Legal Ethics

Top state court to hear case of lawyers accused of asking paralegal to 'friend' litigant on Facebook

  • Print

The New Jersey Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether legal discipline officials have jurisdiction in an ethics case accusing two lawyers of directing their paralegal to friend a litigant on Facebook.

The lawyers, John Robertelli and Gabriel Adamo, claim the Office of Attorney Ethics had no jurisdiction to charge the lawyers with ethical violations after a district ethics committee found there was no unethical conduct, the New Jersey Law Journal (sub. req.) reports.

The lawyers, who worked for Rivkin Radler in Hackensack, are accused of directing a law firm paralegal to search online for information about a plaintiff who was struck by a police car. Robertelli and Adamo represented the defendants, the borough of Oakland and its police department. The lawyers were interested in learning about the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries.

The lawyers acknowledged asking the paralegal to monitor the plaintiff’s Facebook page but denied asking her to friend the plaintiff. They said they thought the friend request was an automatic process.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.