Appellate Practice

Lawyer cites mother's COVID-19 death after 6th Circuit blasts 'striking legal emptiness' of his brief

  • Print.

documents and gavel

Image from Shutterstock.

An Ohio lawyer sanctioned $1,500 for filing a substandard appellate brief told a federal appeals court on Friday that his failures stemmed from the COVID-19 death of his 96-year-old mother.

Columbus, Ohio, lawyer Percy Squire apologized after the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Cincinnati tossed his lawsuit against the Good Samaritan Hospital of Cincinnati for alleged negligent destruction of medical records, Law360 reports.

In its April 15 opinion, the 6th Circuit cited the “striking legal emptiness” of Squire’s brief and then sanctioned Squire $1,500 May 20 to partly compensate the Good Samaritan Hospital of Cincinnati for time lost to the appeal.

“The brief that Squire filed notes that the sole issue before us is whether Ohio recognizes a cause of action for negligent destruction of medical records,” the appeals court said. “It then provides 15 pages of argument that have no bearing whatsoever on that issue. The only case it cites is about what constitutes a medical record under Ohio law.”

Squire filed a motion to reconsider the sanction May 21. The motion says Squire had primary responsibility for his mother, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 in August 2020. Squire filed the appeals brief Nov. 12, and his mother died later that month.

“I apologize to the court for the quality of my performance in this case, but desire for the record to reflect that this was attributable to the personal factors” involving his mother, he said.

Squire was indefinitely suspended from law practice in 2011 for failing to keep client funds separate from his own money. Squire admitted at the time that he was a bad bookkeeper but said he never stole client money. He was reinstated to law practice in 2015, the Columbus Dispatch reported at the time.

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