Stanley Shenker and Associates, Inc. v. World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc., 48 Conn. Sup. 357 (Conn. Super. 10/16/2003)

Decision Date16 October 2003
Docket NumberFile No. X05 CV00-0180933S.
CourtConnecticut Superior Court
PartiesSTANLEY SHENKER AND ASSOCIATES, INC., ET AL. <I>v.</I> WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION ENTERTAINMENT, INC.

Richard R. Brown, for the plaintiff Margaret Chapman et al.

Day, Berry & Howard, for the defendant.

ROGERS, J.

Throughout the course of this litigation, the named plaintiff, Stanley Shenker & Associates, Inc. (associates or the plaintiff), has engaged in serious misconduct during the discovery process.

After more than two years of extensive discovery in the present case, including four discovery extensions, the production of more than 92,000 pages of documents, the taking of more than twenty-five depositions, and the filing of more than 150 motions, briefs and other pleadings, the plaintiff, through its president and sole owner Stanley Shenker (Shenker), now admits to having committed acts throughout the course of this litigation that include deliberately concealing and/or otherwise refusing to produce critical documents and repeatedly committing perjury during his deposition testimony.

I OVERVIEW OF THE RECORD

Shenker has now admitted a wide range of discovery abuses that include: (1) giving perjured deposition testimony; (2) providing perjured interrogatory answers; (3) fabricating evidence after instituting the present action; (4) facilitating the destruction of evidence after instituting the present action; (5) concealing evidence; and, (6) conspiring with third parties to engage in other litigation misconduct.

Shenker testified in the present action as associates' corporate designee. The defendant, World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. (federation), began Shenker's deposition on May 30, 2002. The deposition was continued on December 10 and 11, 2002, March 18 and 20, and April 1-2, 2003.

By his own admission, Shenker is a serial perjurer. Examples from his deposition include the following: "When I was giving that [deposition] testimony . . . it was false,"; "In . . . prior [deposition] testimony, I wasn't truthful and I left out by omission,"; "I didn't tell the whole truth . . . [a]nd I knew at the time it was not the whole truth,"; "I wasn't telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth,"; "I [deliberately] mislead you,"; and, "Did I deliberately give you misinformation [in deposition testimony]? Yes."

Shenker's perjured deposition testimony directly related to a multitude of issues at the heart of both federation's defenses and its counterclaims. Specifically, for over two years federation has maintained, as a defense to associates' claims and through affirmative counterclaims, that Shenker conspired with James Bell (Bell), federation's former senior vice president of licensing and merchandising, to defraud federation and its licensees of money, by: (1) improperly soliciting and splitting a series of kickbacks from at least one federation licensee, Trinity Products (Trinity); and, (2) improperly treating licensing transactions not otherwise commissionable to associates as if such deals had been procured and negotiated by associates, and subsequently splitting the commissions wrongfully obtained by associates as a result.

For well over two years, Shenker consistently and vehemently denied these allegations. Consistent with these denials, Shenker testified throughout the first three days of his deposition that: (1) every payment Shenker made to Bell was for "developmental projects" unrelated to federation; (2) these payments amount to no more than $300,000 to $400,000; (3) associates received payments from Trinity pursuant to a "separate oral consulting agreement" in which Bell was not involved; and (4) Shenker had no ownership interest in any companies other than associates, Creative Craft Company and a real estate venture coowned with his daughter.

Apparently, unbeknownst to Shenker during the first three days of his deposition, associates had inadvertently produced to federation on September 26, 2002, two authentic Bell Consulting invoices, which made clear that Shenker had willfully perjured himself in deposition testimony and interrogatory answers. After being confronted with one of those invoices on the third day of his deposition, Shenker sought to recant much of his prior testimony.

To that end, on March 3, 2003, Shenker served federation with formal recantations (the recantations), consisting of over 400 substantive changes to his deposition testimony. The recantations made clear that for months, Shenker had deliberately lied under oath. Throughout four days of postrecantations deposition testimony, Shenker repeatedly admitted to having given deliberately false and misleading testimony.

A Shenker's Perjured Testimony Regarding the Nature and Extent of Payments to Bell and Bell Consulting1

Through records produced by associates' accountant, federation learned that both during and after the time Shenker was acting as federation's exclusive licensing agent, Shenker made substantial payments to Bell, through Bell Consulting, LLC (Bell Consulting), a company owned and operated by Bell. Shenker repeatedly lied in deposition testimony about the nature and extent of those payments. Specifically, in response to questioning by counsel for federation, Shenker consistently testified on May 30, December 10 and December 11, 2002, that every single payment to Bell was made in connection with "developmental projects" totally unrelated to federation in which Shenker would invest with Bell. Shenker also testified that the amount of payments made to Bell Consulting ranged between $300,000 and $400,000.

After being confronted with an invoice that evidenced the true nature of his payments to Bell, Shenker finally admitted in his recantations and at his March 18 deposition, that rather than being for "developmental projects," the Bell payments, as alleged in federation's counterclaims, represented a percentage of the commissions that Shenker received from federation on certain federation licenses, as well as a percentage of payments that Shenker received directly from federation licensees such as Trinity. Shenker also admitted that he had deliberately lied under oath to federation about the payments to Bell:

"Q. So that when you testified over the course of three days that the payments to Jim Bell were for developmental projects, is it fair to say that you knew at the time you were giving that testimony that it was false?

"A. I would have to say that when I was giving that testimony, it was not totally true, yes.

"Q. It was false, wasn't it?

"A. I would say it was — it was not true; it was false.

"Q. It was deliberately false, wasn't it?

"A. It was done to try to protect Jim and, therefore, it was also deliberately not — it was deliberately misleading, not true."

Shenker also admitted in his recantations that associates had paid Bell approximately $800,000, twice the amount that Shenker originally had claimed. As a result of multiple compulsion orders obtained by federation, additional records became available revealing that Bell actually had been paid in excess of $900,000. After being confronted with evidence of the additional payments to Bell, Shenker admitted to receipt of the additional $100,000. Shenker's false testimony regarding the nature and extent of payments to Bell clearly concerned a material matter because Shenker's "corrected" explanation constitutes an admission of the bulk of the core allegations comprising federation's counterclaims and also relates to the claims contained in the operative complaint.

B Shenker's Deliberately False and Misleading Testimony Concerning Invoices Submitted to Associates by Bell Consulting

In addition to providing perjured testimony about the nature and extent of associates' payments to Bell and Bell Consulting, Shenker also provided perjured testimony about the supporting documents for those payments. As a result of compulsion orders obtained by federation, associates produced Bell Consulting invoices on July 16, 2002, that purported to reflect monies associates paid for expenses incurred by Bell with respect to the fictitious "developmental projects" Shenker allegedly had invested in with Bell. When questioned about these invoices, Shenker claimed that all invoices from Bell Consulting should have been "around the product development area." In reality, however, the invoices associates produced were fabricated by Bell and Shenker solely for this litigation. The fabricated invoices listed phony "developmental projects"; the authentic invoices, on the other hand, listed the federation licenses on which Shenker and Bell were splitting commissions. In the summer of 2001, during the course of the litigation, Shenker and Bell removed the authentic invoices from associates' files and substituted the fabricated invoices in their stead.

During his December 11, 2002 deposition, Shenker was confronted with one of the authentic invoices. Shenker claimed not to recognize the invoice and testified that he had no idea why two invoices would reflect the same date, amount and check number.

Shenker admitted during his March 18, 2003 deposition that he would use the excuse of a failed memory to avoid disclosing the truth.

"Q. Do you remember in your first three days of deposition using `I don't...

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1 cases
  • Magnano v. Lolos, No. CV 03-0102010 (CT 2/17/2005), CV 03-0102010
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • February 17, 2005
    ...at his deposition under oath either falsely or in a manner calculated to mislead. It cites Stanley Shenker and Assoc., Inc. v. World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Inc., 48 Conn.Sup. 357 (2003), in which the court dismissed the plaintiff's action after it had been established that the p......

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