All too often attorney misconduct in the course of litigation goes unreported and unpunished. Incivility in litigation delays the resolution of cases, taxes an already overburdened judiciary, and increases the cost of litigating a matter. Despite this, attorney incivility is regrettably on the rise in state and federal courts around the country. One federal magistrate judge recently decided that enough was enough and issued a benchslap to a pair of attorneys for misconduct at a deposition. In his recent opinion in Sokolova v. United Airlines, Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cole issued a scathing rebuke of the attorneys while offering a primer on proper deposition decorum.
The deposition that spawned dueling sanctions motions and accusations and cross-accusations of discovery misconduct got off to an unceremonious start with plaintiffs’ counsel arriving nearly 30 minutes late according to the opinion. Things improved little from there. Almost immediately after starting the deposition, things went off the rails when plaintiffs’ attorney took issue with the interpreter’s translation of the oath. Continue reading ›