Francis Malofiy is an entertainment lawyer who’s been in the news of late as a result of a lawsuit he says he is willing to file against Led Zeppelin for allegedly stealing the introduction to Stairway To Heaven, but another plagiarism case involving Usher may see to it that the suit is never filed.
As The Hollywood Reporter writes, a Pennsylvania federal judge has ordered sanctions against Malofiy, claiming the attorney behaved “in a flagrantly unprofessional and offensive manner” over the course of another copyright infringement case involving Usher and 19 other defendants.
Malofy represented songwriter Dan Marino, who claimed that he created the basic melody, chord progressions, and tempo for Usher’s song Bad Girl while working with former creative partners William Guice and Dante Barton, who were also named in the suit. But according to the judge, Malofiy misled Guice into believing he was only a witness in the suit rather than a defendant.
“Malofiy’s discussions with Guice are the paradigm of bad faith and intentional misconduct,” Judge Paul Diamond wrote of Molofiy’s actions, which also included persuading Guice to sign an affidavit admitting to elements of the Plaintiff’s complaint without proper representation from a lawyer.
“Defendants have shown clearly and convincingly that Attorney Francis Malofiy has acted disgracefully: lying to an unsophisticated, impoverished, unrepresented Defendant, thus convincing that Defendant to expose himself (probably baselessly) to substantial liability,” Judge Diamond wrote.
If flagrant legal misconduct wasn’t enough, the judge asserts that Malofiy was also prone to making “sexist, abusive” remarks during the case, allegedly telling his other lawyer, “Don’t be a girl about this.” He also reportedly proclaimed, “Usher has $130 million… I’m going to take every penny of it.”
Mark Andes, the bassist of the band Spirit, and the trust that handles the royalties of Spirit bassist Randy California have teamed up with Malofiy, claiming Led Zeppelin stole the intro to Stairway to Heaven from Spirit’s 1968 track Taurus. The conduct of Malofiy during the Usher trial could prove a roadblock to the case, with Judge Diamond speculating on whether Malofiy should be disbarred.
Listen: Spirit – Taurus
Watch: Led Zeppelin – Stairway to Heaven