It isn't contempt if 'we're just mean people' and disparaging comments caused no harm, lawyer argues

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A Texas lawyer acknowledged during a contempt hearing Monday that his law partner’s pleadings “may be aggressive and even unkind to the court sometimes.”

But lawyer James C. Mosser said he didn’t see evidence that his law partner and son Nicholas Mosser’s negative comments about judges disrupted the court, Law360 reports.

“If we didn’t interfere with justice or a criminal proceeding, we didn’t do anything bad, we’re just mean people, … it’s not contempt,” James Mosser argued.

Nicholas Mosser is living in Michigan and didn’t attend the hearing before the Texas Sixth Court of Appeals, Law360 reports. James Mosser of Mosser Law in Plano, Texas, said his son wasn’t formally served with the Sept. 16 show-cause order issued by the appeals court.

The order cited several written statements by Nicholas Mosser that included:

    • In a March 1 court filing, Nicholas Mosser said an appeals judge “fails to appreciate the law of Texas” regarding appellate jurisdiction. Mosser also said the judge’s “desire to retain the case without jurisdiction has blinded him to” the law.

    • In a March 23 brief, Nicholas Mosser said a lower court decision can’t stand because of the “atrocious conduct of the individual masquerading as a judge.” He accused a judge of changing testimony and suborning perjury from a witness.

    • Said in a June 13 reply brief the court had made “spurious allegations” against him regarding his interactions with court staff.

The show-cause order noted that Nicholas Mosser made the statements, even though he had been warned about his conduct in a Jan. 26 order. That order said Mosser disagreed with the clerks office after his legal document was rejected for failure to pay a filing fee.

When the clerk’s office explained what happened, Mosser “responded in an unprofessional and disrespectful manner towards our clerk and deputy clerk through a series of telephone calls, emails and a letter,” the appeals court said.

The Jan. 26 motion also noted that Nicholas Mosser had been sanctioned by a federal judge four years ago for “strikingly similar” conduct, according to Bloomberg Law. The opinion in that case said James Mosser is the father of Nicholas Mosser.

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