Friday, May 18, 2012

Dirty Drawings and Angry Birds... at Depositions? - COTW #92

Depositions can be enlightening, interesting, and sometimes heated. However, they can also be extraordinarily boring at times. Somewhere around opposing counsel's fifty-third question about the witness's paper route from 1985 you have trouble focusing.

Attorneys have different ways of handling dry patches. Some people ask for a short break. Some people will prod opposing counsel to move along. And, apparently, some people draw pictures of male genitalia and play Angry Birds . . .what!?

Given the set-up, it's probably not surprising that these facts appear in an order addressing a motion to disqualify counsel. And, it's an FLSA class action, so we get the employment law tie-in! The full order is available online (here), but the highlight for me:
Defendants describe deplorable behavior on Celler's part that occurred in connection with the Schatt Action. Tinkler testified that during depositions he witnessed "Mr. Celler . . . drawing photos of — pictures of male genitalia and showing them to Ms. Schulman, describing Mr. Coupal. I told Mr. Coupal after that was occurring and he made mention about it." (Apr. 2, 2012 Hearing Tr. 17:2–5). Sorci testified that he observed Schulman "laugh[ing] quite a few times" at Celler’s drawings, and that on break Schulman made a comment that "this is typical Richard [Celler], this is what he does at these sort of things." (Id. 85:5–10). Tinkler further stated that "during Mr. Schatt’s deposition Mr. Celler was playing the game Angry Birds. He admitted it aloud and was bragging that he had just beaten somebody in Minnesota at the game during the deposition.” (Id. 17:6–9). Moreover, Celler would wear a t-shirt and shorts to proceedings to gain “a psychological advantage.” (Id. 17:11–15). Celler chose Dunkin’ Donuts as the site of depositions against Coupal’s wishes. According to Tinkler, the Dunkin’ Donuts had:
open glass, an open wall. You could hear the people. There was [sic] two video games right by where this gentleman is sitting. You could hear people the free Wifi video games. It’s right near Nova’s campus. There were people coming and going constantly through that area, high traffic area. They were yelling and screaming in the reception area where people were ordering their lunch and there was one bathroom that was flooded out and the door was locked constantly.
(Id. 55:12–19).
Ohhhh, "typical Richard." This particular conduct occurred outside of the Court's jurisdiction . . . but (again, this will probably not shock you), the Court was able to find other justification for disqualifying the attorney (and his whole firm).

HT: Scott Behren via Twitter (linking to Miami New Times).

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