct during the course of the litigation. 

On Thursday, the appellate panel agreed and upheld the suspension.

His reputation as a rule-breaker preceded him when he took on the recent Led Zeppelin case. In a story previewing the trial, Bloomberg painted a vivid portrait of Malofiy as a "bar-brawling lawyer."

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During the six-day "Stairway" trial, Malofiy racked up more than a hundred sustained objections and multiple admonishments from Judge R. Gary Klausner.

After the jury ruled in Led Zeppelin's favor, Malifoy said he lost on a technicality and hinted at an appeal. If Michael Skidmore, the man who sued on behalf of late songwriter Randy Wolfe, wants to appeal soon, Malofiy could be out of a job. 

While Malofiy's suspension is in Pennsylvania, being admitted pro hac vice in California is dependent on being an attorney in good standing in another jurisdiction. Skidmore still has a lawyer, though. Glen Kulik served as local co-counsel and could take the reins on the case. 

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