Bar Associations

Puerto Rico Bar Prez Pays $10K Contempt Fine at Urging of His Wife, Wins Release from Jail

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The president of the Puerto Rico Bar Association was treated for high blood pressure in a hospital emergency room on Monday after paying a $10,000 contempt fine and being freed from jail.

Osvaldo Toledo spent four days in jail because he refused to pay the fine, imposed for violating a gag order in a class action against the bar association, according to the National Law Journal and Caribbean Business. A motion filed Monday said Toledo would pay the fine under protest at the urging of his wife, the NLJ story says.

After his release, Toledo was taken to a urologist for treatment of a possible urinary infection then referred to the emergency room because of his high blood pressure, Caribbean Business says.

The class action suit against the bar challenges its prior use of compulsory dues to buy life insurance policies for all its members. Last year the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston upheld an injunction barring the use of dues for the insurance program, but overturned a $4 million damages judgment. The appeals court said lawyers can opt out of the class, and the lower court on remand can reduce the judgment accordingly.

Toledo was found in contempt after holding a press conference last week, telling lawyers they could opt out of the class and warning that the bar’s headquarters might have to be sold to pay the judgment.

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