Ethics

Lawyer unhappy with case transfer calls judge the B-word during Zoom hearing

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A Texas lawyer called a San Antonio judge the B-word during a Zoom hearing last week and then quickly apologized.

The judge was still taken aback by lawyer Elizabeth McLaughlin’s “what a b- - - -” comment, the San Antonio Express-News reports.

Judge Mary Lou Alvarez told the San Antonio Express-News that the comment was disturbing, hurtful and disrespectful.

“I’m trying to think about it from a place of grace and humanity, but she wouldn’t do it to a male, white judge,” Alvarez said.

In response to the comment, Alzarez excused McLaughlin from presiding court for two days. Alvarez later agreed that McLaughlin could attend a Friday docket call, the newspaper said.

Alvarez told the San Antonio Express-News that she was still thinking about whether to punish McLaughlin, perhaps by holding her in contempt.

“I may not be the one to decide. That may be for another court,” Alvarez said.

McLaughlin, a 69-year-old family law attorney in San Antonio, made the remark after objecting to Alvarez’s decision to assign her case to visiting Judge Larry Noll.

Alvarez said she was entitled to one objection to the assignment under Texas code, and the opposing party’s objection should not count against her. Alvarez nonetheless sent the case to Noll.

“What a b- - - -,” McLaughlin said.

More than 100 people were listening in on the Zoom conference, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

McLaughlin told the ABA Journal in an email that she had no comment.

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