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Sense And Nonsense

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Have you ever questioned why courts don’t order sanctions extra typically? Putting apart the litigation flurry for the reason that election, there appear to be extra instances what place sanctions could be a great way to inform the attorneys that their case isn’t worthy of expending judicial time and assets, particularly in today of COVID-19. Reading advance sheets, varied articles, and remembering my days in courtroom, I’m puzzled as to why the hammer doesn’t come down extra typically on ridiculous, frivolous litigation, as if the courts don’t have the rest to do.

Let me offer you one instance. A case was tried to a jury on a matter of pen-snatching. Yes, you learn that proper, pen-snatching. A plaintiff lawyer (who else?) sued New York City and two law enforcement officials. The foundation: when the lawyer tried to serve a lawsuit on the division, the workplace for service of course of was closed. One police officer grabbed the lawyer’s pen as he tried to jot down down the officer’s title and protect quantity. The pen was returned to the lawyer inside minutes.

The lawyer had alleged constitutional violations, as well as assault and battery and different prices. The jury awarded the plaintiff lawyer $1 for the pen-snatching. The lawyer sought greater than $44,000 in lawyer’s charges. The district courtroom determined that “sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander,” and awarded the lawyer $1, discovering the case trivial. Naturally, the lawyer “respectfully disagrees” with the payment award. When has an lawyer who wasn’t awarded charges or they had been awarded in a lesser quantity than sought ever agreed with the choice?

This is simply one other instance of how silly legal professionals can seem and do seem to the nonlawyer number living. As the district courtroom mentioned, whereas the decision could also be personally significant to the plaintiff, nobody else cares. No one else ought to care aside from the waste of judicial time and assets in attempting this case. What do you assume the jury thought having to take a seat by means of this dreck in the midst of a pandemic? Could the award of $1 as a substitute of the greater than $44,000 sought be an implicit sanction?

And sanctions aren’t only for legal professionals. The Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission took a trial courtroom decide to job for intemperate conduct, sanctioning him for, amongst different issues, a temper tantrum on the bench.

One of the various issues we inform shoppers to not do: “Don’t do anything that might appear in the news media.” Do we keep track of our own recommendation? Maybe, perhaps not. Here’s a cautionary story for all of us. Renowned LA lawyer Tom Girardi is in a pickle in Chicago. He’s alleged to have siphoned off settlement funds attributable to his shoppers to the tune of $2 million. Not solely is Girardi recognized in his own proper, however he’s often known as the husband of Erika Jayne, one in every of TV’s Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. The Girardis don’t reside in Beverly Hills, by the best way, and Mrs. Girardi has lately filed for divorce.

The courtroom in Chicago overseeing the distribution of settlement proceeds has frozen all of Girardi’s assets and people of his agency. It’s not a fairly image. Creditors are threatening to file an involuntary chapter petition.

Girardi is in a world of harm proper now. Not solely may he face self-discipline by the State Bar (and everyone knows or ought to know what a dim view bar self-discipline peeps take of claims of misappropriation), the federal courtroom referred the matter for potential felony investigation. (Shades of Michael Avenatti, bear in mind him?) And the U.S. Attorney’s workplace in Chicago has requested the courtroom to unseal a courtroom submitting through which Girardi’s regulation agency admitted that the $2 million gave the impression to be lacking. This goes to go approach past sanctions. Loss of bar license and fame, amongst different issues, appear to be in jeopardy.

Remember the childhood phrase “Liar, liar, pants on fire?” Hopefully, you’ll get the reference on this opinion by the Ohio Supreme Court. It had beforehand disciplined the lawyer (suspending him from observe for a interval) for misconduct for partaking in a sexual relationship with an indigent consumer in a felony case. The lawyer lied about it to the courtroom together with different offenses. Apparently, not feeling sufficiently chastised, the lawyer continued his merry approach, proper after being suspended, partaking in the identical sort of conduct that obtained him suspended within the first place: mendacity to yet one more courtroom and his shoppers concerning the suspension, forging his consumer’s title on a settlement test with out authority to take action and different folderol, not designed to enhance his fame with the courtroom.

The courtroom, (deciding that the lawyer was, to make use of my consumer’s phrase and never the courtroom’s “a lying sack of sh–”) discovered a sample of misconduct that continued from his first disciplinary suspension, mendacity to the trial courtroom on a number of events. “We can only assume that [the attorney’s pants are charred from the number of falsehoods that he has perpetuated” in his prior disciplinary and the present one. Some sayings nonetheless maintain true.

And final, however not least, a shout out to LegislationProfBlawg (I’m ignoring the “Dr.” in entrance of the title) who criticizes the dismissive perspective towards Dr. Jill Biden utilizing her “Dr.” in her title. As the Prof points out, that is yet one more instance of the often-demeaning perspective towards women’s achievements on their own. It’s nothing new, sadly, however that perspective should cease and the best way to try this is to push again towards such nonsense. Dr. Biden is the incoming First Lady and can proceed to show full time. What concerning the incoming Second Gentleman, Douglas Emhoff, who can be educating at Georgetown? Will he be capable of fulfill his duties as Second Gentleman whereas educating? Would anybody ask that query? I doubt it.


Jill Switzer has been an lively member of the State Bar of California for over 40 years. She remembers training regulation in a kinder, gentler time. She’s had a various authorized profession, together with stints as a deputy district lawyer, a solo observe, and a number of other senior in-house gigs. She now mediates full-time, which provides her the chance to see dinosaurs, millennials, and people in-between work together — it’s not all the time civil. You can reach her by e mail at oldladylawyer@gmail.com.

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