The January 17 post discussed the misadventures of a California attorney who was admitted to Nevada pro hac vice and then proceeded to inappropriately defend his client at deposition in A-11-653755-C. DC Bulla sanctioned him $5,000 for these tactics.
On January 17 I was in district court when, what to my wondering eyes should appear but A-11-653755-C being called for a motion to revoke the baddie’s pro hac vice admission. The motion was heard by civil presiding judge, the local parlance for chief civil judge, Elizabeth Gonzalez. The motion concerned the same deposition behavior as was discussed in the January 2 discovery hearing, but this time whether it justified the revocation of pro hac vice admission. What gave rise to these motions? The Deposition of Rick Dale. Read the transcript, but the video, which is apparently even worse according to the court, is subject to a protective order. If it was not, it would be posted here.
To set the scene, the baddie was present along with local counsel and, this time, the baddie’s boss, who happened to be one of the two name partners for his firm. When the time came to oppose the motion, the baddie’s boss spoke first. The boss explained to the court the behavior documented in the transcript is not how his firm practices and is not how it teaches its associates to defend depositions. He expressed remorse at the difficulties his associate had caused and reminded the court of its positive, past interactions with members of his firm. The boss stated this conduct would not occur again and, should the court still be concerned, he would personally attend all future depositions in the case. The court then asked the baddie if he had anything to say. He stood up and, in what sounded like a sincere if rehearsed comment, offered his apologies to the court. During the course of the hearing I was concerned the baddie’s face was either severely sun or windburned. It turned out to be red for a different reason.
Judge Gonzalez then denied the motion but provided alternative relief. In addition to the $5,000 sanction ordered by DC Bulla, my notes were first a $500 general sanction, the baddie was then personally sanctioned $1,995.00 payable to a pro bono cause and the defendants were responsible for the fees and costs of the renoticed deposition. The $1,995 figure is reportedly $5.00 less than the threshold in California that would require counsel to report it to the State Bar of California. The court also repeated DC Bulla’s prior comments that this was not how to behave at deposition. In total, a rather costly 13 minute deposition both financially and professionally.
In closing I do wish to note one thing. Some of you may be astonished, as was I, at these events. They are discussed here because they squarely fit the professional development scope of this blog. This is not a legal gossip blog nor is it intended to brand certain attorneys with a scarlet letter. It is an essential part of human existence that we learn from the mistakes of others so as to avoid these same mistakes ourselves. This baddie made a particularly egregious mistake, has paid and may continue to pay dearly for it. I hope this is somehow a positive learning experience for anyone who reads this post.