Professionalism in a Deposition

00:11- [Supervisor] Before you begin your investigation, take a moment to think about the ethical and professional conduct in the context of the litigation.
00:29You will see conduct that some might define as zealous advocacy in the face of a powerful adversary.
00:35But I want us to think about whether the conduct is zealous advocacy or whether it actually crosses an ethical line.
00:42You will see from a review of our file here, that Mr. Redding is a licensed Florida attorney who was admitted to the Florida Bar 15 years ago.
00:50Mr. Redding is 39 years old and has no prior disciplinary history.
00:54The conducted issue relates to Mr. Redding's representation of a plaintiff, Janice Stevens in a products liability suit filed in Florida.
01:01The suit was filed against E.I.
01:03DuPont de Nemours and Company Inc.
01:07In this lengthy and hotly contested litigation, Mr. Redding conducted a deposition of a DuPont representative at DuPont's headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware.
01:15In the file here, you will also find a video clip of that deposition and the deposition's transcript.
01:22I've also prepared for you copies of the rule regulating the Florida Bar and the most recent copy of the Professionalism Handbook for you to reference while you go through the file.
01:32Now, before you dig into the contents of the file, let's watch excerpts of the video of the deposition, showing some of the conducted issue.
01:40- [Mr. Redding] Good morning everyone.
01:47We're here today on the matter of Janice Steven versus E.I.
01:54DuPont de Nemours, who for your benefit I'll just refer to as DuPont.
01:58Today we are here for the deposition of Ms. Sandra Johnson, the corporate representative.
02:03As I'm sure you already know, I am John Redding, distinguished attorney, winner of over seven verdicts, book award winner during law school of the course of evidence.
02:14And I know how to take a concise and accurate deposition.
02:17So I'll ask you to please listen to the words coming out of my mouth and respond directly to my questions.
02:22I'm sure you've done this a lot as a paid witness, but we're going to try to keep the questioning very focused, and we're gonna keep going because this is the most important day of my client's life.
02:36She was horribly harmed by your product, and that's why we're here today, because of your negligence.
02:40So this is about the rights of my client, which I'm going to establish fully through this deposition.
02:46Now, I'll ask you that we refrain from taking breaks, that you are gonna be asked a lot of questions today, and you are not to talk to your young attorney if we take any breaks.
02:56This deposition is gonna continue throughout, and you are under oath.
02:59I don't know if you understand what that means, but that means you can't lie.
03:03You have to tell the truth, okay?
03:05So there will be some very simple rules that even a corporate representative could follow.
03:10And if you obey the rules, then things should go smoothly.
03:12If you don't, then I'll have to lay a record and seek sanctions accordingly, which I have done successfully time and time again, as one of the most prominent plaintiff attorneys in the Southeast . Okay, Ms. Johnson, I need you to answer my question.
03:39- [Ms. Alderman] Mr. Redding, I'm gonna go ahead and object.
03:43You're badgering Ms. Johnson.
03:46She's already done her best to answer your question multiple times.
03:54- [Mr. Redding] Do you think I'm badgering you?
04:07- [Ms. Alderman] Mr. Redding.
04:09- [Mr. Redding] Do you think I am badgering you?
04:12- [Ms. Alderman] Mr. Redding!
04:15- [Mr. Redding] Let me ask my question again very clearly so you understand all the words.
04:27What about the DuPont product was defective?
04:31- [Ms. Alderman] I'm going to object, Mr. Redding, your question calls for speculation-
04:36- [Mr. Redding] It certainly does not.
04:38- [Ms. Alderman] Your question calls for speculation on my client's behalf.
04:41- [Mr. Redding] It was a proper question, and I'll thank you to keep your objection to form.
04:45- [Rapporteur] Ms. Johnson, you can answer the question if you know.
04:50- [Ms. Johnson] I don't know.
04:52I would have to speculate.
04:56- [Rapporteur] Mr. Redding, I'm happy to continue, but can we take a break?
05:03We've been going at this for like two plus hours now.
05:06- [Mr. Redding] Let's go intern.
05:13- [Ms. Alderman] It's been a long day today, but you're doing exactly what we prepared and rehearsed in deposition preparation.
05:24And you're doing pretty well, considering.
05:26- [Rapporteur] Excuse me, would you all like some privacy?
05:29- [Ms. Alderman] Oh, oh, no.
05:30We'll be brief, but thank you.
05:31- [Ms. Johnson] Yes, it's been a long day.
05:34Isn't there something that you can do to control the actions of Mr. Redding?
05:37He seems to be getting more and more aggressive as the day goes by.
05:40- [Ms. Alderman] Oh, I have something for Mr. Redding.
05:44It's coming up, don't worry.
05:47- [Mr. Redding] To pick up where we left off after the break you requested, I have finished my examination and I believe that the young Ms. Alderman was gonna start her examination.
05:59- [Rapporteur] Is that right?
06:01- [Ms. Alderman] Yes, Ms. Johnson, did DuPont provide Mr. Redding with a searchable index of information as part of discovery?
06:10- [Ms. Johnson] Yes.
06:11- [Ms. Alderman] And how was this searchable index provided to Mr. Redding?
06:14- [Ms. Johnson] I believe it was provided via email.
06:16- [Ms. Alderman] Are these emails stored in the laptop right in front of us?
06:20- [Mr. Redding] Yeah, that's how email works.
06:21- I'm marking this-
06:22- What in the hell do you think you're doing?
06:24- [Ms. Alderman] I am marking your laptop as an exhibit.
06:26You just said-
06:27- How dare you?
06:28- [Ms. Alderman] You just said, on record that these documents are stored in your laptop.
06:32- [Mr. Redding] How dare you?
06:34This laptop contains my personal effects.
06:37It is my work product, it is protected from disclosure.
06:41You will never, ever get your hands on this laptop.
06:44I will protect this laptop with my life.
06:47- [Ms. Alderman] Your computer, Mr. Redding.
06:50- [Mr. Redding] How dare you.
06:53- Your computer.
06:54- How dare you.
06:55- [Ms. Alderman] The contents of your computer with regards to the searchable index.
07:00- [Mr. Redding] How dare you?
07:02Look, look, look, young lady, I have an alleged fraud, I have not alleged unclean hands, and
07:09I haven't even exposed an ounce of the truth of who you and your despicable client are, okay?
07:15I counsel you to stop playing games, and you will never, ever get my laptop.
07:20- [Ms. Alderman] With regards to the your computer and the searchable index-
07:23- [Mr. Redding] You will not.
07:24- [Ms. Alderman] The contents of your-
07:28- [Attendees] Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.
07:30- [Ms. Alderman] The contents of your computer, with regard to the searchable index of DuPonts is exhibit number one, Mr. Redding.
07:40- [Rapporteur] I can't work like this.
07:43- [Mr. Redding] First of all, first of all, this isn't even your deposition to mark an exhibit.
07:50You can't do that.
07:51So let me tell you what's gonna happen.
07:52Why don't you take your cute little exhibit sticker, roll it up into a little ball, and shove it where the sun don't shine, little girl.
08:01- [Ms. Alderman] That is DuPont's exhibit number one.
08:07So you've taken the exhibit sticker and you've torn it up.
08:11- [Mr. Redding] Look, you clearly don't know how to take a deposition, all right?
08:15This isn't even your time to mark exhibits, and certainly not my computer.
08:19- [Ms. Alderman] Preserve what is in your computer, sir.
08:23- [Mr. Redding] You, young lady, are not gonna touch my laptop, and you're not gonna learn what's in my laptop.
08:29But what is gonna happen is you're gonna be referred to the Florida Bar Ethics Committee, okay?
08:35That's what's gonna happen.
08:36So what we're gonna do now, we're ending this deposition, which you have unilaterally ruined, okay?
08:41We're calling it bringing it before the judge.
08:42I'm asking for sanctions.
08:44And I suggest you go home, you have a glass of wine, draw a bath, do whatever it is you do in your free time and rethink your unethical conduct.
08:52- [Ms. Alderman] Preserve what's in your computer, sir.
08:55- [Mr. Redding] You will never, ever get my laptop.
09:02And what is it that you even want that's on my laptop?
09:05What is it?
09:06Because you know what?
09:07I've given you a DVD that provides everything.
09:09It provides all the evidence and shows how I've proven my case.
09:13So why are you doing this?
09:14What is it that you even want, and you're ruining the deposition wasting everyone's time and money?
09:18Don't you already have one, or are you just too sloppy to find it?
09:21- [Ms. Alderman] I would like a copy.
09:23- [Mr. Redding] So what is it that you want?
09:26Do you want a copy?
09:27- [Ms. Alderman] I would.
09:28- [Mr. Redding] Well, I'll tell you what, I think you already have it and I'm gonna find out if you already have it.
09:32And if you do, I'm gonna seek sanctions for vexatiously multiplying these proceedings, okay?
09:38- [Ms. Alderman] I would like a copy.
09:39- [Mr. Redding] Fine, I'll give you a copy.
09:40And you know what?
09:41If that's all you've wanted, why didn't you just tell us 20 minutes ago?
09:46- [Ms. Alderman] That's what I'm looking for, Mr. Redding.
09:49- [Mr. Redding] Why, why, why wouldn't you just say that instead of putting your grubby hands on my computer?
09:55- [Ms. Alderman] It is not your work product, sir.
09:57- [Mr. Redding] Do you even know what work product is?
09:59- [Ms. Alderman] It's what you downloaded from the disk.
10:07- [Rapporteur] All right, we're done, I'm off the record.
10:15Back on the record.
10:17- [Mr. Redding] Intern, records.
10:20Here you go, Ms. Alderman, and I hope you're happy 'cause you've ruined the day for everyone.
10:25But here you go, here's the records, which we all know you already had.
10:32So I'll tell you what, at this point, that better end any further attempts from you trying to get your hands on my laptop.
10:39- [Ms. Alderman] About to burst your little bubble, Mr. Redding.
10:44I need to verify the information on your computer that it matches the information you just gave me.
10:50So here's my motion to compel that I've already prepared, and I will file it with the judge if you do not handle your computer as exhibit one.
10:59- [Mr. Redding] Fail it!
11:00You will not, you will not.
11:04Over my dead body will you ever, ever get your hands on this laptop.
11:09And what I'm gonna do, I'm gonna take this rate to the judge, in fact the chief judge, my good personal friend, and I'll tell you what's gonna happen.
11:16You're gonna be exposed as a grubby, low level, scummy defense attorney that you truly are.
11:23- [Ms. Alderman] Sir, if you damage anything on that computer, there will be serious consequences.
11:30- [Ms. Alderman] We're done today.
11:33We're done forever.
11:34And you know what else is done?
11:35Your career is done young lady, if I have anything to do about it.
11:46- [Masamba] Hi there, I bet you're wondering why I'm here.
11:57My name is Masamba Mutamba, and I'm a Florida attorney who's going to take you on a journey today, to discuss some of the professional and ethical issues that arose during the deposition you just watched.
12:10Our discussion will focus on the conduct displayed by the attorneys at the deposition, and whether that conduct violates the rules regulating the Florida Bar or other Florida professionalism guidelines.
12:22So you know, when I reference a rule, I'm referencing the rules regulating the Florida
12:29Initially, let's start with the threshold question about jurisdiction.
12:34As you heard from the supervisor at the beginning of the video, the deposition was conducted in Delaware.
12:39With that in mind, will the Florida Bar have jurisdiction to discipline Mr. Redding when his conduct occurred outside the state of Florida?
12:48The answer here is yes.
12:50A Florida licensed lawyer is subject to the disciplinary authority of the Florida Supreme
12:56Court, even if engaged in practice elsewhere.
13:01The comments to Rule 4-8.5 note that lawyers frequently act outside the territorial limits of the jurisdiction in which they're licensed, but may remain subject to Florida's jurisdiction.
13:13Now, let's get to the good stuff.
13:17I want to take you back to a specific part of the video you watched.
13:22Do you think Mr. Redding's conduct here violated any of the rules regulating the Florida Bar?
13:29Let's go through a few rules to see.
13:32Rule 4-3.5 C states that a lawyer shall not engage in conduct intended to disrupt a tribunal.
13:42Depositions are part of a tribunal since they're an ancillary proceeding conducted pursuant to the tribunal's adjudicative authority.
13:50In the video, Mr. Redding raises his voice, leans over the table, and engages in what most would call a tirade.
14:00Which causes stress for the deponent and the court rapporteur.
14:04These could all be considered disruptive acts that interfered with the deposition.
14:10Another rule, Rule 4-4.4 A states a lawyer shall not use means that have no substantial purpose other than to embarrass, delay or burden a third person.
14:22Does Mr. Redding do this?
14:25Mr. Redding stands up and speaks forcefully to opposing counsel, comes around the table towards 'em, tears off and flicks a sticker at 'em.
14:35This conduct was meant to embarrass and burden opposing counsel, as contemplated by Rule
14:40-4.4 A. Now Rule 4-A.4B states, "A lawyer shall not commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's trustworthiness or fitness."
14:54In the scene, Mr. Redding touches opposing counsel, which could be construed as a criminal act that could amount to assault, battery or both.
15:06There are other rules that could consider violated as well, including Rule 3-4.3 and
15:13Rule 4-8.4 D. So needless to say, there are quite a few rules implicated by the behavior we saw by Mr. Redding at this deposition.
15:25What about Mr. Redding's statements?
15:27Well, like his conduct, Mr. Redding's statements are a problem.
15:33Mr. Redding not only disrupted the progress of the deposition, but he also frightened others in the room by yelling.
15:41His hyperbolic language is unprofessional, and shows he's out of control with his anger.
15:47Comments like, "I will protect my computer with my life," and, "I have not even started,"
15:53and, "Stop playing games," all fall into this category.
15:58In addition, the tone of his voice is unprofessional.
16:02It conveys personal hostility, disrespect, and intimidation.
16:08His comments go beyond what is needed to address the conflict over whether his computer can be an exhibit.
16:15Now, in the real case, the referee found that as a legal matter, the computer could not be admitted as an exhibit.
16:26Think about when you first applied for admission to the Florida Bar.
16:30If Mr. Redding was applying for admission to the bar as a new lawyer, would we be concerned about his ability to perform as a lawyer based on the video?
16:40Well, we might be concerned that Mr. Redding doesn't have the appropriate character to be a lawyer.
16:49For example, the rules of the Supreme Court relating to admission to the bar state that an essential eligibility requirement is the ability to, and likelihood that, a lawyer will communicate civilly with clients, attorneys, courts and others.
17:05Perhaps this laptop incident, along with the other actions and statements that were discussed, demonstrate an inability to be civil.
17:15At the deposition, what are some of the consequences created by Mr. Redding's behavior to the others involved?
17:22The possible consequences of Mr. Redding's conduct to others involved may include the following; delay and expense to both sides, injury to the legal system, a negative view of the judicial system by clients or deponents, unnecessary stress and unpleasantness for the deposition support professionals such as the videographer and the court rapporteur.
17:49An increased animosity between lawyers that creates an environment not conducive to a just resolution of the case.
17:59Now, earlier we spoke about the rules regulating the Florida Bar, and which ones of those Mr.
18:05Redding may have violated.
18:07Let's talk about what may happen if he is sanctioned as a result of those violations.
18:14What sanctions would be appropriate?
18:16First, let's talk about the purpose of a sanction, which is to protect the public from lawyers who will not meet their professional duties to clients and the legal system.
18:27To that end, think about what kind of sanction for Mr. Redding would serve that purpose.
18:32To think more critically, let's look at the type of sanctions.
18:37The most common sanctions are disbarment, suspension, public reprimand, admonishment and probation.
18:49Florida standards for imposing lawyer sanctions are standards used by referees and the Florida
18:54Bar staff in imposing discipline sanctions after a finding.
18:59These standards provide insight about these sanctions.
19:04Standard 2.2 addresses disbarment.
19:07Disbarment is the most severe sanction, terminating the lawyer's ability to practice law.
19:12Disbarment would not be the appropriate punishment for Mr. Redding as there is no evidence to suggest that Mr. Redding knowingly caused serious, or potentially serious injury to the public or the legal system.
19:27Per standard 2.3, suspension is the removal of a lawyer from the practice of law for a minimum period of time.
19:36Suspension would be an appropriate sanction for Mr. Redding as his misconduct caused injury to the legal system itself.
19:44Mr. Redding's unprofessional behavior occurred in the presence of the deponent, a member of the public, and others.
19:53Per standard 2.5, a public reprimand alone would most likely not be a sufficient sanction for Mr. Redding's behavior, as a public reprimand is not always enough to protect the public.
20:05However, combined with other sanctions, a public reprimand would be appropriate to ensure there's a record of this behavior.
20:14Per standard 2.6, admonishment is the lowest form of discipline, which declares the conduct of the lawyer improper, but does not limit the lawyer's right to practice.
20:25An admonishment would not be the appropriate sanction for Mr. Redding as his conduct was harmful to the profession and those present during the deposition.
20:36Per standard 2.7, probation is a sanction that allows a lawyer to practice law under specified conditions.
20:43Probation, in combination with other sanctions, would be an appropriate sanction for Mr. Redding, to ensure that his behavior is closely monitored, preventing further harm to the public and the profession.
20:56Now, these are not the only sanctions.
20:59A court may impose other sanctions and remedies, when necessary to carry out the goals of the disciplinary system.
21:07Standard 2.8 recognizes that other sanctions and remedies may include restitution, assessment of costs, requirement that the lawyer take the Bar examination, or multi-state professional responsibility exam, a requirement that the lawyer attend continuing legal education courses, evaluation or treatment or a substance related disorder, or personal and emotional problems.
21:35So we've talked about the standards imposing lawyer sanctions, the rules regulating the
21:39Florida Bar.
21:42What about Florida's Oath of Admission, Creed of Professionalism or professionalism expectations.
21:48Did Mr. Redding's conduct violate those?
21:53It is important to understand that the standards imposing lawyer sanctions, the rules regulating the Florida Bar, Florida's Oath of Admission, Creed of Professionalism or professionalism expectations, the Professionalism Handbook, and guidelines for professional conduct, which were all mentioned in our discussion today, are important documents that guide Florida lawyers in practicing professionally.
22:18All of these documents can be found on the Florida Bar, and the Henry Latimer Center for professionalism websites.
22:25Now back to the question, did Mr. Redding's conduct violate Florida's Oath of Admission,
22:33Creed of Professionalism, or professionalism expectations?
22:37Here, it could be argued that Mr. Redding violated the Oath of Admission, Creed of Professionalism, and professionalism expectations.
22:49Let's take a look at these one at a time.
22:52First, the Oath of Admission.
22:56Yes, that Oath of Admission that you read when you were sworn into the Florida Bar.
23:04The oath is not only relevant at the outset of our practice, but should be adhered to throughout our practice.
23:13Mr. Redding arguably failed to act with fairness, integrity, and civility, and/or failed to abstain from all offensive personality.
23:25Similarly, Mr. Redding arguably violated the Creed of Professionalism.
23:32He did so by failing to uphold the dignity of the judicial system and the legal profession.
23:39He also failed to assure the just, speedy determination of an action.
23:47Failing to abstain from all rude, disruptive, disrespectful, and abusive behavior, and to act with dignity, decency, and courtesy.
23:57Finally, as it relates to professionalism expectations, Mr. Redding failed to treat all persons with courtesy and respect, and to abstain from rude, disruptive, and disrespectful behavior.
24:11Similarly, Mr. Redding used tactics designed to harass, intimidate and improperly burden.
24:18Okay, can we agree Mr. Redding's conduct could have been more professional?
24:24I think so.
24:26Looking at another resource, the Florida Bar Guidelines for Professional Conduct, what type of conduct would be considered unprofessional in a deposition like the one we just watched?
24:40These guidelines recognize several different forms of conduct that can be considered unprofessional in the deposition context.
24:50Is harassing behavior allowed?
24:52You guessed it, no.
24:54No, it is not.
24:56Guideline F6 provides that the counsel should refrain from repetitive or argumentative questions, or those asked solely for the purpose of harassment.
25:07Counsel should not conduct questioning in a manner that is intended to harass a witness by raising one's voice or by appearing angry at the witness.
25:17What about objecting to deposition questions?
25:20Guideline F7 states that counsel defending a deposition should limit objections to those that are well founded and permitted by the Florida or Federal Civil Rules of Procedure or by applicable case law.
25:33Counsel should remember that most objections are preserved and need to be interposed only when the form of the question is defective, or when privileged information is sought.
25:45Now, can an attorney coach a witness during testimony?
25:50Guideline F8 states that while a question is pending, counsel should not coach the opponent, nor should counsel suggest answers through objections or otherwise.
26:01Finally, what about disparaging behavior?
26:04Well, guideline F10 provides that counsel should not engage in any conduct during a deposition, that would not be allowed in the presence of a judicial officer, including disparaging personal remarks or acrimony toward opposing counsel, and gestures, facial expressions, audible comments, or the like, as manifestations of approval or disapproval during the testimony of the witness.
26:33We focused primarily on Mr. Redding's conduct.
26:37What about his opposing counsel, Ms. Alderman?
26:41Could she have handled situation in a manner that might have been more professional?
26:46Did I mention this case was based on an actual case?
26:50Oh, yes, that's right.
26:51A version of what you saw on the deposition happened in real life.
26:58As you can imagine, that case was brought before the Florida Supreme Court in 2010, and the case was styled, the Florida Bar versus Ratiner.
27:09Prior to the case going before this Florida Supreme Court, a referee discussed the conduct displayed by the attorney, who we know in our video as Mr. Redding.
27:19The referee in the actual case determined that Ms. Alderman's attempt to place an exhibit sticker on the laptop was quote, "Deliberately provocative."
27:28In addition, the referee noted that opposing counsel had tried twice to place an exhibit sticker on the computer, and that the second attempt was in retaliation for Mr. Redding's placing the deponent's computer into evidence.
27:45The referee went on to say that opposing counsel should have held up the evidence sticker to the camera and stated that Mr. Redding was refusing to allow her to place it on Mr. Redding's personal computer.
27:57That would've preserved the matter for the record.
28:01The referee found that although opposing counsel's action was not permitted by the rules of evidence, opposing counsel's action of trying to tag the laptop did not justify Mr. Redding's actions.
28:15Some suggestions for changing Ms. Alderman's conduct may include, calling for a recess when things got heated, asking for permission to tag the computer.
28:29If denied permission, preserving for the record her attempts.
28:35Stopping the depositions, and getting judicial intervention, and finally acknowledging Mr.
28:42Redding's anger, but asserting her legal position.
28:46Other than the possible improper provocation of Mr. Redding during the deposition, were any of Ms. Alderman's other actions considered misconduct under applicable rules?
28:59Well, in our scenario, we see an exchange between Ms. Alderman and her client, almost implying Ms. Alderman deliberately provoked Mr. Redding when she attempted to mark Mr.
29:13Redding's laptop as an exhibit to the deposition.
29:18Practically speaking, Ms. Alderman did not ensure that she and her client had privacy when consulting during the break.
29:28Rather, the videographer captured some of the attorney/client conversation.
29:34Now, this could impact the confidential or privileged nature of the conversation, and could be in violation of Rule 4-1.6 E. Okay, okay.
29:46I know you're thinking.
29:48Let's get back to talking about the actual case.
29:51So lastly, let's discuss the outcome of the actual case, which we will call the Ratiner case.
29:59As I mentioned, the Latina case was first heard before a referee.
30:04The referee found Mr. Ratiner guilty of violating multiple rules of professional conduct, including rules 3-4.3, misconduct and minor misconduct, rules 4-3.5, disrupting a tribunal, 4-4.4
30:20A, embarrassing, delaying or burdening others, -8.4 A, violating the rules of professional conduct, and Rule 4-8.4 D, prejudicing the administration of justice.
30:37The referee also found that Mr. Ratiner did not commit any criminal acts in the quote, laptop incident, and therefore did not violate Rule 4-8.4 B, criminal act reflecting on fitness, or Rule 3-4.4, criminal misconduct.
30:57Regarding sanctions, the referee primarily recommended, Mr. Ratiner be disbarred.
31:03Secondarily, the referee recommended that Mr. Ratiner be suspended for two years with special conditions such as anger management, letters of apology, and that future depositions be supervised.
31:17In making his recommendation, the referee also considered mitigating and aggravating circumstances.
31:25Aggravating conduct included the fact that Mr. Ratiner had multiple offenses, failed to fully acknowledge his wrongful conduct, and had a prior grievance from an earlier deposition where he had engaged in abusive conduct.
31:40For mitigating conduct, the referee found the absence of prior disciplinary history, absence of dishonest motive, presence of emotional problems, and good knowledge of the facts and law of the case.
31:55The referee's recommendation then went to the Florida Supreme Court who agreed with the referee as to the guilt determination.
32:04The Supreme Court found that Mr. Ratiner engaged in misconduct and violated his professional duties, and that his conduct was an embarrassment to the profession, that quote, "Caused injury to the legal system itself."
32:19The Supreme Court, however, rejected the referee's recommendation for discipline.
32:24It said the court's precedent did not support either disbarment or two-year suspension for the conduct.
32:34Previous cases where the lawyers engaged in even more egregious conduct did not merit department or two year suspension.
32:43Instead, the Supreme Court imposed a 60-day suspension, a public reprimand, and a two-year probation that included mental health counseling, writing letters of apology to all those present at the deposition, and supervision or videotaping at any court proceeding not presided over by a judge.
33:04Do you think the sanction fits the violation?
33:07Are you surprised by the recommendation?
33:10A lot to think about, and consider for you in your practice?
33:15Well, our time together has come to an end today.
33:18But I want to thank you not only from me, but from the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division, the Henry Latimer Center for Professionalism, and the judiciary, who all helped put this together.
33:29We sure do hope you learn something today, and hope you all have a long, successful, and professional career as lawyers in Florida.
33:37Goodbye and thank you.