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Legal Ethics

Appeals Court Sanctions Lawyer for ‘Frivolous, Outrageous and Unprofessional’ Deposition Behavior

Posted Apr 24, 2012 6:30 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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New York lawyer Joseph Sahid says it’s hard to believe that a New York appeals court has imposed a $10,000 sanction on him for his behavior at a deposition in 2010.

"This is absolutely shocking," Sahid tells Reuters. "I've been a lawyer for 40 years. I have never been sanctioned for anything."

The April 19 opinion by the Appellate Division, First Department, said Sahid’s conduct was “frivolous, outrageous, and unprofessional” and it warranted a sanction.

At the deposition, Sahid “repeatedly interrupted the questioning and made improper objections and lengthy speeches that had no merit,” the appeals court said. “He also improperly interrupted the witness's answers and conferred with the witness (his client) mid-answer. He insulted plaintiff's counsel, [the judge overseeing the case] and her clerk, and even the court reporter, who was eventually compelled to leave the deposition due to the abuse of defendants' counsel.”

The court said the sanction should be paid to the Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection, and also said Sahid should pay attorney fees for the costs of pursuing the sanctions motion.

Sahid told Reuters that the request for sanctions is part of a campaign of “harassment” by a collection company seeking money from his clients. The New York Law Journal (sub. req.) also covered the ruling.

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