Lawyer is suspended for deposition threat to expose intimate photos of woman in court record
Image from Sutterstock.
An Indiana lawyer has been suspended for threatening to make a woman’s intimate photos part of the public record if she continued to seek a protective order against his client.
According to the state supreme court, the incident happened during a deposition of the unrepresented woman, attended by a court reporter and others in Stout’s law firm.
Stout confronted the woman with several 8-by-10-inch color copies of intimate photos that she had sent Stout’s client during their relationship, “displaying them facing up on the table for all in attendance to see,” the court said in its order.
Stout then asked, “Why do women who seek the aid of the court send these kinds of pictures to men?”
Stout “then asked her if she still intended to pursue a protective order or whether there would be a ‘better way’ to handle things than for her to be ‘drug through’ and ‘exposed in’ the court,” the order said.
The woman replied that she just wanted Stout’s client to stop harassing her.
Stout then ended the deposition and told the woman that the court reporter “will transcribe this to final form, submit it to the court, it then becomes a public record. There’s a way to stop that, but otherwise with the matter still pending, we’ll have to submit it to the court and attend a hearing, which will be a very public hearing, as well.”
The woman then said she wanted to dismiss the case, which she did immediately after the hearing. Afterward, Stout bragged to an associate that he had secured the dismissal by threatening to make the photos part of the public record.
The Indiana Supreme Court affirmed a hearing officer’s findings that Stout’s conduct violated rules banning false statements of material fact; conduct that involves dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation; and conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.
Stout’s deception “was part of an intentional and purposeful plan he devised to coerce and bully the petitioner into dismissing her case under threat of having her intimate photos exposed,” the state supreme court said.
Stout did not immediately respond to the ABA Journal’s message seeking comment.