Legal Ethics

Lawyers Sanctioned for E-Mail Insults, Including ‘Scum Sucking Loser’ Comment


Two Florida lawyers who called each other a “retard” and “scum sucking loser” in escalating e-mail insults have been sanctioned by the state supreme court.

Nicholas Mooney of Tampa, a lawyer representing Volkswagen of America, received a public reprimand and must take a class on professionalism, according to the St. Petersburg Times. He is identified as a former partner at Hinshaw & Culbertson and a lawyer for Bromagen & Rathet on the law firm’s website. Kurt Mitchell of Palmetto, an accident lawyer who is identified as “an experienced litigator and biker” on his website, was suspended for 10 days and must attend an anger management class, the story says.

The St. Petersburg Times cites e-mails quoted in the bar complaints against the men. At one point, Mooney called Mitchell a jerk; at another, Mitchell called Mooney an “old hack.” Later e-mails went so far as to insult wives and children. They story cites these exchanges:

• From Mooney to Mitchell, written after an accusation that he couldn’t handle the pressures of litigation: Mooney said he was handling more than 200 cases, “many of which were more important/significant than these little Mag[nuson] Moss [warranty] claims that are handled by bottom feeding/scum sucking/loser lawyers like yourself.”

• From Mitchell: Mooney displays symptoms of a disability marked by “closely spaced eyes, dull blank stare, bulbous head, lying.”

• From Mooney: Mitchell should look in the mirror to see signs of a disability. “Then check your children (if they are even yours. … Better check the garbage man that comes by your trailer to make sure they don’t look like him).”

• From Mitchell, after learning Mooney’s son suffers from a birth defect: “While I am sorry to hear about your disabled child, that sort of thing is to be expected when a retard reproduces.”

Hat tip to How Appealing.

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