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Friday, May 25, 2012

DUNKIN' DONUTS DEPOSITION

Richard Celler, a Florida attorney from Morgan & Morgan, has been removed from a case by a U.S. District Judge after scheduling depositions at a Dunkin' Donuts, showing up in t-shirts and shorts, and drawing pictures of male genitalia to mock opposing counsel while also playing games, namely Angry Birds, during the depositions.  Celler had sued a limousine service and corporate officers in the case and disparaged opposing counsel in front of clients.  In removing both Celler and Morgan & Morgan, the District Judge stated: "It is evident that Celler's actions with respect to Defendants, and throughout this case have so damaged the adversarial process that any trial may well be tainted. [G]iven the small size of the Morgan & Morgan labor practice, the Court is not convinced that a Chinese wall ... would have any effectiveness." 

The order can be found here.

Friday, May 18, 2012

ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF HOW YOUR MOUTH CAN GET YOU IN TROUBLE!

A Texas attorney, Martin Sweeney, a former partner at Cozen O'Connor, has been accused of using inappropriate language in a motion for sanctions filed by the opposing attorney.  In a string of emails discussing the scheduling of depositions, the attorney, Martin Sweeney, made threatening and rude comments to Chad Arnette.

It all started with Sweeney emailing Arnette: "That's bulls**t Chad. I told you I would get dates in March.  I'll quash and Rule 11 you otherwise. Don't jack with me."  Arnette responded by saying: "Not sure where that came from, but if you are committed to getting us dates in March, that would be swell."  Sweeney then replied by saying: "It came from ME. F*** with me and you will have a huge a**hole. ... I meant Rule 13 by the way, and I will make sure it comes out of your tight little pockets."  Sweeney continued to berate Arnette even after Arnette told him he would be filing a motion for sanctions.  Sweeney called Arnette a "pansy," "ignorant slut" and "gutless attorney."  Sweeney then gave Arnette his home address because, as he stated, "I'd love to meet you in person to fully express myself." 

Cozen O'Connor released a statement stating that Sweeney is no longer with the firm and that the firm "expect[s] all of [their] attorneys and professional staff to maintain the highest standards of professionalism and civility at all times in their conduct on behalf of our firm clients." 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"SLUT" COMMENT LEADS TO SUSPENSION

An Arizona attorney, Meyer Ziman, has been suspended for violating a number of Arizona rules, one of which was quite interesting.  Ziman, who has been practicing since 1970, contacted a medical file copying service in June 2010 to complain that he had received the wrong medical file and request the correct one.  The woman, Ms. Rascon, he spoke with told him that he would need to resubmit his request, which angered Ziman and he began to berate her.  Ms. Rascon told him in the future to only contact Ms. Hudson, which only infuriated Ziman more because, as he stated, "everyone tells him to call back to speak to someone else."  After Ziman finished yelling a string of expletives at Ms. Rascon, he hung up.  Later in June, Ziman contacted Ms. Hudson to express his frustration that he had requested medical records for his clients but only received records for the client's son.  Ms. Hudson asked him to re-fax the request and she would look into it.  Ziman began yelling expletives at her to which she responded by stating, "excuse me but you are talking to a lady."Ziman responded that she was not a lady and "was nothing but a slut who worked for a copy service."  Ziman then repeated the word "slut" slowly to make sure Ms. Hudson heard him. 

In finding that Ziman violated Rule 42, Ariz.R.Sup.Ct., specifically Rule 31(a)(2)(E) and Rule 41(g), failing to refrain from engaging in unprofessional and offensive conduct by adhering to the provisions set forth in the Supreme Court Rules, the Panel noted that Ziman's testimony was implausible.  After first testifying that he had no recollection of the alleged phone call, he than testified with a vivid recollection of the call and stated he said "slug", not "slut", to refer to the process being slow, sluggish and cumbersome.  He also testified that he believed that it was not inappropriate to use either "slut" or "slug" in a business setting.  The Panel, however, disagreed and in conjunction with other violations of the Rules, Ziman was suspended for 1 year and given 2 years probation after his reinstatement. 

The opinion can be found here.

Monday, May 7, 2012

PROSECTUTOR SUSPENDED FOR PRESSURING SHERIFFS

A veteran of 10 years, California prosecutor Danielle London, had been put on administrative leave for allegedly ordering sheriff's deputies to secretly record a conversation between a murder defendant and a defense expert. 

While not only a professional act of misconduct (violating the attorney-client privilege), London faces felony charges since it is a felony in California to record the conversation between an inmate and his/her attorney or others who are presumed to maintain confidentiality on the inmate's behalf. 

The public Defender's Office and attorney Jo Anne Kingston, who represents the inmate, are calling for an independent probe of the sheriff's department as well.