Friday, September 21, 2018

Wicked Words, Wicked Deeds

An order entered by a Connecticut Superior Court Judge yesterday in the case of Corona v. Day Kimball Healthcare Inc. suspending an attorney for 120 days begins as follows

For the courts to guarantee the triumph of the law over the loud, there must be civility in court proceedings.

The court's ire was drawn by a statement picked up by a lapel microphone before a deposition that revealed the attorney's strategy to an associate

"Fuck him," she said - referring either to opposing counsel or the court itself - "I am going to give him such a fucking hard time."

The court rejected the suggestion that these bon mots were "ordinary lawyer talk" and explained at length how the attorney's conduct of the proceeding showed that her "wicked words betoken[ed] wicked deeds." 

The ABA Journal noted prior sanctions

A 24-year practitioner has been sanctioned $11,484 by a Connecticut judge for coaching a witness during a deposition.

Defense lawyer Madonna Sacco has been sanctioned four times previously for “strikingly similar” behavior during depositions, but the penalties apparently didn’t have the desired deterrent effect, according to Hartford Superior Court Judge Robert Shapiro. He found not only that the medical malpractice specialist had violated discovery practice standards but that she had also violated attorney ethical rules, reports the Connecticut Law Tribune.

During a hearing earlier this year, Sacco argued that the judge had incorrectly invoked the ethics rules without adequate notice, contending that the state’s attorney disciplinary system was the proper forum for any such complaint. However, she has since paid the sanction, the legal publication reports. She declined to comment for the article.

No attorney grievance has been filed against Sacco, notes Mark Dubois, the chief disciplinary counsel for the the state. “Sometimes,” he says, “judges just like to handle these things themselves.”

Thanks to Steve Zoni for sending this order to us. (Mike Frisch )

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2018/09/an-order-entered-by-a-connecticut-superior-court-judge-yesterday-in-the-case-of-corona-v-day-kimball-healthcare-inc-suspend.html

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