Lawyer whose midtrial DUI setup by opposing counsel made headlines wins related malpractice suit
Three years ago, attorney C. Philip Campbell not only represented the losing party in a high-profile Florida defamation case but made headlines when the trial was interrupted by his drunken-driving arrest—due, as authorities later determined, to an unethical setup by his opposing counsel.
Since then, the drunken-driving case against Campbell was dropped and an attorney found responsible for the setup lost his law license, while others face pending discipline. And on Friday a jury sided with Campbell and his firm in a malpractice suit brought by his former clients over their handling of the defamation case. The jury held that no malpractice occurred and required radio shock jock Todd Schnitt and his wife Michelle, a former Hillsborough County prosecutor, to cough up nearly $670,000 in unpaid attorney fees, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Attorney Joe Varner, who defended Shumaker Loop & Kendrick in the malpractice case and argued that the law firm was owed $978,278, called the Schnitts sore losers, the article reports.
“The Schnitts lost their trial to Bubba Clem, and ever since they have been desperately coming up with excuses to not pay their bill,” Varner said, referring to the defendant in the defamation trial, who is a competing radio shock jock.
Attorney Tom Roebig represents the Schnitts. “They should not have to pay these people another dime,” Roebig said yesterday in his closing argument. “Had they been told the truth, they would never have embarked on this odyssey they have been dragged through.”
The jury didn’t explain why it trimmed more than $300,000 from the nearly $1 million in attorney fees sought by Shumaker Loop.
ABAJournal.com: “As libel trial losers battle $1M legal bill, FBI probes claimed mid-trial DUI set-up of their lawyer”
ABAJournal.com: “3 lawyers ‘maliciously’ set up opposing counsel for midtrial DUI arrest, referee says”
ABAJournal.com: “Florida lawyer is permanently disbarred for DUI setup”