Litigation lawyers are, in a sense, at war. Each lawyer is fighting for his client to prevail. A spirited fight requires, sometimes, spirited verbal exchanges.
But there are limits. Fellow lawyers, here’s a little rule of thumb: Don’t call your opponent an “asshole”.
That’s exactly what one lawyer called another in Alexander Interactive v. Adorama Inc., a case involving a simple business dispute, and not, as one would expect given the level of vitriol, a roiling matrimonial case. The insult-hurling lawyer — whose surname is coincidentally “Savage” — dropped the “A-bomb” in an email to her opponent. Then the “Savaged” opponent – who apparently denied the charge — one-upped her by flipping the email over to the judge, who then sanctioned Ms. Savage with an admonishment, despite Ms. Savage’s pleas that her opponent had “provoked” her into her transgression.
The full email contained other “foul language”, too. Here it is in full:
You’re an asshole Dan. I have everything taped. And yes, under ny law and the rules of professional conduct, it’s allowed. If you think you’re going to sully my clients with your fictions, you’re a fool. If you try any shitt with the court, I welcome it. We have provided all requested data, all requested backups and have provided it in an orderly and accessible manner, unlike your clients. Don’t fuck me. I’m done with your unethical behavior. Any motions by you, if you’re trying to build a case for some unmeritorious motion to deflect from your clients’ unethical behavior, will include my recordings from today. Please govern yourself accordingly.
It’s no surprise to me that this exchange happened down in New York City, where lawyerly decorum is notoriously lacking. I can’t say this would never happen in upstate New York where I practice, but I can say I have never seen it happen. Hopefully, I never will . . .
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!
Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
michaels-smolak.com Central NY Personal Injury Lawyer Michaels & Smolak, P.C.