Trials & Litigation

Lawyer sanctioned for being 'rude, demeaning and obnoxious' in depositions

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A federal judge has sanctioned a personal injury lawyer nearly $20,000 for his conduct during four depositions last year. Image from Shutterstock.

A federal judge has sanctioned a personal injury lawyer nearly $20,000 for his conduct during four depositions last year.

In a Sept. 27 opinion, U.S. District Judge Stephanie L. Haines of the Western District of Pennsylvania sanctioned lawyer Thomas Bosworth, who was fired by Kline & Specter after the fourth deposition November 2022.

Law360 has coverage.

Deposition transcripts and videos show that Bosworth’s conduct was “grossly in violation” of Pennsylvania ethics rules, Haines said.

“Attorney Bosworth made countless improper objections, including repeatedly coaching his witnesses and testifying himself, and instructed his witnesses not to answer on more than two dozen instances,” Haines said.

Bosworth’s disruptions were “serious, pervasive and interfering,” and his behavior to the opposing counsel was “disrespectful and outrageous,” Haines said.

According to Haines, Bosworth made “numerous, vicious personal attacks” against two opposing lawyers that “alternated between being rude, demeaning and obnoxious.” When speaking to the female lawyer, Bosworth used “a higher pitched, mocking tone to belittle” her, Haines said.

Haines listed several examples of Bosworth’s improper insults, including his statements that opposing lawyers were “corporate shills,” liars, disingenuous, and either failing to listen or seeking to bill time.

Bosworth told one lawyer that he had either a hearing problem, a personality disorder or a comprehension problem. He told another that he was concerned about her mental health and was worried that she was “losing it.”

Haines calculated the fee based on time expended by the opposing lawyers at the depositions.

Bosworth was representing the parents of an infant killed after being placed in an automatic baby bouncer. The case settled in May.

Bosworth provided a statement to Law360.

“I acknowledge my conduct crossed the line of the zeal required by our code of ethics and I have resolved to have a clearer regard of that line,” Bosworth said in the statement. “I think the findings and penalty are excessive, and for these reasons will appeal.”

Lawyers for Kline & Specter also provided a statement to Law360.

“We have no comment beyond what was written by Judge Haines,” they said.

Law360 noted that Bosworth “is currently embroiled” in litigation with Kline & Specter. Both parties are accusing the other of defamation. Kline & Specter also alleges client poaching.

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