NEW YORK (AP) _ A judge threw out a lawsuit against Victoria's Secret on Wednesday, saying a complaint that the company illegally varies the discounts it offers different catalog customers lacked merit.

U.S. District Judge Robert W. Sweet also sanctioned lawyer Howard Gotbetter for bringing the lawsuit, saying the total lack of substance in the lawsuit gave him the impression the lawsuit was filed for ``improper purposes.''

Gotbetter was ordered to pay $5,000 of Victoria's Secret's legal fees.

Sweet noted that Gotbetter and Denise Katzman, who works with Gotbetter and was named as the plaintiff in the case, had appeared on several television programs after the lawsuit was filed. Katzman also was sanctioned.

Sweet said the Columbus, Ohio-based clothing company does not commit mail fraud when it offers different discounts to different catalog customers.

Initially, Katzman's lawsuit alleged male and female customers got different discounts. Later, Gotbetter argued the discrimination was related to the buying history of the customer, rather than gender.

The lawyer has earned a reputation for taking on large companies after someone he knows suffers an indignity. He sued on behalf of a client's secretary after the woman was arrested and handcuffed by police who accused her of pushing over a magazine rack.