My Father, Richard F. Furia, Esquire, is one of the best sources of blog ideas. He’s always sending me great material. This morning, he sent me a few articles regarding U.S. District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno’s 44-page opinion in the GMAC Bank v. HTFC Corp. case. (Opinion: http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/Robreno.pdf)
In this case, Judge Robreno levied sanctions of more than $29,000 on a lawyer and his client after finding that a deposition was a "spectacular failure" because of the Aaron Wider, the CEO of HTFC’s, hostile and abusive conduct during a 12 hour deposition. The CEO dropped the F-bomb73 times, interrupted counsel, gave unnecessarily protracted answers, interposed his own objections and wrongfully refused to answer questions. His attorney, Joseph R. Ziccardi of Chicago, did nothing to stop his client's conduct, and in fact, snickered at his client's behavior.
There’s a great article in The Legal Intelligencer by Shannon Duffy titled Lawyer and Client Sanctioned Over Client's Outbursts that goes into the details of the opinion.
Attorneys need to counsel their clients (and themselves) from the very start of a case that anything can become fodder for media coverage. It is imperative to remember everyday public relations includes the way you dress, the way you speak, and even the way you react when even one other person in public is watching.
Gina F. Rubel, Esq.
Author: Everyday Public Relations for Lawyers
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