December 16, 2015 Articles

Silly Lawyer Tricks II

Sharing lessons from across the country with our members, reporting real mistakes made by real appellate lawyers, frequently with disastrous results for their clients.

By Tom Donlon

This is the second in our continuing series reporting on real mistakes by real lawyers. If you find any case examples, please send them in so we can share them with the committee.

Pierce v. Visteon Corp., 791 F.3d 782 (7th Cir. 2015)

This is an example of an attorney who not only let his clients down but then tried to stab them in the back. The attorney appealed the verdict below, claiming that the class plaintiffs should receive a greater award under the statute and that the attorney fees were too low. Id. at 784–85. The court found that the appeal of the plaintiffs’ recovery could not be heard because their attorney had filed the notice of appeal too late. Id. at 788. However, the separate appeal of his attorney fees was timely. Id. at 787–88. The court rejected the attorney’s request for increased fees, criticizing him severely in the process. The court noted that the attorney was “in no position to contend his compensation was too low” because he “bungled the appeal, costing the class an opportunity to seek greater compensation.” Id. The court called counsel to task for trying “to undermine his clients’ interests” by arguing that some members of the class would “get too much money!” Id. at 787 (emphasis in original). The court stated it was “unfathomable that the class’s lawyer would try to sabotage the recovery of some of his own clients.” Id. The court went on to point out that the lawyer had failed to comply with its order regarding supplemental briefing of an issue raised at oral argument, id. at 788, and described his brief writing as “careless” and “ungrammatical.” Id. The attorney did not receive any additional fees.

Premium Content For:
  • Litigation Section
Join - Now