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Trials & Litigation

Judge boots both bickering attorneys from civil case, sends copy of order to disciplinary body

Posted Apr 25, 2013 3:30 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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For months, attorneys Joel Brodsky and Michael Meschino just couldn't seem to get along as they litigated a civil matter over a failed business deal.

So on Wednesday a Chicago judge booted them both off the case, finding that their "deplorable behavior"—which continued despite warnings and the use of courthouse security resources—required counsel for both sides to be disqualified to insure the parties' right to a fair trial, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Court records show that the ruling by Cook County Circuit Judge Raymond Mitchell followed months of courtroom disturbances involving Brodsky and Meschino, the newspaper recounts. Twice, Meschino was escorted from court by sheriff's deputies.

In his Wednesday opinion and order, the judge said both lawyers "proved impervious to reason and to a show of force," and that "despite all of the admonitions and the repeated attempts to dissuade the attorneys from engaging in further misconduct, these attorneys have, to this day, continued to act wholly improperly."

Both lawyers said they were "relieved" to be released from the burden of dealing with each other, and each blamed the other for the dissension in the case, the Tribune reports.

A transcript from a deposition—which was conducted at the courthouse, so that security could be provided—says Brodsky called Meschino a "moron" and a "liar," while Meschino at one point complained that Brodsky was "constantly shaking his head, his bald head, so that the light is shining on me," the article says.

The judge said he shouldn't have had to "baby-sit" the lawyers and noted that he had as many as four sheriff's deputies staffing his courtroom to deal with the attorney drama. His ruling gave both sides 21 days to find new counsel.

The judge is sending a copy of his order to the Illinois Attorney Regulation and Disciplinary Commission, which handles legal ethics matters concerning attorneys.

Brodsky previously made headlines when he and other defense lawyers did battle with each other during the high-profile Drew Peterson murder case, as detailed in earlier ABAJournal.com posts:

Former Drew Peterson lawyer sues onetime co-counsel and news outlets for libel

‘Shocked’ judge nixes gag order, but says he will refer Drew Peterson lawyer for ethics review

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