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Goldmanis v. Insinger

United States District Court, W.D. Washington

December 1, 2014

SVEN GOLDMANIS, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
JOHN INSINGER, et al., Defendants'

For Sven Goldmanis, Linda Insinger, Plaintiff: Matthew Erik Johnson, JOHNSON LEGAL GROUP, SEATTLE, WA.

For John Insinger, Robert Insinger, Susan Insinger, Elizabeth Insinger, Risch Goss Insinger & Gustavel, Virginia Hayes Tetamentary Trust, Insinger-24 LLC, Hollis Seim, Defendants: Michael D McKay, LEAD ATTORNEY, Thomas Matthew Brennan, MCKAY CHADWELL, SEATTLE, WA.

For Theressa Pulliam, Defendant: Sam Breazeale Franklin, Timothy D Shea, LEE SMART PS INC, SEATTLE, WA.

ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR SANCTIONS

John C. Coughenour, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

This matter comes before the Court on the Insinger Defendants' Motion for Sanctions against Plaintiffs and their attorney. (Dkt. No. 65.) Having thoroughly considered the relevant record, the Court finds oral argument unnecessary and hereby GRANTS the Motion for Sanctions, against Plaintiffs only, for the reasons explained herein.

I. BACKGROUND

The suit giving rise to Defendants' Motion for Sanctions was closed in July. On July 29th, 2014, this Court granted Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. No. 20) in part, recognizing that Plaintiffs' only federal claim (a RICO claim) was barred by the applicable statute of limitations. (Order, Dkt. No. 49.) This Court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiffs' twenty remaining state-law claims. (Judgment, Dkt. No. 50.)

The lawsuit involved a long-running dispute among current and former members of Insinger-24, LLC, a family-run business that exists solely to hold and lease a piece of real estate in Bothell, Washington. The LLC was originally formed by Robert Insinger, whose children, along with their spouses, were made members of the company at various points. Plaintiff Linda Insinger was married to Defendant F. Robert Insinger, III (Rob Insinger) and previously held an interest in the LLC; Plaintiff Sven Goldmanis was married to Elizabeth Insinger and also held an interest in the LLC. Linda ultimately divorced Rob and Sven divorced Elizabeth. Since 2004, the parties have been engaged in extensive litigation in Idaho, California, and Washington state courts over their respective interests in the LLC. The thrust of this long-running dispute involved alleged financial harm to Plaintiffs Linda Insinger and Sven Goldmanis caused by Defendants' operation and management of Insinger-24 between 2003 and 2007. Plaintiffs alleged that beginning in 2003, the " Insinger Defendants" -- Rob, John, Susan, and Elizabeth Insinger -- engaged in a fraudulent scheme to dissociate them from the LLC.

This controversy had long been the subject of litigation at the point when Plaintiffs filed their RICO suit and attendant state law claims in November 2013. In 2004, the LLC sought a declaratory judgment as to the enforceability of the LLC's Operating Agreement amendments and deficit contributions in an Idaho state-court lawsuit. Sven Goldmanis counterclaimed and challenged the LLC Operating Agreement amendments. The court in that lawsuit concluded that the amendments were valid and that the deficit contributions were warranted and enforceable against Mr. Goldmanis. ( See Dkt. No. 21, Ex. C.)

Subsequently, in 2007, Linda Insinger sued the Insinger Defendants and Sven Goldmanis (her co-Plaintiff in the suit before this Court) in Idaho state court. She alleged in that action that the Insinger Defendants manipulated the LLC Operating Agreement in order to squeeze her out of the LLC. (See Dkt. No. 21, Ex. A at ¶ 34.) In 2007, Ms. Insinger " settled and resolved any and all disputes" related to the Idaho Complaint, including claims that were actually asserted, could have been asserted, or " ha[d] arisen or could arise from the operation, management or financial affairs of the LLC." (Id., Ex. G. at 2, 5.) As a part of that agreement, Ms. Insinger also agreed to relinquish all of her rights to any interest in the LLC. (Id. at 6-7.) Ms. Insinger's 2008 marriage dissolution proceedings subsequently incorporated the terms of the 2007 settlement; there, she re-affirmed the agreement to release her ex-husband of any known or unknown claims related to the claims from the 2007 lawsuit. (Id., Ex. J.)

During Mr. Goldmanis' marriage dissolution proceedings in 2007 and 2008, he argued that the Insinger Defendants wrongfully acquired his interest in the LLC. Mr. Goldmanis asserted in a 2008 declaration that the Insinger Defendants wrongfully benefitted by $500, 000.00 each when the LLC refinanced the Bothell property loan. (Id., Ex. F.)

In 2011, Ms. Insinger sued her former attorneys from the 2007 action, alleging that they erroneously advised her to settle the 2007 claims relating to the LLC. As a part of that lawsuit, Rob and John Insinger were deposed in April and May 2013. In the instant suit, Plaintiffs asserted that in those depositions, John and/or Robert Insinger testified that the Insinger Defendants improperly withdrew $500, 000.00 to $1, 000, 000.00 in equity per sibling -- and that this was the first Plaintiffs learned of such alleged improper withdrawals .

Plaintiffs' counsel filed this lawsuit on November 12, 2013. (Dkt. No. 1.) The Insinger Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment on the grounds that Plaintiffs' claims were barred under the applicable ...


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