David Boies is renowned as a litigator for going after corporate giants like Microsoft or representing clients like Al Gore.
But it is a tiny, nearly off-the-radar case in Florida against a gardener that has been a virtual thorn in his side for more than a decade, amounting to thousands of hours of manpower, millions of dollars in fees and now, possible jail time, for an employee of his firm.
Amy Habie, the chief financial officer of Boies, Schiller & Flexner and the owner of a gardening company in Palm Beach, Fla., was found guilty of civil contempt of court in Palm Beach County, and ordered to pay a $500,000 fine to the defendants in the case, according to a judgment filed in a Florida courtroom yesterday.
Ms. Habie was also sentenced to 90 days in the Palm Beach County jail.
In a strongly worded 19-page order, Judge Amy L. Smith of circuit court rebuked Ms. Habie for repeatedly violating injunctive orders to not contact or interfere with the business of a competing gardening company in Palm Beach. It is unclear under what arrangement Ms. Habie runs the gardening company while acting as chief financial officer at Boies, Schiller.
Her opponent in the case is now vowing to subpoena billing and other records from Boies, Schiller’s law offices, which he says may prove that the Boies’ firm has continued to do legal work on the case despite being barred by the court a year ago.
And earlier this spring, Judge Smith appointed a special prosecutor, Robert Gershman, to determine whether Ms. Habie should face criminal contempt charges for violating numerous court orders in the case.
“With the history of this case and the continued violations and sanctions,” there is a possibility of significant jail time if there is a conviction, Mr. Gershman said late yesterday after the judgment in the civil case was released. A call to Mr. Boies’ law offices was not returned; neither was a call to the office of Bruce S. Rogow, a lawyer who is representing Ms. Habie’s lawn care company, Nical.