Attorney Harvey Kesner sanctioned in Frivolous Lawsuit relating to MabVax: $MBVX

UPDATE July 17,2020: Harvey Kesner has dismissed his $35 million lawsuit against law firm Baker Botts and attorney Johnathan Shapiro for allegedly getting him fired when they told his former law partners that among other things they found attorney Kesner had assisted in a coverup for MabVax in a regulator investigation. Kesner’s attorney is Steven S. Biss who is known for his Rep. Devin Nunes lawsuits against Twitter and a parody Nunes Cow account. Attorney Biss didn’t bother to file an answer to Baker Botts motion to strike, which demanded attorney fees be paid for filing a frivolous lawsuit and retaliating against Baker Botts for their representation against Kesner in another related lawsuit. Instead two days after the missed deadline of July 13 he just filed a dismissal but without prejudice. This mean Kesner could try and file the complaint in another court–a move we have seen attorney Biss try over and over.

Additionally, Baker Botts told the California federal judge that Kesner’s dismissal isn’t going to stop them from asking for attorney fees under the anti-slaap laws in California. The next step is a hearing that was scheduled for July 27 where we could see if the Judge makes Kesner pay for his frivolous lawsuit.

Harvey Kesner is the long time securities lawyer for pump dump fraudster Barry C. Honig who was banned by the SEC last year and is allegedly still under criminal investigation. Attorney Kesner is currently battling a malpractice lawsuit filed by biopharma company MabVax. Baker Botts represents MabVax Therapeutics.

Original Story June 25, 2020
Penny stock lawyer Harvey Kesner has been sanctioned and fined after his lawyer, Steven S. Biss, disobeyed a New York federal judge’s order and tried to file a frivolous amended complaint accusing a big law lawyer of extortion and threats. The Judge lobed a one two punch and also granted the defendants, Baker Botts, motion to move the lawsuit filed in the Southern District of New York to Southern California where strong anti-slapp laws exist. Kesner is the long time lawyer for Barry C. Honig, who the SEC says mastermind a pump and dump stock fraud ring in over 40 stocks. Anti-Slapp laws will allow the defendants Kesner sued to ask the court to force him to pay their legal fees and impose penalties because the suit was allegedly filed as retaliation for Kesner being sued for fraud and malpractice.

Kesner’s main target of the litigation is Jonathan Shapiro, a lead litigation partner of Baker Botts. The lawsuit filed earlier this year for $35 million claims attorney Shapiro hatched a plan with a former client of Kesner’s, MabVax Therapeutics, to give evidence from an independent legal review of the investments made in the biotech company and subsequent disclosure in SEC corporate filings, to the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Dept of Justice that could lead to charges against attorney Kesner. The theme of Kesner’s lawsuit is that Kesner’s law firm was told they would have to pay Mabvax $9.6 million for Kesner’s alleged malpractice actions or the feds get the evidence. Evidence that includes Kesner allegedly advising Mabvax how to mislead a regulator in 2016 when they began questioning MabVax’s public filings and trading in the stock. Kesner was a named partner at New York based securities law firm Sichenzia Ross Ference. I was first to report Kesner was leaving the law firm, in the fall of 2018, on questionable grounds just weeks before his client, Barry Honig, was charged for securities fraud by the SEC.

A draft copy of the malpractice complaint, written by attorney Shapiro, obtained by this reporter, shows partners at SRF likely learned about Kesner’s alleged role in the Honig scheme just a month before the SEC filed their case against Honig. The suit was never filed in court. Instead a Boston-based law firm, Block & Leviton, filed a similar malpractice suit for MabVax a few weeks after Shapiro approached Kesner’s law firm for a settlement. And Baker Botts ended up suing all of Team Honig and others for their role in manipulating the stock price of MabVax and for trading as a group of undisclosed affiliates.

Baker Botts response to the complaint was swift, filing a motion to dismiss detailing how Kesner wasn’t telling the whole truth, after a trade publication for the legal profession, Law360, reported on the lawsuit glamorizing Kesner’s idea of being a victim of a RICO plot. Court filings show Kesner’s lawyer, Steven Biss, has a practice of saying outrageous things in lawsuit with the hope that the media will repeat them because his clients can’t be sued for libel or defamation for something their lawyers write in a lawsuit.

SDNY judge Hellerstein wrote in his decision to fine Kesner and move the case:

“After careful review of Defendants’ moving papers and Kesner’s Complaint, I hold that this case should be transferred to California. Without cataloguing what appear to be a number of glaring factual inaccuracies in the Complaint, or reviewing each and every one of
Defendants’ arguments for dismissal, I focus here solely on the need to transfer this case.”

Judge Hellerstein goes on to explain that Kesner repeatedly said in his complaint that Baker Botts sent a letter threatening to file a malpractice lawsuit without any intent of ever filing the suit but this just wasn’t true given a malpractice suit, that also accuses Kesner of fraud, was filed by another law firm a few weeks latter. As a result the judge order Kesner to pay at least a $1,000 fine for filing a frivolous motion and denied attorney Biss request to file an amended complaint.

A federal judge acknowledging that an untrue set of facts was written by attorney Steven Biss on behalf of his client, could be helpful for other defendants subject to attorney Biss’s pattern of vexatious litigation. Biss is currently suing multiple top media outlets like CNN, Washington Post, Hearst, McClatchy News for their coverage of U.S. Congressman Devin Nunes. Yesterday a federal judge ruled in Virginia that Nunes, through attorney Biss, can’t sue Twitter to reveal the identity of a parody account called Devin Nunes Cow that writes satire critical of the California congressman and others. Kate Irby was first to report on the outcome of the Twitter case. Additionally, other federal judges have warned attorney Biss that he could sanctioned. Sanctions for lawyers usually mean they will have to pay a fine but it can also mean suspension of a law license for not following their code of ethical practice.

Baker Botts wrote in their anti-slapp motion yesterday filed in Southern California that Kesner hasn’t even paid his court ordered fine yet.

Additionally, Biss is suing this reporter and Bill Alpert a senior reporter at Barron’s on behalf of Harvey Kesner. Alpert and I have never reported together. Like the Baker Botts case Kesner is trying to blame the journalist for ruining his career by reporting on litigation against him and his clients. The case was originally filed in South Florida where Kesner says he now lives. I have been representing myself Pro Se and worked with the Barron’s lawyer to get the case moved to SDNY. A judge ruled Florida was an improper venue for Kesner/Biss to file the case. Biss is joined in this litigation by a Florida lawyer Robert Buschel who says he is second chair. The duo are the same legal team that sued Baker Botts.

Attorney Buschel was also reprimanded by a the New York judge in my case when he tried to represent a wrong timeline for when Kesner left his law firm and how it related to the timing of the Barron’s article on his client.

Kesner’s goal in his litigation against me appears to try and use the courts to force me to reveal confidential government witnesses I interviewed in my reporting on his alleged role in the scheme tied to Barry Honig’s securities fraud. I stand by my reporting and have no intention of revealing sources even if it means I would be held in contempt. I am currently raising fund from readers to pay for my legal defense of this frivolous and harassing lawsuit. Remember Barry Honig also tried to sue me for reporting he was under SEC investigation in the fall of 2016 and then withdrew the lawsuit with prejudice in January 2018. That same year he was charged by the SEC for exactly what I reported he was doing. Evidence that has come out in the Honig ring investigation appears to show that while Honig was suing me he and Kesner knew Honig was under SEC investigation.

Additionally, the SEC has now come out and made public a transcript from one of their enforcement interviews in the investigation of the Honig securities fraud ring. As far back as 2014, the SEC was questioning another attorney Kesner worked with, Gregg Jaclin, about why Kesner was getting stock in a reverse merger deal involving PR Complete / YesDTC via an llc he owns called Paradox Capital. Jaclin was a partner in a securities law firm known for doing reverse merger deals called Anslow + Jaclin. Gregg Jaclin was sued for running a dirty shell company scheme by the SEC along with being charged with a felony in 2017 by the San Francisco DOJ for obstruction of justice in an SEC investigation. YesDTC and its CEO Joel Noel where charged criminally for running a pump and dump scheme. Jaclin has since made a plea deal in the criminal case and it’s unclear how much cooperation he is giving the DOJ in their case against Barry Honig and associates because his case is now sealed.

EDITOR’s NOTE: If you want to contribute to my defense fund in the frivolous lawsuit filed by Harvey Kesner please do so here.

The funds will go directly to the lo-bono attorney I will hire.


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  1. Sichenzia Ross Ference Kesner LLP is about as filthy a law firm gets. See:

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