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Bankruptcy Law

Longtime Lawyer’s Letter re Judge’s ‘Half-Baked Findings’ Results in Historic En Banc Hearing

Posted Aug 18, 2011 6:07 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Longtime lawyer Kevin Gleason apparently saw red when a South Florida bankruptcy judge published an opinion earlier this year that called an argument Gleason made on behalf of a client "frivolous, absurd, and is not warranted by existing law."

In response, Gleason, 54, fired off a letter to U.S. Bankruptcy Judge John Olson. "It is sad when a man of your intellectual ability cannot get it right," the letter said, "when your own record does not support your half-baked findings,"

That letter has now resulted in a historic session in which Gleason appeared today before all seven bankruptcy judges for Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, to address what they called "the unprofessional and disrespectful tone" of his letter. It was the first such en banc hearing in the history of the jurisdiction, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports.

Gleason and Olson had clashed several times previously, and court records show that the judge had called Gleason "negligent" and suggested that clients should sue him, the newspaper reports.

Gleason apologized profusely, especially to Olson, and offered to do pro bono work in atonement during today's hearing. However, he also blamed the judge's remarks for putting his firm "in shutdown mode" and told the group of judges, at one point, "I just don't know how many times I'm supposed to take a punch."

The bankruptcy judge panel plans to issue an opinion at a later date.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Lawyer Accuses Judge of ‘Half-Baked Findings’ in Scathing Response to Sanctions Threat"

Updated Aug. 19 to correct a reference to Gleason.<./i>

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