Saturday, July 21, 2007
An attorney admitted only in Louisiana brought a personal injury action in Mississippi. The pleadings listed a local counsel who never appeared. After the attorney had conducted several depositions, opposing counsel checked his bar status and moved to strike all pleadings (which, if granted, would apparently amount to dismissal with prejudice, as the statute of limitations had run). The attorney brought in active local counsel but did not seek pro hac admission. The trial court granted the motion to strike.
On appeal, the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case, finding the sanction for unauthorized practice to be unduly harsh. The court also directed the trial court to consider referring the matter to the Louisiana bar for investigation. A pointed dissent suggests that the case is as simple as the ABCs.