It’s fine to shake your booty on the dance floor, but don’t try it during mediation.
You might find yourself on the receiving end of a sanctions motion requesting thousands of dollars and your disqualification from the case.
It happened in Texas, where plaintiff’s counsel in a civil case said the defendant’s attorney “embarked on a campaign of abusive and intolerable conduct that began with profanity-laced conversation, which escalated to discriminatory slurs, and culminated into an explicit rhetoric against plaintiff’s attorney,” according to this Motion for Sanctions filed on February 13, 2020.
The motion seeks the disqualification of defense counsel because of “alleged ‘abusive language and gestures’ during a mediation in August 2019” and “‘shaking his behind’ in front of the opposing lawyer and denigrating the lawyer’s ponytail,” reports the ABA Journal.
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In the Texas case, plaintiff’s counsel said he’d been consistently polite and professional, but opposing counsel had not reciprocated in kind.
The sanctions motion seeks to:
- Throw defense counsel off the case
- Bar him from communicating with plaintiff or plaintiff’s counsel
- Require him to pay $7,000 to cover the cost of the sanctions motion and attempts to coordinate a deposition
“Litigation is tough enough when the attorneys are working together,” the motion says, as reported by the ABA Journal. “It is tougher when the attorneys are not working together. Litigation becomes almost impossible when one of the attorneys decides to make disrespectful and abusive comments towards the other attorney.”
ABA Model Rule 4.4 Transactions With Persons Other Than Clients
(a) In representing a client, a lawyer shall not use means that have no substantial purpose other than to embarrass, delay, or burden a third person, or use methods of obtaining evidence that violate the legal rights of such a person.
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