Pity Robert Racine.
The attorney, who is based in La Crescenta, has been representing Dino M. Zaffina in his battle with the Southern California Darts Association -- which began when the darts lovers failed to include Zaffina's middle initial in a write-up of their scores, and somehow resulted in Zaffina filing papers to take over the organization's legal incorporation. The two entities have been battling over the darts association name ever since.
Zaffina may now have to do it without a lawyer.
Today, attorney Racine filed papers asking to withdraw from the case, saying he has yet to be paid a dime from Zaffina. Shockingly, he also alleged that Zaffina has all but blackmailed him to keep him on the case -- and asked for the court to order that Zaffina stay at least 500 feet from his home and office.
Racine also asked that Zaffina -- who is well-known for his lengthy, bombastic emails -- be compelled to no longer email him, his family or other clients.
In the filing, Racine alleges that Zaffina has pressured him to stay on the case:
Mr. Zaffina has personal knowledge about defense counsel and his family that he has learned over the past 20 years of personal relationship. He has in so many words threatened to use this knowledge against the undersigned. ... Should the Court desire to review any of this evidence, I will bring them to Court on my computer to be reviewed in camera.
Racine alleges that he has been subjected to "many rude, crude and insulting comments and emails from ... Zaffina, impugning the integrity of the parties, counsel and the judiciary."
It's been a tough couple of months for Zaffina. After initially finding success -- at his request, the state court barred the darts players from using their old name after Zaffina incorporated under it -- he's been piling up losses. When the players filed suit in federal court, alleging that Zaffina had violated trademark law by taking their name, the judge issued a preliminary injunction, finding they were likely to suffer irreparable harm if Zaffina was not stopped from using the trademark. He later found Zaffina in contempt of court for failing to take down his "Southern California Darts Association" website.
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And now this.
It's hard to imagine the judge won't allow attorney Racine to withdraw. But what then? What lawyer would want to take on a client who allegedly a) doesn't pay them, b) subjects them to "rude, crude and insulting comments and emails," c) "in so many words" threatens them, and d) is so difficult to deal with, his past attorney asked the court for a restraining order against them?
Yep, we bet attorneys will just be lining up to take on this case.