Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Another Lawyer in Trouble for Disrespectful Language

I've talked before about the importance of being respectful to your adversary and the court and avoiding charged language.  This lawyer apparently didn't get that message.

A Memphis attorney was recently given a 60-day suspension for comments made during a 2008 medical malpractice trial.  The attorney apparently called one of the trial judge's rulings "crazy,"  accused opposing counsel of lying to the judge, and stated the judge might "set a world record for error" with her rulings.  Counsel's statements caused the judge to declare a mistrial, and the case settled shortly thereafter.

The three-member disciplinary panel that handed down the suspension found the attorney's comments "contentious, combative, and protracted."  Specifically, the panel stated:

We do not believe that such conduct can be justified no matter how worthy or vulnerable the attorney's client may be, or how poorly the judge may be performing or how difficult or unethical the adversary counsel may be ... Simply abusing or insulting the court to get rulings in your favor cannot ever be endorsed or justified by our rules and our system of professional conduct.

The attorney has indicated he intends to appeal.  The 60-day suspension won't take effect until all his appeals are exhausted. 

I don't have a copy of the panel's opinion, but the story, from the Commercial Appeal, can be found here:


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