Trials & Litigation

Judge nixes fees for bankruptcy lawyer, citing 'passive-aggressive' response to required forms

  • Print.

A Massachusetts bankruptcy lawyer who repeatedly submitted court forms for one client without filling in all of the information they required was axed from the case on Monday by a federal bankruptcy judge.

Citing attorney Walter Oney’s “passive-aggressive refusals to provide all of the pertinent information,” Judge Henry Boroff ordered (PDF) that Oney receive no compensation and struck his appearance.

Another lawyer remained on the case and continued to represent the debtor, Boroff noted in the opinion. He also delayed a scheduled Dec. 4 trial and set a January status conference to determine a new trial date.

In response to a Tuesday emergency motion to reconsider, however, the judge subsequently agreed that the trial could go forward as originally scheduled with Oney representing the client, the docket in the case shows.

The motion says Oney was willing to do so without compensation, but “hopes to be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses and may decide to appeal from the remainder of the court’s order of December 1.” The docket states that the motion was “granted without promise of any reimbursement to counsel for the debtor.”

Contacted Wednesday by the ABA Journal, Oney declined to comment, saying that it would be inappropriate for him to do so concerning a judicial action that affects him personally.

Hat tip: Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly (sub. req.)

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.