Legal Ethics

Lawyer Who Made Snarky Comments Ordered to Write Civility Article

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A lawyer who ordered opposing counsel to “sit quietly in the corner” and “be like a potted plant” has been ordered to write an article on civility for that remark and other cutting comments.

U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange said lawyer Gerard Pignato should submit the article to the Oklahoma Bar Journal within six months, the Legal Profession Blog reports. The judge cites these comments Pignato made in letters to the opposing lawyer as examples of his improper remarks:

“I am in receipt of your second fax. …. Please stop the charade. Your self-serving comments are putting me to sleep.”

“There are people out there who work hard every day—like teachers, coaches, policemen and firemen. …. Then there are people like you who seem to thrive on creating havoc. People like you have no intention of making the world a better place to live. Their only interest is in making lots of money.”

“Please spare me your phony sermons. I do not want any more of your self-serving letters; save the paper.”

“Can you not say anything in a page or less? Who are you? You’re just a broker who refers difficult cases to experienced lawyers. You’re a witness in this case. Be like a potted plant and sit quietly in the corner.”

In the April 14 order (PDF), Miles-LaGrange, of Oklahoma City, said Pignato should include an explanation of why he is writing the article and should direct it to younger lawyers.

A hat tip to Legal Blog Watch, which posted the story.

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