A Former Sponsor’s Lawsuit Against Williams F1 Got Thrown Out Because Its Lawyer Can’t Practice In South Florida District Court [Updated]

Former motorsport sponsor ROKiT has run into some trouble lately. The company that somehow sold both everything and nothing left the entire world of sport sponsorship in shambles, and most recently, it has tried to sue the Williams Formula 1 team for failing to meet its sponsorship obligations back in the abbreviated 2020 season. There’s just one problem: ROKiT has had to refile its suit in California after its first attempt in the South Florida District Court got thrown out. Why? Because ROKiT’s lawyer couldn’t legally practice there.

Let’s get some context ready. ROKiT alleges that it fulfilled its duties to Williams in 2019, but ROKiT boss Jonathan Kendrick asked to renegotiate the terms of their deal in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic forced a shorter season. Soon after, Williams canceled the deal; it later won a lawsuit in the London Court of International Arbitration regarding unpaid fees. ROKiT insists that its contract with Williams was violated, and that the team should be held accountable.

So, ROKiT responded by filing a suit against Williams in the South Florida District Court; Kendrick claimed that was because of F1’s ties to Miami. There was just one problem: Kendrick hired Larry Klayman as ROKiT’s legal representative. Klayman, however, can’t practice in the South Florida District Court.

Here’s more from Motorsport.com:

Last week Judge Beth Bloom dismissed the case on the grounds that Klayman is currently unable to operate in the Southern Florida District Court due to the fallout from an unrelated matter.

Following a motion for clarification from the Williams side, Judge Bloom noted that Klayman had been “suspended from practice in the District Court” and that ROKiT had “failed to obtain counsel authorised to practice in this District.”

But why, exactly, can’t Klayman practice in the South Florida District Court? Motorsport.com lets him tell you himself:

“This is a matter which is 15 years old, coming out of the District of Columbia, which is a very toxic place. I took on Obama and it just so happens the judge who dismissed the case is an Obama appointee.”

Klayman will now be filing the suit in California, likely in a region where he is allowed to practice law.

Klayman, for his own part, has objected to his South Florida District Court suspension and has formally requested to have it lifted.

Klayman is something of a right-wing activist, to the point where the Southern Poverty Law Center, which labels him as an extremist, called him “pathologically litigious.” He filed roughly 18 lawsuits against the Clinton Administration, then attempted to file suits against Barack Obama for — you guessed it — not being a natural-born U.S. citizen. He has also attempted to sue the Bidens; Klayman alleged that they pressured YouTube to ban his channel in 2019.

Klayman has also been suspended from legal practice for 18 months in Washington DC and was previously suspended from practicing law in Pennsylvania for 90 days.

Update September 14, 2023 at 7:45 p.m. CT: We have updated the story to clarify that Klayman is in good standing with the state of Florida; it is only in the South Florida District Court where he is suspended. He is formally petitioning that suspension.