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Legal Ethics

Bar Judge Asks 3-Year Suspension for Lawyer Who ‘Badgered, Berated, Screamed, Yelled’

Posted Dec 17, 2009 4:34 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A California plaintiffs lawyer should be suspended for three years, a State Bar Court judge recommends, because of his "outrageous" and "insolent" behavior.

The judge also found that Philip Kay, who practices out of San Francisco, entered into an illegal fee-sharing arrangement in a high-profile sexual harassment suit against Baker & McKenzie that reaped a $3.5 million judgment more than a decade ago, reports the Recorder in an article reprinted in New York Lawyer (reg. req.)

Dialing down from the prosecution's recommendation of disbarment, however, Judge Lucy Armendariz recommended a three-year suspension from practice followed by probation, the legal publication recounts.

Armendariz said Kay engaged in a "pattern of abuse" against multiple judges. "He repeatedly badgered, berated, screamed, yelled and/or raised his tone at witnesses and the court, despite court warnings, admonitions and orders not to do this," she wrote.

Kay has denied this throughout the case. If his conduct was as bad as described, he should have been held in contempt at the time by the trial court, he argues.

The California Supreme Court must decide on the correct attorney discipline for Kay before it becomes final.

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