Tuesday, May 15, 2012
The Legal Profession blog has the story about an Arizona attorney who yelled at a couple of medical records clerks over the phone, telling one of them that she "nothing but a slut who worked for a copy service." That, other profanity-laced tirades and getting into a fight with a client led a judge to suspend the attorney for one year. An excerpt from the opinion:
Lawyers should always strive to treat others with dignity and respect. Rude attacking comments reflect poorly on a self-regulating profession. When making business calls, it is not necessary to give grammar lessons, but that is not a sanctionable offense. It does however demonstrate a pattern of insensitivity and intentional disregard of others and rules which [his] prior discipline had little impact upon. Worse and more aggressively to the point, it is inexcusable to make profane and insulting remarks. When followed by a pattern of neglect with respect to client matters, his conduct runs the gamut of minor to major transgressions and behavior that he has little apparent interest in controlling or addressing...
Individuals have absolute freedom to hold any number of views. Respondent clearly holds other[s] in extreme low regard that he deems inconvenience him. He is entitled to hold that opinion. However, Respondent brandishes his opinion as a battering ram, intentionally offending people. This Panel does not believe these are "slips of the tongue" or inadvertant. Respondent is intentional in his conduct and bull whips people by his words with a zeal. While in private life he may be as rude, offensive and demeaning as he chooses, in his professional life he may not hide behind his First Amendment rights to ignore his sworn responsibilities.